Ruby is spending her holiday at the Kalani Resort playing decoy with grumpy, much-older CFO Adrian Wentworth ...and there's only ONE BED.
Bubbly Ruby Bisset is too young for CFO Adrian Wentworth…way too young for what he fantasizes about every time she parades through the office. That’s why he’s always kept the gorgeous twentysomething at a distance. Until they’re assigned to impersonate a loving couple at a Hawaiian resort over Christmas. In a luxury cabin. With one bed!
Teased by the coconut scent of her hair and the glimpses of her smooth skin, Adrian can barely resist touching the little temptress. So when she goads him into kissing her under the mistletoe, he gives in. When their lips meet, he knows he’s in big trouble. Ruby may be younger than him, but she’s no innocent. She knows what she wants…and that’s him!
Soon they’re indulging in tropical delights hot enough to make any HR manager pass out. And pretending to be a man in love feels more real by the moment. Getting close to Ruby leaves Adrian craving something he can’t have…but will what happens in Hawaii stay in Hawaii?
THERE WERE PLENTY of reasons why the CEO might call her into a private meeting an hour before her official Christmas vacation began, and Ruby Bisset couldn’t think of a single one that boded well for her. She scanned the uncharacteristically quiet marketing department of NY Creatives Media. Everyone else had left after the trays of Christmas cookies, blintzes and bottles of champagne had disappeared from the holiday party. Ruby would have ducked out, too, if Cristina hadn’t taken her aside at the fig, goat cheese and honey appetizer tray and quietly asked her to meet. She also would have drunk a hell of a lot more champagne.
But the fizzy effect of her single glass of bubbly had long since worn off as Ruby headed through the maze of cubicles, sidestepping stray bits of holiday wrapping, two lost pens and a ripped envelope on the way. With each step closer to Cristina’s corner office, Ruby’s heart rate ticked up a notch. In preparation, she’d brought the social media calendar she had perfected for Cristina, even though she was pretty sure this was way too late for a chat about strategy. So what was this last-minute, off-the-calendar meeting about?
Some less-than-desirable possibilities came to mind, like the chance that those topless pictures from spring break during Mardi Gras had finally resurfaced. Even after four years, that possibility still lingered in her mind. Jimmy had promised he’d deleted them, but that was only after she’d caught her ex-fiancé sharing them with three of his friends. There were a lot of lessons embedded in that stupid mistake, one of which was never do anything you wouldn’t want your whole office to know about.
As the company’s social media manager, she should have learned that lesson the first time around with Jimmy. But, apparently she hadn’t, which was how she’d ended up getting caught four years later in the hallway of a Hell’s Kitchen bar during a company after-hours gathering making out with Raj, the cute, sweet guy from finance. And, of course, in her typical go-big-or-go-home fashion, she hadn’t been subtle, which was why they’d been caught by hothole CFO, Adrian Wentworth. Who happened to be Raj’s boss.
Raj hadn’t so much as looked her way since, and Ruby had gotten the sense that this wasn’t his personal choice. Adrian hadn’t said a word to her either, though he seemed to be putting a little extra effort into his scowls at her since then. This secret meeting couldn’t be about that incident, could it?
Probably not. More likely: a social media emergency had emerged, and Cristina was going to ask Ruby to work over the holidays.
It wouldn’t be the first time she’d been given a hush-hush assignment like that, and the truth was she was having some doubts about her decision to spend Christmas alone. NY Creatives Media was closed for two weeks, and Ruby had made the mistake of telling most of the marketing department that she was locking herself into her apartment to get her photography portfolio in shape. Alone. Which had earned an outpouring of sympathy, despite Ruby’s insistence that this was her choice.
Anyway… The point was she could handle trading a few of those days alone for top-secret emergency triage meetings with some high-profile celebrity trying to avoid a scandal. Not exactly what she got into this business for, but she’d get a much-needed lump of cash in the bargain, which was another reason not to say no.
If that was even what this meeting was about.
The executive hallway felt more deserted than Marketing, which didn’t help the foreboding feeling. Please don’t let this be about the Mardi Gras photos. It was probably bad luck to even think about them right now.
Ruby sucked in a breath as she passed the door marked Adrian Wentworth, CFO. Three years ago, despite the doubts he’d expressed very publicly, she had earned her place at NY Creatives Media by giving a stellar crash course in personal branding, the subject of her senior thesis. She’d spent good portions of her time since then helping the higher-ups build their social media platforms.
Well, almost all of them. Adrian had made it clear that even setting aside thirty minutes to brainstorm personal brand ideas was beneath him. She was beneath him, and not in the fun, sexy way which, unfortunately, she’d had graphic dreams about—dreams she now couldn’t un-think.
Adrian was thirteen years older than she was—yes, she’d looked it up—and that, plus his condescending attitude, should have taken away his sex appeal. Sadly, it hadn’t, at least not in the darker recesses of her mind. After that first fateful dream, she couldn’t stop noticing him. It was as if he’d spent every one of those thirteen years between them sculpting himself into ridiculous hotness, just to taunt her.
The light in Adrian’s office was still on, though that wasn’t a surprise. He had more than earned his reputation as a hard-ass workaholic, and Raj had let it slip that he expected the same of everyone else. What the hell would he do with himself during the two weeks the office was closed? Reorganize his spreadsheets? Color code his perfectly tailored shirt collection?
Ruby hurried past his door and stopped in front of the corner office, her heart thumping harder.
Cristina Santos was her idol. She had started NY Creatives Media with her husband James, and together, they had built it into the top firm in its niche in ultra-luxury brand publicity. Thanks to Ruby’s group, they were getting more innovative with social media marketing, too. Cristina’s marriage was enviable, and their happily-ever-after life was made for social media success, right down to their two adorable and camera-ready Shih Tzus.
Ruby took a deep breath and reached for the handle, but Adrian’s office door clicked, putting her into alert mode. Curiosity got the better of her and she glanced his way.
He had one foot out of his office, frozen in the middle of his doorway, staring at her. His usual look of brusque condescension was missing. Instead, he was staring at her in open surprise. Then his gaze dipped down her body. Her skin prickled, and her hands went instinctively to the hem of her short, playful holiday dress. But he wasn’t scowling. His grey eyes lit up with unfiltered heat. Her own body went on high alert, and she sucked in an audible breath. The moment the sound left her mouth, all signs of desire on his face disappeared.
What was that? It happened so fast that Ruby wondered if she’d imagined it. Before she could decide, Adrian was heading straight for her. Each step kicked up her pulse another notch until he stopped in front of her...
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