Book 2 of Duval-Adams family. This is Zander's story of love and betrayal, of hope and despair and of lust and longing.
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Sarah Fredricks - Romance Author
Lexie Ellis has been driven into a corner by her father and finds herself forced undercover on an assignment for a two-bit newspaper. She hates the duplicitous lifestyle, excels at her undercover job and falls in love with her new boss.
Zander Duval-Adams, CEO of Two's Company experiences an intense attraction to his latest member of staff. Problem is he doesn't date colleagues, nor does he trust her - and trust is a deal breaker for him.
As Zander and Lexie cave in to the growing bond between them, they both find themselves the subject of malicious newspaper gossip and accusations. Lexie's true identity is exposed by the gutter press and their relationship lies in tatters.
How much of the accusations reported in the papers is true? Is their relationship irretrievably discarded? Do they chalk it up to raging lust and toss it away as Zander vows to trust his gut in future?
This is the second book in the Duval-Adams series. Zander and his twin brother, Matt, own and run a hugely successful international restaurant and catering business. Orphaned at eighteen, they became responsible for their twelve year old sisters, Tess and Ronnie. They overcame extreme parental debt, brought up their sisters and rewrote their futures, becoming highly acclaimed and sought after multi-millionaires in the process.
Zander was having difficulty taking his eyes off her.
Convinced she was some kind of undercover reporter, she wasn't at all what he had expected. His hand still tingled from their handshake - he resisted the urge to touch it.
He'd followed her across his office to the comfy chairs along the wall, mesmerised by the graceful and sexy way with which she walked. The long, slim legs disappearing into an above knee length pencil skirt hadn't helped him drag his eyes away. Side on to him, her golden coloured blouse hugged her curves, accentuating high breasts. Tiny pearl buttons adorned her front from the waistband of her skirt all the way up to the vee of her blouse where there was a hint of her cleavage. He really had no cause to notice such details about a potential employee and forced his gaze away.
His eyes fell upon her face and were drawn to her full mouth with a plump bottom lip. What would that feel like against his own?
He shook his head to clear it and the lock of hair that was the bane of his life fell forward. His gaze continued its upward appraisal and he found himself being lost in the depths of her dark brown eyes, so similar in colour to his own. He hardly noticed the subtle eye shadow and mascara. His periphery caught dark brown hair that shimmered as the early morning sun shone in through the window. Her straight hair brushed her shoulders with a full fringe falling at an angle over her right eye.
He watched as a myriad of emotions flashed across her face. In another setting at another time of day he'd think she was turned on. But at half eight in the morning, the first day of a new job? He continued looking at her, acutely aware of the tension that zapped between them, and tried not to be affected.
'Here we are now. A strong pot of coffee to kick-start the day.' Liz almost laughed at the speed at which two sets of eyes alighted on her as she stood alongside. Hmm, interesting atmosphere! I'd swear neither of them knew I'd come in. As she put the tray of coffee on the table she looked from one to the other. Definitely an atmosphere. I think they've both surprised each other, she thought. But there's something else going on here too.
Liz smiled at them both. 'Well I'll, er, just leave you to it.' As she left the room, Zander's lack of comment hung in the air. He'd never ignored her before. Being a lover of romance novels, Liz had high hopes for the coming weeks and crossed her fingers that Lexie would get to stay and be all that her CV claimed her to be. She had a feeling in her water that Lexie was just what Zander needed in his life. She'd had the same feeling when she'd met her dear departed Jim and when she'd met each of her daughters-in-law for the first time.
As the door shut Zander cleared his throat and reached for the coffee pot, unaware of how much time had passed since he'd invited her into his office, but sure it could only have been moments.
'How do you like your coffee?' He asked as he pushed his hair back in place.
'Weak, with lots of milk please.'
Zander added hot milk to her mug. 'Don't let Liz hear you say that. She thinks everyone should enjoy coffee hot, strong and black! This pot of warm milk is more for show that anything else.'
Lexie smiled at his comments and felt herself relax. The normality of the conversation cooled her aroused body.
Zander wished she hadn't smiled. He'd thought her stunning to look at before but her smile pulled him in to the beauty and warmth of her eyes.
To distract himself he asked her inane questions about her previous work and experience and concentrated on drinking his coffee. He had to force himself to remember he didn't trust her, to stop himself pulling her onto his lap and kissing her senseless, or worse, stripping her bare.
'Right then.' He placed his mug on the table and picked up a plastic folder.
'Let's get down to business. Before I take you down to Finance here's a Confidentiality Agreement. I'm sure you'll understand the need for this to be signed.'
Zander passed her the two page document he'd had his solicitor draw up and watched her reaction with interest as she read it.
Her hand shook slightly as she reached the final paragraph. Zander looked at her face and thought he caught a look of concern before she carefully masked it.
Lexie shook her head.
'I'm sure you'll understand the specific reference to the media. As a family we guard our privacy carefully and as a business I have no desire for our practices to be made known to our competitors. Rest assured, we will carry out the action noted in that Agreement.'
Lexie tried to stay calm. He couldn't possibly know who she was. This must be a standard Agreement. She cleared her throat, not willing to challenge his comments.
'If you have a pen, I'm happy to sign this.'
As she wrote her signature she prayed hard to anyone who was listening that there was nothing to find. If she got hauled through the courts there was no doubt her father would disown her. She cursed the economy, her father and Mac for the mess her life was currently in as she gave him his pen back.