~Not everyone plays by the rules~
Kade Dennon tried to stay away from his brother’s girlfriend and remain loyal to the only family he’s ever known but Kathleen Turner is his forbidden fruit. Eventually temptation drags Kade back to Indianapolis and the one woman who feels like home.
~The players changed but the game remains the same~
Kathleen Turner knows what she wants and who she desires. She seizes a new job and an opportunity unfolds. Soon, she’s working with her boyfriend’s brother and nothing will ever be the same again when Kade stakes a claim and aims for Kathleen’s heart.
~It's impossible to break a player who refuses to lose~
Blane Kirk needs his brother Kade to keep his girlfriend safe but when Blane sends Kathleen out of Indianapolis to protect her, he has no idea what kind of danger Kade and Kathleen will find while testing a new Las Vegas casino loyalty program. When an old enemy resurfaces with threats and an agenda, Blane goes to Sin City to warn his brother and discovers a few unwanted surprises of his own.
~A house of cards now destined to fall~
Working side by side, Kathleen’s and Kade’s relationship quickly changes, a fact they can’t deny. Seduction and passion lead them to a night that will scorch the sand right off the Mohave Desert and this time, foreplay won’t sustain them. With no one to stop them, Kade and Kathleen tread into the realms of unforgivable betrayal. And when Blane arrives in Vegas, he realizes too late that his brother is now playing for keeps.
“I’m Kathleen Turner, the new tramp…I mean temp.” Certain her expression revealed her absolute horror, Kathleen cleared her throat and tried again. “Get to Work Indianapolis sent me.”
“Perfect.” The sharply dressed receptionist tucked a phone between her ear and shoulder before leveling a cool glare at Kathleen. “Let’s hope your Freudian slip isn’t a sign of things to come.” The older woman looked like she’d taken a plunge off the backside of sixty-five and wasn’t too happy about it. She grabbed a clipboard full of forms and shoved it forward. “Looks like we get what we pay for.”
Instead of adding a dash of smartass to a heaping cup of embarrassment, compliments of a lousy first impression, Kathleen said, “Thank you. I’ll get to work on these.”
“You do that,” the receptionist said, pasting on a smile.
Kathleen claimed her spot in a comfortable oversized chair. She took a minute and scanned the spacious lobby, admiring the tasteful décor. The walls, filled with mosaic artwork, brought out the gold and royal blue hues in the circular sofas. At least Galloway and Associates made their first impression count. The waiting area was like a welcoming hug, a greeting that more or less assured visitors of a nice environment. The mid-wall oval windows provided good lighting and the versatile rugs with various patterns gave the office instant appeal.
“What’d I tell you?” The older woman hissed. “This temp agency leaves a lot to be desired. Third time is anything but a charm.”
So much for the welcoming hug.
As the receptionist gossiped on the phone, the scent of hazelnut coffee filled the air with a hypnotic blend. A proud java connoisseur, Kathleen often drove several miles out of her way just to visit a new coffee shop or try a new blend.
Realizing she probably shouldn’t make a beeline for the refreshment station so soon after her arrival, she quickly filled out her employee paperwork. Minutes later, the receptionist made her way to the nearby coffee bar and filled a Styrofoam cup. Over her shoulder, she snapped, “Mr. Galloway is waiting. Let me know when you’re finished.”
“Sure thing,” said Kathleen, taking a deep breath.
Too bad she couldn’t reap the aromatic coffee’s benefits by inhaling the air. Smelling warm caffeine held as much appeal as watching a steamy rated-R movie. The hot scenes might awaken the senses, but in the end, the viewer didn’t get anything out of it.
Kathleen set aside pen and clipboard. With full intentions of pursuing that coffee carafe, she jumped when the blue-haired lady asked, “Done already?”
“Um…almost,” Kathleen replied, picking up where she left off. She glanced over her shoulder and decided not to chance it since Mr. Galloway was “waiting” and she hadn’t exactly dropped by for refreshments.
The receptionist smirked. “I’ll let Mr. Galloway know you’ll be a few more minutes.”
“That isn’t necessary. All done here.” Whatever she’d scribbled down would soon become part of her permanent employee file so she hurriedly read over her answers a final time.
She’d told the truth about where she lived. She’d skipped the part about why she’d left her last job. She was honest about her education, but fudged about her career aspirations. Kathleen needed a job but she wanted this job.
According to a recent press release, Galloway and Associates had been retained by Worldwide Entertainment Software, a China-based company often commended for their innovative slots. Galloway’s programmers would conduct initial tests on upgraded player loyalty cards in Nevada-based casinos. While Kathleen didn’t know squat about gambling, she wanted the job at Galloway for personal reasons. She’d recognized someone in one of their press release photos. That ‘someone’ would lead her to CJ, her former neighbor.
Kathleen was prepared to do whatever necessary to land the job at Galloway. If things didn’t go well, she could always return to her old job at Gage, Kirk, and Trent.
At the thought, she sighed in resignation. She didn’t want to work for her boyfriend—if she could even call him that—but Blane Kirk had assured her that she had job security regardless of what their future held.
Sometimes she wondered if that was a warning in itself.
“Hmm,” the receptionist muttered, reviewing Kathleen’s paperwork. “Interesting.”
While Kathleen waited, she revisited her reasons for avoiding further employment at Gage, Kirk, and Trent. Blane typically didn’t keep a steady girlfriend for longer than a season. Spring was right around the corner and based on Blane’s relationship history, she’d begun to dread the expensive parting gift, a classy but predictable MO that he used to cut ties.
In Blane’s defense, he had tried to convince her to remain at the firm. He’d kicked in perks, a raise, and an office with a view. His generous offers tempted her, but she stuck to her guns. She didn’t want to be known as the woman who slept with her boss.
“Are you willing to work out of town when the job requires it?”
The question startled Kathleen. Would Blane want a girlfriend who traveled? And since when had she begun to think of herself as ‘his’ girlfriend? They were more like friends-with-benefits than a couple heading for the committed relationship discussion.
Clearing her throat, she said, “Yes, of course.” The “requires it” phrase insinuated only one right answer existed.
“Perfect. I’ll fax these upstairs. Take the elevator to the fourth floor. You’ll find Mr. Galloway there.”
“Yes, well, you might.” After a final head-to-toe appraisal, she squinted and quickly added, “If you don’t, he probably will.”
Boarding the elevator, Kathleen recalled the last time she had worked for a temp agency. It had been disastrous from the get-go. She worked briefly for a monster—Stephen Avery. It didn’t end well. She still shuddered at the memory.
Kathleen had landed face-down on a bed and Avery, thanks to putting her in that position in the first place, wound up dead. If it hadn’t been for Kade Dennon, Blane’s half-brother, she might have been—would’ve been—damaged for life, maybe even killed.
Jolted from her thoughts when the loud ding announced her top floor arrival, Kathleen stepped off the elevator. Instead of finding a suite arrangement with closed office doors and a receptionist to handle the business going on behind them, she walked straight into an open floor plan without cubicles or walls. It reminded her of a loft apartment rather than a business office.
To the left, a wall of windows offered enough light to make her feel as if she were standing outside in the warm sun. To the right, she spotted a spacious living room arrangement, complete with leather sofas, a glass coffee table, packed bookshelves, and a wet bar.
“Mr. Galloway?” She walked toward the large desk in the room’s center. “Your receptionist told me it was okay to come on up.”
Seated in an executive chair, Galloway faced the window. At first Kathleen thought he might have been on the phone, but after noticing it was cradled on its stand, she asked, “Um…should I come back?”
“No.” Galloway’s deep baritone voice was somewhat recognizable but she couldn’t place it by the simple one-word response. The leatherback chair slowly swiveled around. It was as if the man seated there had thought out this moment and wanted to set up the right scene. Almost cobalt-blue in color, his eyes twinkled as he tucked steepled fingers under his chin.
Kathleen’s heart raced as soon as she saw him. Her next breath caught in her chest. What was he doing here?
Full lips twitched before a slow smile crept across them, but the grin contradicted the tight expression on his face, the coolness in his hypnotic gaze.
Kathleen stared back at the man who had saved her from what could’ve been the worst night of her life. Given the look on his face, he may have been revisiting recent memories, too. His recollections were probably in line with what happened after he saved her.
She fidgeted. Smoothing her hands across her ordinary black skirt, she looked at him spot-on and waited for him to speak. At that moment, his blue-hot gaze dipped and his tongue swept across a too-noticeable mouth.
“Hello, princess.” This time his smile lit up the room. “I’ve been expecting you.”