Saturday Excerpt: Saying Yes to the Boss by Andrea Laurence (Desire)
This summer, Harlequin Desire introduces a new addition to their famous dynasties…the Newports! Discover this passionate six-book series filled with family secrets, baby bombshells and irresistibly sexy heroes. Look for a new installment of Dynasties: The Newports each month until December 2016. Get a head start with this excerpt from book one, Saying Yes to the Boss by Andrea Laurence, on sale now!
About Saying Yes to the Boss:
Real estate CEO Carson Newport is determined to build a children’s hospital to honor the single mother who’d raised him and his brothers. But when his PR director Georgia Adams finds the perfect place to build, she must convince a lecherous business rival to give up his bid for the land. Carson doesn’t exactly like the idea of her getting close to the enemy, especially as his own feelings for her are heating up during those long hours at the office! But will an explosive family secret prevent him from getting to know Georgia much, much better?
“I found it.”
Georgia Adams eyed Carson Newport from her position in his office doorway. He looked up from the paperwork on his desk, arched one golden eyebrow in curiosity and leaned back in his chair. “You found what?”
Georgia stifled a frown of disappointment. She’d imagined this moment differently. She was carrying a chilled bottle of champagne in her purse to celebrate her discovery. Not once in her imagination had he stared at her blankly.
How could he not know that she had found it? The Holy Grail of real estate. The very thing they’d been searching for, for months. “I found the spot where the Newport Corporation is going to be building the Cynthia Newport Memorial Hospital for Children.”
That got his attention. Carson straightened up in his leather executive chair and pinned her with his gaze. “Are you serious?”
Georgia grinned. This was more like it. “As a heart attack.”
“Come in.” He waved her into his office. “Tell me all about it.”
She shook her head and crooked her finger to beckon him. “I think I need to show you. Come on.”
Carson didn’t so much as look at his calendar for conflicts before he leaped from his chair. Finding the land for their next real estate development project had been that hard and that important. There wasn’t a lot of space in Chicago to do what they wanted. At least, not at a price that made any kind of financial sense.
He moved swiftly around his massive mahogany desk, buttoning the black suit coat he was wearing as he joined her in the doorway. “Lead on, Miss Adams.”
Georgia spun on her heel and headed for the elevators. “We’re taking your car,” she reminded him as she hit the down button.
He leaned his palm against the wall and looked down at her. “You know, Georgia, you’re the director of public relations at a Fortune 500 company. I think I pay you enough to get a car. I pay you enough to get a really nice car. There’s even a reserved spot in the garage for you that sits open every day.”
Georgia just shrugged. She didn’t want the responsibility of a car. In truth, she didn’t need one. Her apartment was a block away from the “L.” Chicago’s elevated train was efficient and cheap, and that’s how she liked things. She’d never owned a car before. Public transportation was all she’d ever really known. To some people who grew up the way she had, finally getting their own car would be a milestone that showed they had made something of themselves. To her, it was an unnecessary expense. She never knew when she might need that money for something else.
“You look like a Jaguar girl to me.” Carson continued to ponder aloud as they stepped out of the elevator to the employee parking deck. “Graceful, attractive and just a little bit naughty.”
Georgia stopped beside Carson’s pearl-white Range Rover. She brushed her loose platinum-blond hair over her shoulder and planted a hand on her hip. “Mr. Newport, am I going to have to report you to human resources?” she asked with a smile that took the teeth out of the threat.
Carson winced as he opened the door for her to get inside. “It was just a compliment. Please don’t make me go to the second floor. Our HR director reminds me of my third-grade teacher. She was always mean to me.”
“Were you poorly behaved?” Georgia challenged him.
Carson grinned, showcasing his bright smile. His sea-green eyes twinkled mischievously. “Maybe,” he admitted before slamming the door.
She took the next ten seconds alone to take a deep breath. Being around Carson Newport was hard on Georgia’s nerves. Not because he was a difficult boss—he was anything but. That was part of the problem. He was handsome, charming, smart and a miserable flirt. All the Newport brothers were that way, but only Carson made Georgia’s heart race. His flattering banter was harmless. She knew that. He’d never so much as touched her in the year she’d worked for his company.
That didn’t mean she didn’t secretly want him to. It was a stupid fantasy, one that kept her up nights as she imagined his hands running over her bare skin. But it had to stay a fantasy. She’d worked damn hard to get into a good college and climb the corporate ladder. Landing this job at the Newport Corporation was a dream come true. She’d found a family among her coworkers here. She was good at her job. Everything had turned out just as she’d hoped. Georgia wasn’t about to risk that just because she had the hots for her boss.
Carson climbed in the car and they headed out. It took about a half hour to negotiate downtown traffic and get out to the site she’d found. Once there, he pulled his Range Rover off the road and onto a patch of grass and gravel. They both got out of the car and walked a couple hundred yards into a large empty field.
If she’d known she was coming out here today before she left the house, she would’ve opted for a more practical outfit than a pencil skirt and heels, but she didn’t get the tip on the land until she got into the office. Fortunately it hadn’t rained for a while, so the ground was firm and dry. It really was an ideal plot of land. The property was fairly level without many trees that would need to be cleared. One side butted up to an inlet of Lake Michigan and another to a waterfront park.
“So…” Georgia said at last. The anticipation was killing her. She didn’t know how they could find anything better than this. The property had been tied up in probate for years and the family had just now decided to sell it, or it would’ve long ago been turned into a shopping center or condos. If Carson didn’t like it, not only was she back to the drawing board, but she also had a really expensive bottle of champagne in her purse for no reason at all. “What do you think?”
She watched Carson survey the property with his back to her for a few minutes. When he finally faced her, his winning grin was broader than ever. “It’s amazing. Perfect.”
Carson walked across the empty field with his hands shoved into his pants pockets. There was a casual air about him that belied how intense he could be in business affairs. Georgia had seen more than one person underestimate the youngest Newport and regret it.
“How did you ever find out about this place?”
“I know a guy,” Georgia said with a smile. She’d sent out quiet feelers several weeks ago and hadn’t heard anything back until today. An acquaintance from college had told her about the land. It wasn’t publicly for sale, at least not yet. She’d spoken to the owners and they were entertaining bids on the whisper listing through the end of next week. She got the idea they wanted to move quickly and with as little hassle as possible. If they didn’t get an offer they liked by then, they’d announce the sale. If the Newport Corporation moved fast, they could avoid the sale becoming public and competitors driving up the price of the land.
Carson turned back to her. “You know a guy? I love it.”
“Shall we buy it?” Georgia asked. “We don’t have a lot of time to decide. Someone will snatch it up, I’m certain.”
“Yes, I think we should buy it and quickly. Let’s not even wait for my brothers’ opinions. Graham and Brooks will think it’s great.”
Georgia smiled and slipped her purse off her shoulder. The large bag could’ve easily accommodated enough stuff for a weekend vacation, but it was the purse that she carried every day. Anything she could ever possibly need was in that bag. Today that included an insulated bag with chilled champagne and cups. “I think this is cause for celebration,” she said as she pulled out the bottle.
“You’re like Mary Poppins with that thing,” Carson said with a chuckle as he leaned close to peer into the abyss of her handbag. “What else do you have in there?”
Reaching back inside, Georgia pulled out two red plastic cups. “They’re not lead crystal, but they’ll do.”
“That’s perfect. I’ve done all my best celebrating with Solo cups.” Carson took the champagne bottle and opened it. He let the cork fly across the field and then poured them both a healthy-size glass.
“To the new Cynthia Newport Memorial Hospital for Children!” Carson said, holding up his glass.
“To finally seeing your mother’s dream realized!” Georgia added.
As they both took a sip, Georgia noticed the faraway look of sadness in Carson’s eyes. It had been only about two months since his mother’s sudden death from an aneurysm. They’d had no warning at all. She was there, and then she was gone. Their mother was all they had for family. The brothers had taken it all very hard, but Carson especially. He decided he wanted to build a children’s hospital in her honor, since she’d done so much charity work with sick kids in her later years.
“I really can’t believe we’re making this happen.” Setting down his cup, Carson wrapped Georgia in his arms and spun her around.
“Carson!” Georgia squealed and clung to his neck, but that only made him spin faster.
When he finally set her back on the ground, both of them were giggling and giddy from drinking the champagne on empty stomachs. Georgia stumbled dizzily against his chest and held to his shoulders until the world stopped moving around her.
“Thank you for finding this,” he said.
“I’m happy to. I know it’s important to you,” she said, noting he still had his arms around her waist. Carson was the leanest of the three brothers, but his grip on her told of hard muscles hidden beneath his expensive suit.
In that moment, the giggles ceased and they were staring intently into each other’s eyes. Carson’s full lips were only inches from hers. She could feel his warm breath brushing over her skin. She’d imagined standing like this with him so many times, and every one of those times, he’d kissed her.
Before she knew what was happening, Carson brought her fantasy to reality by dipping his head and pressing his lips to hers. The champagne was just strong enough to mute the voices in her head that told her this was a bad idea. Instead she gave in to his kiss, pulling him closer.
He tasted like champagne and spearmint. His touch was gentle yet firm. She could’ve stayed just like this forever, but eventually, Carson pulled back from the kiss.
For a moment, Georgia felt light‑headed. She didn’t know if it was his kiss or the champagne, but she felt as though she would lift right off the ground if she let go. Then she looked up at him.
His green eyes reflected sudden panic. Her emotions came crashing back down to the ground with the reality she saw there. She had just kissed her boss. Her boss! And despite the fact that he had initiated it, he looked just as horrified by the idea.
“Georgia, I…” he started, his voice trailing off. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.”
With a quick shake of her head, she dismissed his words and took a step back from him. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Excitement and champagne will make people do stupid things every time.”
The problem was that it didn’t feel stupid. It had felt amazing. Better than any fantasy she’d ever had about Carson. But that didn’t make it a good idea.
“I hope this won’t make things awkward between us. I’d hate for my thoughtlessness to ruin our working relationship.”
“It’s fine, Carson. Please. Things happen when you work closely with someone. Besides that,” she admitted reluctantly, “I wasn’t exactly fighting you off.”
She’d avoided his gaze once their lips parted and she saw his inevitable regret, but the pleading, husky sound of his voice as he said her name made her look back at him. The regret was gone and there was a fire in his eyes now as he looked at her. His jaw was tight. With an expression like that, she would say he desired her, but that couldn’t possibly be right. That kiss was a mistake and they both knew it. Right? “Yes?”
A hard buzz against Georgia’s breast startled her. At the same time, a chirp sounded from Carson’s suit pocket, interrupting what he was about to say. It was their office phones.
Georgia swallowed her disappointment, turned her back to him and reached into her blouse to retrieve her phone. She always kept it on silent, tucked away in her shirt so she would know when she got a call without interrupting business. When she looked down, the message on the screen nearly devastated her.
“Sutton Winchester has announced plans to build luxury waterfront condos here,” Carson said.
Georgia clicked on the link to the news article his administrative assistant, Rebecca, had sent them both. She’d left the information on the property with Rebecca in case Brooks or Graham came in and asked where they were. Instead she’d used it to uncover their competition. The story was accompanied by an image of the fancy development they planned to build on the spot where they were standing. The article noted that Sutton’s offer on the land hadn’t been accepted yet, but he was confident that it would be, and he was rallying support for the project. Below the artist’s rendering of the buildings was a picture of Sutton Winchester.
Georgia had no doubt Sutton must have been able to charm any woman he wanted when he was a younger man. He had quite the reputation where women were concerned even now, despite his age and longtime marriage to Celeste Van Houten. Georgia could see why. His light brown hair was mostly gray now and wrinkles lined his face, but his green eyes were still bright, and his dimpled smile exuded confidence. Fortunately Georgia knew to stay far away from the likes of Winchester. He was an underhanded bastard in business dealings. He bribed, seduced and lied to get his way, screwing over the Newport Corporation on more than one occasion and putting a handful of other companies out of business entirely.
Georgia let her phone drop to her side and turned back to face Carson. Their kiss faded into her distant memory as she focused on their next steps.
There was a steely determination set into his expression when he looked at her. “We need to move quickly. I can’t—I won’t—let that bastard Sutton steal this out from under us.”
* * *
Pick up Saying Yes to the Boss from your local book store or order your copy: