September 1, 2011
Marriage Made On Paper
Pretend marriage real wedding night!
When ambitious public relations expert Lily Ford signs a contract with hotshot property tycoon Gage Forrester, she inadvertently signs her life away! A tough taskmaster, he wants Lily at his beck and call 24/7.
Gage expects employees to go above and beyond. So, when he needs to generate some positive PR, his solution is completely unexpected: he proposes to Lily! All in the name of business, of course.
This may be a deal struck on paper, but Gage is a stickler for tradition when it comes to their wedding night!
MARRIAGE MADE ON PAPER got 4 1/2 stars from RT! "Gage hires Lily’s company to do damage control whenever the opportunity presents itself. An unapologetic misogynist, Gage is taken aback by Lily’s aggressive business practices. It isn’t long before the two recognize their undeniable attraction. Gage’s overall transformation and growth is terrific and Lily’s strength would make any woman proud."
Lily Ford wasn’t thrilled to see Gage Forrester standing in her office, leaning over her desk, his large masculine hands clasping the edge, his scent teasing her, making her heart beat at an accelerated pace. She wasn’t thrilled to see Gage, the man who had turned her down, but her body seemed to be on a different wavelength.
“I heard that Jeff Campbell hired your company,” he said, leaning in a little more, his shoulder muscles rolling forward. He certainly didn’t spend all of his time behind a desk in a corporate office. A physique like that didn’t happen on accident. She knew that from personal experience.
It took her four evenings a week in the gym to combat the effects of her mostly sedentary job. But it was important. Image counted for a lot, and it was her job to keep the images of her clients sparkling clean in the public eye. She felt that if her own image wasn’t up to par she would lose her credibility.
“You heard correctly,” she said, leaning back in her chair, trying to put some distance between them. Trying to feel like she had some measure of control. It was her office, darn it. He had no call coming in here and trying to assume authority.
But then, men like Gage operated that way. They came, they saw, they conquered the female.
Not this female.
“So, are you here to offer me congratulations?” she asked sweetly.
“No, I’m here to offer you a contract.”
That successfully shocked her into silence, which was a rare thing.
“You rejected my offer to represent your company, Mr. Forrester.”
“And now I’m extending you an offer.”
She pursed her lips. “Does this have anything to do with the fact that Jeff Campbell is your biggest competitor?”
“I don’t consider him a competitor.” Gage smiled, but in his eyes she could see the lint of steel, the hardness that made him a legend in his industry. You didn’t reach greatness by being soft. She knew it, she respected it. But she didn’t necessarily care for Gage, or his business practices. Generally speaking, she thought what he was somewhat morally bankrupt. But an account with Forrestation Inc. would be a huge boon for her company. The biggest account she’d ever had.
“Like it or not, he is your competitor. And he’s quite good at what he does. He doesn’t leave half the mess for me to clean up that you would.”
“Which is why he isn’t really my competition. He’s too politically correct, too concerned with his public image.”
“It wouldn’t hurt you to be more concerned with it. The endless stream of actresses and supermodels on your arm don’t exactly give off an aura of stability. Plus you’ve had a series of very unpopular builds lately.”
“Is this a free consultation?”
“No. I’m charging you by the half hour.”
“If I remember correctly your services aren’t cheap.”
“They aren’t. If you want cheap, you have to suffer incompetence.”
He sat down on the edge of her desk and effectively threw half of her office supplies out of alignment. Annoyance coursed through her, along with the desire to reach out and straighten her stapler, which was nearly as strong as the need she suddenly felt to touch his thigh, so close to her hand now, and find out if it was as hard and muscular as it looked.
She grimaced at her own line of thinking, her train of thought irritating and confusing her. She didn’t indulge in fantasies about men, she just didn’t.
“That’s one thing I liked about you when I interviewed you, Lily. You’re confident in your skills.”
“What was it you didn’t like about me, Mr. Forrester? Because as you and I both know, you hired Synergy to represent your company, not me.”
“I make it a practice not to hire women under a certain age. Particularly if they’re attractive.”
She felt her mouth fall open in shock, and she knew she looked like some sort of gasping guppy, but there was nothing she could do combat it. “That’s sexist.”
“Maybe. But I haven’t had to deal with unwanted affections from my male personal assistant, unlike my previous PA, who fell hopelessly in love with me.”
“Maybe you were imagining things. Or maybe you encouraged her.” Privately, she had to admit that Gage was an attractive man, but that didn’t mean that every woman under a certain age was immediately going to fall in love with him at the mere sight of him. But maybe he believed it. Power did that to people, men especially. They started thinking of everyone as their property, like they were entitled to the slavish devotion of everyone around them.
Some men didn’t even need wealth. They just needed someone weaker than they were.
She shook off the memories that were creeping in.
“I wasn’t imagining it, trust me. And I never encouraged her,” Gage said. “I was never interested in her. Business is business, sex is sex.”
“Never the twain shall meet?”
“Exactly. To compound the matter when I fired her she made a huge scene.”
“Why did you fire her?”
One dark eyebrow shot up. “I came into the office one morning to find her perched naked on my desk in a pose that would make a centerfold blush.”
Lily’s mouth dropped open. “Are you serious?”
“Unfortunately, yes. But since then, I haven’t hired women to work closely with me, and since then, I haven’t had any other issues.” He regarded her closely. “You aren’t engaged or expecting a baby anytime soon, are you?”
She almost laughed. “No worries there, Mr. Forrester. I have no plans for wedding or baby in the near, or distant, future. My career is my focus.