Love is in bloom . . .
Straightforward Kay Bing has never been one for subterfuge, although she did embellish her resume just a bit to land a design job at Free Leaf Concepts, a cutting edge botanicals firm. Determined to make a good first impression, she’s exploring the highly secure company greenhouse when her assistant—the much too attractive Oliver Pierce—confides that he’s actually working undercover to investigate whether Free Leaf has created a potent new street drug. Kay doesn’t believe it for a minute—until someone plants designer mushrooms in her salad. Suddenly she and her sexy colleague are teaming up to unearth the roots of a dangerous operation . . .
Oliver not only has a personal stake in the investigation, his entire career in law enforcement is on the line. Stubborn, sensible Kay is a distraction he can’t afford, but as they dig deeper into the case, they discover a chemistry that’s too heated to deny. When even one wrong move could be deadly, Oliver may have to risk it all to keep Kay from harm—and convince her they should be partners for good.
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She fixed her expression into a stone mask of observation, just like she’d seen Neve do a thousand times. It usually meant the gears were turning, calculating budget, measurements, and people all at once, deciding in an instant what, where, when, how, and why. For Kay, the stony façade would be a tool. A shield. At least, for today. Tomorrow, maybe it wouldn’t be a mask, but the real thing.
She tucked her nerves and self-doubts into her back pocket. She straightened the collar of her no-nonsense black button-up. Instead of a tie, she wore a neat silk bow in a muted gray. Professional. Not overly cute. Kay couldn’t dress cute. Dressing cute meant jokes about curfew, and did her parents know where she was. Ha-ha. Yep, she got it. She was little. But she also knew if she wanted to be the queen, she couldn’t dress like the jester. Anything pastel—light pink, pale lavender, baby blue—was out of the question. Hacking off her hair helped to a degree, and recently she’d began wearing heavier makeup, finding it aged her. Scrubbed clean, she could pass for a young teenager. She might be the only woman alive
looking forward to a few wrinkles.
The glass elevator pinged eloquently, like someone had installed a doorbell from one of the homes in the Governor’s Mansion district, when it finally came to a stop. The door slid open.
A handsome man—the kind with an eye-catching appearance that encouraged a second glance—waited just on the other side. His eyes, the same subtle green as the ceiling in the hallway downstairs, scoured her in one quick motion, literally sizing her up. He smiled indulgently, like he wanted to offer her a quarter for the candy machines. But not before she caught the gleam of calculation, there and gone in a blink.
He held out his hand. The smile lingered, relaxing into something with a little more warmth. “Oliver Pierce. But you can call me whatever you like. ‘Fetch that file’ is a big hit. ‘More coffee,’ another favorite.”
Her assistant. He would be charming, good-looking, and not outrageously tall. A tad on the rugged side, with stubble arranged almost artfully across his jaw, and eyes the color of sage under an expressive brow. His gaze held his candid smile.
Kay took his hand without moving a single muscle on her face. God, the effort. She’d never know how Neve kept it up. “Nice to meet you, Oliver.” He seemed put off by her dry greeting. His smile dialed back a few degrees. He had the beginning of a few lines around his eyes. Older than she was. “Likewise,” he said. Then he took off in a sudden energetic burst,
beckoning her to follow. “C’mon, I’ll show you to your office.”
A Florida native, Roxanne Smith has called everywhere from Houston to Cheyenne home. Currently residing in Roswell, New Mexico, she’s an avid reader of every genre, a cat lover, pit bull advocate, and semi-geek. She loves video games, Doctor Who, and her dashing husband. Her two kids are the light of her life and provide ample material for her writing.
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