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Silver and Spice
Jake Rivard has been back in Grosse Pointe for only twenty-four hours, and already banker Anne Blake's well-ordered world is in chaos. Again. Every time the man with the sexy silver-gray eyes shows up, she falls into bed with him. And every time he walks away, there's an ache in her heart she can never ease. Now that she has the stable life she's always craved, Anne's not about to let him seduce her again. No matter how much she wants him to.
Jake's not leaving this time without Anne by his side. He's determined to marry her, despite her insistence that their relationship doesn't work outside of the bedroom. All he asks is that she spend two weeks with him in Idaho's Silver Valley, managing his finances. And if it will prove to her that they have more in common than lust, Jake's prepared to keep his hands to himself for the whole trip.
But is two weeks enough time to convince Anne that the only thing standing between them is the wall she's built around her heart?
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Anne was restless.
Just behind her, hothouse orchids festooned the curved mahogany banister. As she wandered outside onto the Cords' terrace, she saw a trio of musicians playing Haydn, their foreheads glistening beneath Japanese lanterns. On the lawn by the pool, four long tables, draped in Irish linen, were laden with gourmet fare. Oysters, raw. Sautéed frogs' legs. Crackers heaped with Russian caviar. The little black blobs were mounded high, Anne noted wryly. A bit of caviar denied the true taste; a mound delivered the appropriate experience. Tuxedoed waiters circulated between house and yard bearing trays of champagne in hollow-stemmed glasses. Anne considered dryly that Loretta Cord's only a simple Sunday barbecue, darling had been rather an understatement.
She shouldn't have come, Anne told herself as she went back into the house. Many nights she might have enjoyed the Cords' gala, but tonight wasn't one of them. Tonight she was in a strange mood; she felt like taking a midnight walk in her bare feet when the rain was pelting down, for instance. Knowing she wasn't the walk-in-the-rain type made her feel even more irritable. And because she was rarely so out of sorts, she felt triply annoyed with herself.
She knew why Loretta had invited her. Oh, Linkthe sweethearthad undoubtedly been the one to propose her name for the guest list, but subject, of course, to his wife's approval. And Loretta, naturally, had approved. Yes, Loretta Cord knew that a banker is a wonderful friend to have when one's mink isn't paid for. Actually, Loretta's mink had been paid for, but the lady always covered her bets.
Others at the party had not been so clever through the recession. Certain pairs of eyes shifted from Anne's as she wandered from room to room. It always happened. As a trust officer, Anne really didn't know or care whether anyone regularly overdrew his or her checking account, but people assumed she was privy to all their financial transactions and reacted instinctively. When one saw a police car in the rearview mirror, one slowed down to the legal speed. When a priest wandered by, one stopped screaming at Jimmy and kissed the little monster. And when a banker ambled into the vicinity, one miraculously remembered every financial misdemeanor of one's life.