Less than a week! Yay! My characters are Katherine and Dix – I thought it might be nice to introduce Kate to everyone so how about an excerpt?
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS by MEGAN HART AND LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2009, Megan Hart and Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Black Lace
Releasing March 31
The artificially cool air soothed over her skin as she pulled Katherine tight, pushing Kate far away. Here in midst of three thousand dollar office chairs and floor-to-ceiling glass and chrome, there was no room for mistakes.
The shiny reflective walls of the elevator showed a confident, cool woman. Feminine, but not too. Her heels weren’t matronly, nor were they sexy. Understated and expensive, chosen with the same deliberate care she put into everything else to do with her career. The suit, a summer weight, was smoky gray. The wine-colored blouse added just enough color. Not flashy, but it complimented her skin tone and hair. Hair carefully tucked into a sleek chignon at the base of her skull completed the look she wanted to achieve.
Choices. It all came down to choices, and Katherine Edwards made the right ones. The right choices were what it took to get ahead in the savvy and male-dominated world of corporate law. It didn’t mean she was a ball-busting bitch, but she’d made her share of attorneys on the other side of the aisle cry, she was sure. A smile touched her lips at that.
Katherine wasn’t cold, nor did she hate sex and men. She wasn’t a clichÃ©. What she was, was smart and ruthless when she had to be. She knew the difference between how men and women were allowed to act at work. She wasn’t one to fret over it, it was what it was so she sucked it up and dealt.
She’d nearly lost it all as a result of her wilder days when she was in college. Lost a job, nearly had her future derailed in the aftermath, so she knew the importance of staying on the straight and narrow during business hours.
She saved Jello shots and gossip for after six and well away from the office. She kept a firm wall between Katherine, the woman with her eye on the prize of the corner office and her articles in legal journals and Kate, the woman who wore jeans, ate Doritos and watched reality television while on IM with her best friend Leah.
A flicker of unease shot through her at thoughts of Leah and that stupid fuck she lived with, but she’d have to deal with that later. She’d also have to confess about Dix. Leah would love that one.
The elevator doors opened up to a large reception area and the two women behind the ridiculously large credenza looked up in unison and smiled brightly. Holding her briefcase in her left hand, she approached with a smile of her own and introduced herself.
â€˜Hi there, I’m Katherine Edwards and this is my first day. I’m doing a CLE and I’m supposed to meet someone from HR to get all my paperwork turned in.’
Another surprise she hadn’t told anyone about. She wasn’t sure how to process any of it. Something big was going to happen one way or another. A sense of expectancy had been building over the last two weeks. Excitement warred with worry deep within her.
Christ, it’s bright. A shaft of absurdly golden sunshine heated her arm as she waited in the hotel lobby for her cab. At least the air conditioning kept the space cool.
June in Philadelphia was um, golden and hot. It had been so easy to forget when she’d headed to the University of Washington to go to law school and ended up staying. How quickly the rain and mist became normal. Back home it would be nearing about seventy degrees and the sunlight would still be pale. Well, not back home anymore. Philly was home now. All her stuff would be delivered the following weekend to move in. How this would affect her arrangement with Dix she didn’t know.
They’d begun speaking on the phone when she’d been hired of-counsel to Allied Packaging on a contracts issue and the spark had been there immediately. How it’d flowed into phone sex Kate wasn’t even sure of anymore but it had. And then emails.
The first time they’d met face to face was for two days in Chicago when she’d gone to speak at a legal conference and he’d shown up at her door. The sex had been explosive, amazing, so furtive and guilty, nothing had ever been so delicious.
That’d been four months before and they’d met once more in San Francisco a month prior. In between the few times they’d been together physically, they’d gotten to know each other, which in retrospect had been very stupid on her part because she liked Charles Dixon a great deal. The more she got to know him, the more she liked him. Which was, of course the crux of the issue.
What they had was a nice, part-time no-strings fling. Had she endangered that by taking a job at the Philadelphia offices of her firm and moving there?
She had a plan, she had goals and she prided herself on keeping her business separate from her personal. And yet, there she sat, majorly muddled with this man at the core. Katherine Edwards and her right choices—only she cheated and made a wrong one because he was too delicious not to.
She heaved a sigh and settled in the cushy chair. After returning from her day of meetings, she’d taken a shower and changed out of her suit and into a sleeveless shirt, Capri pants and sandals to battle the heat. Something she’d be doubly glad for on the two hour train commute.
Her phone rang. Shake It Like A Salt Shaker.
Leah’s voice came over the line and while she’d tried to play off her break up with that asshat Mike, the emotion hung heavy in her voice.
In any case, they made arrangements to meet at the train station but there’d been a moment when Dix had come up in passing.
Kate’s breath caught at the mention of his name. Leah had been her closest friend for what felt like forever but Kate hadn’t told her about him yet. It called for alcohol and lots of it. They had a lot of catching up to do when they met later on that evening in Harrisburg.
After they’d rung off, Kate settled back into the plush faux-comfort of the chair, staring out the windows to Market Street just beyond and waited.
She could have jotted down her notes. Could have pulled out her laptop and worked. Could have made a few calls and checked her voicemail. Instead she allowed herself to do nothing but think.