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it. I mean, is there anything more beautiful than seeing a woman get
exactly what she wants, exactly the way she wants it, with exactly the
man she wants it from? Nothing I’ve ever seen comes close.
just one little catch. Sometimes women go looking in the wrong places.
Sometimes they need a little help figuring out what they want in a man.
That’s where I come in. I’ve spent years studying what women want. I
mean what they really want.
right? A dream career. Especially since it’s become so much more. It’s a
multimillion-dollar corporation called Checkmate Inc., and I’m the CEO.
One of the youngest on record. Except a few feminist groups have gotten
the wrong impression and are starting to make noise. Something about
how Checkmate helps give guys an unfair advantage over women. And the
one woman who can help me can also sink my company to the bottom of the
Hudson—and drag me along with it.
event photographer my assistant hired corrals me and Checkmate’s other
two founding partners for a photo op. Dexter Moore, in charge of our
retail division, flanks my left side looking metro-stylish, having
traded his coveted white socks and flip-flops for expensive Italian
shoes to look the part of his job. Unlike in our college days, he now
manages to brush his dark hair and wears a neatly trimmed
mainstream-hipster look. Oscar Strong¾Oz, as we call him¾head of
Research and Development, takes the spot on my right, dressed more
comfortably in jeans and a trendy blazer. He’s also mastered the uses of
a brush since our punk-ass-kid days are over, but he goes for a looser
flow-and-comb look for his light brown hair. Khakis are a thing of the
past for all three of us, seeing as how that was our standard uniform
when we were members of our college chess team.
sister just walked in.” Dex is the opposite and loves smiling for the
camera. The flash goes off once, twice, three times in quick succession.
can see over most of the crowd. My little sister is a full foot shorter
than me, and it’s impossible to find her in the ocean of guests all
talking, eating, and drinking. But a path parts in the crowd, heading in
our direction, and even though I can’t see her, I know it’s Ava. She’s
determined and far too bold for her own good. Which makes me batshit
crazy when it comes to protecting her from douchebags who will take
advantage of her and break her heart.
grumbles under his breath. Dex strikes a pose worthy of a GQ fashion
shoot. I sigh and smile and watch for my sister as she makes her way
reaches the fringe of the crowd. She’s five years younger than me, and a
protective instinct surges through me because I’ve been her guardian
since our parents were killed in a car accident eight years ago. That’s
right: I’ve been her brother, father, and mother all at once, since I
was twenty-one. I’m told the family resemblance is unmistakable since we
have the same vivid blue eyes and honey-blond hair that has a natural
wave to it—physical description courtesy of my personal life-stylist at
Checkmate’s anchor retail studio on Fifth Avenue.
waves, smiles, and then I see her. Not her, as in my little sister.
Her, as in the brunette trailing behind Ava, trying to keep up. And I
remember that Ava said she was bringing a friend who works in public
relations. Thick dark brown hair is pulled into a ponytail that brushes
over one slender shoulder. Her clothes are elegant and professional with
a subtly chic edge to them. She’s looking down, like she’s making sure
not to step on any toes. Then she breaks free from the crowd too, and
her head darts up to look around just long enough for me to glimpse the
stark contrast of cobalt eyes.
they approach, Ava opens her arms wide to give her big brother a hug.
But I’m not actually looking at my sister. I’m looking over her
shoulder. Her friend’s gaze lifts to mine, locks on, and holds me
mesmerized. The way she carries herself tells me she’s confident and
self-assured. Probably smart as a whip. And then it happens. Everyone
else around me melts away as she pulls a plump, red lip between her
teeth. Long black lashes flutter downward to break our eye contact, and I
that small gesture with her lip and the downward brush of her long
lashes tells me she’s not sure what she wants from a man. She’ll figure
it out, though. The women who are confident in every other area of their
lives always do. I also know that when the light bulb finally switches
on, she’s going to ask me to fuck her. And I won’t be able to say no.
world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in the
business world for twenty-five years. With four older brothers, she
watched every Star Trek episode ever made, joined the softball team
instead of ballet class, and played with G.I. Joes while the Barbie
Corvette stayed tucked in the closet. When she had three sons of her
own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance
novels and has been hooked ever since. Now, she spends her days writing
steamy contemporary romances while tending to a miniature schnauzer
named Omer, a tiny toy poodle named Mozart, and a pet boa named Zeus.
Signed Print Books. Three winners will each receive a signed print copy
of IT’S IN HIS TOUCH from my Red River Valley series.