Title: The Billionaire’s Ploy by Allie Burton
Castle Ridge Series Book Five
Publisher: Allie Burton
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 258 pages
All’s fair in love and business.
Billionaire Jackson Croft refuses to let anything interfere with his merger and marriage plans. His merger. His brother’s marriage. When Emory Barrington returns to Castle Ridge and catches his younger brother’s attention, Jackson needs to take drastic steps to stop the flirtation. Even if it means using himself as bait.
As a child Emory was infatuated with the younger Croft brother, so when he invites her to a party she can’t resist. Until Jackson interrupts their dance, tries to bribe her, and then steals a kiss. A kiss that vibrates to her soul.
To make up for the attempted bribe, Jackson offers her a job decorating his Denver penthouse. She’s just starting her interior design firm and can’t turn the business away even if it means working closely with the billionaire. The project turnaround is fast and the attraction between Emory and Jackson grows faster. She believes she sees the real man beneath the façade, but when she learns of his double-dealing her heart can’t take the betrayal.
In this take on the Sabrina story, can deception lead to love?
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“My brother couldn’t make it.” Guilt slithered across Jackson’s skin, making him feel slimy. He was the reason his brother couldn’t make the rendezvous.
“Why? Is something wrong?” Emory worried about his brother, when they’d only been together for a few minutes.
A ray of green envy sliced him inside. Ryder had the life. A beautiful woman caring about him. Shey in love with him. The opportunity to choose what he wanted to do with his career.
Stepping forward, Emory made to go around.
Jackson stopped her with his hand, grazing the bare skin on her arm. Soft skin. Silky skin. He should remove his hand from her. He didn’t.
“Ryder’s sick. The doctor took him to his bedroom.”
“A doctor?” Her gaze widened, and he saw specks of black, hinting at a depth he could only imagine. “That’s serious.”
“An allergic reaction.” He tried to shake off the sliminess, wanting to grow a second skin. “He’ll be fine. He sent me instead.”
“Sent you?” She licked her lips showing her nervousness.
Frowning, a blackness dimmed the twinkling lights around them. She was afraid of him, even now. A sharp pang ripped through his chest. For good reason. He always knew she was smart. And especially attractive tonight. “To give you a message.”
Her black eyebrows rose in skepticism. A variety of colorful, flowery scents circled around, with a touch of apples. Hers? Must be the rose garden. He wasn’t close enough to smell her. Leaning in a little closer, he couldn’t stop himself from taking a tantalizing sniff.
Apples, yes. And something more exotic.
“What’s the message?” Her stilted voice reminded him of the reason he was here.
It wasn’t to smell her or paint her or be tempted by her.
“Ryder’s not available tonight. Or ever.” Jackson used the guilt and the pain and the jealousy to deliver the harsh blow. He’d hurt people before, made grown men cry. Heck, he’d made his brother ill, yet he’d never experienced this gut-wrenching emotion the moment before he slashed an opponent down.
Her eyes shimmered and her chin quivered. She flattened her lips together as if trying to hold in a cry.
He didn’t want to hurt her, and yet, by her expression, she already hated him. Why not go for broke? She tempted him as he’d never been tempted before. He understood why his brother was interested. “But I am.”
“You are what?”
“Available.” With quick reflexes, he bent his head and locked his lips onto her soft and surprised ones.
Allie Burton has always been a reader and writer. She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve when she was stranded at a hospital by a snowstorm. Receiving her first romance from her grandmother, she fell in love with the genre. As an adult, she read young adult books with her own teens and was excited to find something fresh and new. Now, she writes both.
Having so many jobs as a teen and adult became great research material for the stories she writes. She has been everything from a bike police officer to a professional mascot escort to an advertising executive. She has lived on three continents and in four states and has studied art, fashion design, and marine biology.
Allie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Romance Writers of America. She loves to ski, golf, and run. Currently, she lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.