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Chapter 5

  • The vultures were circling.
  • Nina stood back, wine glass in hand, and surveyed the crowded ballroom. The fund-raiser was supposed to be more pleasure than business, but business was uppermost on the minds of her competition.
  • Across the room, Julian Martin stood in a large group of people. He looked relaxed, seemingly in his element, an easy smile making his extraordinarily handsome face even more gorgeous.
  • It should be a crime for a man to be that good-looking. Tall, rugged, he looked every inch the kind of man who’d be at home in the athletic wear his company designed and sold. There was an aura of confidence and power around him, and above all, Nina loved a man who was sure of himself.
  • Given the long, searching glances they’d exchanged over the last few weeks since she came to live with Abby, she’d be a fool not to entertain the idea of seeing where things could lead...If he wasn’t a prospective client.
  • A client she wanted to land very much. She wanted the account. She wanted to prove to her boss that he hadn't made a mistake by giving her this job. Her boss and the agency were counting on her—but she drew the line at sleeping with a man to get what she wanted.
  • And this wasn't just any man. This was Julian Martin. Her friend's brother, whom she had known since high school. And it was totally ridiculous that she was feeling this way about him now.
  • Nina turned away from the sight of Julian before she became too enthralled in just watching him. She would get this, she told herself, not because she knew him personally, but because she was good at her job. She wanted to prove it to herself too.
  • She and Julian had performed a delicate dance around each other ever since he’d fired his last advertising agency. He knew she wanted him—in the professional sense of course. Hell, he probably knew she wanted him naked and in bed too, because she wasn't sure she had been doing a good job of hiding it, but she wasn’t going to dwell on that.. Not right now. Maybe later tonight when she could afford to indulge in a little fantasy.
  • The problem was, now that a big company like Mart Enterprises had fired its agency, it was open season. The other agencies circled like sharks. It was a dog-eat-dog world, and in reality, she should be over there, shoving herself down his throat like the rest of her competition, but she couldn’t help but believe Julian was secretly amused by the attention. He took a different hand. She was sure of it.
  • “Nina, glad you made it. Have you spoken to Julian yet?”
  • Nina turned to see her boss, Evan Banks, standing a foot away. He wasn’t drinking. He didn’t even look particularly thrilled to be here.
  • Her eyebrow rose. “A tux. Why, Banks, you look positively decadent. However are you keeping the ladies at bay?” she asked playfully.
  • He grunted in response, his lips curling in distaste. “Cut it out, Nina. I brought Camille along.”
  • Nina looked beyond his shoulder to see his pretty assistant standing a few feet away. When Camille looked her way, Nina smiled and waved.
  • “You look beautiful,” Nina mouthed.
  • Camille smiled and ducked her head self-consciously but not before Nina saw the faint blush that colored her cheeks.
  • Evan Banks gestured impatiently toward Julian. “Why are you standing over here while Julian Martin is over there?” Evan scanned the room and his expression hardened.“I should have known the old bastard would be here.” he said.
  • Nina followed his gaze to see Frank Benjamin holding court within hearing distance of Evan. Though she wouldn’t admit it to Evan, it made her extremely nervous to see their business rival hammering so relentlessly on Julian.