Ella James, the beautiful, feisty Director of Operations at Coopers’ Treats finds herself immediately at odds with Alexander Shepard, CEO of SBS, Inc. Alex’s company is looking to merge with the financially shaky Coopers’ Treats, but from the moment they met, Alex had this way of getting under Ella’s skin. Alex’s plans for the merger would require Ella to uproot herself from her safe, quiet existence in the bucolic suburban enclave of Brookside and move to the bright lights of Manhattan. For Ella, who lost her hearing at a young age, change wasn’t something she embraced or welcomed freely. She was also reluctant to leave Chase Kramer, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, even though they were currently in the “off-again” phase.
But a merger with the more financially stable SBS, Inc. would mean ensuring Coopers’ Treats continued existence, so Ella packs up and heads for the Big Apple, hoping that giving Chase the chance to really miss her might clarify his feelings for her. When Ella gets to Manhattan, she is charmed by both the big city and Alex. Despite her feelings for Chase, she finds herself hopelessly drawn to Alex and the chemistry between them is sizzling. They embark on a passionate, fun, whirlwind affair. Ella is surprised by her intense feelings for Alex, even though she is still haunted by dreams of chasing after an elusive man, dreams that she started having when Chase first broke off their relationship.
As the merger deadline approaches, Ella finds herself caught between her feelings for two very different men. As she works to see that the merger is completed successfully, her muddled feelings for both men threaten to jeopardize everything she holds dear. Will she finally be able to hear love and make the right choice?
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“But this would be more of a. . .date.”
Her eyes widened, and she swallowed before she whispered, “A date?”
He nodded, rising and moving closer to the conference table. “You’ve heard of them I assume?”
She blew out a breath. “Of course I have.”
He grinned. “Great. I didn’t want to have to explain what they were.”
“Alex.” His grin grew wider. He loved it when she said his name in that irritated tone. It was refreshing considering very few people did that with him.
“So are you busy?”
“Great! I can pick-"
“No, I meant I don’t date.”
“In general or me in particular?”
She looked at him, her expression dumbfounded. “Is that really relevant?”
“Oh, yeah,” he answered, taking a few steps closer. In response, she pushed her chair back, sliding a bit away from him.
“Well, for starters,” he said easily, taking a seat on the edge of his worktable. “If you don’t date in general, I’d want to know why, ‘cause I might still have a shot. If it’s just me in particular. . .” He shrugged. “I’d still want to know why.”
“I just don’t date, okay?”
“’Cause of the Kramer guy?”
The way her body stiffened gave him his answer, despite her curt, “No.”
“Are you two in a relationship?”
If it were possible, she stiffened up even more. “No.”
“So you’re pining after him?”
“No,” she said forcefully.
“Yet you don’t date.”
She huffed out a breath in exasperation. “Okay, fine. Maybe I just don’t want to date you.”
His ego emitted a little squeal of protest but Alex knew that Ella was reacting to him putting her on the spot. He knew, or at least he didn’t have any reason to think otherwise, that Ella liked him. Whether she liked him beyond their professional relationship he didn’t know, but that was why he was asking her on a date now. “Why?”
“Why?” she repeated, frustrated. Alex had to admit he was enjoying her reaction to this far more than he should. “Why do you need to know why?”
“Curiosity,” he said with a nonchalant shrug. He was really enjoying the way her expression was verging between incredulity and annoyance. “I think I’m a relatively dateable person. So what is it about me that you find so unappealing?”
“I. . .don’t. . .” She stopped, shaking her head.
“I mean, come on, I really want to know. Is it because I’m tall?”
“Alex. . .”
“Too successful? Not good looking enough? ” He snapped his fingers. “You don’t like the way I dress.”
A small laugh burst from her, as if it had escaped despite her best efforts to keep it in check. “This is ridiculous.”
“Actually I’m very serious.” He leaned forward, looking straight into her eyes. She swallowed and looked away for a beat before meeting his eyes again. “I’m a reasonably attractive, normal man with a good job. For a lot of women, that’s more than enough to secure a first date.”
“You’re my boss.”
“Ella, I already told you. Technically, I’m not your boss.”
“Technically, maybe you’re not, but for all intents and purposes, you are and dating you would be way too complicated.”
“But fun,” he teased.
He grinned. “We’re talking a date here, Ella. Not a lifelong commitment or anything. How complicated could that be?” He indicated the remnants of another take-out dinner spread on the far end of the conference table. "It’s not like we haven’t had dinner together before.”
“That’s different,” she protested.
“How? It’s food and conversation. Getting to know each other.”
“With strings attached.”
He held up both hands, miming a gesture of surrender. “No strings.”
“I don’t think,” she began to protest but Alex could see that she was wavering. All he needed to do was nudge her a little.
“Come on, Ella,” he said with his most disarming smile. A reluctant smile tugged at her lips and he knew he had her. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Katie Lee has had a lifelong love affair with books. She fell in love with her first book in the second grade and hasn’t looked back since. She first took up writing as a hobby, wanting to craft her own magical adventures, and through the love and encouragement of family and friends, decided to get serious about writing and share her stories with the world.
She currently resides in Maryland in the United States. She works for the government during the day, and her spare time is devoted to writing. She gains inspiration from all sorts of things, but mostly from the fun and adventurous trips she takes when she can.
Her debut novel, "What Endures" was published in August of 2013 and is available on Amazon.
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