Getting Red-Hot With The Rogue
|By Ally Blake|
|Publisher||Harlequin Presents #2874|
|Mills & Boon Modern Heat|
|Release Month||Nov 2009 (US)|
|Aug 2009 (UK)|
|Harlequin Presents Series #|
|Preceded by||Playboy Boss, Live-In Mistress|
|Followed by||The Future King's Love-Child|
- Author: Ally Blake
- Publisher: Mills & Boon Modern Heat
- Year: 2009, July 17 (Part of the Mills & Boon August Releases)
- Series: Nights Of Passion (Publisher Promotion Series) - US Only
- Amazon Listing: Getting Red-Hot With The Rogue (US) or (UK)
When opposites attract, sparks fly!
Dylan Kelly: a wicked rogue and hotshot businessman who makes men stand to attention and women weak in the knees….
Wynnie Devereaux: a clever, beautiful, but slightly ditzy girl, whom Dylan leaves feeling flustered and frustrated—in more ways than one….
The fierce tycoon and the erstwhile protester shouldn't get along—yet sparks of desire fly between them. But will Wynnie get burnt when she gets red-hot with this untamable rogue?
From the back cover of Mills & Boon Modern Heat, August 2009, UK Edition:
When opposites attract, sparks fly!
Dylan Kelly: a devilish rogue and hot-shot businessman, who makes men stand to attention and women’s knees knock…
Wynnie Devereaux: a clever, beautiful, but slightly ditzy girl, whom Dylan leaves feeling flustered and frustrated – in more ways than one…
The fierce tycoon and the erstwhile protester shouldn’t get along – except sparks of desire fly between them. But will Wynnie get burnt when she gets red-hot with this untameable rogue?
"Would you do me a favor?"
Dylan's deep voice rolled over her. "You certainly aren't backward about asking for what you want--I'll give you that."
"I need you to get the keys for my cuffs."
After a long, slow pause he said, "The key?"
She squeezed her eyes more tightly shut. "It's in my top right breast pocket. I can't reach it. So, unless you do want me to become a permanent fixture..."
The rest of her words dried up in her throat and her eyes flung open.
It seems she hadn't had to ask twice. Dylan's hand was already sliding into the pocket, his fingertips brushing against the soft cotton over her bra--just slowly enough so that a ripple of goosebumps sprang up all over her body, and just fast enough so that she couldn't accuse him of taking advantage.
All too soon he held up the key. "This the one you're after?"
She hoped to God it was. If he made another foray in there she didn't know what she might do.
Dylan looked up from his corner office desk on the thirtieth floor of Kelly Tower to find his assistant, Eric, practically quivering in the doorway. 'Shoot.'
Eric's voice tremored as he tried to say, 'I… There's… I'm not sure I quite know how to…'
Whistling a breath through the smallest gap between his lips, Dylan pushed back his chair and leant his chin upon steepled fingers. 'Take a breath. Visualise your happy place. Count to ten. Whatever it takes. Just remember that I am a very busy, very important man and get to the point.'
Eric did as he was told, so quickly Dylan thought the kid might hyperventilate. But he managed to say, 'I have to get onto your computer for a sec'
'Go for your life.' Dylan pushed his chair back to give the guy room.
Eric slid into place, his fingers flying over the keyboard with the speed of a kid born with a laptop attached to his thighs. 'A friend of mine works for an online news mag and he messaged me to say I had to see something. This address ought to give us a direct feed.'
Dylan's cheek twitched. 'Seriously, kid, if you've come in here all a fluster because some blog has footage of me feeding spaghetti and meatballs to that nifty little Olympic diver I met in Luxembourg last week…'
His next words froze on his tongue and he slid his chair back beneath his desk with such speed Eric had to leap out of the way.
The monitor was not in fact showing any footage of him. Or the nifty little Olympian. Or meatballs, for that matter.
Dylan didn't even have the chance to be the slightest bit ashamed of his own self-absorption as the crystal clear digital footage brought his raison d'être, the family business he championed day in day out, back to the forefront of his mind with a wallop.
The half-acre forecourt keeping Kelly Tower clear of the maddening CBD crowds that traversed Brisbane's hectic George Street had in its north corner a twenty-foot-high, silver, zigzag sculpture—symbolising the impressive escalation of fortune that securing representation with the Kelly Investment Group ensured.
The sculpture usually stood proud and alone bar a few stray pigeons brave enough to cling to its slick diagonal bars. Today it had been taken over by camera crews and reporters with mini-sound recorders and logo-labelled mikes. That kind of excitement had encouraged a crowd of ten times as many interested onlookers.
From what he could make out through the sudden ache descending upon his head, the excitement in the reporter's voice, and Eric wheezing in the doorway, in some kind of crazy protest a woman had handcuffed herself to the zig. Or was it the zag?
Dylan had nothing against handcuffs per se. They had their place in the zeitgeist of the single man. Just not in the middle of a busy workday, not in front of his building, and not when as the head of Media Relations it was his job to make the fact that a crazy person had picked that particular statue to attach her daft self seem less interesting than it certainly was.
The crowd parted, and Eric's friend's camera slipped into the gap, giving Dylan a better look at the ruination of his afternoon.
She was fair skinned, dark-eyed, with dark wavy hair made all the more interesting by the fact she kept having to shake its wind-mussed length out of her face. A floral top cinched and flowed in all the right places, telling tales of the kinds of curves and hollows that could distract a weaker-willed man. Not to mention the white calf-length trousers into which her second-glance-worthy bottom had been poured, or the pair of the most insanely high-heeled hot pink sandals…
And, of course, handcuffs.
'What are we going to do?' Eric said in whispered awe.
Dylan jumped; he and the woman had been having such a moment he'd forgotten his assistant was even there.
The heel of his palm reared up over the mouse, ready to jab the webpage closed, when a sudden gust of breeze blew the woman's hair away from her face and she looked directly into Eric's mate's camera lens.
Dylan's hand went rigid a breath from touchdown leaving him staring into a pair of brown eyes. Bambi eyes, for Pete's sake. Big, beautiful, liquid brown with long, delicate eyelashes that made them appear wounded. Vulnerable. Repentant.
His gut twisted. His teeth clenched. A shaft of heat shot him upright, then filled him with adrenalin. Every masculine instinct reached out to him as the deep-seated urge to protect her clobbered him from the inside out. He felt himself rising from his seat, his wrists straightening as though preparing to slay whoever it was who had put that look in those eyes.
Then she licked her lips, shapely pink lips covering the sexiest kind of overbite, and blinked those big brown eyes. As her gaze shifted left she dropped her chin a fraction and she grinned flirtatiously at the person behind the camera.
The trance splintered like broken glass, ringing in his ears as it dislocated around him.
He swore beneath his breath, regained control over his mouse hand, closed the damn webpage and gave his usually exceptionally discriminating protective instincts a good mental kick in the pants.
They knew better. Far better.
The only people he sheltered by way of his vociferous guard bore the name of Kelly. The blood of his blood. That was as wide as his circle of trust stretched.
His family needed to stick together. Tight together. For, no matter how sincere people might seem to be in courting amity, the downside of being richer than Midas and more recognisable than the prime minister was that they would always be considered Kellys first, everything else second.
He'd learnt that lesson nice and young. No matter how beguiling a woman might be, how well bred, how seemingly genuine, they all wanted something from him—his wealth, his connections, even his name.
Nowadays he only let himself play with those who wanted the heat of his body and nothing more. No history and no hereafter. It was a process that had worked beautifully for him for some time.
The fact that not a single one of the warm bodies had stoked the fire of his protective instincts like the one with the soft brown eyes was something he had neither the time nor inclination to ponder.
Feeling mighty fractious, he was out of the chair and through the door before Eric even realised he was moving.
'Sir!' Eric cried.
Dylan waved a hand over his shoulder, and all but ignored the wave of hellos and bowing and scraping that followed in his wake as he jogged down the hallway towards the elevators.
Eric was puffing, red-faced, and his hands were shaking by the time he caught up. 'Tell me what I can do!'
'Don't go anywhere,' Dylan said as the elevator doors closed so slowly he made a mental note to talk to his brother, Cameron—who, being an engineer, surely knew where to source faster-closing ones. 'And tell your mother you'll be late home. I have the feeling this will be a long day.'
Wynnie's wrists hurt.
That's what comes from not doing a trial run with new handcuffs, you duffer.
Ever the pro, she did her all not to let the discomfort show. She dug her fingernails into her palms, hoping it might take away her focus from the itchiness and scratchiness encircling her wrists. And she smiled at the bank of reporters, each of whom had no idea they were about to become her new best friends in this town.
'What's KInG ever done to you?' a voice from the back called out.
She looked down the barrel of the nearest camera, discreetly spat a clump of windswept hair from her lip gloss, and said, 'They've never once returned my phone calls. Typical, right?'
She rolled her eyes, and a few women in the crowd murmured in appreciation.
She made sure to look each and every one of them in the eye as she said, 'The past week I've met with top men and women in local and state government to talk about what we can all do together to help reduce the impact each individual person in this city is having on our environment. Those civil servants, good people with families at home and middle-income jobs, have been full of beans and ideas and enthusiasm. Yet the Kelly Investment Group, the largest company in town, a company with hundreds of employees and capital to burn, has time and again refused to even sit down with me, a new girl in town looking to make new friends, and have a chat over a cuppa.'
More twittering, this time with more volume.
'What does a company have to do to get a cuppa with a girl like you?' a deep voice called out from the back.
Wynnie bit her lip to stop from laughing as that question had come from her one plant at the event—Hannah, her close friend, and fellow Clean Footprint Coalition employee—who was currently hiding behind a cup of takeaway coffee and staring at a radio reporter as though he were the one who'd asked.
Wynnie waited until the crowd quieted. She leant forward, or as far as she could with her hands anchored behind her. 'Kids, today I'm gonna need you all to tap into your imaginations. Hark back to those powerful images of environmentalists in the eighties chaining themselves to bulldozers to stop them knocking down ecologically imperative forests. Fast-forward to the twenty-first century and the corporate giants, such as the Kelly Investment Group—'
Better to use their whole name, she thought, rather than the cute moniker they'd picked up, or possibly even coined themselves.
'—are the new bad guys. Collectives with power, and resources, and influence who choose to turn the other cheek while you and I do our bit. We take shorter showers to conserve water, we recycle our newspapers, we unplug our appliances when we're not using them. Right?'
Smiles all around. Lots of nods. If someone held a fist in the air she wouldn't be surprised. The wave of solidarity gripped her. Her heart thundered all the harder in her chest, her skin hummed, the ache in her wrists all but forgotten.
'Did you know,' she said, lowering her voice so they all had to move in closer, 'this sculpture is lit twenty-four hours a day? Yep. Even now, in the middle of a sunny Brisbane spring afternoon, it has thirty separate lights making sure it always looks as shiny as it can possibly be. Thirty!'
One by one the faces turned to glare at the shimmering silver edifice behind her. She could smell blood in the air. That was a triumph in itself considering the Goliath she was putting herself up against.
Her bosses had done their research, looking at popular fashion stores, television stations, national café chains when deciding who to lobby. But every lead had led back to the same destination. The Kellys.
They were the most famous, respected, fascinating family in town. Their reach was unmatched. Their influence priceless. If she got them on board as the first major corporate partner with the revamped Clean Footprint Coalition, the exposure would be unimaginable, and Brisbane would fall into her lap like a pack of cards.
'I am a concerned citizen,' she continued, 'as are you all, as are my colleagues, the band of environmental groups together known as the Clean Footprint Coalition. While the Kelly Investment Group, with the hundreds of ambivalent corporate clients they represent, is the biggest bulldozer you have ever seen.'
Hannah yelled out a mighty, 'Yeah,' and the crowd took up the cry until it all but reverberated around the square.
Wynnie bit back a grin of victory. God, did she love her work. These moments, when she had something to do with making people think about their place in the grand scheme of things, she really felt as if she could change the world.
The rush of pleasure was yummier than chocolate. It was more profound than a Piña Colada on an empty stomach. Hell, it was better than sex. Thank God for that. The hours above and beyond the call of duty that she dedicated to her work were such that she barely remembered what the latter was like.
A sudden ripple of noise from behind her mercifully pulled her from contemplating the extent of her accidental chastity. She turned, as well, and naturally got just far enough that her shoulder jarred, sapping every one of those lovely endorphins with it.
The pain had her sucking in a sharp breath, and hoping the trickle of sweat that had begun its journey down her neck and between her breasts wouldn't show up on camera.
She needn't have worried. Every camera panned left, microphones swerved in their wake, all pointing towards Kelly Tower.
And she knew why her audience had dared stray.
The saucy handcuffs and her subsequent introduction to the media of Brisbane as their new avenging angel had been mere foreplay. For any good show to be newsworthy every angel needed her very own personal devil. And she was about to meet hers.
Little spikes of energy skittered across her skin as she imagined who it might be. An overweight security guard with no authority and less of a clue? Some red-faced lackey sent to try to shoo her away?
'Kelly!' a radio guy called out.
'Mate, over here!' another followed suit.
Kelly? Could one of the gods have come down from the tower himself? She tried to find Hannah's face within the crowd to share the rush. Hannah had her hands on some guy's shoulders as she too tried to make out which bright, shiny Kelly it might be.
As she tried to see without causing a permanent injury Wynnie's mind backtracked over the Kelly family members she'd read about amongst the hundreds of local luminaries she'd been made aware of in the preceding days.
It wouldn't be Quinn Kelly, CEO, surely. The fellow had always been elusive to the mere masses, and of late had become as reclusive as Elvis. She was kind of glad. His ability to slay even the most steely backed opponent with a single glance was legendary.
Brendan Kelly? He was next in charge, the heir to KInG's throne, but not at all press-friendly from what she'd heard. If it was either of them she'd eat her shoes. Mmm. She liked her shoes. They were one of the only things she'd brought with her from Verona. Maybe she'd eat Brussels sprouts. She hated Brussel sprouts so that seemed a fair compromise.
- 2009, July 17 - Ebook and Paperback Release (Part of the Mills & Boon August Releases) (Mills & Boon Modern Heat) (UK Original Release)
- 2009, October ?? - Paperback Release (Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance - Sexy Sensation #????) (AUS Original Release) - ISBN-13: 978-0733595509
- 2009, November 01 - Ebook, Kindle, Paperback, and Paperback Large Print Release (Harlequin Presents #2874) (US Original Release)
Cover Variation (By Release Date)
Nights Of Passion Series (By Release Date)
See Nights Of Passion series page for related titles.