What would the efficient and capable Ms. Sweeney say if he told her that he was Aaron Jake Martinez-Anders? No doubt, she’d be furious with him over his deception but he did go by Jake Anders, choosing his stepfather’s name over his birth father’s, a man he’d never known.

Inheriting the business from his uncle, he’d decide to check it out, but didn’t want anyone knowing that he was the new owner. He’d learn more about the business and those who worked here if they thought he was just an accountant.


He walked behind the desk but didn’t sit. His uncle Joe had been his favorite uncle, even if he hadn’t had much time to spend with the man. Jake knew Sarah thought him to be cold and unfeeling in his evaluation of the business, and in a sense, she was right. He hadn’t gotten where he was by allowing emotion and sentiment to rule his moneymaking decisions. If the company was sound, he’d keep it. If it wasn’t, he’d cut his losses and sell.

Sighing, he stuck his hand into his pocket and fingered the broken heel. He smiled. There was more to Sarah Sweeney than badly cut suits and a carefully controlled personality. She was begging to be explored.



Two hours later Sarah entered her boss’s office. She glared at Jake when he leaned back in his chair as though he belonged there. In Sarah’s mind, the chair, desk, and plush office still belonged to her boss who’d died suddenly. No, it wasn’t right at all that this man be here. He should be using the conference room or one of the other offices.

“Here’s the last report. I’m done for the day.” She kept her voice cool, all business.

Jake nodded. “I appreciate you staying and finishing that report.”

“Did I have a choice?” Her voice was dry. She deliberately kept her gaze from straying to his mouth. She did not want to think about that kiss or remember how her body had responded. Kissing Cory, her on-again, had never made her feel so instantly aroused.

Jake shrugged. “Could have said no.” He rolled a pen between his fingers.

“And let you complain to the board about me? I think not, Mr. Anders. I’ll give you whatever you want while you’re here.”

Jake grinned and dropped the pen. He leaned forward. “Whatever I want?” His gaze slid from her eyes to her lips.

Sarah felt as though he were kissing her again. She narrowed her eyes and pressed her lips together. “Business related, Mr. Anders.” Damn, that kiss in the elevator might have been one of the hottest kisses she’d ever had but she wasn’t about to let this man take advantage of her. She’d never mixed work and pleasure before.

“That’s too bad, Ms. Sweeney. You’re one hell of a good kisser.” His eyes twinkled.

“Are you trying to piss me off, Mr. Anders?”

His gaze turned intent. “Just seeing if there’s a passionate woman behind all that cool control.”

“What’s inside me is not your concern.” Sarah turned and walked out. Back in her office, she gathered her purse and briefcase.

“Damn man.” Goading her. She’d show him. He wouldn’t be here for much longer. Her shoulders sagged. No, he’d get on a plane and go back to New York. He wouldn’t be here when she had to announce either a sale or closure. He wouldn’t be the one to deal with the sadness and tears that would follow if the company closed down.

So if she was controlled, it was because she had to be strong. Not just for her, but for several hundred people who depended on this company and on her.

Squaring her shoulders, she nearly ran into Jake when she left her office.

“I’ll walk you down. It’s later than I thought.”

“I can manage on my own, Mr. Anders.” She kept her head high and walked past Jake.

Jake fell into step with her. “That may be so, but you’re not walking to the parking lot in the dark alone,” he said.

Part of Sarah was grateful. This part of town had more than its share of homeless, drunks, and even worse on the street after dark. She paused at the elevator and considered. They were on the twelfth floor and she didn’t fancy the long climb down the rough metal stairs in her stocking-clad feet.

She stepped into the elevator. Jake lifted a brow. “You’re sure?”

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