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View Full Version : Excerpt: One Night of Misbehavior by Shelley Munro



Shelley Munro
January 19th, 2014, 12:33 AM
One Night of Misbehavior by Shelley Munro

BLURB:

He wears his scars on the outside. She keeps hers safe inside.

Charlotte Dixon ignores her stepmother’s edict and, in an act of disobedience, attends one of the social events of the year—a masked costume ball. Charlotte’s naughtiness escalates when she dances and smooches with a sexy masked man. The night of anonymous passion that follows makes her yearn for a different life, but the next day she’s back to her dull routine of household management.

Advertising tycoon, Ash Marlborough is about to set a private investigator on the trail of his mystery princess when she waltzes right into his place of work. Charlotte is shocked to meet her masked man in the flesh, and even more perturbed when he asks her out on a date. Despite craving another night of sexy loving, she doesn’t have time for a man, not when she wants to reinvent herself and grasp a new, improved life with both hands. But Ash knows what he wants, and he’s determined to win the heart of his princess. Let the dance of seduction commence.

Warning: Contains a conniving stepmother, selfish stepsisters, a grandmother with fairy godmother tendencies and a sexy masked man who is willing to face them all for the love of a good woman.

EXCERPT:

Ashley Marlborough—Ash to his friends—cradled the phone under his chin and leaned back in his executive chair. He listened to the customer run through their concerns about their latest ad campaign and assured them Marlborough Media would come up with something suitable to set them apart from their competitors. He put them on hold and spoke to his secretary before transferring the call.

As he replaced the phone on the charger, his gaze caught the artificial apricot rose sitting in a small crystal vase on the shelf to his right. The inner petals of the silk held a deeper hue—almost a blush pink. The beginnings of a smile tickled his lips as he wished he’d managed to get the woman’s name. It hadn’t seemed important when all he’d wanted was to strip off her clothes and surge inside her damp heat. His cock twitched and he castigated himself. Mind on the job. They had one last interview—the granddaughter of the persuasive elderly woman who’d caught him on Saturday. A friend of his grandmother’s, she’d said, and they corresponded on a regular basis. The conniving pair of women had finagled him, teaming up to set the perfect ambush. Once she’d caught him on the phone, the elderly woman had pressed her case in verbal bullet points, and he’d succumbed to her polite, determined charm, slotting in one final interview in a day crammed to capacity.

“This is the last one,” he said to Laura, his personal assistant and John, his vice president.

“Lucky last,” Laura chirped.

“I hope so,” John said. “I don’t think there are more than two or three even remotely suitable for the position.”

Ash sighed. Personally, he’d put the rate of prospective applicants even lower. Maybe the guy with the red streaks in his hair. He’d had some interesting things in his portfolio and gave them an innovative answer to their design question. He buzzed his secretary to show the last applicant in and studied the rose while he waited.

Maybe he’d set a private detective on the case. The casual questions he’d put to his grandmother last night had solicited nothing but frustration. Prior to the ball, his grandmother had told him to look for the princess in the apricot gown, had acted quietly insistent about it. Now, when he wanted information, she’d become stubbornly silent.

He wanted to see Princess again. They’d conversed easily throughout the night, and for the first time in years a woman hadn’t thrown herself at him with clear dollar signs as her motive. He’d kept his mask on to screen some of his telltale scars and even though she’d noticed the ones on his torso during their lovemaking, she’d taken his casual explanation of an accident with an ease that left him relaxed and desperate for her hot pussy. So they’d kept their anonymity intact with their masks, foregone intros and gone straight for raunchy sex. A smirk curled through him at the remembered pleasure. Sex hadn’t been a bad trade off.

The redhead who entered his office stood out from the rest of the applicants. She wore a simple outfit and minimal makeup. She’d chewed off most of her lipstick and was nervous, although she didn’t hesitate to shake hands with each of them and meet their gazes. He shook hands last and was surprised when she sent him a direct look and gave a small smile in return to his welcoming words and apology for the delay. His scars threw most people, at least until they knew him better.

She sat in the upright chair, her knees pressed together in a prim manner and a large envelope folder on her lap.

The interview began with Laura and John asking the questions. Simple ones about her past work experience and qualifications, designed to set her at ease. Ash listened with half an ear, surreptitiously surveying her. Something about her was strangely familiar. It might have been the way she cocked her head or it could have been the lilting note in her voice, but she reminded him of his lost princess. She’d had dark brown hair, and while this woman’s eyes were the right color, the lashes and her brows matched her red hair. This Charlotte had the same enthusiasm for design as his princess though.

“Can we see your portfolio?” John asked.

She chewed her lip, drawing Ash’s avid attention to her mouth. “Of course.”

Ash didn’t think that was what she’d intended to say, but she pulled out several sheets of drawings and art layouts. Color and strong forms popped off the pages, and a profusion of texture and three-dimensional elements grabbed his attention. Laura and John were struck too. He heard the sharp intake of breath as they fanned the designs out on the desktop. A series of black-and-white portraits wouldn’t have looked out of place on a gallery wall while the selection of rugby-themed artist trading cards were tiny masterpieces in their own right. The girl possessed raw talent, something he hadn’t seen in ages.

“Have you done anything in video?” his assistant asked.

“No, I haven’t used the medium yet.”

Silence fell as they studied her portfolio in greater detail. Charlotte Dixon clasped her hands in her lap. Her gaze skittered around his office and he witnessed the exact moment she spotted the apricot rose in the crystal vase. She froze, her breath catching, then shot a quick glance at him, her face blanching of color when she discovered him eyeing her closely.

Well, hell.

No need to employ a private detective. Princess had walked into his parlor under her own steam.

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