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Authors: Meagan Mckinney

Billionaire Boss

BOOK: Billionaire Boss
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Praise for Meagan McKinney from
Romantic Times:

On ONE SMALL SECRET

(Silhouette Desire #1222):

“Ms. McKinney's vividly depicted characters will win your heart.”

On THE COWBOY MEETS HIS MATCH

(Silhouette Desire #1299):

“Meagan McKinney sets off plenty of fireworks for her readers.”

On THE M.D. COURTS HIS NURSE

(Silhouette Desire #1354):

“Ms. McKinney's
THE M.D. COURTS HIS NURSE is a lively tale with some highly charged scenes, snappy dialogue and lovable characters.”

 

Don't miss BILLIONAIRE BOSS,
the latest book from Meagan McKinney in her engaging series

MATCHED IN MONTANA

Wedding bells always ring when this town matriarch plays Cupid.

Dear Reader,

Spring into the new season with six fresh passionate, powerful and provocative love stories from Silhouette Desire.

Experience first love with a young nurse and the arrogant surgeon who stole her innocence, in
USA TODAY
bestselling author Elizabeth Bevarly's
Taming the Beastly MD
(#1501), the latest title in the riveting DYNASTIES: THE BARONES continuity series. Another
USA TODAY
bestselling author, Cait London, offers a second title in her HEARTBREAKERS miniseries—
Instinctive Male
(#1502) is the story of a vulnerable heiress who finds love in the arms of an autocratic tycoon.

And don't miss RITA
®
Award winner Marie Ferrarella's
A Bachelor and a Baby
(#1503), the second book of Silhouette's crossline series THE MOM SQUAD, featuring single mothers who find true love. In
Tycoon for Auction
(#1504) by Katherine Garbera, a lady executive wins the services of a commitment-shy bachelor. A playboy falls in love with his secretary in
Billionaire Boss
(#1505) by Meagan McKinney, the latest MATCHED IN MONTANA title. And a Native American hero's fling with a summer-school teacher produces unexpected complications in
Warrior in Her Bed
(#1506) by Cathleen Galitz.

This April, shower yourself with all six of these moving and sensual new love stories from Silhouette Desire.

Enjoy!

Joan Marlow Golan

Senior Editor, Silhouette Desire

Billionaire Boss
MEAGAN M
C
KINNEY

Books by Meagan McKinney

Silhouette Desire

One Small Secret
#1222

*
The Cowboy Meets His Match
#1299

*
The M.D. Courts His Nurse
#1354

*
Plain Jane & the Hotshot
#1493

*
The Cowboy Claims His Lady
#1499

*
Billionaire Boss
#1505

Silhouette Intimate Moments

*
The Lawman Meets His Bride
#1037

MEAGAN M
C
KINNEY

is the author of over a dozen novels—hardcover and paperback historical and contemporary women's fiction. In addition to romance, she likes to inject mystery and thriller elements into her work. Currently she lives in the Garden District of New Orleans with her two young sons, two very self-entitled cats and a crazy red mutt. Her favorite hobbies are traveling to the Arctic and, of course, reading!

One

“M
s. Meadows, he'll see you now,” announced the autocratic voice of the executive secretary.

Kirsten Meadows stood, already feeling like the poor relation next to the chic older woman. She herself wore a black suit from the local mall and a string of fake pearls. There was no competing with the executive secretary's costly designer outfit, but as Kirsten always did, she hid her fear and worries behind a placid expression.

Certainly, on the brighter side, she told herself, the secretary must be well paid to afford
such an expensively tailored suit. The job of personal assistant to the boss would be, too.

With that giving her courage, she stepped into the office of the rich and powerful Seth Morgan.

Her bravado abandoned her at the polished mahogany door.

The man didn't greet her; he didn't even look up from his desk. His precisely clipped dark hair and stern chiseled face belied the fact that he was only thirty-three, not even six years older than Kirsten.

She surmised that the stressful lifestyle of the wealthy financier was what put the scowl on his face, even as she prayed it wasn't her résumé that he was reading. It had taken her last dime to fly to Manhattan to interview. If she didn't get the job, she was sunk.

“I've seen better.” Seth Morgan finally looked up.

Kirsten was pinned by an icy stare. “Are you speaking of my résumé?” she finally asked, feeling foolish beneath the man's piercing stare.

He nodded and leaned back in his black leather chair to study her.

The Italian suit he wore fit so well it didn't even crease. His tie was ice-blue and only added to the coldness of his expression.

“Fluent in five languages, the daughter of a
career diplomat—it could be anyone.” He snapped the résumé with his forefinger and then stared at her, almost as if he was daring her to refute his summation.

Kirsten refrained from releasing a defeated sigh. There was no way this arrogant rich man was going to see her beg. He'd done her a terrible disservice by requesting her to come to New York, but if the trip had been a failure, she sure wasn't going to give him, the Wall Street marauder that he was, the satisfaction of knowing that he'd ruined her.

Quietly she lifted her head and stared back.

“I'm sorry if you don't feel I'm qualified,” she began. “However, you had my résumé before you asked for an interview. You certainly could have turned me down in a letter without my having to come all the way to Manhattan from Montana. You've wasted all of our time—”

“Why should I give you the job?”

His words came like a gunshot.

Casually he braced his fingers together in a V and perused her.

Against her will she begrudgingly decided he had nice hands, strong and not paper-pusher pale. They suited his harshly handsome face.

Steeling herself in order to draw on her last
reserves, she said, “I could do very well for your estate in Mystery, Montana, because I know it as well as anyone. Yes, my father served as chargé d'affaires for several ambassadors, but every summer, Mother took me back to her birthplace, and after the divorce—”

She paused, still wounded by the memories more than a decade old of costly divorce-court battles her father had waged on her mother. The final cruelty was her mother's impoverished lifestyle after the wealth of an expatriate. The injustice of it had kept Kirsten and her sister alienated from their father to the present day.

“Well—” she cleared her throat “—after my parents divorced, I lived with my mother and my baby sister in Mystery and finished high school there. I know it as well as a native, but with the additional experience of having grown up in many diverse cultures.”

“So you feel you would be qualified to handle my affairs in Mystery?”

She might have laughed if she hadn't felt so much like crying. Darkly she wondered how many affairs he was planning to have—hopefully not as many as her father had had.

“Certainly, as your personal assistant, I believe I can handle anything the estate might require. I took accounting in college. I can run a
household. Additionally, my experience overseas will help with the management of parties and soirees you might have at the lodge.” She added, “I can also help with your wife's schedule.”

“I haven't got a wife.”

Kirsten released an inner sigh of relief. The man's marital status was none of her business, but she was applying for the position of personal assistant, and she certainly didn't look forward to doing anything too personal—such as covering up anything sordid with an unknowing wife waiting in the wings.

“All right, Ms. Meadows, you can go now.”

She opened her mouth as if to ask whether she had gotten the job, but the words didn't come. Somehow they seemed irrelevant. This handsome wealthy man was used to saying who lived and who died in the Wall Street world; her situation with him wouldn't change by asking furtive little questions.

Nodding, she turned to leave.

“The lodge is finished, and I'd like to take a long weekend there to settle in. I'll leave for Montana this evening and show you what I want done there.”

Her back stiffened. It sure sounded as if she had the job.

“The pay issue…?” She broached the subject, turning to face him.

He cut her off. “It's settled. I'll meet your requirements.”

“Th-thank you,” she stammered, wondering how she'd gone from the despair of failure to total success within seconds.

But he'd already dismissed her. He didn't look up from his desk, or the memo he was reading.

She exited the stifling office, her heart singing.

“Thank you, Hazel, thank you!” she said to herself all the way down the elevator.

Hazel McCallum was the reason she'd even gotten the job. The aging cattle baroness owned almost all of Mystery, Montana. From her ranch she oversaw Mystery Valley as if it was her own personal kingdom, which it almost was. And the seventy-plus-year-old woman thought of every Mystery native as her own kin. It was Hazel who had taken it upon herself to find Kirsten the position as personal assistant to Mystery's newest resident, Seth Morgan.

And Kirsten needed the job. White-collar jobs were hard to come by in cattle country. Her mother and little sister counted on Kirsten both emotionally and financially, and right now nei
ther one was fit to move elsewhere, to some other town where they had no support.

Nothing could repay all that Hazel had done for them. Kirsten would need a lifetime to thank the woman for all her kindnesses, especially to Kirsten's mother, who'd been battling illness and had needed so much more than either Kirsten or her eleven-year-old sister could provide.

Thinking about her mother, Kirsten walked out of the building and went toward the subway, eager to get to her hotel room and pack for her trip back home.

But even as she descended the subway escalator, she was still thanking Hazel under her breath.

 

Seth Morgan watched the young woman in her inexpensive black suit depart his office.

Kirsten Meadows had been more than he'd expected. Certainly, as Hazel had said, she was qualified for the job. Unbelievably qualified if her résumé was any indication. He had no doubt she would take her work seriously and be an asset to him.

What he hadn't seen coming was the feeling he'd had when he'd met her dark blue eyes. Certainly he was attracted to the woman. He was
male, after all, and Kirsten Meadows's face was positively angelic in its beauty.

Yet it was the eyes that had struck him. Eyes dark and deep, like a drowning pool. His defenses had gone up immediately.

He scowled and jammed the button for his secretary.

“Yes, Mr. Morgan?” came the studied melodious voice through the intercom.

“Get me Hazel McCallum on the phone.”

“Right away, sir.”

He swiveled his chair to face the breathless skyscape of lower Manhattan, of the Statue of Liberty and Governor's Island. The view was magnificent. One could feel as if they'd conquered the world with a panorama like his.

But lately the view had been less satisfying to him. It was certainly a monument to man's achievement. Each building, its architecture and function proclaimed a new conquest.

Yet he wondered if he was getting tired of conquest. There were times when he would stare out at the buildings and wonder if the people inside—the sum of its parts—weren't greater than the whole, not by virtue of conquest, but by virtue of relationships.

Yes, he was growling for something more. But he never quite knew what it was.

Until it was hinted at in a woman's dark blue eyes.

He was pensive for a moment, his own cool gaze darkening with thought. But then his expression hardened and his eyes flashed.

He wasn't going to be tricked, however, and he knew Hazel McCallum well enough to have had wind of her matchmaking schemes to re-populate the town of Mystery with people other than tourists. Her recommendation of Kirsten Meadows had looked fine on paper, but Hazel had known good and well what she looked like, and to dangle her in front of him, well, it was—it was—wicked enough for him to do.

He pushed the button to the buzzing intercom.

“Sir?” came his secretary's hesitant voice. “Ms. McCallum told me she isn't taking phone calls from New York at this time.”

“What?” he gasped. Never had someone refused to take his phone call.

“She—she said that if you need to speak with her, you'll have to do as all the residents do in Mystery. You can call at her ranch.”

Seth's mouth hardened. His eyes narrowed.

“She did, did she?” He spoke loud and clear into the intercom. “Well, call that old gal up and tell her I want to see her first thing tomorrow morning.”

“There or here, sir?”

He could tell even his secretary was intimidated by wily old Hazel McCallum.

“There,” he spat, exasperated, feeling like a Victorian suitor who'd finally been permitted to call on the boss's daughter. “And get my plane ready for Montana.”

He snapped off the intercom and faced the view again, this time taking solace in the fact that while it wasn't cattle baronesses and blue Montana peaks, he'd conquered something in his life.

Something, at least.

 

The plane's interior was palomino-blond. The shades and hues of it melted together smoothly, as smooth as the buttery-leather chair Kirsten had sat in for takeoff. They were now at twenty thousand feet and climbing. They flew into the setting sun, the subtle cabin lights turning the interior into a rare, shadowy gold.

The clinking of glass and ice made her look over her shoulder. In the corner of the cabin was a wet bar where a short, natty steward was already preparing drinks. Beyond was another cabin, which held the lavatory and—she still could hardly believe it—a bed where Seth Mor
gan could nap while he jetted to London or Tokyo.

“—the first week. Then if I happen to be at the ranch I'd like to know that you can handle the correspondence with Mary back in New York.” Seth Morgan drilled instructions at her like a marine. “Additionally, I'd like you to work closely with Hazel McCallum in finding me the right kind of trail horses. I will have guests and I want good horses for them in the stable.”

“I've ridden since I was six years old—Hazel and I work very well together,” Kirsten promised, taking notes on the new laptop Seth had provided.

“What can I get you to drink?” the attendant broke in.

“Water,” Seth answered, clearly used to being served.

“Iced tea, please,” Kirsten answered, again wondering about the man sitting across from her at the table.

She mused that the sparkling water the attendant poured for him might mean he was a health freak. That would go down hard in Mystery, where steak was considered one of the four food groups.

“Here you go,” the attendant purred, holding out a tall iced tea.

She took it.

“Sugar?” the attendant offered, lowering the silver tray so she could reach the sterling sugar bowl.

A violent burst of turbulence hit the plane at precisely the moment she reached for the sugar spoon.

Kirsten watched Seth Morgan toss his sparkling water down the front of his perfect Italian suit. She might even have laughed had she not been doused by the iced tea in her hand, then sugared like a warm cookie with the contents of the sugar bowl.

“Oh, dear Lord!” the attendant squealed, horrified at the mess.

“I'm sorry,” Kirsten murmured, instinctively licking her sugary lips, desperate to wipe down the expensive leather seat before even thinking of herself.

Seth Morgan sat frozen across from her, staring, a hard expression on his face.

She was convinced he was furious.

“I'll pay to have the leather cleaned,” she added, looking for more napkins for the mess.

“Nonsense,” he said, standing.

She was trapped, her front so full of sugar she looked as if she'd just been snowed upon.

Slowly he leaned over to her, easing off her black jacket. His hands were surprisingly warm when they brushed her nape.

For some reason she'd expected cold hands from him. He was rich, handsome, powerful. She'd expected cold hands to go along with a cold heart.

“Well, this won't do.” The steward tsked.

She looked down. The white T-shirt she'd worn beneath her jacket was transparent with tea. Gasping, she covered herself with her arms, the sticky sugar only spreading. She prayed Seth Morgan hadn't been thinking what the steward had, but when she looked up and met his eyes, she could see very well that he'd viewed everything right down to the color of her pink bra.

“You'll need to change,” he said woodenly, his gaze still dark and penetrating, as if he, too, were thinking of sex.

“M-my bag's in the hold below. I didn't think I'd need it,” she stammered, shivering.

BOOK: Billionaire Boss
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