Authors: Lynda Chance
When Jenna Hardin is approached with a
business proposition that involves a short-term marriage
arrangement, she hesitatingly agrees. It doesn't take long before
she realizes the business involved is only a smokescreen and she is
the ultimate commodity.
His Indecent Proposal
Copyright © 2011 by Lynda Chance
All rights reserved. This book or any portion
thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
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except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or
This is a work of fiction. Names, places,
businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the
author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or
locales is purely coincidental.
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Thanks for A & B, managed without a
proposal of any kind
"What you need is a wife."
David Bennett leaned back in his chair,
crossed his hands behind his head and gave his best friend and
legal counsel the kind of look that indicated he was insane.
Craig Brantley continued. "Don't look at me
like you think I've lost my mind. Think about it, man. The board of
directors is trying to fuck you. You know it." He paused and then
continued with his opinion. "You should have this shit wrapped up
tight. The presidency should be yours. You've got the education and
the experience. Fuck, you've got the family dynasty behind you.
Your family owns the goddamn corporation. Not to mention you've
been single-handedly running the business for years."
David contemplated the other man in silence.
What his friend was voicing out loud was nothing new to him. He was
experiencing a reversed form of nepotism. The reason the board of
directors were dragging their feet was because he was family. He
was a Bennett.
The old bastards were taking it one step too
far. They were considering handing the job to a younger man with
much less experience. A good, valuable employee, true. But Troy
Johnson didn't have the backbone it would take, much less the
ruthless drive to expand when the time was called for. It was a
fine line. Always a fine line. If you didn't expand, you were sunk.
If you expanded too quickly, you were sunk. Johnson didn't have the
knowledge or the balls it would take to advance the company.
It was a private corporation, and David's
frustration and resentment rose when he thought about the risk the
old dinosaurs on the board were taking by not seeing the forest
because of the trees. They were not only fucking around with him,
they were fucking with his preferred stock, his inheritance, and
his family name.
He steadily concentrated on the man sitting
in front of his desk. "How do you think a wife would help me?"
Craig leaned back and crossed a large, booted
foot over his knee. "It's simple, man. They see you as a risk
because you're not settled. You're nothing but a player to the old
geezers. A liability. They listen to the rumors. Your exploits get
magnified ten times before they get back to the board. Johnson's
steady. He has a wife and the designated two-point-five kids. A
house with a yard.
." He paused and
crossed his arms over his chest for emphasis. "You've got to get
that shit, David. You need to get a wife, and quick-fast."
David raised a semi-amused eyebrow. "And
where the hell am I supposed to find her? 1-800-HOTWIFE?"
Craig raised his eyebrows and responded
seriously. "You've got women coming out of the damn woodwork. Just
David scowled. "I pay you a shitload of money
to keep you on retainer. Is this the best idea you can come up
"Yeah. You pay me a ton of money to have your
back. I'm telling you what you have to do to win this fight. I'll
have the pre-nup ready in two days. Choose a girl, man."
Jenna Marie Hardin sat at her desk at work
and rummaged through her bottom drawer. It was past lunch time, she
was starving, and as usual, she didn't have any money. She usually
kept ramen noodles, microwave popcorn and cups of macaroni and
cheese for such occasions. The problem was, she had been having a
lately. Her drawer was depressingly
Frustration gripped her. She liked to think
of herself as relatively smart. How the hell she had ended up in
this situation was a mystery. Not a complete mystery, but as time
passed, her debt had only grown, and her circumstances were dire.
Why the hell didn't they make seniors in high school take a basic
financial class? Then maybe she wouldn't have listened when
everyone told her to take out student loans.
It's okay. Go to a
good college and take out loans
Then when you
awesome job, you can repay them.
Sure. That was working out
real well for her.
Now, the whole college thing just seemed like
a scam. And had she gone to a state school?
college was for her. At the time, the smaller setting seemed more
conducive to studying. She had been a serious student, and didn't
feel the need to party as much. And look where she had wound up.
Over a hundred grand in debt with a fine arts degree that
apparently meant nothing.
Oh, the irony of it all. She had actually had
to dummy down her resume to get this job. As far as the people she
was working for knew, she didn't have any college under her belt,
much less a degree. After months and months of looking for a job
that made good use of her degree, the recession had finally forced
her to take anything she could get. And she was damn glad to have
it. A girl had to eat. And now she sat all day in front of a
terminal, inputting information for accounts receivables for this
wholesale safety distribution network.
She looked up from her bare drawer and
glanced around the office. She worked in a large central room, at
one of many open desks lined up and surrounded on two sides by
cubicles. The cubicles were the offices of mid-management and were
adjacent to the executive corridor that was better known as
. That was where the offices of the corporate
executives were located. Where the guys sat at mahogany desks all
day. The men that controlled the business. The guys in suits. She
had worked here for six months now, and had never spoken to any of
them. She would recognize them on the street, but that was about
it. The highest ranking employees she had ever had a conversation
with worked in Human Resources.
Her stomach rumbled, and she knew with a
sinking heart that she wouldn't get to feed it until she got home.
But she was young and strong and she had gone without meals before,
so this wouldn't kill her. Still, a cup of coffee would dull some
of the hunger pains. Coffee with lots of creamer and sugar. She
needed some carbs, and if empty carbs were all she could get,
She stood up and made her way to the lunch
room. It was almost two o'clock, and the small room was deserted.
She poured the last dregs of the coffee into a Styrofoam cup and
dumped three sugar packets in. She upended the creamer container,
but it was empty. Opening the cabinet below her, she knelt down and
began opening a new box of coffee supplies.
She heard the door shut, the shuffle of feet
and an irritated male voice. "
, let it go. What the
fuck am I supposed to do, post a job opening for a wife?"
Jenna heard the disgusted words and amusement
came to the fore. Advertise for a wife? How funny was that?
She stood to her feet and turned in a
graceful movement to face the men she realized hadn't seen her when
they entered. Her eyes landed on the first man, a tall,
good-looking blond with an easy-going expression on his face. She
vaguely recognized him from mahogany row. Before she could stop
herself, she heard the words that impetuously popped from her
mouth. "Do I apply in H.R.?" She gave him a teasing smile and moved
her eyes to the next man and the smile fell from her lips.
She froze by the countertop as she recognized
the man that ran the company. She had seen him from a distance many
times, and the girls in accounting had certainly pointed him out
when she was first hired. They all thought he was freaking God's
gift, but Jenna didn't see it. Whenever she saw him, the only thing
she felt was vaguely
. She had found his eyes on
her more times than she could count when she glanced up from her
computer screen as he walked to the elevators. As if they were
connected by an invisible live wire, she could
And he watched her often.
When it came to men and attraction, she had
encountered two types of men in her life. One type looked right
past her to the blue-eyed, skinny blonde girls of the world.
other type of men saw her and
. They stared at her
C cups, down her hourglass shape, and back to her C cups as if
they'd died and gone to heaven. David Bennett was one such man.
She'd known from the first day she saw him.
It made her stomach
tighten and her breath hitch. It also made her
He had an aura of ruthlessness that chilled
her. He was tall and brawny and his face held a hawkish countenance
that was only magnified by his cold, assessing eyes.
were directed on her now.
She shifted restlessly and mortification
spread through her when she realized he had been the one that made
the cutting comment. She seriously doubted the blond man would have
used that tone of voice to the boss. So that meant that she had
about applying for the role of his
wife. Agitation filled her and all she wanted was to slink from the
The men stood in a frozen tableau by the door
and the quiet after her question was deafening as they continued to
stand and stare at her.
Her hands shook slightly as she grabbed her
coffee sans creamer and turned to go. The atmosphere was tense, and
she felt the need to say something before she got the hell out of
there. She looked at the handsome blond because he was infinitely
the less dangerous of the two. "I'm sorry for interrupting you.
I'll get back to work."
The blond man smiled at her lazily and gently
teased, "No problem. He's the one that needs a wife."
Her eyes skittered to his companion and the
bottom fell out of her stomach as his piercing eyes watched her
with a feral,
look that froze the air in her
lungs. She shifted restlessly as nerves tightened into distress. He
was looking at her with a punishing intensity that she didn't think
the situation called for. Like she had committed a gross infraction
and was going to have to pay for it. She cleared her throat and
looked away. "Yes, well. . . g-good luck with that."
Jenna balanced her coffee carefully in her
hand and side-stepped the men in front of the door. She twisted the
handle, squeezed through it, and fled for her life.
The silence in the break room continued for a
moment until David spoke. "Fuck. I should kick your ass for this,
Craig laughed and walked to the
David raked his hand through his hair. "She
works in accounting. What do you know about her?"
Craig grabbed a soft drink from the fridge.
"Nothing. I have no clue. But you scared the shit out of her."
David stiffened and blasted his friend with
an arctic look. "We. We scared the shit out of her."
Craig leaned against the counter and casually
popped the top. "I don't think so, buddy. She was more than willing
to flirt and talk to me until she saw you." He smiled like the cat
that got the canary and lifted the can to his mouth and took a
large pull of the drink.
David clenched his teeth and scowled at the
smug look on his lawyer's face and said, "Find out who she is. I
want the file on her this afternoon."
"You thinking what I think you're