Authors: Shawna Delacorte
“I don't think a sign will be necessary,” Tyler told her as his eyes met hers. “You certainly look grown up to me.”
Ty watched as a slight smile turned the corners of her mouthâthe same delicious mouth he'd sampled the previous evening. He tried to clear his head of the thoughts, of desires that could only lead to trouble. His blood rushed hot and fast each time he came into physical contact with her. It was a sensation he wanted to pursue even though he knew it was forbidden territory. There was something about her.
Something he couldn't seem to put into wordsâsomething intangible that scared and excited him more than anything else ever had.
Silhouette Desire is starting the New Year off with a bang as we introduce our brand-new family-centric continuity, DYNASTIES: THE ASHTONS. Set in the lush wine-making country of Napa Valley, California, the Ashtons are a family divided by a less-than-fatherly patriarch. We think you'll be thoroughly entranced by all the drama and romance when the wonderful Eileen Wilks starts things off with
Look for a new book in the series each monthâ¦all year long.
The New Year also brings new things from the fabulous Dixie Browning as she launches DIVAS WHO DISH. You'll love her sassy heroine in
Her Passionate Plan B.
SONS OF THE DESERT, Alexandra Sellers's memorable series, is back this month with the dramatic conclusion,
The Fierce and Tender Sheikh.
Award-winning author Cindy Gerard will thrill you with the heart-stopping hero in
Between Midnight and Morning.
(My favorite time of the night. What about you?)
Rounding out the month are two clever stories about shocking romances: Shawna Delacorte's tale of a sexy hero who falls for his best friend's sister,
In Forbidden Territory,
and Shirley Rogers's story of a secretary who ends up winning her boss in a bachelor auction,
Here's to a New Year's resolution we should all keep: indulging in more
Senior Editor, Silhouette Desire
Sarah and the Stranger
The Bargain Bachelor
Cassie's Last Goodbye
The Tycoon's Son
The Millionaire's Christmas Wish
The Daddy Search
Fortune's Secret Child
Stormbound with a Tycoon
Falling for the Enemy
At the Tycoon's Command
Having the Best Man's Baby
In Forbidden Territory
Silhouette Yours Truly
Much Ado About Marriage
Although award-winning author Shawna Delacorte has lived most of her life in Los Angeles and has a background working in television production, she is currently living in Wichita, Kansas. Among her writing accomplishments she is honored to include her placement on the
bestseller list. In addition to writing full-time, she teaches a fiction writing class in the Division of Continuing Education at Wichita State University. Shawna enjoys hearing from her readers and can be reached at 6505 E. Central, Box #300, Wichita, KS 67206. You may also visit her at her author page at the Harlequin Web siteâwww.eHarlequin.com.
Your friends and family miss you.
yler Farrell's business partner barged into his office, panic covering his face as he pleaded, “You've got to help me out, Ty. Take her off my hands for the next few days.”
“Take who off your hands?”
“It won't take that much of your time. She's just a kid.”
“Who's just a kid?” Tyler's confusion began to turn to irritation. “What are you talking about, Mac?”
McConnor Coleman paused a moment as he took a calming breath. “All I know is what Mom said when she called the other day. It seems that my kid sister wants to move from Portland to Seattle, get a job and her own apartment. She arrived last night and is staying with me until I can help her get settled. I promised Mom I'd keep my eye on her. You know, maybe take her to a movie one evening and buy her some pizza.
Take her on the harbor tour or to the top of the Space Needle. Stuff like that.”
Mac renewed his determination. “It's not like you'll have to put your busy social life on hold so you can wine and dine her. Like I said, she's just a kid. You know the kind of long hours I'm going to be putting in until this new design is finished. The pivotal point of our company's expansion plans is dependent on this design. I don't want her sitting all alone at my house and I certainly don't want her going out at night by herself.”
Ty made a valiant attempt to put some logic to Mac's obviously frazzled state of mind. “We're on Bainbridge Island, not in Seattle. There's no reason why she can't go out alone.”
“A young girl should not be out on the streets alone.” Mac's tone of voice said there was no room for discussion of the matter.
Ty allowed a slight frown to wrinkle across his brow. An image popped into his mind of Angelina Coleman, the annoying little girl he had encountered once at Mac's parents' house in Portland, Oregon. He shook his head and emitted a sigh. “I really don't have the timeâ”
“Am I too early for lunch?”
Ty whirled around in the direction of the sound. The sultry voice perfectly matched the beautiful blond vision framed in the doorway. A quick surge of desire shoved aside Ty's initial shock. Could this gorgeous vision be the same person Mac had been referring to as his
Mac rushed toward her. “Angieâ¦is it noon already?” He glanced at his watch, a sheepish expression
covering his features. “I guess the morning got away from me.”
She shot a teasing grin at her brother. “Why am I not surprised?”
Recovering from his initial shock, Ty leaped into action. He grabbed Angie's hand, kissed the back of it and made a courtly bow. “Angelina Colemanâ¦Tyler Farrell at your service. You probably don't remember, but we met several years ago.” A jolt of charged energy emanated from their clasped hands. A heated surge of desire swept up his arm and through his body. Her unwavering gaze, combined with the vibrancy of her expressive green eyes, sent another ripple coursing through himâa strange combination of lustful desire and caution.
“I most certainly do remember you. It was fourteen years ago, a month or so before you and Mac graduated from the University of Washington. Mac was the one worrying about finals. I was the scrawny ten-year-old with braces on my teeth.” A dazzling smile lit her beautiful face and a touch of humor surrounded her words. “And you were the arrogant jerk.”
Ty released her hand, clutched at his chest and staggered back a couple of steps as if he had been hit by a mortal blow, his action eliciting a spontaneous laugh from her. It was an enchanting sound, one that left him wanting to hear it again and again. The moment he broke the physical contact with her a strange sense of loss made its way into his consciousness. Her words startled him, but they had been said more in fun than with any show of malice. At least that was the way he chose to take it.
He quickly recovered from the barb, taking a minute to make a survey of her physical assets. He judged her
to be about five feet six inches tall, perfect for his six-foot frame. His gaze started at her mesmerizing eyes and visually traced every curve of her body until he reached the tips of her shoes. An appreciative grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. She certainly had everything and it was in all the right places.
A tightness pulled across his chest. His skin still tingled where their hands had met. He forced a casualness he didn't feel as he flashed a wickedly sexy grin. “Wellâ¦I'm happy to see that at least one of us has improved over the years.”
Angie stuck her hands in the pockets of her tailored slacks, a subconscious effort to wipe away the sensation of his tantalizing touch. The devilish gleam in his hazel eyes told her exactly what was on his mind. It was a look she had seen on the faces of many men on numerous occasions, but it had never had this type of impact on her. It was a look that spoke of excitement and the promise of many nights of sensual pleasure for the woman lucky enough to share his bed.
It was a look that also spoke of fun, an open enjoyment of everyday things and life in generalâsomething definitely lacking in her life for the past year. She wanted to regain that sense of fun that she had lost. She needed to have it back in her life.
Tyler Farrell was a very disconcerting man, yet there was something about him that she couldn't dismiss. It was more than his movie-star good looks, thick dark hair and strong athletic build. A little shiver of anticipation darted across the surface of her skin. She sensed an underlying level of passion that reached out and grabbed her like nothing ever had and refused to let go.
Angie glanced at her brother. An uncertain look sur
rounded by a hint of disapproval covered Mac's face as his gaze darted between his business partner and his sister.
Mac self-consciously cleared his throat. “Uhâ¦Angieâ¦about lunch todayâ”
Ty immediately took control of the conversation. “Don't give it another thought, Mac. I know how busy you are with the deadline on the design project. I would be honored to escort Angie to lunch in your place.” He glanced at the delectable Angelina Coleman, then forced his attention away from the tantalizing image and back to his partner. He flashed a quick grin. “For the sake of the company and our expansion plans.”
“I hate to interrupt your schedule, Ty. I can certainly amuse myself until Mac gets home tonight.” His mention of expansion plans did not escape her notice. Hopefully the company's plans would fit nicely with her personal agenda, her primary goalâa plan she had not shared with her brother even though he was central to its success. It was her real reason for moving to Seattle.
Ty extended a dazzling smile and winked at her. “Nonsense. There's nothing I'd rather do than take a beautiful and charming lady to lunch.” He glanced toward Mac before leaving, catching the look of warning aimed directly at him.
Ty escorted Angie out of the building. The tightness in his chest increased as the scent of her perfume tickled his senses. A sudden rush of discomfort left him uneasy. He felt pressured to make small talk even though he wasn't sure what to say to this enchanting woman who had just robbed him of his ability to be glib and charming. He took a deep breath. Maybe Mac thought of her as still being his kid sister, but there was
no way this gorgeous vision could be thought of as anything other than all womanâbeautiful and fascinating.
He took another breath and tried to brush away the flood of lascivious thoughts that invaded his mind. He tried to convince himself it was just force of habit. It was not as if he was entertaining serious thoughts about making a pass at Mac's little sisterâ¦not really. The band pulled even tighter across his chest. The heat settled low inside his body. Regardless of what he tried to tell himself, pizza and a movie were the last things on his mind.
The libidinous thoughts coursing through his head and pulling at his body were totally inappropriate under the circumstances, but that did not make them go away. She was Mac's sister, what Mac referred to as his
sisterâan expression that had a very protective sound to it, especially the way Mac said it. It was the type of sound that matched the look of warning Mac had shot in his direction.
Ty turned toward Angie. “Wellâ¦shall we go? There's a charming little place a short walk from here.”
They strolled along the waterfront toward the harbor. As much as he tried not to, he couldn't keep from staring at her. He drank in her finely sculpted features, the turn of her nose, the absolutely delicious-looking mouth.
“Why are you watching me?”
Her words surprised him. His mind scrambled for some sort of acceptable explanation. “Iâ¦I was looking for similarities in appearance between you and Mac. I can see the family resemblance.”
“I think we both look like our mother.”
He allowed his gaze to drift across her features. “You're not what I was expecting. I was still picturing that ten-year-old little girl.”
She emitted a sigh, part exasperation and part resignation. “Yes, that's what Mac sees, too, whenever my name is brought up in conversation. He and Mom both. They're always patronizing me. I guess I can understand it. Not only am I the only girl, I'm also the youngestâthe baby of the family with five older brothers. Mac is the oldest, thirteen years older than I am. I keep hoping that the day will come when they stop thinking of me as that little girl, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.”
Ty and Angie reached the restaurant. It was a bright, sunny autumn day and they were seated outside on the deck. After they ordered lunch he leaned back in his chair in an attempt to project a casual appearance, something far removed from the uneasiness churning inside him. “So what have you been doing with yourself since you were that little girl?”
A teasing grin played at the corners of her mouth. “Mostly I've been trying to get everyone to stop thinking of me as that little girl.”
Was she making fun of him? At that moment his mind was so muddled he didn't know what to think. His gaze slowly traveled across her features again, pausing a moment to take in the way the fabric of her blouse caressed the curve of her breasts. He finally settled on her tantalizing mouth, a mouth that deserved to be kissed long, hard and often.
“What else have you been up to besides not being ten anymore?” His voice held a huskiness he wasn't happy with. He cocked his head as he made eye contact with her. A shiver of anxiety worked its way up his
back followed by a shiver of uncertainty. Just pizza and a movie with Mac's kid sisterâwhat had he gotten himself into? He was not sure about this anymore, not sure at all.
“I went to school. Then after I graduated from high school I entered an Oregon beauty pageant and was selected first runner-up.”
He straightened to attention. “Ahâ¦you're a beauty queen.” He saw a momentary flash of irritation dart across her face.
“I didn't care about the beauty title. What I wanted was the college scholarship. I had some scholarship money, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to provide the rest of the funds myself. Unfortunately, with the heavy class load I had planned to carry I wouldn't have been able to work very many hours a week.”
The words were not what Ty had expected to hear. She sounded very serious rather than simply engaging in casual chitchat. Was she always this serious? She had shown marvelous flashes of humor in the short time he had been around her. He was not accustomed to having serious conversations with women. “How did things turn out?”
“Mac came to the rescue as he always has for anyone in the family who needs anything.”
The waitress interrupted their conversation when she placed the food on the table. Angie became reflective as she watched the waitress leave, then turned her attention back to Ty. “As Mac has probably told you, our father died when I was very young and Mac was still in high school. Mom had a tough time financially. She was raising six kids by herself and money was very tight. Mac worked for two years after he graduated from high school to earn the money he needed for col
lege to supplement his scholarship funds. That's why he was two years older than the other freshmen such as you.” She flashed a teasing grin at Ty and displayed another moment of her pointed humor. “And far more mature than most of them.”
“Ouch!” Ty expressed the pain of another direct hit to his ego, partly in good fun, but with an underlying layer of reality.
“Mac was right there for me. He stepped in and took care of the rest of my college expenses. I graduated with honors and a dual major in business and industrial design.”
Ty emitted a low whistle of appreciation. “That's a very impressive accomplishment.”
“I never would have been able to do it without Mac's help. I've always looked up to him. He's been both my big brother and the father figure I never had. He always took care of me.” She quickly blinked away the tears of emotion that started to moisten her eyes. “I owe him so much.” What she chose not to say was that she had always been in awe of Mac and his many accomplishments, not to mention just a little bit intimidated, too. She idolized her brother and knew there was no way she would be able to repay him.
She also knew he wouldn't accept it even if she could.
“Yes, Mac is a very generous and giving person.”
“Other than that, for the past three years since graduating from the University of Oregon I've worked in Portland at an industrial design firm. Unfortunately it was a job that didn't offer any challenges or any future.”
Not to mention a boss who decided I was the office decoration and never took my work seriously.
It was a sore spot with Angie and an attitude she deeply
resented. She wanted to be treated according to her merits, not her beauty. At one time she had even considered dyeing her hair in order to avoid being the object of the dumb blonde jokes. She quickly dismissed the idea. She was who she was and didn't see any reason to make changes just to appease someone else whose opinion wasn't important to her anyway.