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Authors: Jan Romes

Stella in Stilettos

BOOK: Stella in Stilettos
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



By Jan Romes


Cover Design: Tugboat Design

Formatting: Tugboat Design


Stella in Stilettos

Copyright 2013 Janice Romes

All Rights Reserved


This E-Book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This E-Book may not be re-sold for given away to other people. If you would like to share this E-Book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this E-Book and did not purchase it, or it is not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



I’d like to dedicate this book to my family. To Bill, Kelly and Sam, BJ and Kerri, Elyse, Malia and Valarie for your love and support. Without you, I wouldn’t have the courage to follow my dreams.

Also, in memory of Treva Sanders; gone but still a guiding light. I will love you always.

Chapter One


“Calm down, people,” Stella Matson muttered under her breath, fumbling with the sip-tab of her Styrofoam cup. All she wanted to deal with was a caffeine buzz, not the bedlam of Monday morning. Today, the commotion seemed extra loud, almost deafening. She took a careful sip of piping hot coffee. At the same time, someone let out an earsplitting burst of madness.

“He’s coming today!”

The sip of coffee came back out as a spurt. Stella squinted with reproach at the person heralding the news – Belinda Pearson; the office tart known to stalk any guy with a pulse.

Corrine Smith sidled next to Stella with a handful of paper towels. The sixty-something gray-haired receptionist’s eyes danced with amusement. “He’s not here yet and you already need to change your shirt.”

Stella glanced at the intermittent splotches of coffee decorating the front of her white cable-knit sweater. “Excellent.” The sarcasm had little to do with her sweater. “I hope he doesn’t show up until after lunch.”

Corrine lifted her wrist to display the time. “He should be here right about…” The office door creaked opened. “…now.”

Stella stashed the paper towels behind a stack of binders.

“Elvis has entered the building,” Corrine heckled.

“Whatever.” Stella sat down and rolled to the computer. She opened the advertising design program to work on the flyer that would showcase their new product line – sexy undies, personalized to occupation. It was due on Maggie Watkins desk today.

Corrine nudged her foot. “Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud. Have a look-see.”

Stella had seen Alex from a distance a couple of times and his picture was posted on the corporate website. There was only one word to describe him: hot! Argh. She so didn’t want to deal with the drama of a hot guy in the department – unless it was actually Elvis. “I’d rather not.”

“Aww, Stella, think of him as an adventure,” Corrine teased.

“Try misadventure.”

“Dear girl, all hot men are not Jace Fairchild.”

Hearing her ex’s name made Stella cringe. “Sure they are.”

Corrine took a dramatic step out of the cubicle. “Maybe you’re right.” She deliberately widened her eyes, put up her hand and pointed behind it.

Against her better judgment, Stella took a peek. Everyone except she and Corrine had Alex surrounded. He was smiling, shaking hands all around and seemed to be enjoying the attention. If she didn’t know better, she’d swear he was running for elected office. The only thing missing from the picture was a baby for him to kiss. In a stupefying second of fate, their eyes met. Stella’s semi-state of calmness was swapped for a pulse that was doing an irritating cha-cha through her veins. She hissed without making a sound and rolled back into the cubicle.

Corrine put a hand on her shoulder. “The stud is on the move.”

It took less than ten seconds for Maggie to deliver Alex. Stella pretended to be absorbed in the design program.

“Ladies, Alex Clay.”

Stella stood up but stayed out of handshaking-range.

Corrine flipped the adventure-button to the on-position. “Halleluiah! Finally.”

Alex gave Maggie a questioning glance.

“Too much caffeine, Corrine?” Maggie moved on before Corrine could answer. She nodded to Stella. “This little gem is the one you’ll be following around for a few days. Alex, Stella Matson.”

The coffee stain peeking from between Stella’s crossed arms disrupted the introduction. “What’s that?” Maggie asked.

“Arabica blend.” Stella switched the focus back to the introduction. “Welcome to the department.”

Alex’s attention stayed locked on her shirt.

She thinned her eyes. Was he trying to determine how someone so klutzy could teach him anything? Or was he wondering if those almost-non-existent bumps under her shirt were breasts? To stop his perusing, she tightened her arms.

Alex lifted his eyes and extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.”

Rats! She had to touch him. Stella reluctantly shook his hand. At the same time, she took note of violet eyes and long eyelashes.

Violet eyes? Seriously? A combination of pleasure and discomfort crippled what was left of her confident façade. “N-Nice to meet you, too.”

Alex didn’t release her hand right away, forcing Stella to spread her fingers to make him let go.

Dark, bushy eyebrows lifted ever so slightly as if to mock her. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Crap. The man had a disturbing I’m-good-in-bed aura about him. She saw it in his smile, the way he carried himself and the firm sensuality of his voice. The second he spoke, Stella’s senses went into a deeper tizzy, making her also aware of how he towered above her by at least a foot, the broad expanse of his chest and a great musky scent. Of course, the man couldn’t have an ordinary mouth. No. Not this guy. He had to have generous lips and a smile that showed off near-perfect teeth. Had it not been for the tiniest gap between his two front teeth he would be complete perfection. Thank God for tiny gaps. In a split second she confirmed that it would take a heck of a lot of coffee to deal with the likes of him. Stella zoned back in to acknowledge his comment. “Ditto.”
Drenched in coffee and saying ditto. She was a gem all right.

Corrine stepped between them and messed with the lapels of Alex’s suit jacket. “Do you do any modeling?”

Alex backed up a step.

“Corrinnne,” Maggie warned.

Corrine shrugged. “I’m just saying…”

Maggie snapped her fingers. “Show’s over. Everyone back to work.” She turned to Stella. “He’s all yours.

No he’s not
. Stella wanted to negotiate with Maggie to have someone else train Alex. Lord knows there would be plenty of takers. But she wasn’t a child. “Let’s check out your new digs.” She led him to a cubicle close to hers. “Here we are.”

The dark bushy brows that lifted moments before were now furrowed.

Welcome to the trenches
was on the tip of her tongue and she scoffed with a silent snicker. Where did he think he’d be working, in a plush office with a wet bar and a view of the Olentangy River? Maybe that’s what they had up in corporate communications, but in the advertising department he got a 5 x 5 space with a small light strip, a three-drawer desk, and two shelves for books and binders. She still couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of him leaving the corporate group to work in advertising. In no way was it a sideways move. More like a three-rung descent. “I’ll let you get familiar with your workspace before we jump into things.” She plucked a piece of yellow tablet paper from the center desk drawer. “Your new password.”

“I already have a password.”

“Different system. Your old one won’t work.”

Blue eyes flickered with impatience. “But…”

Handsome men in expensive suits shouldn’t whine. “I’ll be back in half an hour.”

* * * *


“Gorgeous and cocky.” Stella held the phone against her ear while indulging in another sip of coffee.
No wonder her world felt tilted. She hadn’t had enough caffeine. The dark roast blend slid down her throat and some of the tightness in her neck and shoulders let go.

Trish O’Brien clicked her tongue. “Give me a break. I’m surrounded by toads, and you’re growling about gorgeous?”

Stella laughed at her best friend. “I also said cocky.”

“Good looking guys are supposed to be cocky. It’s part of their charm.”

“I prefer toads.”

“Wuss,” Trish chirped.

Stella shrugged like Trish could see her. “Total wuss, but completely happy.”

“Sure you are.” Trish lowered her voice. “I have to go. The boss is giving me one of his get-busy looks. Don’t forget, you have to meet my co-worker’s cousin tonight. Actually, it’s his step-cousin.”

Stella had forgotten about the fix-up. An inadvertent wince rushed out.

“I know that sound, woman. No way am I letting you off the hook. You promised.”

Blind dates were about as enticing as a plate of sweet potatoes. Stella made a gagging sound.

Trish snorted a laugh. “You’ve made yourself scarce for a year. It’s time to stop being a love-hermit.”

Eleven months, fourteen days and two hours did not make a year. And she wasn’t a love-hermit. Okay, maybe she was. She just didn’t bounce back from a broken heart as quickly as some people did. “Don’t worry. I’ll be at your place by seven.”
Alrighty then
. She’d deal with a blind date later. Right now she had to deal with training.

* * * *


The only one challenged by the art of advertising was Stella. For the last two hours, every look from Alex, every sound from that great mouth, hijacked her thought process. She’d explain something and immediately backtrack because she’d omitted an important part. To compensate for behaving like a complete halfwit, she fell into a pattern of over-explaining. Surprisingly, Alex didn’t shift in his chair, flex his hands or show signs he was bored to tears. For crying out loud, the least the man could do was yawn; but no, he hung on her every word and watched every move she made. When she crossed her legs, his eyes followed.

She clicked into the spring lingerie catalogue to discuss technique.

Alex leaned in close when she pointed to the lace and satin push-up bras that ranged in sizes from 32A to 44DD. “You’ll notice how we positioned the model so her long hair sweeps across the front, revealing only a small amount of cleavage. The focus is the bra instead of…” Stella uncrossed her legs, adjusted her glasses and tried not to notice that he was inches from her. “Subtle little tricks that wow the consumer. Hook their interest with a little skin but blow them away with the product.”

Alex didn’t appear to go gaga over the blonde bombshell wearing a leopard print satin bra edged in black lace. He placed his intense, unrelenting focus back on Stella.

Stella appreciated that he was all business but she wished he’d center his attention on the computer screen. She chewed her bottom lip, waiting for him to say something. When he didn’t, she scrolled to the next page. Not a good example. A buxom brunette had her head tossed back and was stretched out in a provocative pose.

Finally, a chuckle. “Nothing subtle there,” he said.

“Yeah, well.” Stella swallowed hard. “Yet another technique.” That was a load of hooey, but she wouldn’t share the fact that sometimes the photography department and the ad department didn’t see eye to eye and how sometimes it was easier to give in than argue.

She hurried to a page filled with flirty boy-cut underwear and sexy v-neck t-shirts.

Amusement played across Alex’s expression.

BOOK: Stella in Stilettos
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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