Ready for steamy head-to-head banter in the second billionaire romance in Jean Oram’s highly rated Summer Sisters series?
Read a sneak peek from the first chapter of Love and Dreams as Maya Summer battles Connor MacKenzie over work, life, and love.
Maya Summer shifted from foot to foot in the tall grass and squinted up at the sky. Where was that plane? She was more than ready for her future to land, and now it was delayed. She checked her watch and hurried into the private airstrip’s terminal, a small shack, to use their washroom again.
“I shouldn’t have had that extra cup of coffee,” she muttered. She was wired, jittery, and so nervous she wasn’t sure whether to throw up or break into delirious laughter.
“Meeting someone important, dear?” asked a woman as Maya hurried into the washroom’s one stall.
“Connor MacKenzie. I’m picking up Connor MacKenzie.” She grinned as she flushed the toilet, and refrained from giving a little happy dance there in the cramped enclosure. Connor MacKenzie was coming to see her. Live with her.
“The Connor MacKenzie?” the woman asked, surprise evident in her voice, as she made room for Maya at the sink.
Maya nodded and adjusted her suit jacket in the mirror. It was kind of boxy, not as fitted as she’d been looking for, but it was all she’d been able to find at the local Salvation Army, and it went with her flared dress pants. She was going to spend the summer with Connor. Okay, okay, two weeks—only two weeks. Oh, man. Breathe. She had two weeks to convince Mr. MacKenzie that she was worth taking back to his Toronto office, where she’d be employed as his right-hand woman. His personal assistant, Stella Bijania, had on-the-spot hired her less than twenty-four hours ago to take care of her boss during his impromptu retreat and to do whatever was needed to ensure he got the downtime he was paying for. It was also her job to prevent him from falling too behind while in Muskoka.
She could do it. And she would do it well. In less than a month she’d be in the city, settling into a penthouse off Yonge Street, wearing Prada, because the devil wore Prada, and she was going to be the devil of the business world. Plus, she was about to learn the best strategies straight from the man who’d invented most of them as he went from MBA student to the new king of Bay Street as well as the city in less than a decade. He was barely older than she was, and he was already worth billions. The next two weeks were going to rock.
“He’s going to change my life,” Maya declared as she touched up her lipstick. He’d quickly see that she wasn’t just another university grad with no experience. It was as her hero, the entrepreneurial Arlene Dickinson, said, “You have to surround yourself with people who are more talented than you are.” And Maya was ready to surround herself with all things Connor MacKenzie. The man was a walking business bible she was eager to speed-read.
“Connor MacKenzie?” the woman repeated. “He’s coming to Bracebridge?”
“The one and only. And no, he’s coming to stay at my cottage. On an island.” She barely held in a sigh of longing. He was smart, rich, and business-minded. Don’t forget hot. Man, what she wouldn’t give to wrap his expensive silk tie around her fist and pull his sweet lips against hers when she got the chance. That guy had a checkmark beside all the things a woman wanted in a man. Plus some.
“Are you his…?”
“Business associate.” Maya followed the woman out of the washroom. Okay, she was going to be his assistant and, well, maid, while he took a business retreat at her family cottage for the next two weeks, but still. She was working with him. One on one. Discussing business things, creating presentations, drafting emails to all the bigwigs he associated with. She was going to be the sexy, smart, witty woman in high heels and power suits nodding beside him, pointing out things he hadn’t thought of, while he enjoyed his retreat from the city’s stifling summer heat. He’d turn to her with respect brimming in his gaze, and ask how he’d ever got along without her. His lips would be just a whisper away from hers when he’d say…
“Is that him?” The woman pointed out the dusty window.
Maya staggered on her heels before catching herself. “He’s waiting. I’ve left Connor MacKenzie waiting!” She scrambled out the door, before catching herself and adopting her best no-nonsense stride. Several feet away, she extended her hand for a shake. Too early. She hurried her pace, hoping he wouldn’t notice.
He turned to her, all sexy five o’clock shadow and Gucci shades, ball cap parked low on his forehead.
“Mr. MacKenzie!” Maya reached to shake his hand, and he thrust a heavy duffel at her. The bag dropped, wrenching her shoulder. “Oomph!”
The man packed like a girl, with everything in one ginormous bag that was nearly impossible to lift without seeing a chiropractor afterward.
“Do you have other bags?” she asked, looking around for a laptop. He had to have a briefcase. Maybe two.
“On the plane, perhaps?”
Where were his computer and business papers? Surely not in the duffel, getting crushed. Crushed like the disks in her spine, one by one, the longer she stood clinging to the bag’s handles. She readjusted her grip and leaned back so she wouldn’t be tempted to allow gravity take over and cause her to kiss the tarmac.
She could barely believe how human he seemed in person. Not at all the bouncing, vibrant machine whose mouth could barely keep up with his ideas during his TED talk two years ago. Watched: 73 times. University essays written about or referencing that talk: 13.
But this man here in front of her? He wasn’t exactly exuding power and energy. No overflowing enthusiasm. He was mellow. Really mellow.
It kind of bummed her out, actually. But at the same time, there was something irresistibly intriguing about his quietness.
Connor stared at her and, with a quick inhalation, she launched into her rehearsed introduction. “My name is Maya Summer. I’ll be your everything this summer.”
An eyebrow appeared over the frame of Connor’s sunglasses, beneath his sun-faded hat. “Everything?” he asked, his voice thick and rough, its tenor low.
Sweat pricked Maya’s back, and she knew it wasn’t caused by the heat of the July sunshine radiating off the cracked tarmac. It was the way his tone hinted at something less businesslike.
“Just about.” She shot him a playful smile.
Some women might think her ambitious to a fault, but she’d sleep her way out of a starting position in the mailroom if she had to. And with this man, it would not be a hardship. Give her half an excuse and she’d run her hands over those broad shoulders, down his chest and lower. Her eyes drifted where her imagination was going, before she caught herself.
Right. He was her boss. No need to make him feel similar to a piece of man meat. Not yet, anyway.
“You’ll be staying at my cottage for the next two weeks,” she said. “A quiet, rustic business retreat. And I will be available as your personal assistant—um, business executive. Are you sure you don’t have another bag?”
He gave a small shake of his head.
“Okay, great. So, I will be your liaison with…with, uh, everyone you require while you enjoy your retreat. Whatever you need, I can take care of it. And, uh…” Damn, where had all her lines gone? She’d imagined a much brighter meeting. For example, one where he talked and shook her hand. One where he asked about her, or at least her qualifications, so she could tell him she’d graduated with distinction, made the dean’s list, won a scholarship from TD Mutual, and all that other stuff that made businessmen get a hard-on when discussing the pillageable assets they could get for pennies on the dollar in their overeager assistants.
And okay, so things weren’t unrolling the way she’d expected, but she was already learning things from him. For instance, when it came right down to choosing the proper power outfit, a short skirt was always the way to go.
* * *
End of Sneak Peek!
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Keep reading Love and Dreams by Jean Oram and find out if Maya and Connor manage to hit it off or if these two like-minded individuals become… more.
Also available in paperback!
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Copyright Jean Oram 2015. Not to be copied or distributed in any form without explicit permission from the author–Jean Oram. Thanks.
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