Contemporary Erotic Romance
September 2, 2014
St. Martin's Griffin
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Rafe Ranier, a rock musician by night and head of a multi-million dollar family business during the day, never wanted to get involved with his secretary. But when their combustable attraction ignites, they wind up in bed together—and Rafe’s solitary world is shaken to its core.
Melanie, a shy wallflower who’s harbored a secret crush on her boss for years, is torn. Her heart couldn’t stand it Rafe breaks it off, but that doesn’t mean she can’t indulge in an illicit affair with him…as long as he understands that falling in love is not on the table.
But when Melanie agrees to go on tour with Rafe and his band, Savage Kiss, they both discover that passion can set fire to even the most carefully laid plans.
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Night Owl Reviews
Melanie's heart stopped as the bell over the door rang and she glanced up to see a tall man in a dark gray suit walk in. Something about his tall, broad-shouldered form and expensive suit reminded her of Rafe for a moment. But it was just one of her regulars.
"Hey, beautiful. The usual."
They chatted while she fixed him his typical latte, then she handed it to him with a smile. He winked and then headed for the door. She knew he was flirting with her. It had been going on all week, and although he was a very attractive man, she wasn't interested.
She glanced around the store. The few customers were happily chatting over their coffees and there was no sign of a new customer coming into the shop.
"I'm going in the back to grab some more sugar," she said to her friend, Sue, the other barista on duty, who was currently refilling the thermoses of milk after their recent rush.
The fast-paced influx of customers had left Melanie a little drained. She wasn't used to being on her feet for eight hours a day. But it was better than the intense attraction to her boss, Rafe, driving her mad every day.
"Okay. Then if you don't mind, I'll take my break," Sue said.
She opened the storage cupboard and grabbed a pack of raw sugar, another of white sugar, and some artificial sweetener, then carried them to the lobby and started filling the condiment stand with the small packets. Once done, she returned to the bar and tucked the leftover sugar packets under the counter.
The bell over the door rang, signaling a new customer. Melanie stood up and glanced toward the door to see a man in a charcoal suit talking to Sue. She sighed. It looked like her admirer was back, and she knew Sue would do what she could to play matchmaker. Sue pointed in Melanie's direction and the man turned.
Melanie's heart stopped when she saw his face. This was not the customer who'd been flirting with her all week.
As soon as he saw her, his lips turned up in a sexy, crooked smile-the one that always melted her heart-and he walked toward the bar.
He was a striking figure in his expensive, well-tailored suit that accentuated his tall physique and broad shoulders. His dark, glossy hair was combed back and his stunning sky blue eyes ringed in navy were locked on her.
He chuckled. "Haven't I always told you to call me Rafe?"
She nodded. His authoritative brother, Dane, had insisted on being called Mr. Ranier, but Rafe had always preferred a more casual address.
"Rafe, what are you doing here?"
"Getting a coffee for starters." He glanced up at the board. "What do you suggest?"
"Iced coffees are quite popular right now. We have one with a hint of cinnamon and orange." She knew his brother would want a regular coffee, but Rafe was always willing to try something new.
"To take with you?" she asked as she reached for a takeout cup.
"Actually, that depends. Can you join me?"
"Of course she can." Sue smiled as she returned to the bar. "In fact, Melanie was just about to go on break."
Melanie glanced at Sue. "I thought you were going now."
"I'll go later." She glanced at Rafe and smiled. "In fact, you go sit and I'll make you both something."
"But if the manager sees . . ." Melanie said under her breath.
"She's gone for the day, and I'm not going to tell."
Melanie walked to a table in the back corner, wanting to be discreet.
"This is cozy," Rafe said as he sat down across from her.
"So why are you here?" Melanie asked with a smile. "Besides the coffee."
"Does there have to be a reason?"
"This isn't anywhere near where you work or where you live."
"Why don't you think I was at a meeting nearby?"
Her eyebrows arched. "Were you?"
He shook his head. "No, I came here to see you."
Her stomach clenched at the admission. She didn't work for him anymore. They had been friendly in the office, but they hadn't been friends. He'd been her boss. There was only one reason she could think of for why he'd be here. The one reason she'd been dreading, and hoping she wouldn't have to deal with.
He wanted to know why she'd quit.
And she didn't want to tell him.
She'd worked for him for over two years and . . . she'd fallen in love with him. But in all that time, he'd never given her a second look. Then when he'd fallen in love with her best friend, Jessica, it had broken Melanie's heart. It had just been too painful to keep working with him, and to watch the two of them together.
That's why she'd quit.
And she couldn't tell him any of that.
Sue came to the table with two iced coffees, then returned to the bar.
"I was surprised to find you were working as a barista. It's quite a change from an office environment." He sipped his coffee.
"How did you find out where I was?"
He shrugged. "I checked your personnel file. Someone from this location called for a reference."
"So you just came by to see if I was here?"
She shook her head. "I still don't understand why."
He leaned forward, his sky blue eyes intent. "I just want to make sure you're okay."
She straightened her back. "Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
"You up and left a good job . . . a job you seemed to be happy at . . . for no good reason. And here you are working at a job for probably minimum wage. I don't get it."
"I needed a change. I like the freedom I have here."
"I'm not tied to a nine-to-five existence. I'm not tied to a desk. I don't have a boss hovering over me." As soon as she said it, she realized he'd take it the wrong way.
"Did I hover over you? Is that why you left-"
"No, I don't mean that. It was the nature of the job. I couldn't leave my desk without getting someone to cover for me and handle phone calls. I needed to keep on top of both your schedule and your brother's. What I did was totally driven by what other people needed."
"Isn't that true here?"
"People come in for coffee, and maybe something to eat. It's not a big commitment."
He frowned. "I'm sorry, Melanie. I didn't realize you were unhappy."
"No, it's not that. I wasn't really unhappy."
"If I had known, I could have found something else for you. Something you'd enjoy doing. It's a big company." He leaned toward her. "We still could. Say the word and I'll call personnel."
Sweet, helpful Rafe. "No, thanks. I'm happy here." She finished her iced coffee and stood up. "I should get back to work."
"Wait, Melanie. Just give me another minute."
She sank back into the chair.
"Please tell me one thing."
She stared at him, dreading whatever question he was about to ask.
"Did I do something?"
"No, Rafe. You didn't do a thing."
In fact, that was the whole problem.
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