Author: Tamie Dearen
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publication Date: June 13, 2019
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Will Katie jump into the shark-infested waters for a second chance at love?
NOW LIVE ON MOST RETAILERS!
Tamie Dearen lives in Texas with her very romantic husband—her own personal romance hero. She’s been involved in creative writing since elementary school, though her degrees are in the science fields—Chemistry and a D.D.S. But a more recent master’s degree in higher education sparked her writing bug again. And with a zany and wonderful bunch of family and friends, there’s no end of inspiration for her stories. Contact her on her website at TamieDearen.com.
Katie screamed, jumping up so fast her desk chair crashed to the floor behind her. The spider on her desk was gargantuan—approximately the size of Godzilla—covered with spiky brown hairs. She could tell by the menacing look in each of its ten million beady eyes it was preparing to leap at her and inflict a lethal bite.
Maybe it already bit me!
She checked her arms for signs of puncture wounds.
“Is something wrong?”
The deep voice startled her, and she whipped around, stumbling on the overturned chair. The room tilted and a sledge hammer impacted the back of her head. She looked up from the floor, stars swirling in front of the face that bent over her. Thick brows furrowed over crystal blue eyes.
I know that face—it’s Superman!
Pain thudded in her skull, forcing her eyelids closed.
“Are you okay?”
“Just hit my head,” she mumbled.
Her eyes came open as gentle hands lifted under her shoulders. The blue-eyed hero was kneeling beside her, so close she caught a whiff of his enticing scent, a combination of minty clean and a dash of masculine aftershave. Curling her legs to the side, she sat up and groaned, raising her hand to the back of her head.
“Let me see,” he said.
Her face was pressed against his clean black t-shirt, as his fingers parted her hair to probe the tender scalp on the back of her head. She inhaled deeply, enjoying the intoxicating smell.
“It’s not bleeding,” Superman announced. “Good thing you have this padded rug under your desk. The tile would’ve split it open.”
As her hero uprighted her chair, she couldn’t help noticing how his back muscles flexed and bulged, pressing against the thin cotton.
That’s strange… I’ve never wished I was a t-shirt before.
Stretching to his full-height, something over six feet, he turned to face her and bestowed a slow smile that sent warmth furling in her belly. Damp tendrils on his forehead suggested he’d been in the shower moments earlier.
Had he come from the company gym? She only interacted with a few of Gherring, Inc.’s employees, the ones who came to the board room to meet with Steven Gherring, her boss. She’d certainly never met this guy before. No way she could forget Superman.
He rubbed his hand across the stubble of dark beard on his square jaw, and she imagined her fingers doing the same, tracing the sharp angle, relishing the masculine feel of the soft bristles on her sensitive skin.
His eyes sparkled as if he somehow read her thoughts, and blood rushed up her neck to highlight her embarrassment.
As if it wasn’t humiliating enough to meet Superman when I’m sprawled on the floor.
“I’ll help you up,” he said.
She placed her palms in his outstretched hands. Big mistake! Charged like an ongoing static shock, his touch sucked the air from her lungs in a whoosh. Before she could escape his electrifying grasp, his large hands folded over hers. With what seemed to be little effort, he hefted her up and eased her into the chair. Then he sat back on the edge of her desk, folding his arms.
“Stand up! Get off the desk!” she yelped.
At her cry, he jolted to his feet and whipped around, staring at it as though it might explode at any moment. “What’s wrong with the desk?”
She aimed a wobbly finger at the desktop, the last place she’d seen the spider, who’d now retreated into some unseen place. No doubt, his plan was to hide away, waiting patiently until she’d forgotten about him, only to spring out and clamp his jaws on her skin.
“There’s a spider.”
He glanced at the desktop, empty except for her laptop, the dark wood pristine as always, not a scrap of paper marring the gleaming surface. “Where?”
“He’s hiding now. Probably went underneath or in a drawer, but he was humongous.” She stretched her arms as wide as they would go.
“That big, huh?” The corners of his mouth twitched.
“He was huge. And poisonous. A brown recluse.” She put enough certainty in her voice to properly warn him, though she hoped her hero was brave enough to slay the skulking beast.
“Venomous.” He sank to his knees, peering under her desk. “Spiders are venomous, not poisonous.”
“Either way, I hate them.”
“It wasn’t a brown recluse, though.”
“How do you know? Do you see him?”
“Not yet, but I know we don’t have brown recluse spiders in New York City. It gets too cold here.”
Too her horror, half his body disappeared under her desk, deep into the spider’s lair. “Don’t go in there.”
A muffled chuckle sounded, before he backed out and stood, miraculously unmarked, brushing his fingers on his jeans. “I knocked a little spider web down. That should take care of it.” His hand swept toward the desk, as if all were clear.
“No, thanks. I’ll just do my work over here until the exterminators come.” Katie stood, crept toward her laptop and snatched it, retreating back to her chair, well away from the spider’s domain. Then the monster emerged, charging across the rug. “There he is!” she yelled, on her feet and scrambling away. “Get him before he makes it to the bookshelves!”
With amazing calm, her hero stepped on the spider. Relief flooded Katie’s system, knowing she wouldn’t have to be on guard for his reappearance. Superman bent down and examined the conquered foe.
“You’re that afraid of a tiny little spider?” He cocked his head at her, fingers shoving through his damp locks, pushing them into adorable disarray.
She shrugged. “He looked bigger on the desk.”
He coughed behind his hand, but it sounded suspiciously like a laugh. “Now that we’ve ended this horrible arachnid infestation, I’m here to see Steven.”
Katie snapped into her role, Guardian of the CEO.
“I’m sorry. Do you have an appointment, Mr. …?” She left the question hanging.
“Lassiter. Gary Lassiter. And no, I don’t have an appointment, but—”
“I’m afraid Mr. Gherring won’t be able to see you without an appointment. His schedule is quite full. Let’s see when we can fit you in.” She opened her laptop and pulled up his schedule, with no real intention of making an appointment. Steven Gherring had given strict instructions not to schedule any appointments he didn’t initiate himself. One of Gherring’s subordinates would no doubt handle this man, clearly an intruder, even if he did look like Superman and valiantly slayed large spiders.
“I think Steven will want to talk to me. We’re partners in a business deal.”
“If you aren’t willing to follow protocol, Mr. Lassiter, you may find your business deal canceled.”
“I’ll take my chances.” With an arrogant grin, Gary edged toward the entrance to Gherring’s private office, an ornately carved wood door.
In a flash, Katie was on her feet, racing for the door. With the element of surprise on her side, she reached it first, barring the entrance with her body. Her chin lifted in dogged determination as she glared up at the invader, who towered over her by at least six inches.
“No one goes through this door without an appointment.”
His devastating blue eyes crinkled at the corners as he retrieved his cell phone and held up his index finger. “One moment, please.”
He tapped once on his screen and held the phone to his ear. “Hi… I’m here… No, I can’t… Because your very attractive pit bull is guarding the door, baring her teeth at me.”
Katie heard her boss’ laughter from the phone in Gary’s hand just before the door opened behind her.
She barely kept her jaw from dropping. This interloper had Steven Gherring’s personal cell number?
“I tried to tell you.” Gary shook his head.
Her face radiated heat. But for the recent spider web, she might’ve crawled under her desk to hide. Instead, she aimed a glare at her boss. “You made an appointment with this man and didn’t bother to tell me?”
“An oversight on my part, Ms. Carson. It won’t happen again.”
His lips curved into the trademark, billion-dollar smile that left most women swooning. Katie, however, was impervious to his charms. Not because
he was thirteen years older—he certainly didn’t look it—but because she’d sworn off men two years ago. All men. Including handsome billionaires, like her boss.
And hunky spider-killers who’re too smug for their own good.
“It was nice to meet you, Ms. Carson,” said Gary, apparently unaware of the poison darts her eyes sent his way. “I hope you don’t encounter any more giant arachnids.”
“Thank you for disposing of that one,” she mumbled, more irritated than grateful.
He followed Steven inside the door, but turned to his head to toss over his shoulder, “Just thought you might want to know, I noticed a bunch of empty spider eggs in that web.”
The door clicked closed behind him, but the sound was drowned out by the bass drum her heart pounded in her ear.