Heating Up Hawaii
There is just one person standing between Penny Ashbrook’s dream of opening her own PR business or being stuck at her job–the formidable Luc Leoni–her first lover, and the man who lets nothing and no-one get in his way. Seeing him after so long brings all the hidden emotions after a life altering break-up to surface. Pain, denial and…lust.
Luc has made many sacrifices for his career, including Penny Ashbrook, the woman who set his aspirations back a year, but now she has returned and is more alluring than ever. After all these years, he thought a self-made billionaire as himself could master everything, but to resist the strong pull toward the one woman he can't have is an impossible task.
When this unlikely pair is reunited they will have to face the many challenges set in their way, especially an attraction that has only heightened with time and a deadline quickly approaching.
Can their new bond surpass old—and new—fears?
Authors Bio: Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters and places beat doing Math homework any day. She traveled the world, achieved a B.A. in Tourism in her hometown in Brazil and was soon invited to work in the USA, where she met her Swiss husband. She'd always dreamed of becoming a published writer, and after her daughter was born, she revisited that dream of writing - this time, unwilling to give it up. She lives in Austin and enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family and three high energy pugs.
Only a few more months. Penny Ashbrook pressed her folded arms on the metal rail of the rooftop bar. She looked at the pallet of orange, yellow and pink colors dipping into the background as the sun set behind the Dallas skyline. A few more months, and she'd be debt free–and not just monetarily.
Although each day would stretch into the length of a decade, she knew she could handle it. Hell, hadn't she done just that for the past six months? She'd kept her head high and chin up even though her boss's passive aggressiveness often drove her crazy. She'd pretended not to listen when small-minded coworkers whispered behind her back. At thirty, wasn't she too old to be the talk of the office?
With a sigh, she stood straight and squared her shoulders. The much-awaited networking happy hour was not the place for a therapy session. She glanced around her. A sea of people occupied the large outdoor area. Elegantly attired men and women sought new contacts and hot leads while munching on caviar hors d’oeuvres and overpriced liquor.
She decided to stare at the blinding sun one more time, in hopes of extracting enough energy to walk around and get moving. After all, her client list wouldn't just materialize in front of her, would it? She'd had to fight hard and strong to get where she wanted to be.
"Penny, I've just run into an old friend of yours," her boss, Charles Dawn, told her while his fingers lightly touched her elbow. He prompted her to turn toward him and the tall, broad-shouldered man standing next to him.
Penny flashed her signature smile and squinted to get a sharper view of the man in front of her. An oversized palm tree shadowed him.
She guessed he was at least six feet two, which put her at a disadvantage at only five feet six. His dark gray designer suit looked tailor-made to fit the planes of his large chest, and good God, legs that went on and on.
Old friend? She couldn't remember having friends that looked this intimidating—old or current. If she was honest with herself, the few friends she had, all vanished like dust after she'd called off her wedding.
But this man… He took a step in her direction, the setting sun illuminating his face as he moved out of the shade. She glanced at him like her eyes were old-fashioned camera lenses, capturing his features in slow motion and adjusting to his figure. His lips, sensual and rich like his clothes, twitched. As soon as her gaze collided with his, her heart skipped a beat for a few seconds only to resume and pound its way out of her beige linen dress.
It couldn't be, could it? To see him again after all these years.
Oh, but it was…
Penny stared into his two-colored eyes—one lighter than a clear blue sky and the other reminiscent of murky seas. Yes, even they were ambiguous.
"Luc." She cleared her throat, and noticed a couple of fine lines around his mismatched pair.
"Penelope." Luc's velvety voice was like a warm caress. His French accent alone lured women to drop their underwear by his bedside. His deep pronunciation of her name hadn't changed… Pen-ay-looh-paay.
Penny stiffened her back, offered him a professional handshake under Charles Dawn's ambitious grin. Although she wished she could kick Luc Leoni where he deserved, she had to swallow her resentment and go along with it.
Luc took her hand in his larger one, and heat coiled low in her stomach. But instead of a professional handshake, he pulled her closer with a swift movement and leaned down. He kissed her on one cheek, his warm lips brushing gently on her skin. The whisper of a touch between his stubbled chin and her other cheek belted a wire of electricity into her system.
Penny smelled his earthy masculine cologne, where rich woodsy notes blended with a light citrus. Luc Leoni was a fantastic gift wrapping for an unworthy product.
He stepped back.
This can’t be my imagination… The hot breeze ruffled a few lustrous black strands of his hair, warning her that it was all too real.
"What a small world," Charles said. "I did fail to ask where you two know each other from."