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DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
BY MAGGIE BLACKBIRD
Two wounded-in-love go-getters must decide if they’ll break their personal rule that cost them so much in the past by mixing business with pleasure.
Divorcée Bebe Boshey flees her Ojibway community for the city of Thunder Bay to begin anew, landing a great job that affords her an independent lifestyle she covets and a great condo. Best of all, her silver fox boss thinks the world of her. She can’t help her attraction to him, but office dating is a huge no-no.
Divorcé Alden Campbell is tired of spending his nights alone. And he’s also quite uncomfortable about his feelings for his ace real estate agent, Bebe. Even though they are strictly professional in their daily dealings, the sizzling chemistry ready to boil over between them is enough to shake him with fear, because he’s been there and done that.
While they’re on a business trip together, a crafty playboy pushes Alden into making a big decision that might cost him dearly—pursue Bebe and break his rule of business-only, or let Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome work his charm on the one woman Alden wants to call his own.
The scent of Alden’s aftershave steeped beneath Bebe’s nose. A luscious, fresh scent, as if he stood beneath a waterfall in the rainforest. She buckled her seat belt, because they’d be taxiing down the runway in a matter of minutes. The small plane wasn’t the most comfortable to take to the conference, but this was how the people in Northwestern Ontario traveled.
“Are you okay?” Concern filled Alden’s take-charge voice that was a comforting blanket wrapping her shoulders.
“These small planes aren’t on my love-it list. More like List It.”
Everyone at their office watched the real estate show on TV and made bets on it in the coffee room on Monday morning. Each episode, a new couple turned to the help of a top designer and real estate agent for assistance. At the end of the broadcast, they either loved the design of their new home and stayed at their dwelling, or they chose to list it for the new house they’d admired while viewing potential properties.
“I took my share during my former job,” she continued on.
“You worked for the tribal area advisory council, if I recall your résumé correctly.” Naturally, Alden was too handsome for his blue tie with the small navy dots, his crisp pin-striped shirt, and suit. “The business and financial services corporation.”
“You got it. Helping the First Nations communities succeed in business was something I really enjoyed.”
“Do you miss it?” Alden shifted in his seat and faced her slightly.
She also shifted and crossed her legs. “My first year here. I did. I enjoyed my work, but I love real estate.”
When Alden’s gaze briefly settled on Bebe’s thighs, excitement invaded the daring lace pink panties she’d purchased at Chest of Drawers. Just as quickly, he zeroed in on the seat ahead of them.
Bebe squirmed, rubbing her legs together. He hadn’t gawked. He’d admired. The coating of moisture dried in her throat, and she scratched her neck.
“Everything okay?” Alden dipped his head slightly, icy blue eyes crinkling. The creases became more pronounced, lines that implored her to stroke each one. Touch them.
“Yes.” She glanced away. Heat was everywhere—beneath her breasts, set to ruin her matching bra, in the cleft of her ass, under her arms, and a dabble above her upper lip.
The pilot’s voice came over the intercom, informing them they were getting ready to taxi.
Bebe gripped the arm of her chair. She would’ve gripped the other one if Alden’s elbow wasn’t resting there.
“Do you need to hold on? I can move it.” And he did, without waiting for her answer. He folded his arms.
“Thanks.” The heat wouldn’t dissipate. Bebe sank her nails in the other armrest. She squeezed her eyes shut. Praying to Creator always helped.
The plane began moving. She peeled open one eye. Alden’s hand hovered over hers. His lips were pursed in contemplation, and concern flooded his squinted gaze.
She swallowed. Oh God, he was debating whether to reassure her. “Thank you,” she managed to eke out.
His jaw slackened, and his mouth fell open at most likely being caught. He cleared his throat. “I wasn’t…” He snatched his hand away and refolded his arms.
“No… it’s okay. Really,” she managed to say through the breaths of air rushing from her lungs, because the plane was tearing down the runway, ready to lift off. She kept squeezing the armrests.
Alden’s palm smothered hers. He gently massaged the back of her hand. Although Bebe’s chest remained contracted and her nerves were coiled tighter than springs pressed together fighting to erupt, having his warm skin on hers quelled the queasiness in her stomach. She curled her toes as the plane lifted into the air.
His smooth palm kept massaging the back of her hand, even brushing her fingers.
The plane evened out. Bebe didn’t experience the slammed back in my chair motion any longer.
“Thank you.” She opened her eyes to blue sky and Thunder Bay growing smaller and smaller.
“Anything to help.” He patted her hand and removed his palm. “If only we had taken The Carrier. At least it serves drinks.”
“True. And we have a few more ups and downs to go.”
“Yes, we do. Nipigon. Hornpayne. Manitouwadge.”
“I’ll survive.” She licked her lips.
“I’ll be right here to hold your hand each time we land and take off.” His voice was reassuring, hardly the formal speech he used at work.
She shuddered. Holding her hand again… It felt too good. Not in a sexual way, but in a protective way. He’d calmed her. Even now, she wasn’t peeking out the window, shivering at the thought of crashing.
“Too bad we don’t have some coffee to drink, but I imagine the flight won’t be too long. We’re only going to the Sault.” Alden looked ahead while speaking.
“How long is the flight?”
“Probably three hours. Normally it’d take a mere hour.”
Yikes, that was a two-week prison sentence stuffed inside a chute flimsier than a tin can.
“We can pass the time by…” His tongue snaked out and traced his mouth.
She glanced away at the too tempting offer of his seductive lick of his lips.
“How about we talk on a personal level. Drop our professional pretenses for once?”
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
Links to Maggie’s website, blog, books, etc.
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