Money Back Guarantee by Rayne Forrest/KC Kendricks


 Slade Martin is under attack. An electronic thief absconded with all his liquid personal wealth and someone on his board of directors is plotting a hostile takeover. The obvious culprit isn’t the guilty party, and Slade gets help to find the real perpetrator from a surprising source – the lovely and capable Iris D’Vance.   

Iris D’Vance is determined to not repeat her mistakes with men – until she meets Slade Martin, and decides all bets are off. Accepting the invitation to sit on the board of Slade’s charitable foundation lands her in the middle of corporate intrigue. Slade needs her help and makes her an offer she can’t turn down. 

Slade and Iris join forces to unravel the plot to ruin Slade and discover their interest in each other runs deeper than sharing altruistic works. When the person behind Slade’s woes is found, it’s Iris who’s in danger. Slade has to act fast to bring her home safe and make good on his money back guarantee. 

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INTRO:

Slade stalked off the elevator, his prey dead center in the crosshairs. Primed and loaded, one word from Ms. Iris D’Vance, and he’d let the hammer fall. Damn her. He sucked in a deep breath to replace the air that whooshed out of his lungs as her appearance burned onto his corneas.

Damn her for standing in front of the windows with the sunlight coming in behind her. Every luscious curve was visible through the backlit fabric of her dress. He’d not seen anything that amazing in…well, he’d never seen anything that amazing. His temper bled away, replaced by a surge of lust. Maybe he needed to rethink his approach, and fast, before she got away with old man Farnsmore.

Iris turned slightly and spotted him. Her eyes widened, she stiffened, then her composure slid back into place. It didn’t matter. Slade had seen the sudden interest in her eyes. He held out his hand to her for a friendly handshake.

“Ms. D’Vance, I apologize for getting off on the wrong foot upstairs. I get a little nervous before board meetings.”

Iris accepted his hand. Her lips parted. He closed his fingers around hers, noting how cold hers were as he lifted them to his lips.

“I’m sorry. That was forward of me. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

Her chin lifted, and her lovely hazel eyes took on a new, hard glint.

“I’m sure that well-rehearsed and very tired line still works on some women, but I assure you, I’m not one of them, Mr. Martin.”

Slade very grudgingly gave her high marks for honesty. He’d asked for that, and she’d given it to him.

“No, it doesn’t work, obviously. I’ll have to practice it.”

“Not on me, Mr. Martin. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s my ride.”

Dismissed, for God’s sake. Torpedoed.

Slade grabbed her wrist. She shot him a cold look that would have sent a weaker man to his knees.

Well, she could glare at him all she wanted to. What he had to say was important.

“Whatever it is you and Farnsmore have schemed up, I warn you now, he’ll turn on you the minute you’ve outlived your usefulness.”

Her look turned wary. “What are you talking about, Mr. Martin?”

“Don’t play stupid. I know old Reggie worked his glib tongue with the other members to get you a seat on my board. Now you’d best remember it is my board. Drop Farnsmore before you get in over your head.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Have it your way, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about Reggie and his cronies.” Slade left her standing there, turning abruptly and calling for his car.

Curse the day Reginald Farnsmore managed to wrangle a seat on the CRM board! The man was nothing but trouble. Slade slid into the driver’s seat of his vintage Cadillac. Crap. He needed to pay the permit for the gasoline engine because in his current financial straits, he couldn’t afford the steep fine for a lapse.

How did Iris fit into Reggie’s grandiose scheme to take over the board? Maybe Farnsmore thought she’d be a proper distraction. If that were the case, Slade had to admit the man had picked a woman who could get his mind on other things. Too bad she didn’t have the balls, well, ovaries, to own up to it.

The look in her eyes swam in his memory, the look of shocked confusion that she’d not been able to hide as he’d delivered his warning.

Fucking hell. His chest tightened, constricting painfully around his heart. She’d not been faking. No one could act that well. Maybe she really didn’t know.

Great, now he’d have to save both D’Vance and CRM from Farnsmore.


EXCERPT:

There she was, weaving her way through the crowd, arm-in-arm with another woman. They laughed easily, comfortable in the other’s presence, walking past him without noticing him. Slade rose and followed at a discreet distance. When they reached the street, Iris’ companion hopped into a taxi, and Iris turned and strolled toward the corner where a hover-limo sat waiting.
Hover-limos were pricey, not something your average city dweller could afford. Slade hoped that was her vehicle and she wasn’t walking about the city alone.

He fell into step beside her. She jumped, startled, then recognition flickered in her eyes and her shoulders relaxed.

“Iris. What a pleasure to run into you again. How was the movie?”

“Slade.” She licked her rosy pink lips with her moist tongue. Slade stared, forgetting to breathe. Thankfully, she kept talking and he managed to keep from dissolving into a puddle at her feet.
 “How nice to see you again. I didn’t know you were a movie devotee.”

Slade smiled down at her. “That’s movie ‘buff’, Iris.”

“Of course. Sorry. I don’t do well with slang.”

“I don’t always, either. Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee? Or a nightcap? Your choice.”

Iris looked him up and down, a curious glint in her honey-hazel eyes. “I’d love to.” She pointed at the limo. “That’s my car.”

“I’m glad. You shouldn’t be walking about the city alone, you know.”

“Oh, Mr. Martin. If I were you, I wouldn’t presume to tell me what to do.”

The light, teasing way she said it didn’t belie the seriousness with which her warning was delivered. Slade heard the message loud and clear. They’d reached the limo and he opened the door for her, taking her hand to balance her as she climbed in.

An electric shock shot up his arm. Her scent, all fresh strawberry and vanilla, from her soap or maybe shampoo, imbedded in his brain as she brushed against him. No cloying perfumes for Iris, just natural woman.

Slade was in trouble, the kind that he didn’t have time for right now, and he knew it. He hopped in after her and slammed the door shut.

“Can your chauffeur hear us?”

Her chin lifted. “If I want him to, yes. Should I want him to, Mr. Martin?”

Slade shook his head. “No. I’m glad we can speak freely.” He groaned inwardly as Iris pursed her pouty lips. The woman was just too sexy. He had to get a grip on his libido, and the situation. There were more pressing issues to discuss than stealing a kiss.

“Slade, perhaps you should just blurt out what you think it is I’m going to do to you and your precious foundation.”

“Oh, so now it’s ‘Slade’ again, is it?”

Iris sighed and ran her fingers through her shoulder-length, brown tresses. The silver ring sparkled on her finger. She leaned back in the corner of the seat and glared at him.
“Here it is, Slade. I’m not sure how I came to be invited to sit on your board. If you didn’t want me there, why ask me?”

Slade appreciated her gloves-off approach, and adopted it in the hopes she would appreciate it. “Farnsmore recommended you, and the other board members agreed.”

She met his gaze without flinching. “All but you?”

His Iris certainly was direct, and he admired that. “I agreed. I’m familiar with your charitable endeavors.” He leaned back on the leather seat and crossed his legs at the ankles in the roomy space between them before he continued.

“What puzzles me is your connection to Farnsmore.”

Iris shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I tried to tell you. I never met Reginald Farnsmore before today, but I’m going to make it my business to find out whatever I can about him. Are you curious as to why, Mr. Martin?”

“Sure. Enlighten me.”

Her eyebrow rose at his brazen challenge. “He makes the hair on my arms stand on end.”

Slade watched her without comment. She stared back, unblinking. Iris D’Vance was cold as ice and he planned to be the one to heat her up. “I bet if I tried to kiss you, you’d rip my lips off my face, wouldn’t you?”

Her chin lifted, and her eyes narrowed. Without a word, she dared him to try it. Heat pooled in his groin, his body tightened. Thank God it was dark in the back of the limo and she wouldn’t notice the front of his jeans rising.

What the hell was wrong with him? This woman was likely part of the plot to strip him of everything.

His gut instincts denied it.

Iris hadn’t moved, or looked away. Slade eased across the compartment onto the seat beside her. How long had it been since he’d kissed a woman? Months? Camilla had been the last, and he shouldn’t give that faithless bitch a thought, not now, not with Iris so near. Slade put his arm around her shoulders and drew her to him, unresisting. His mouth lowered to hers.

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MONEY BACK GUARANTEE

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RayneForrest/KC Kendricks

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