Baiting the Boss
by Coleen Kwan
For years Grace Owens harbored a secret crush on her boss, Jack Macintyre, the heir to the Macintyre Corporation. But after tragedy upends his life, Jack relocates to a remote tropical island, cutting off all contact with his past. Now Grace’s new boss issues an ultimatum: return Jack to the family fold or pack her briefcase and move on.
When Grace turns up at Jack's bungalow, he can’t deny his attraction to the fiery woman determined to lure him out of his tropical paradise. He lets her bait him with temptation, but little does she know that returning to his old life is not an option—he’s nobody’s boss, and he likes it that way. Grace is playing a game she can’t win.
Or can she? Will Jack give up his island paradise to help Grace keep her job? If he stays, she'll lose her job. But if he goes, she'll lose her heart.
As she turned to float on her back, she spied Jack at the water’s edge and almost went under. He’d taken off his T-shirt, and the sight of his bare, toned abdomen took her breath away. Desire spiraled in her as she drank in his burnished chest with its flecking of hairs pointing straight down into the waistband of his board shorts. His shoulders flexed as he smoothed back his hair, the heat haze bathing him in a sultry, golden aura. He was a demigod, with the power to make her forget who she was.
She’d never experienced such a visceral reaction to a man before, and it scared her. What would happen if they got too close? If he kissed her again, she wouldn’t be able to resist. Swiveling away, she dived underwater and kicked her way through the crystal-clear water.
But why should she resist? They were both single, unattached. Why shouldn’t they kiss as much as they wanted? The idea sent her corkscrewing to the surface. She popped up and refilled her lungs, treading water. Jack shot up with a splash not far from her.
“You took off like a tadpole.” He flicked the hair away from his eyes. “Where are you going?”
Away from temptation. “Uh, nowhere in particular.” She felt for the bottom of the pool, but found only more water.
In a couple of strokes he was right in front of her. “I can stand here. Hold onto me.” As she glanced nervously at the bulk of his shoulder, his eyes twinkled. “I don’t bite, you know.”
Oh, it wasn’t his bite she was afraid of. She placed a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks.”
“On the other hand…” His eyes sparkled even brighter. “The eels in this pool have been known to nibble.”
“Eels!” She grabbed onto him with both hands, casting a jittery look at the still waters around them.
A low chuckle rumbled in his chest. “Just kidding. They don’t bite.”
“But there are eels?”
“Small ones only, and they’re shy.”
She couldn’t suppress a shudder. “I don’t know whether to believe you or not.”
“Would I lie to you?”
“Probably. You’re a man, aren’t you?”
His teeth gleamed white. “Glad you noticed.”
How could she not notice? Then she realized that Jack’s arm was around her waist, and she was clinging to his shoulders. Eels weren’t the only danger here. Far more dangerous was the way their chests were stuck together, her breasts pushing up against the water-dappled wall of his chest.
She swallowed and noticed he was breathing heavily, too. Up close in the brilliant sunshine, she could see every detail of him, from the fascinating specks of violet in his gray irises, to the black stubble peppering his chin, to the faint quirk in his lips. A tiny muscle pumped in his jaw, an indication that her proximity was affecting him, too.
“I told myself I wouldn’t do this again,” he muttered, almost talking to himself.
“Do what? Joke about eels?”
“Yeah, that too.” Using his free hand, he traced a finger down the curve of her cheek. The unexpected tenderness in his gesture made her senses leap. “You’re going home tomorrow.”
She nodded, unable to speak.
“And I won’t see you again. At least, not in the foreseeable future.” He smoothed back her hair, tucking a wet tendril behind her ear. “It wouldn’t be fair to take advantage of you.”
He was talking as if she were still a naive young graduate. “Maybe I’m the one taking advantage of you.”
His eyebrows shot up. His hand stilled on her cheek. “But you’re…”
“A grown woman able to make my own decisions.” When it came to men she’d always been too shy to make the first move, but Jack made her feel so different, so sensual and wanton. She wanted him, right here and now, and she couldn’t think of a single reason to hold back. “Also, a very horny woman right now.”
Grace Owens always harbored a secret crush for her old boss and when she is asked to bring him back, after leaving three years ago, she becomes a woman on a mission. What she finds is a surf bum in lieu of her boss and it puts her a little off her game.
Jack MacIntyre walked away, blaming his family and circumstances for a tragedy he felt deep in his heart. Seeing Grace in a whole new light though is unexpected, their tempers flare as well as an undeniable attraction but Jack is not willing to give his heart and Grace is quickly losing hers.
Wonderful story, I thought this was an unexpected plot line that I have not read before. I liked that Grace was frustrated with Jack, his reasoning make sense but he also had put a lot of weight into the blame game. a fun read.
Casting My Characters – Coleen Kwan
When writing a book, I find it often helps to think of it as a movie and to picture my story as a series of scenes. It helps even more if I can populate my imaginary movie with real actors playing the characters in my book. My new book, Baiting the Boss, starts off in a tropical island, so naturally there’re plenty of opportunities for skimpy clothing and hot bodies! So which actors would I cast to play my hero, Jack Macintyre, and my heroine, Grace Owens?
Joe Manganiello. Famous for his role as a werewolf in True Blood, Joe would make a great Jack Macintyre. With his dark good looks, brooding magnetism, and a fantastic set of abs, he’d make any woman swoon. Jack is also a hero tormented by the mistakes he made in his past, and I think Joe Manganiello has the right maturity to convey this. He’d make an awesome Jack Macintyre.
Jennifer Lawrence. This gifted actor has been called “the most talented young actress in America” by Rolling Stone magazine. I’m picking her to play Grace Owens because in the film The Hunger Games she showed guts and determination, and in my story Grace has to cope with a lot of setbacks. On top of all that acting talent, Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful in a natural way, which is exactly how I picture my heroine.
Marquesas Islands. These islands, which are part of French Polynesia, were my inspiration when I invented Filemu Island, the tropical island which features in my book. The Marquesas Islands are remote and stunningly beautiful, with towering mountains and waterfalls cascading down volcanic cliffs. As I scrolled through images of these idyllic islands, it was all too easy to imagine my hero and heroine in this paradise, enjoying their surroundings, and gradually, bit by bit, falling for each other.
So there you are! I have my lead actor, lead actress, and the location all sorted for the movie of Baiting the Boss. How could any Hollywood producer resist? In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading my book.
Thanks for having me on your blog!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.
Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.
Coleen will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
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