After finding out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with her boss, Carly decides her life needs a makeover. She trades in her winter coat for a bikini and heads south to Miami, Florida. Almost as soon as she arrives, she falls in lust with the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Too bad he’s her new boss.
Alpha werewolf Nick gave up hope of finding his mate a century ago. When sexy redhead Carly comes to work for him, she disrupts his entire world. Although he desperately wants to come clean about what he is, he keeps running into problems. Like the fact that an ancient enemy has set his sights on Carly. Nick discovers he’ll go to any lengths to keep her safe. Even if it means losing her in the process.
“I’m going to need a bigger moving trailer.” Carly Kendall entered her bedroom carrying another empty moving box.
“You need to get laid,” Sarah, Carly’s best friend of fifteen years and roommate of four, said as she grabbed the box from her.
Carly rolled her eyes and picked up a handful of thick, winter scarves from the floor. “No, what I need is a change of scenery. I’m tired of Chicago and I’m tired of this weather. Miami is the perfect place for a new start. Sunny weather year round.”
“What about hurricanes?”
Carly shrugged and dumped her handful on the bed. “Better than snowstorms and blackouts.”
Sarah sat on the edge of Carly’s bed and held up the scarves. “What do you want me to do with these?”
“Keep half of them and put the rest in the box marked winter clothes. I won’t need them where I’m going.” She grinned at her friend as she turned back toward her closet.
“And this has nothing to do with that snake Dan?” Sarah asked.
Carly turned to find her friend digging through her jewelry. “Hey, I said you could take some scarves, not half my room… And no, this has nothing to do with him.”
“Hmm.” Sarah avoided her gaze as she opened a drawer and dumped it into one of the boxes.
Carly cringed at her friend’s lack of organization. She’d be digging through boxes for days trying to figure out what went where. “Okay, maybe it has a little to do with him, but a lot to do with the fact that I need to mix it up. I don’t have any family here—”
“Hey!” The hurt look on Sarah’s face made Carly cringe.
“I didn’t mean it like that. You know you’re like family to me, girl. It’s just…I don’t know, I need something different right now. I can’t explain it.” She sighed and flopped down on her bed. Finding out her boyfriend—now ex-boyfriend—had been cheating on her hadn’t bothered her much. That was a sign in itself that she should have broken up with Dan months ago. Hell, with their conflicting schedules they hadn’t had sex in over four months. And they hadn’t had good sex in she couldn’t remember how long.
The only thing that pissed her off was that he’d been screwing her boss. Certainly explained all that overtime she’d been roped into doing. At least now she had a nice savings account. She wasn’t worried about finding work, and now she’d have time to relax and learn her way around the city before job hunting. Not to mention she planned to hit the beach as soon as she got there.
“Fine, I guess I understand. But I reserve the right to come visit you anytime.”
“As if that was ever an issue. You better come visit me.”
“I can’t believe you’re living with your grandmother.” Sarah snorted as she dumped the contents of another drawer into the same box.
Carly jumped off the bed and scooted Sarah out of the way with her hip. “How about you stick with boxing my clothes and I’ll take over this dresser… And, I’m not living with her. I’m living in the apartment behind her house.”
“Same thing,” Sarah mumbled.
It wasn’t, but Carly didn’t correct her. She knew Sarah was bummed she was leaving and the truth was, Sarah was the only reason she’d even contemplated staying in Chicago in the first place. Carly’s grandmother had moved to Florida two years ago and she’d almost left then, but back then she’d loved her job and friends. She still loved her friends, but it was time to take control of her life.
As she unhooked a string of beads she and Sarah had gotten at the last St. Patrick’s Day parade, an unexpected wave of emotions threatened to overwhelm her. “You want to put off packing and head to Cullen’s Bar for happy hour?”
Sarah swiveled from the closet. She dropped the bundle of shirts in her hand and grinned. “Hell yeah.”
Carly pulled the ponytail holder from her hair and gave herself a quick glance in the mirror. One night of partying with her friend wouldn’t make a difference in how soon she got to Miami.
* * * * *
Two Weeks Later
Nick Lazos slammed his office door shut and sank into his comfortable chair with a sigh. He turned on his computer and sat back, waiting for it to start. After the last disastrous interview, he seriously hoped he had some new responses to his want ad. He glanced at the wall clock when there was a soft knock at his door. Inwardly he groaned. He’d been hoping the last interviewee wouldn’t show up today. His mother had talked him into interviewing one of her friend’s granddaughters. If she was anything like the last woman his mom had recommended—he fought off a shudder.
“Come in,” he barked. Better get this over with.
The door creaked open and his throat seized up almost instantly. This could not be the woman here to interview.
A pretty redhead took a couple tentative steps inside. Her ivory cheeks were flushed a delectable shade of pink. “Hi, I’m Carly Kendall. I hope I’m not late.”
Somehow he found his voice. “You’re right on time.” Instinctively he stood and motioned for her to sit across the desk. Now he wished he’d taken a few minutes to straighten up.
She wore a respectable dark blue pencil skirt and button-down blouse. So why did it look sexy as hell on her? She looked like a naughty librarian. The shape of her perfectly rounded breasts pressed against her top. Not too big, not too small, but just right. Not to mention her scent. It was unusual, like a spring rain and a hint of raspberries— Shit, she was saying something.
“I appreciate you taking the time to interview me. Here’s my résumé.” She slid it across the desk as she spoke.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself and why you want to work here?” There, he got out a coherent sentence. He deserved a freaking medal for being able to talk when she was staring at him with those big blue eyes, begging him to do all sorts of bad things. Damn, he could practically feel his canines extending. As a werewolf, he’d learned to control his urges as a cub. For some reason, his primal instinct was overruling all those ingrained rules. When she nervously moistened her lips he realized he was staring a little too hard.
Nick quickly glanced at her résumé. “Finance?” Good for him. Another word. He looked up again.
A real smile touched her shiny pink lips. “Oh yes. After college I started working at…”
Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit! He’d always had a thing for redheads. Funny that he’d never dated one, but especially not a human one. And now his living, breathing fantasy wanted to work for him. She wasn’t glamorous or exotic—or a shifter—but she was exactly his type. Something he hadn’t realized he even had until she’d walked through the door of his office. Adorable freckles splattered her nose and cheeks, giving her an innocent quality he usually detested in a woman.
He wanted a woman who understood the score. A woman with experience. Too bad his dick had other plans. It had taken one look at sexy Ms. Kendall and gone on red alert. What the fuck was wrong with him? He’d been in her presence sixty seconds and he felt like one of his barbaric ancestors, ready to take her back to his cave and claim her.
“And with five years experience I think I can be a great asset to your company.” She sat there staring at him expectantly.
What the hell had she been saying? Was she expecting a response? He cleared his throat and glanced down at her résumé, mainly so he wouldn’t freak her out by staring. She certainly had the right work history. Hell, more than enough to do this job. Dealing with his roughneck employees is what had caused the last assistant to leave though. Of course, she’d had a permanent stick up her ass so he’d been happy to see that one go even if she had left him high and dry.
“Mr. Lazos?” Carly—Ms. Kendall—crossed her toned legs and bit her bottom lip.
She stared at him with those intoxicating eyes and he knew he needed to say something. Anything. Before the words were out, he was completely aware he was going to regret this, but what choice did he have. He didn’t have time to go through a dozen more interviews and she had more than enough qualifications. Not to mention, viable candidates weren’t banging down the door to work here. So what if he ended up walking around with a permanent hard-on. He’d get used to it.
He cleared his throat. “This all looks very impressive. If you started here, you’d be in charge of payroll and handle all the accounting for this shop and the other two I own. I have about forty-five employees, but I plan to expand soon. Do you think that’s something you could handle?”
“At my last job I handled the payroll for close to two hundred people and I’m a certified CPA so I could take care of all your taxes at the end of the year too.” Her words came out in a rush.
Turning her down simply because she made him hot would be a mistake. Carly Kendall was a dream employee. She had all the qualifications and then some. “I pay bi-weekly and if it works out, after thirty days you get medical and dental, two weeks paid vacation, and ten paid sick days.” He rattled off the salary and when she blinked, he knew she’d take the job if he offered it.
“Can you start this week?” he managed to choke out.
Her gorgeous blue eyes widened as if that had been the last thing she’d expected. Her mouth dropped open for a fraction of a second before she contained herself. “Yes, of course. Tomorrow, if you want. Uh, don’t you want to check my references?”
Good God, where was his head? “I plan to make the necessary calls today. If there’s a problem, I’ll contact you. If not, I’ll see you tomorrow.”