When lawyer Elyce Anderson threatens to sue her estranged husband to stop construction on a environmentally fragile inlet, he proposes a deal. If Elyce attends his family’s annual Christmas vacation—playing the role of dutiful wife—he’ll save the inlet from development.
Elyce may not trust Karl, but when his efforts to woo her back take a surprisingly forceful turn, her mind loses the battle with her body again and again. It’s her every secret erotic fantasy come to life. In bed, up against the wall, in the bathroom—she’s shocked by Karl’s demands, but greedy for more. She almost manages to convince herself that’s only the result of a tension buildup from going a year without sex. Almost.
The frosty wonderland and long, hot winter nights rock Elyce’s world, but it’s all familiar at the same time. Elyce remembers what she and Karl once had, and she’s willing to be convinced. If they can iron out their differences, they just might fall in love all over again for Christmas.
This title was previously released in 2008 and re-issued in 2015.
Excerpt from Snow Job
Copyright 2008, Delphine Dryden. All rights reserved.
“We will take you to court. You know that.”
No greetings, no small talk. She charged in with guns blazing, just like the last time and every time before that.
Karl sat and watched as Elyce made her impassioned case. She hated him for that, for his unshakeable calm, his amused smile, the way his shirt framed his broad shoulders in that distracting way. She knew the sleek haircut that tamed his tawny-gold curls back from his firm, even features probably cost more than her last tank of gas—and she hated him for that too.
“Elyce. Nice to see you too,” he replied smoothly when she had lost enough momentum to pause for air. “Get you something? Coffee?”
“No thank you.”
He stood up, and up and up, all six foot three of him. Moving to the door with athletic grace, he closed it behind her after giving his secretary a nod of dismissal. Closing the two of them in together.
“Now,” he said from directly behind her, making her jump in surprise, “why don’t we skip the preliminaries and get to the real issue?”
She felt frozen to the spot, barely able to speak as she felt his hands slide up her arms, trailing over the fabric of her jacket so lightly she could almost ignore it. But not quite.
“The real issue? The real issue is your plan to develop along the Tahoe inlet. There are two species of threatened fairy shrimp that—”
“Bullshit,” he said, but with a certain amount of humor. His grip tightened above her elbows and he pulled her back against him decisively.
Was it his size, she wondered with the tiny part of her brain that could still think, or was it something to do with pheromones? Karl did what no other man ever could—make her feel tiny, even with her lanky, five-foot-nine frame. Overpowered, submissive. Girly.
And in bed . . .
“I’m here to talk about the shrimp!” she insisted, wresting herself away from his hands and turning to face him with a glare that had sent lesser men running from her presence. Karl returned her gaze calmly, smug and self-assured.
“Have you even read the proposal or are you just working off assumptions?”
“I don’t need to read your proposal to know that turning a fragile ecosystem into a residential neighborhood is—”
“It isn’t a plan for a residential neighborhood, actually.” His voice was casual, but his slate-blue gaze was hard. Something in his tone spoke of having reached a bottom line, of having limited patience for the current conversation. Karl stepped to the side of the room, pouring himself a drink from a crystal decanter at the lavish bar that dominated that wall. His motions were easy and sure, his tall frame favored with the lean, elegant muscularity of a jungle cat. Elyce had to pry her eyes off his butt, which was showcased magnificently but tastefully in his tailored trousers.
“What do you want, Karl?”
“What do you mean? You’re the one who barged into my office and started talking. Or did you think I had my company put together a big development deal someplace with a fragile ecosystem in the hopes of luring you here to argue with me about it?”
Elyce wouldn’t put it past him. “There’s no argument, Karl. You go forward with this and we sue. The next time I see you will be in a deposition.”
He put his drink down and moved toward her as if to open the door. When he brushed past her, Elyce could swear she felt sparks fly between their bodies. “Fine then. Thanks for the friendly warning, Mrs. Nash. Sorry . . . I meant Ms. Anderson.”
“What the hell do you want, Karl?”
“You know what I want.” There was no humor this time, no softness. Only sex and steel, and Elyce felt the familiar thrill sprint down her spine, the old warmth pooling between her thighs. She hadn’t moved from where she stood and Karl hadn’t actually opened the door.
“I have to go.”
“Then go.” Still the door remained closed. And then he was behind her again, hands on her waist this time, tugging her off balance until her weight was supported by him from shoulder to hip. The fit was too familiar. She caught herself curving into his body and forced herself to straighten up.
“You picked a sensitive area like this for your project, and you honestly expect me to believe you didn’t know I’d be breaking down the door?” She clenched her teeth, breathing through her nose. It was a mistake. She had wanted calm, and instead she was treated to the smell of Karl’s aftershave, subtle and warm and spicy.
“I won’t say I didn’t expect that. But no, it wasn’t a deciding factor in the location. A fringe benefit maybe. Have you really not read the proposal? We have a preliminary impact statement.”
Trust Karl, she thought, to make the phrase “preliminary impact statement” sound like a proposition. Or maybe, just maybe, that was only in her own mind. But his hands, cupping her elbows then sliding upward, were not only in her mind. His thumbs and forefingers gently encircled her upper arms. Big hands . . . long fingers that knew every inch of her.
“Make a rotten meal. Way too small. Nice and crunchy though.”
She twisted away from him and sidestepped his grasp, making her way toward the door. “Visiting in person was a mistake. I felt I owed you a warning and now you’ve had it, so I’m leaving.”
“Oh come on, Elyce, I was only—”
The door closed between them with the expensive thud of solid wood and Elyce stalked out of the well-appointed reception area, only pausing to smile wanly and wave back at Karl’s secretary—before realizing the woman had called her “Mrs. Nash” yet again.
Anderson, she told herself, stepping into the gleaming, mahogany-paneled elevator. It’s Anderson. Or at least it would be again, soon.