Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SINS FROM HER PAST by Jules Bennett

SINS FROM HER PAST by Jules Bennett

Scandalous Series, Book 1

Don't miss Jules new contemporary romance series that will reveal secrets and change lives forever! Facing their past may just destroy their future.

After her parents' deaths, Evelyn Banks endured a living hell for nearly two years at the hands of her godfather's son. She couldn't tell anyone...not her brother, and certainly not the godfather who took them in.

Now she is twenty-five—and still trapped in silence. After all the time, no one would believe her. And any revelation of her shame could halt her godfather's political aspirations. But what she can do is take her design firm to the next level with a project for her brother's best friend. Handsome, sexy hotelier Vincent Hawk.

Vin has always had a thing for Evie, but kept his hands off out of respect for her brother. Now that they're traveling together, though, keeping his distance is tearing him apart. Except every move he makes to get close is met with not just mere resistance, but with a fear-whitened face and trembling body.

Evie can't deny she's falling for Vin, but accepting their future means facing her past...a past that could destroy everyone she loves.
 
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Copyright © 2012 Jules Bennett
 All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Evelyn wanted to jump at the chance to work with Vincent on a one-on-one level, but first she had to tell herself to wake up and face reality. He’d called her over to discuss business. They hadn’t seen each other in months and he was strictly a businessman. He’d come to Miami often enough to do business with Marshall’s Design Group, where she’d worked, and they’d gone to dinner a few times as friends, but their friendship hadn’t changed since she’d met him at sixteen. She’d always wondered what, if anything, could’ve happened between them, but fate had intervened in an ugly, evil way.

Apparently she was a tad na├»ve, because she’d convinced herself he’d finally realized she was more than Dylan’s sister. But he’d never shown any interest in her before, so why should today be any different.

And besides all that, even if he did make a move, would she be able to follow through? How could she be intimate with someone after all she’d been through?

God, she’d thought losing her parents had been bad—that had just been the start of her nightmares.

“You really think we can work together?” she asked. “You’ve never worked with just me before.”

“I’m confident we can both be professionals and our friendship will only be an advantage. You already know my tastes.”

His gaze traveled over her, sending chills she never thought she’d experience in a positive way.

She would try her hardest to work with him if he was willing, because with a client like Vincent Hawk in her pocket, she would have quite the portfolio of images to show future clients.

Maybe working with Vin would help her overcome her fears and get past the years of torture she’d been exposed to. But what if he did make a move on her in a nonfriend way? Would she freak out? Would Vin want answers to questions she couldn’t answer?

Work. She had to concentrate on work. Her personal life was a jumbled mess and one she’d never drag another human being into. Not even her brother.

“Evie?”

Vincent’s questioning tone brought her back to reality and away from the nightmare her mind was spiraling toward.

“Is there a certain reason you asked me?” She eased forward on the chaise, crossing her legs. “Not that I’m not grateful, but I’m just curious—why me, why now? You always seemed happy with Marshall’s.”

He smiled, showcasing a set of twin dimples. “Like I said, I’m ready to take my future projects in a new direction. This is my first resort and I want it to be different from my usual luxury hotels. Besides, I value your professional opinion.”

Hope soared through her. “Wait a minute. Let me just savor this moment.”

He smacked her leg. “Quit being a smart ass,” he laughed. “Are you up for the job or not?”

“What if you don’t like what I come up with?”

Those dark eyes held her. “If I thought I’d be disappointed, you wouldn’t be here.”

Evelyn looked into those deep gray eyes, the ones with the slight wrinkles around the corners, the ones that had kept her dreaming each night for years—until she realized he wasn’t interested and even if he was, she had issues that he wouldn’t be able to deal with.

Even if putting the issues aside was possible, she didn’t do flings. Ever. Vin was well known for being a lover of the ladies and he made no apologies about it. Added to that, she had enough skeletons in her closet to make Vin turn and run the other way…straight into the arms of another woman whose closet was probably full of size zero slinky dresses, unlike hers, where the size twelves were her “small” clothes.

But right now he was handing her a prime opportunity and she wasn’t about to let her insecurities ruin this.

Vincent Hawk was known throughout the world for building lavish hotels, but he’d been planning this resort since he’d graduated college. Even more impressive was the fact he was only in his late twenties and his empire rivaled that of Donald Trump—of course, Vin had a few tats, a nearly shaved head and mesmerizing gray eyes so the financial aspect was the only thing Vin had in common with the Donald.

And now this beautiful, sometimes frustrating man—a man she’d known for several years on a somewhat personal level—was technically going to be her employer.

Evelyn ran a hand down her crisp white capris. “Okay, you’ve obviously thought this proposal through. I have to admit I’d be a fool to turn this project down.”

His wide, signature smile spread across his face, deepening the subtle lines around his eyes. “You’re no fool.”

“When do you need me to start?”

“Immediately,” he told her. “We’ll be spending an exorbitant amount of time together so I can keep my project under deadline and under budget.”

“You always worry about the budget,” she told him. “You are aware of your own financial standings…right?”

He laughed. “Always, but when you come from nothing, you tend to always watch your wallet.”

Evelyn’s mind whirled at the possibilities. This would so launch her into where she wanted her small company to be. Then she could focus on taking charge of her life and not letting her past nightmare control her. And if she and Vin were traveling, it lowered the chances of coming face to face with her past. That was reason enough to want the job.

Even though she’d convinced herself to move back, start her own business and not let that frightened, teenage girl run her life, she still couldn’t get past the fears and memories that this beautiful beachy town evoked.

“If you’re spending all your time with me, won’t your hoards of women get jealous?” she asked, focusing on here and now.

Way to go, Evelyn. Just be blatant in asking if he’s seeing someone.

He quirked a brow. “When they get jealous, that’s when I know it’s time to move on. Any woman I get involved with knows where she stands up front. Always. I’m not a forever—or even a long-term—type of guy.”

Evelyn swallowed at the idea of how many women had probably come and gone in Vin’s life over the years. Did most people look at sex so casually? Perhaps she would to if…

“I hope you can clear your schedule because I will need your undivided attention.”

She smiled. “I can clear mine. The question is can you clear yours? You forget I know how often you like to entertain.”

He held his palms up and shrugged. “I can’t help it if I’m popular,” he said with a smile that had no doubt charmed many ladies into dropping their panties. “But you have nothing to worry about.”

“I’d feel better knowing none of your women are going to come at me with jealous vengeance.”

Vincent’s smile warmed her…a sensation that had nothing to do with friendship. “Have no doubt. All the women I know are shallow, self-absorbed. But none of them are vengeful.”

Evelyn lifted a brow and smiled. “Vin, do I need to remind you of the time you came back to the apartment you shared with Dylan and Alan your senior year of college and found all of your clothes bleached?”

Rich laughter sounded through the room as he sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “That was years ago, Evelyn. I’ve learned to have a little more finesse since then.”

“Finesse? You mean you honed all of your smooth talking? Why have I never witnessed it?”

For a brief moment, she thought she’d seen heat, desire glaze over his soft eyes—which was most certainly the only soft thing on him—but just as soon as she had the thought, the look was gone.

“Anytime you want to hear my smooth talking you just let me know,” he told her with a wink and a flash of those mocking twin dimples.

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