Release date: December 29, 2014
With a business to grow and a teenaged son to raise, Catherine Bennett doesn’t have time for a social life. Even if it is the holiday season. Besides, after her ex’s betrayal, she’s not willing to open up her heart again. But when she leases office space in Dominic Russo’s building, she can’t keep her mind—or her eyes—off her new landlord. Only problem is he happens to be a known womanizer…and her professional rival.
Unfortunately for Dominic, Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelor is definitely experiencing a dry spell. He hasn’t dated in months, contrary to the rumors, yet convincing career-minded Catherine that there’s more to him than his reputation will be a challenge. Since she’s determined to focus on work, he offers her an irresistible chance at winning a huge contract if she partners with his company.
Can he show Catherine that mixing business with pleasure wouldn’t be such a bad idea this New Year’s Eve?
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Peggy Bird lives in the Pacific Northwest where she sets most of her novels. To stay out of trouble—and the rain—she writes stories about smart women and sexy men and creates the occasional piece of glass art. Find Peggy at www.peggybirdwrites.net, on Facebook, and on Twitter @peggybirdwrites.
An excerpt from Ringing in Love:
“Why are you letting them in our building where they can spy on us and steal our clients?” Edie asked Dominic.
“It’s not ‘our’ building. It’s my building.” He took the papers she’d been waving around as she spoke. “Catherine Bennett’s firm has all the qualifications to be a good tenant, and I’ve had a hard time filling the space the engineering firm left when it moved. Besides, we already have several other threats to our business, as you describe them, in the building and we’ve been fine.”
“But the other communications firms aren’t—she’s the one—they’re the people who’ve been getting too much of the work we should have gotten.”
“We have more than enough clients to keep us busy. And we’re on track to have the most profitable year in a decade. I’m not worried Bennett and Associates will listen in on our plans through the HVAC system and we’ll go under.” He could see she was not responding to his attempts to make light of her concerns. “Why don’t you think of it another way—now we have all our strongest competitors in one place so we can watch them.”
Edie’s face brightened a bit. “Oh, I never thought of it that way. Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s a brilliant plan. I hope so, Dominic.”
“Now, other than to bitch about Catherine Bennett what brought you to my office this lovely Monday?”
When Edie left, the thought of Catherine Bennett didn’t go with her. Dominic’s morning encounter with Ms. Bennett had been a welcome start to the day. In spite of being a bit sweaty and in clothes miles away from the stylish suit she’d worn the first time he’d met her, she was stunning. Her olive skin and her dark chocolate brown hair and eyes, which didn’t fit with her WASP-y name, had intrigued him from the first. Still did, even though now he knew from a little background research that her coloring was from an Italian heritage as deep as his own. And there wasn’t a man alive—well, a straight one—who wouldn’t fantasize about the luscious curves even moving-day clothes couldn’t hide. She wasn’t some stick-thin model who served as a hanger for the latest designer’s ideas of fashion. She had the body of a real woman. A real woman with considerable ability and the drive to take her firm all the way to success. It was quite a combination.
Dominic had wanted to get to know Catherine Bennett ever since he’d seen her give her presentation. Mostly he’d wanted to see if she was as smart and interesting one-on-one as she’d sounded on the dais. And he wouldn’t mind finding out if she was as sexy in a more intimate situation as she was when she walked across a room in her pencil skirt and stilettos. He was bored to tears with the business dates he’d been stuck with for what seemed like an eternity. Catherine Bennett looked, sounded, and acted different.
And it wouldn’t hurt to size up the woman who was making such a splash in his industry. Mixing business and pleasure was what he did on a regular basis. Most of his recent social life, including the women he escorted to the theater or dinner, had been more about marketing his business than about anything personal. At least if he were doing the mixing with Ms. Bennett, he might actually enjoy what he felt he had to do to keep his company on top.
A fixture in public relations and advertising in Philadelphia for more years than Dominic cared to think about, The Russo Group was the biggest, the most highly regarded, most sought after communications firm in the city. Catherine Bennett had only been on the scene for a half dozen or so years, but she’d made a name for herself in a niche he’d never thought about—marketing and advertising for socially responsible companies who wanted to do more than make a profit at any price. He admired someone who could find a new facet to a business he thought he knew cold and owned outright.
He’d told Edie the truth about how he viewed Bennett and Associates—there was plenty of business for both of them. But the fact was, relocating to the building where the big boys played meant Catherine Bennett was moving up in his world. It wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on her.
Or was he making business excuses to do what he wanted to do for personal reasons? And did it matter anyway?