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Heart’s Desire (Unparalleled Love #1)
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Coworkers Nathan Crenshaw and Janice Livingston once had a passionate relationship that went up in flames and created a strained environment at their place of employment. Since then Janice has tried to move on. Unfortunately, they have to work together, and unfortunately, she’s still very attracted to Nathan.
Nathan can’t forget his connection with Janice—a connection he hasn’t experienced with any other woman. After an earth-shattering kiss rekindles their flame, will these two finally get it right—or will an outside force get in the way?
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She pretended not to notice him, but that was nearly impossible. Nathan Crenshaw was hard to miss. He strode across the conference room floor with fluid movements, his walnut-brown skin practically glowing beneath the rays of the sun that came through the half-open blinds.
Today he wore all black—black slacks, jacket, tie, and a black shirt. Tall and muscular, he looked like one of the celebrities who frequented their high-end hotel, as if he’d left a photo shoot and stopped in for coffee. But Nathan could wear anything and look fashion-ready. She’d seen him lounging in sweats at his apartment, and he’d looked just as good.
Janice turned away, but the sound of his laughter cut through the low murmur of voices and made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.
“Today he’s wearing all black. Lord, that man is fine.”
With her back turned to the room, Janice refrained from rolling her eyes at the breathless quality of Precious’s voice.
Precious was Nathan’s administrative assistant and didn’t know that Janice and Nathan used to date. At work, no one did, because they’d kept their relationship hush-hush.
“Hello, ladies.” His friendly voice floated on the air and filled the room.
Instead of turning around, Janice murmured a hello and ignored the quiver in her belly as she poured sugar into her post-lunch coffee.
“Hi, Nathan. How was your weekend?” Precious asked.
From the corner of her eye, Janice saw Precious straighten her spine and smooth her hands over her hips. If she weren’t dark-skinned, a red blush would color her cheeks right now.
“Couldn’t have been better. I took Abram to a basketball game, and his team won after a nail-biting finish in overtime. And he had the winning basket.”
Nathan’s sixteen-year-old brother played basketball in a community league organized by the churches in their area.
“That’s wonderful!” Precious said, still breathless.
This time, Janice did roll her eyes as she stirred the sugar in her coffee.
“They’re going to the finals. I’m really proud of him.”
“I’m sure he’s happy to have such a supportive big brother.” Precious cleared her throat. “Did you get a chance to eat? I could order some food for you.”
“No, I’m good. I grabbed a sandwich at the cafe downstairs.”
“A sandwich? That’s no good.”
“It’ll have to do. If I hadn’t had that emergency conference call, I could have joined you all for lunch. I’m sure the food was delicious.”
“It was. I love Italian. Too bad you missed it.” Precious picked up her coffee. “I’ll scoot on over to my seat and get in place to take notes. Excuse me.”
As Nathan came to stand beside her at the sidebar, tension seeped into Janice’s body.
“And how are you today, Janice?”
The way he said her name always did something to her. She rolled back her shoulders. “Great,” she replied, calmly stirring cream in the coffee and then taking a tentative sip as she glanced sideways at him.
His dark brown skin was the perfect canvas for any color in the rainbow. Add to that his high cheekbones and lips as plump and succulent-looking as ripe plums, and it was no wonder he easily turned heads and had grown women crushing on him at work.
“And how was your weekend?” He poured a cup of coffee. He drank his with no sugar or cream, one of the many details she remembered from their relationship a few years ago.
“Did you go out?”
“I did. Went to a club and danced the night away. It was fun.”
He slowly nodded. “Still partying hard, huh?”
“Not too hard.” On occasion, she went to a club or lounge to relax on the weekend and unload the stress of the work week.
“I’m sure you had men lined up to be your dance partners.”
“Nothing quite so dramatic,” Janice demurred, though she was pleased by the compliment.
Nathan chuckled, low and sexy, showing off pretty teeth and dimples. She hated that laugh. Not because it annoyed her, but because it was so enticing she longed to hear it over and over again and highlighted the smallest regret that she and Nathan were no longer a couple.
But they were in a good place now, and she had to remember that. Friendly, able to engage in polite conversation and the occasional banter the way they used to before they became romantically involved.
“At least you’re not still wasting your time with boys,” he said, amusement filtering into his eyes.
Janice arched an eyebrow. “Who says I’m wasting my time with boys?”
“I’ve seen the men you date now, remember?” He lowered his voice, arching an eyebrow right back at her.
Janice’s voice also went lower. “Once. One time you saw me on a date with a younger man. That’s not my norm.” Unfortunately, she’d run into Nathan at the movie theater she and her date had gone to.
At thirty-six, she figured she’d try something different, so why not try a younger man? She’d assumed younger men were easier to deal with in relationships, and she wouldn’t have to worry about getting serious because they were in their prime and not looking for anything permanent. Au contraire. Her experiment had been a bust. The first one she dated was too immature and saw her as a bank to borrow money from. The second became attached way too soon, so she’d had to end the relationship before it started.