Merger to Marriage (Boardrooms and Billi - By Addison Fox Page 0,1

clothes in her hotel room five floors up.

With a quick shimmy out of the now-ruined slip that bore the same stain as the bridesmaid dress, she suited up in the silk sheath she’d thought to stow in her bag. The designer had given her the dress after she covered his photo shoot the previous month and she’d been in love with it ever since. The simple lines of the dark indigo dress belied the real genius in the design. The silk clung to her figure like a lover, yet hid any areas she’d prefer the eye skimmed over.

She glanced in the mirror to confirm her chignon was still in place with its iron-clad application of hairspray and then she was on her way. Maybe she’d still get a glass of the Bordeaux if she hurried.

The sounds of the wedding got louder as she stepped off the elevator and clicked down the marble hallway in her heels. Her sister, Keira, had already declared she wasn’t doing anything as traditional as a bouquet toss, but Mayson was looking forward to the distribution of roses that every woman would get after the cake was cut, and she hoped she hadn’t missed it.

As if on cue, the doors flung wide as she approached. A harried florist, his arms full of blooms, let out a string of curses that would quell even the most well-spoken sailor. Mayson stumbled backward to keep her footing and avoid getting slammed with the heavy ballroom door.

Her maneuver had almost worked when her second foot came down hard on the marble and her ankle twisted, shooting the spiky heel out from underneath her. A string of curses of her own came barreling out of her mouth, her arms flapping while she tried to catch her balance. The loud oomph that hit her ears was the last thing she expected as a hard chest pressed against her back and a tuxedo-clad sleeve wrapped around her.

“You okay?” The heavy voice floated over her, the tones distinctly cultured and cold.

“I’m fine.”

Her racing pulse didn’t slow, nor did the arm wrapped around her body release her. A slight warmth flooded her belly, the opposite of what she should be feeling locked in a stranger’s embrace. She struggled to get some distance. The effort was to no avail, her heels clicking against the floor as she attempted to right herself.

“You’re fine?” The words were lower than the last spoken, and she caught another distinct note layered over the cool refinement.


“You think this is funny?” She stilled, that slight edge of humor stopping her more effectively than anything could have.

“I think you’re moving like there’s a fire somewhere and now you’re paying for it.”

“I wanted to get back to the wedding.”

“So you thought it made sense to run through the lobby on those stilts? Not that I can argue with their effect on your legs.”

“I didn’t want to miss the Bordeaux. And why else would I bother wearing them?”

“So Nathan went ahead with it.”

She puzzled at the rapid change of pace and the loss of warmth as the arm that banded her loosened. Mayson turned the moment she was free, and the impression of strength and quiet attractiveness she’d glimpsed from the edge of his profile hit her with a harder punch.

Oh, he was more than attractive, with a ready smile and hazel eyes that were an unexpected and intriguing contrast to his lighter hair. The broad chest she’d felt layered against her back boasted an even broader set of shoulders above it, and every inch of his tuxedo-clad frame had an aura of power and confidence, the exact opposite of what she usually went for.

And how’s that working out for ya, McBride? Her conscience piped up, clearly displeased with her mental attempt to brush off her quick attraction.

“I stand corrected. I’d rush for that wine, too. I’m not sure I’d have left the ballroom.”

“So what are you doing out here?”

“I had a meeting that ran over.” A hint of merriment hit those hazel eyes, morphing them to an enticing shade of green as he stood there with his hands behind his back, rocking slightly on his heels. The move was impish and all-together too appealing. “And I’m late for the wedding.”

“Business meeting on a Saturday? How many kinds of jerk is your boss?”

“I can be an incredible jerk, but today’s meeting was, unfortunately, necessary.”

Holt Turner tried to douse the interest that had gripped him the moment this luscious package of adorable fell into his arms,