Five Star Seduction, страница 1
She knows how to seduce a man in style!
Fresh out of grad school, Zaire Alexander dreams of someday becoming a major force in her family-owned chain of Beverly Hills hotels. But the heiress and self-motivated go-getter has another goal for her immediate future: seduce Tyrese Bemingham. Too bad the sexy powerhouse attorney seems just as determined to resist her.
As lead counsel for the prestigious Alexander-DePaul luxury empire, Tyrese has a lot riding on this gig. But he keeps running into the exotic, strong-willed beauty, who makes it clear she’s interested—and available. In the etiquette of romance, dating the boss’s daughter is a definite don’t. And Tyrese has had enough heartbreak for two lifetimes. So why is he finding it so hard to say no, especially after Zaire’s life is threatened? All he knows is he can’t lose her…even if it means risking everything that matters most.
“I meant to tell you that I really like what you’ve done in here.”
Zaire wiped her mouth on the edge of her napkin. “I suppose you can tell that I love color.”
He chuckled. “It tells me that you’re not afraid to take chances.”
She boldly met his gaze. “No, I’m not. Life is all about taking risks. We just have to be mindful of the ones we take. Regardless, we should learn lessons from the good and bad.”
“I like that,” he responded.
Tyrese was so close she could feel the heat from his body. His closeness was overwhelming.
Their eyes met and held. His eyes never strayed from her face, kissing her with his eyes. Zaire found the prolonged anticipation of the inevitable almost unbearable.
In one forward motion, she was in his arms. Tyrese kissed her hungrily.
The caress of his lips on her mouth set her body aflame. Zaire wound her arms inside his jacket and around his back. Her body tingled from the contact.
She gave herself freely to the passion of his kiss.
Abruptly, Tyrese pulled away, leaving her mouth burning with fire.
“I’m sorry,” he uttered. “I never should have done that.”
Books by Jacquelin Thomas
Harlequin Kimani Romance
The Pastor’s Woman
Teach Me Tonight
You and I
Case of Desire
Five Star Attraction
Five Star Temptation
Five Star Romance
Five Star Seduction
is a bestselling author. She has penned more than 45 titles and writing is still her passion. She is currently at work on the next installment of the Alexander family series.
What do you do when you instinctively know that you have met Mr. Right, but he is not ready to admit that you’re the only woman for him? Zaire Alexander is on a quest to find the answer to this very question in Five Star Seduction. Sparks ignite between Zaire and her new business partner, Tyrese Moore, from the moment they meet. Tyrese struggles to keep his feelings for Zaire under wraps, but soon discovers that love will always find a way of bringing two hearts together.
Five Star Seduction is the fourth book in the Alexanders of Beverly Hills series. I hope you have enjoyed getting acquainted with this wonderful family. It has been fun writing about their journey to love everlasting. What I’ve learned with each and every book in this series is this: when two people truly love one another, that love is worth fighting for. Wouldn’t you agree?
The Alexander-DePaul Estate was considered the most coveted ocean-view home in Pacific Palisades. Zaire Alexander certainly agreed with the statement. She loved coming home to breathtaking, unobstructed ocean views from Catalina to Malibu in this commanding Mediterranean-style home.
Even now as she sat in the sunroom surrounded by her mother, sister and sisters-in-law, Zaire yearned to lounge by the pool admiring the picturesque surroundings.
“Livi, this is gorgeous,” Zaire exclaimed, holding up a leather tote. “I really love it.” She smiled at her sister-in-law. Livi and Blaze were still newlyweds, having only been married for three weeks.
“I know that red is your signature color,” Livi responded. “So when I saw it, I thought it was perfect for you.”
Zaire grinned and nodded. “It’s so me. I can carry files, my iPad and laptop—just about everything I’ll need for work.”
She set the tote down on the sofa beside her and picked up another gift.
“That’s from me, sis,” Sage announced, rubbing the small mound of her stomach. “I don’t think I included your card. I’ve been so forgetful lately.”
“It must be the pregnancy,” Zaire said, regarding her sister with amusement. “You have never been one to forget anything, especially if I borrowed your clothes or shoes.”
They all laughed.
She opened the red-and-gold gift bag. “Wow, this is nice. A desk clock, a paperweight, mug...this is great. I can take this stuff off my list. Thanks, Sage.”
“This last one is from Mama,” Zaire announced as she ripped through the wrapping. “Ladies, thanks so much for this celebration. It’s like a new career shower. Can you believe it? I’m actually starting my own company.” She stole a peek out of the window to check on her brothers and her father, but they were nowhere to be found. Zaire returned her attention back to the women in her family.
Natasha chuckled. “We’re so excited for you, Zaire. We just wanted to make sure that you do it in style, especially with your first big meeting with Tyrese Moore.”
Her oldest brother, Ari, was Natasha’s husband, and they were also expecting a new baby in a few months. They already had a son, Joshua.
“Mama...” Zaire murmured as she held up a smaller box that was within the larger one. “Does this mean...?” Her voice died as she opened it. “Keys...car keys.”
Screaming, Zaire jumped up and bolted toward the front door.
Her mother and the others followed, laughing.
A gleaming, vermilion-red BMW 640i coupe sat parked in the driveway of her parents’ home with a huge black bow on it.
Zaire squealed with delight as tears filled her eyes. This was her dream car. She had not really expected her parents to buy it for her. “I can’t believe it.... I just don’t know what to say.”
“I’ve never seen you at a loss for words, sis.”
She glanced over at her oldest brother, Ari. “I didn’t see you standing there.”
He laughed. “I’m not surprised. I’m sure all you saw was red.”
Zaire had been so focused on seeing her new car that she did not take notice that her father and brothers were all outside. They had been out on the patio playing basketball and enjoying a sunny August afternoon while the women gathered in
Filled with happiness, Zaire hugged her mother, and then ran over to her father and hugged him, too. “Thanks so much. I love you both.”
Blaze walked down to where Zaire stood with their parents. “I have this for you. I thought you might want to put this somewhere in your office.”
“Blaze, you just lost your man card,” Kellen, the youngest of the Alexander siblings, yelled out. “You need to stop with all of the sensitivity stuff. Only the women were getting gifts.”
“Leave him alone,” Sage told her brother. “I saw the present you gave Zaire last night when you thought no one was looking.”
Amusement flickered in Kellen’s eyes as he met Zaire’s gaze. At twenty-six years old, she was a year older than Kellen. They’d shared an apartment in Atlanta while attending the same grad school. Although she was close to the rest of her family, she and Kellen shared a special relationship because they were so close in age.
Zaire eyed the beautifully framed photograph of their family and smiled. “Thanks, Blaze. This is definitely going on my desk.”
“I have a gift for you, as well,” Drayden announced. “I’m proud of you, sis.”
She quietly noted that while she had inherited her mother’s smooth chocolate complexion, she had her father’s gray eyes, as did all of her siblings. Zaire and her family were very close, and they enjoyed friendly, smiling banter in a relaxed manner such as this.
For Zaire, this was what it meant to be a family.
Later that evening, after everyone had gone home, she sat in the family room with her parents and Kellen watching a movie on television.
“What time are you leaving in the morning?” she asked her brother.
“Around six,” he responded.
“I bet you’re glad to have the apartment all to yourself.”
“Actually, I’m hardly ever there. Working on this thesis has been keeping me busy.”
“I don’t miss that at all.”
Kellen shifted on the sofa. “I just keep reminding myself that I’m almost done with grad school.”
“Stay focused,” she advised.
“I am.” He gave her a sidelong glance. “Now, what do you know about this Tyrese Moore?”
“Just that he started his own company five years ago as a boutique marketing firm, which has been very successful. I know that he’s also involved in several different charities.”
“Good luck on tomorrow,” Kellen told her.
Kellen pointed at their parents, who were both sound asleep.
Barbara lay with her head against Malcolm’s chest.
Seeing them like that brought a smile to Zaire’s lips. She was looking forward to the day when she met her soul mate.
* * *
Zaire chose a trendy black pantsuit to wear for her meeting with Tyrese Moore, the owner and CEO of the Moore Group. She strolled through the doors of 640 South, where the company was housed. The five-story building located on San Vincente Boulevard was considered Westside’s premiere business location.
Her eyes traveled upward, admiring the dramatic two-story atrium. The select museum-quality art pieces throughout the building beckoned artists and art lovers from all over. It was apparent that Tyrese Moore was a man who appreciated art and the finer things in life.
Zaire was jolted out of her reverie when she heard her name.
She glanced up into the most beautiful brown eyes she had ever seen. She broke into an open, friendly smile. “I’m sorry. I was just admiring the view.”
She thought she detected a hint of a smile, but it disappeared before Zaire could be sure. She flushed when she realized that he may have assumed that she was talking about him. Although, he was extremely handsome.
“I’m Tyrese Moore,” he said in a deep timbre. “I wanted to come down and greet you personally.”
Her perfectly shaped eyebrows rose in surprise. “You’re Mr. Moore?”
He chuckled. “You sound shocked.”
Zaire gave him a quick and not-so-subtle once-over. Tyrese looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties. She hadn’t expected him to be so young, but she did not give voice to the thought. “It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Moore.”
Tyrese’s smile was courteous as he guided her toward the elevators. “Pilar wanted to be here to welcome you herself, but she wasn’t able to change her plans. She’s still in New York.”
Pilar Millbrook was Tyrese’s partner and the person who had arranged this meeting with Tyrese.
They got off on the fifth floor.
“I’m very excited about this meeting with you,” Zaire said. “Thanks for allowing me this opportunity to present my idea.”
A smile remained on his extremely handsome face.
Why did he have to be so handsome? Zaire wondered. How was she supposed to focus with Tyrese Moore in her presence?
* * *
Tyrese’s eyes landed briefly on the red leather tote as Zaire switched it from her right to her left shoulder. He noted from her overall look that Zaire was stylish, glamorous and she was definitely not afraid of color. Tyrese would bet money that she also drove a fancy sports car in red.
This was not the type of woman who played it safe, he decided. That quality made Zaire perfect for the direction in which he wanted to take the Moore Group. He could see why Pilar liked her. They shared similar qualities—they were both willing to take risks.
Tyrese knew that Zaire was the daughter of hotel magnate Malcolm Alexander, but this had nothing to do with his decision to meet with her. She was here based on her own capabilities.
He observed as she interacted with some of the other employees. Zaire appeared to be unaware of the captivating picture she made when she smiled.
She glanced over in his direction.
Tyrese exchanged a smile with her, and then turned his attention to the young woman who suddenly appeared by his side. She carried a folder, which she presented to him.
He quickly provided his signature.
“Zaire, my assistant will show you to the conference room. I will be there shortly.”
She responded with a smile.
His grin flashed briefly, dazzling against his dark chocolate complexion. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
As soon as Zaire entered the conference room, she sank down in a nearby chair to steady her trembling knees. “What am I doing here?” she whispered. She had been out of grad school for a few months and now she was about to present a bold proposal to a complete stranger.
Zaire hoped that Tyrese would keep an open mind. She had researched his company and had actually included it in her thesis—it was how she had met Pilar.
She already knew that Pilar supported her idea. Zaire just needed to convince Tyrese. If only his partner could have been in attendance. She could have used the extra support. Perhaps Pilar’s presence could help distract her from the sexy man that she was meeting with. It was too late to run away now, Zaire decided. She would have to make the best of the situation.
Zaire loved the large windows with a garden balcony in the conference room. They offered her a spectacular view of Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills and downtown Los Angeles. She loved nature and the outdoors in general.
Shortly before ten, Tyrese appeared in the doorway. “I’m sorry about the delay.”
“You’re fine,” she responded. “Your offices are very nice. I really love the art pieces you selected.”
“Are you an art lover?” he asked.
When she nodded, he said, “After our meeting, I’ll have my assistant give you a tour.” His tone was warm and welcoming.
He took a seat at the head of the table.
Zaire stole a peek in his direction.
Tyrese once again captured Zaire’s attention. His dark eyes framed his square face. His lips parted, showing a dazzling display of straight, white teeth. His profile was proud and full of strength, a quality that could be attributed to his commanding presence.
“As Pilar may have already told you, I am launching a high-end concierge service,” Zaire announced. “Those who reside in the world of luxury are maintaining open-ended expense accounts for necessities such as client entertainment and personal lifestyle accoutrements,” she stated. “What I have found is that a lot of these affluent families are looking for family excursions to help build schools in Africa instead of superfluous visits to privately owned boutiques and one-on-one attention at exclusive vacation resorts.”
“And you are proposing a partnership with my company,” Tyrese said as he reviewed the proposal in his hands. “Why do you believe we will be a good fit for one another?”
Zaire smiled. “The Moore Group was created to go beyond the typical marketing schemes. With over five years in the business of luxury marketing, you and Pilar have developed programs that allow you insider knowledge and access to what other companies may not be privy to—by partnering with me, you will be able to provide your clients access to things they may not have heard of or have access to.”
“I hope this is not about lavish birthday parties,” Tyrese stated.
“It’s not,” Zaire responded. “The message you will be sending by offering specialized or VIP client services is that the Moore Group recognizes what is going on in the world today, but we also have an understanding that certain clients still require high-end services.”
“We are known for producing upscale events for our clients,” Tyrese interjected. “Our mission is to assist our clients in building and managing their brand.”
“Which can include tailoring experiences around their requests,” Zaire said. “Whatever your clients desire, we can assist in making that idea a reality. VIP client services will be the epitome of luxury living, no matter how our clients define luxury.”