Winter's Heat, страница 1
By Tami Vinson
Special Thanks goes out to my family for believing in me…love you guys!
I’d also like to thank my readers for taking the time to read Eric and Winter’s story. Their story was a pleasure to write and I hope you enjoy them as much as I didJ
P.S.- Feel free to visit me on my website at Tami Vinson - Home ,on Facebook, or Twitter @ TamiCat76. I would love to hear from you!!
Names, characters, and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Due to copyright status, no part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.
Note: This is the revised version of ‘Winter’s Heat’. I want my readers to only have my best. Thank you for being patient for the re-release
Securities expert Eric Jameson stood watching the monitor on his desk with an almost unblinking intensity as it showed the woman he hadn’t been able to take his brooding blue eyes off of for the last thirty minutes.
His housekeeper and quiet obsession…Winter Jones.
It had become a guilty pleasure of his to tap into the remote view of his state-of-the-art security system to catch a glimpse of her mesmerizing beauty while he was away on business. And today was no exception. Since he couldn’t be in her presence like he wanted to be, this was the next best thing.
When he’d had the system installed after moving into the north Scottsdale mansion a couple of years ago, he had never once thought he would become a voyeur into his own home just to feast his eyes on the quietly beautiful woman that made his home run so smoothly. But here he was time after time doing just that with no guilt whatsoever.
As an employee, Winter was always the perfect model of quiet competence. She never complained and she asked for very little. But as a woman, those same traits had given her an aura of mystery that had intrigued him and made him want to know more.
Briefly he wondered for the first time if he was breaking some kind of law by spying on his housekeeper with his less than pure intentions.
Probably. He thought running his fingers through the thick mass of his short wavy brown hair.
But he was too far gone to even care. Nothing at this point could deter him from getting his daily fix of her.
He never thought he’d see the day that he would find himself lusting after someone who worked for him. He’d built his reputation on a certain code of ethics and one of the major ones he practiced in business was to never pursue a woman he had a close working relationship with. Things got messy that way and he’d seen enough examples to make him not be tempted to go there.
Business stayed business and pleasure stayed separate. It had been his credo until the day he met Winter. Now after months of denying his need for her, he was ready to blow that rule right out the water. Looking back, he should have known from the first day they’d met that his perfectly ordered world was going to come to an end.
All the signs had been there.
After having his last housekeeper steal him blind and the one before her all but stalk him, he had ordered Pam, his PA to scour some local temp agencies. His requirements were simple: hire a more trustworthy housekeeper that wouldn’t have a tendency to turn his home into a five finger discount store or view him as target for a potential husband.
With that to go on, Pam had whittled it down to four candidates for him to interview. To be sure, he had run background checks on them all beforehand just to make sure they were even worth taking time out of his already busy schedule.
From the start the name Winter Jones had stuck out from the rest of the candidates because he’d never know anyone with that season for a first name before. And upon reading the background report on her, he’d been mildly curious about the contradictory nature of the woman profiled. On paper she had come off as just another sheltered young woman who really hadn’t made her mark on the world yet. But then when he saw her communications degree and the fact that she’d left everything she knew in her native Georgia to come to Arizona, he knew that there was another more interesting layer to her. Either she was running from something or running to something. Which was it? His curiosity had won out in the end.
He had scheduled Winter to be the first candidate that he interviewed that day and had found himself even then feeling a stirring of anticipation. Despite all his experience with people and human nature in his line of work as a securities expert, he’d had been ill prepared for the reaction he would have to her and how she would rock his world off its axis completely.
He’d answered the front door and saw an African American woman of medium height and curvy stature standing there with her back to him. The somewhat plain and average cut of her navy skirt suit hadn’t quite complimented her, but he had still been intrigued. And he had been trying to gauge exactly what length her tightly bunned black hair was when she turned around.
He’d not been prepared for the exotic beauty that confronted him. He took quick inventory of her beautiful sienna features and found himself instantly snared by her wide dark almond shaped eyes set in a heart-shaped face with high cheekbones and pouty lips. What topped it off was the toothy dimpled grin she had graced him with. It had lit her warm brown eyes with an irresistible sparkling light making him respond in kind.
From introduction to interview, he had felt inexplicably drawn to her animated spirit. Her beauty may have grabbed his attention, but her quiet competent demeanor had sealed the deal. There was no need to see the other applicants. She was the one. And he had hired her right on the spot without a single reservation.
Ruefully, he also remembered having her sign a employment contract with a code of conduct that required a strict employee/employer relationship be maintain at all times between them. Per his request no less. And at the time when he’d had that contract drawn up, he’d been confident that he could stick to his own ‘hands off’ rule.
Now over this last year he’d wanted to be very much hands on with Winter. At times he found himself just barely hanging on to the professional barrier between them because he wanted so much more. He even found himself wanting to know her on a much deeper level without the added issue of a physical entanglement like all his other relationships.
He was surprised at that, because in the past he hadn’t cared enough to have more than a passing physical attachment with any woman. Winter was different.
He’d inadvertently found out that she and her sister had been raised by her aunt after their parents had died in a car accident. He also knew that not only did she support herself; she also sent money back home to help her sister take care of their Aunt Sophie’s medical needs. But in all the time he’d known her he’d never heard her complain in any way about what must be a sacrifice for her to do. He’d been amazed by that when he’d found out and when he’d questioned her about it, she had simply said, ‘she could handle it’ in her soft southern drawl that he’d come to crave almost as much as he craved her delectable body.
Speaking of which, just recently he’d started to notice a subtle change in her a few months back and grew concerned. During her breaks she’d started working out in the gym at the house and losing a good amount of weight. And when he’d asked her why she was doing it, she had brushed it off by saying she was on a mission.
He’d thought she was more than fine the way she was, but obviously she had felt differently. He had racked his brain wondering what was going on when a thoug
Whatever the case, he had immediately come up with ways to take up any excess time just in case his theory proved to be correct.
Yeah, he’d felt like an ass for doing it, but it was better than going around acting like a total bastard because he thought some asshole was laying claim to the woman he wanted with every fiber of his being.
To make up for it he’d made sure to compensate her well for the extra load of work he’d come up with. Still, he was amazed she hadn’t complained not once. Not even when he’d complained about the light bulb incident a couple months ago that he’d walked in on her doing.
He remembered walking into the kitchen one afternoon to find her doing a balancing act on a ladder that would make a circus performer proud. All in the name of changing a light bulb in the overhead light fixture. At first he’d been pissed to see her risking her safety so foolishly, but once he noticed what she was wearing, he’d almost swallowed his own tongue.
She had removed her customary thigh length sweatshirt to perform the task and had inadvertently given him his first real view of her curves. Her simple tank top and form fitting jeans was the perfect foil for her sinfully tempting hourglass curves openly on display thanks to the position of her raised arms as she changed the light bulb.
But what really caught his attention was the view of her firm round breasts straining against the thin cotton fabric of her t-shirt. He’d been hard pressed not to damn everything to hell and push the material to the side and suckle to his heart’s content on the perfect beads of her nipples seemingly crying out for his touch.
The only thing that had saved her in the end had been her unsteady perch on the ladder. When the ladder tilted dangerously, her startled cry had quickly broken through the sensual spell he was under making him snap into action.
He’d just barely caught her in time. Clutching her securely in his arms he’d given into a knee jerk reaction and barked, “What in the hell do you think you’re doing, woman?”
Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she’d looked up at him with startled eyes and laughingly said, “Why, exactly what you asked me to do Eric.”
She’d continued to smile after that sassy comment not knowing how close she was to getting her ass thrown over his shoulder and carried off to the nearest bed to sample every inch of her delectable body. He still didn’t know to this day how he’d resisted the temptation of her in his arms for the first time.
After that incident Eric had found himself on more than one occasion thankful that she had not wanted to completely lose the sexy hourglass shape that had made her become his favorite mental pin up girl. It was also when he realized that he wouldn’t be able to resist her for too much longer. The only thing standing in his way besides the fact that she worked for him was the unexplainable need to do things differently with her. There was something about her that made him want her for more than just another warm soft body to ease his sexual need for the moment.
What exactly did he want from Winter? He silently questioned himself.
He knew he had more of a responsibility for his actions than she did due to the fact that he was her boss. But somehow he knew it was more than that. She seemed less experienced than most twenty-six year olds and certainly not like the usual women he dated. She didn’t seem to even share the same orbit as women he’d been with.
The usual women he’d dated would have acted on the budding interest he’d glimpsed in her eyes a time or two without hesitation or encouragement, but she hadn’t. And while that made him cautious, he was honest enough to admit it was a total turn on too.
Did he dare even go down that road with her? His libido said hell yes, while his mind told him to continue to be cautious. So far, that’s what he continued to do.
A grin lit his ruggedly handsome clean shaven face when he thought of the cookies he had found when he’d arrived home from his last trip. They had been seating there on the kitchen counter after he had admitted to her one day that he was addicted to her chocolate chip cookies. Apparently she still had not gone over to the diet food dark side enough to deprive him and his sweet tooth of her delicious cookies.
Would a taste of her sinfully made lips be just as sweet? That was only one of the many questions and thoughts he had been torturing himself with lately concerning Winter. He knew that he would have make a move soon to appease his need for her once and for all because it was getter harder and harder to deny how much he wanted her.
Not willing to torture himself anymore, he shook off his wayward thoughts and disconnected the video feed. Clicking on the file that held the Carlton case, he reread the client profile again. He’d been in the middle of a meeting the last time his friend and business partner Quinn Thomas had called with an update on the case. Now as Eric sat there looking at the most recent notes, he realized that he needed to refresh himself on exactly what they were dealing with.
From the first day they’d started J&P Securities, they’d built a name for themselves in the security and protection business with their personal touch in dealing with all their clients. One of their newest clients was movie star and latest media darling, Vivaca Carlton. They were currently trying to get to the bottom of some threatening letters she was receiving along with suspicious incidents on her latest film set. Quinn was now in New York working with local law enforcement to find out what was going on.
Eric was very interested in how his no nonsense partner was dealing with what by all intents and purposes was turning out to be the job from hell. As he continued to read the client profile that Quinn wrote, the words difficult and uncooperative kept jumping off the page at him.
Just great. A hostile client. He didn’t know who to feel sorrier for—Quinn or Vivaca Carlton. With Quinn’s ‘take no prisoners attitude’, probably Vivaca Carlton.
But as intense as Quinn could sometimes be, Eric had complete confidence that he would be professional and handle any situation that might arise in that calm, cool manner he always employed.
And it’s a good thing too. Looking at the second message that Pam had left for him earlier, things were heating up real fast there in New York.
Eric reached for the phone to put in a call to Quinn before it got any later on the East coast to get filled in on the latest on the Carlton case. It was their habit to back each other up on difficult cases. And Vivaca Carlton was definitely shaping up to be a difficult case with a capital D.
An hour later he sat back in his chair with a frown marring his face as he thought about what Quinn just told him about the case. It would take all their combined resources due to the fact that Vivaca herself was not telling them the whole truth. His conversation with Quinn led him to believe so, even though he didn’t come right out and say it. Eric couldn’t help but feel there was something his partner wasn’t telling him.
Sitting there for a few more minutes in thought, Eric finally got up and started gathering everything he would need to finish up some of his work at home this weekend. If something came up, he wanted to be prepared. Because if by some small chance Quinn needed reinforcement, he knew Eric would back him up without hesitation. There hadn’t been a case yet that could withstand their combined ‘kick ass, take names later’ method.
Finally pulling up in the parking lot of her apartment complex, Winter Jones coasted her beat up old white sedan into her parking space. Turning off the headlights, she tiredly closed her eyes as she sat there wondering how long she had before her car finally gave out on her. Judging by the knocking she heard on the harrowing forty-five minute drive from work and the thrift store, not very long at all. The last thing she needed was to be stuck on the side of the road in rush hour traffic at the mercy of the most impatient drivers on the planet.
Once again she thought of the standoff she and her handsome employer Eric Jameson had come to about her using the shiny new silver SUV left sitting pa
Which she suspected Eric knew because he’d simply shrugged those big shoulders of his and would say that he’d never understand why she was making such a big deal out of something so small.
Only he would think giving her a brand new car as something small. She thought reluctantly getting out of the car.
A few minutes later, she walked the short distance to her first floor apartment. Inserting her key in the door, she opened it and was greeted to the cool interior that was filled with sounds of loud alternative music blasting from the direction of her roommate’s bedroom. She was on the verge of going to ask Cheri to turn it down when her face instantly flushed as she recalled why he music was turned up so loud.