With her family business in crisis, Polly Prince does her best to keep calm and carry on. But hard work alone can't save her London company from a takeover by the infamously ruthless Damon Doukakis...or her traitorous body from the lethal sensuality of her boss!
As his new apprentice, Polly accompanies Damon to Paris to negotiate the most challenging business deal of her life! Worse still, Polly must at all costs resist Damon in the most dangerously romantic city in the world....
'He's here. He's arrived. Damon Doukakis just strode into the building.'
Woken by the panicky voice, Polly lifted her head from her arms and was blinded by sunlight pouring through the window. 'What? Who?' The words were slurred, her brain emerging slowly from the shadows of sleep. The headache that had been part of her life for the past week still squeezed her skull. 'I must have dozed off. Why didn't anyone wake me?'
'Because you haven't slept for days and you're scary when you're tired. There's no need to panic. I'm doing that for both of us. Here—I brought sustenance.' Balancing two mugs of and a large muffin, the woman kicked the door shut. 'Wake yourself up with carbs and coffee.'
Polly rubbed her eyes and squinted at the screen of her laptop. 'What time is it?'
'Eight o'clock?' She flew to her feet, sending papers and pens spinning across the floor. 'The meeting is in fifteen minutes! Were you hoping I'd just walk in there and talk in my sleep or something?' Polly hit 'save' on the document she'd been working on all night, her hand shaking from the sudden awakening. Her heart pounded and deep in her stomach was a solid lump of dread.
Sleeping didn't make any of it go away and reality pressed down on her like a heavy weight.
Everything was about to change. Life as she knew it had ended.
'Stay calm,' Debbie swooped across the office and put the plate and the mugs on the desk. 'If you show him you're afraid, he'll walk all over you. That's what men like Damon Doukakis do. They sniff out weakness and they move in for the kill.'
'I'm not afraid.' The lie wedged itself in her throat.
She was afraid. She was afraid of the responsibility and of the consequences of failure. And, yes, she was afraid of Damon Doukakis.
Only a fool wouldn't be.
'You're going to be fine. I mean, we're all depending on you, obviously, but I don't want the fact that you have the future of a hundred people in your hands to make you nervous.'
'Thanks for that calming thought.' Polly allowed herself a quick gulp of coffee and then checked her BlackBerry. 'I've only been asleep for two hours and I already have a hundred e-mails. Don't these people ever sleep?' She scrolled through them quickly, scanning for anything important. 'Gerard Bonnel wants us to move our meeting tomorrow back to the evening. Can I get a later flight to Paris?'
'You're not flying. The train was cheaper. I bought you a non-flexible ticket on the seven-thirty out of St Pancras. If he's moved the meeting then you'll have most of the day to kill.' Debbie leaned forward and stole a large chunk from the muffin. 'Go and see the Eiffel Towel. Make love to a delicious French guy on the banks of the Seine. Ooh la la.'
In the process of replying to an e-mail, Polly didn't look up. 'Public sex is an offence, even in France.'
'Nowhere near as big an offence as your non-existent sex-life. When did you last go on a date?'
'I have enough problems without adding a sex-life to the mix.' Polly pressed 'send'. 'Did you sort out a purchase order for that magazine promotion?'
'Yes, yes. Do you ever stop thinking about work? The fearsome Damon Doukakis just might have met his match in you.'
'The rest of these e-mails are going to have to wait.' Polly put the phone down on her desk and glanced at the clock. 'Damn—I wanted to take another look at the presentation. I need to brush my hair—I don't know what to do first—'
'Hair. You slept with your head on your arms and you look...