The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter - Romance>Contemporary
The man who's always left her wanting more!
Good job? Tick. Newly purchased apartment? Tick. Evie's life is on a pretty even keel at the moment. The only thing missing? A man with an edge to keep things interesting.
Enter Logan Black. Tortured, distant and sexy, Logan has edge written all over him. He's also the man who tipped Evie over the edge a few years back--she gave him everything, but he didn't know when to stop taking.
Leaving Logan was the hardest thing Evie's ever done. Until now. Because Logan's back, the chemistry is as blistering as ever and this time he's not going anywhere....
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'You could marry me,' said Max Carmichael as he stared at the civic centre drawings on Evie's drawing table. The drawings were his, and very fine they were indeed. The calculations and costings were Evie's doing, and those costings were higher--far higher--than anything she'd ever worked on before.
Evie stopped chewing over the financials long enough to spare her business partner of six years a glance. Max was an architect, and a visionary one at that. Evie was the engineer--wet blanket to Max's more fanciful notions. Put them together and good things happened.
Though not always. 'Are you talking to me?'
'Yes, I'm talking to you,' said Max with what he clearly thought was the patience of a saint. 'I need access to my trust fund. To get access to my trust fund I either have to turn thirty or get married. I don't turn thirty for another two years.'
'I have two questions for you, Max. Why me and why now?'
'The "why you" question is easy: (a), I don't love you and you don't love me--'
Evie studied him through narrowed eyes.
'--which will make divorcing you in two years' time a lot easier. And (b), It's in MEP's best interest that you marry me.' MEP stood for Max and Evangeline Partnership, the construction company they'd formed six years ago. 'We're going to need deep pockets for this one, Evie.' Max tapped the plans spread out before them.
She'd been telling him this for the past week. The civic centre build was a gem of a project and Max's latest obsession. High-profile, progressive design brief, reputationenhancing. But the project was situated on the waterfront, which meant pier drilling and extensive foundation work, and MEP would have to foot the bills until the first payment at the end of stage one. 'This job's too big for us, Max.'
'You're thinking too small.'
'I'm thinking within our means.' They were a small and nimble company with a permanent staff of six, a reliable pool of good subcontractors, and the business was on solid financial footing. If they landed the civic centre job they'd need to expand the business in every respect. If they got caught with a cash-flow problem, they'd be bankrupt within months. 'We need ten million dollars cash in reserve in order to take on this project, Max. I keep telling you that.'
'Marry me and we'll have it.'
'Shut your mouth, Evie,' murmured Max, and Evie brought her teeth together with a snap.
And opened them again just as quickly. 'You have a ten-million-dollar trust fund?'
'Fif-- And you never thought to mention it?'
'Yeah, well, it seemed a long way off.'
He didn't look like a fifty-million-dollar man. Tall, rangy frame, brown eyes and hair, casual dresser, hard worker. Excellent architect. 'Why do you even need to work?'
'I like to work. I want this project, Evie,' he said with understated intensity. 'I don't want to wait ten years for us to build the resources to take on a project this size. This is the one.'
'Maybe,' she said cautiously. 'But we started this business as equal partners. What happens when you drop ten million dollars into kitty and I put in none?'
'We treat it as a loan. The money goes in at the beginning of the job, buffers us against the unexpected and comes out again at the end. And we'd need a pre-nup.'
'Oh, the romance of it all,' she murmured dryly.
'So you'll think about it?'
'The money or the marriage?'
'I've found that it helps a great deal to think about them together,' said Max. 'What are you doing Friday?'
'I am not marrying you on...