A millionaire with a wary heart…
And a first love worth repeating

Success couldn’t make former model Alexis Armstrong forget the one who got away. When she “rents” Derek Moore at a fund-raiser to show him what he’s missed, things don’t go as planned.

Their sizzling chemistry reignites…with lasting repercussions. Derek wants to be there for his baby, but Alexis will only marry for love. Can he convince the stubborn beauty he’s for real?

Derek rose smoothly from his chair and headed out of the office. “Hey, Alexis,” he said, stepping into the hallway.
“Hi, Derek. I was wondering if you could stop by sometime tonight. I’d like to talk to you about something.”
He knitted his brows in confusion. She had all but told him to get lost when they were in Paris, and now she wanted to talk. He glanced down at his watch. “Sure. I’m in a meeting right now, but it should be wrapping up soon. Is eight okay?”
“Yes. I apologize for interrupting your meeting.”
“No problem. I’ll see you in a little while.” Derek tapped the phone against his hand, pondering what she could possibly want to talk about. He would find out soon enough.
He went back into his meeting and it took another half hour to finalize the details. But Derek felt this would be his best project yet. He’d be using one of the most highly sought after architects and a top-notch developer, and the pairing was already generating buzz. 
Once the team departed, he packed up and did the same. He tended to be the last to leave most times, and his assistant would occasionally stay past her normal hours to help him. However, today, she’d left with everyone else at the close of business.
Derek bought a sandwich and some juice from the shop next door to his office building and ate as he drove. He figured if he’d already eaten, it would be easier to turn down any offer Alexis might make, and keep him from staying longer than necessary. He could not afford a repeat of last time. 
He arrived a few minutes before eight and rang her bell. Unlike last time, Alexis had on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.
“Hi.” She backed up so he could enter.
“I’m out on the deck.”
He followed her there and stood against the rail next to her as she stared out at the water. “What’s going on, Alexis? A couple of weeks ago, you told me we should just leave things as they were, and now you’re calling out of the blue to talk.”
“Two weeks ago, I didn’t know I was pregnant,” Alexis said softly.
Derek felt like he’d been punched in the gut. “What did you just say?”
She faced him. “I assume that’s a rhetorical question.”
He scrubbed a hand down his face, paced the length of the deck and came back. “But you said you were on the pill.” Okay, the condom broke, but he’d seen the half-filled pack.
“Lucky me. I happen to be in that minuscule percentage where it failed,” she said sarcastically.
If this had happened to someone else, he might be congratulating the man on having sperm strong enough to break through a contraception guaranteed to be ninety-nine percent effective. But it wasn’t someone else. What the hell was he supposed to do with a kid? He didn’t know anything about raising a child. His father had certainly not been a role model. “When did you find out?”
“Today. There are some other things I need to tell you, as well.”
There was more? Derek needed a drink, preferably something straight and strong.

Malcolm Gray is Lauren Emerson’s biggest regret. Eight years ago, a breakdown of trust cost her a beautiful future with the most charming man she’d ever met. Now a career-making opportunity brings the nutrition entrepreneur home, where she hopes to declare a truce with her ex-love, the star running back of the Los Angeles Cobras. But their first encounter unleashes explosive passion…and unwanted memories of the precious dreams they once shared.

Malcolm can’t forgive Lauren for her betrayal after they had pledged their eternal devotion. But her play-stopping curves alone are a turn-on he can’t resist. He knows he’ll never get over her—nor does he want to… Is their love worth a second chance? Or is he risking heartbreak again? As they jockey for position, a new set of rules could change the game for both of them.

Malcolm heard Lauren’s laughter before he saw her. The same laughter he used to love.
“Thanks for your help,” he heard her say. A moment later, she rounded the corner. “Oh, Malcolm. Hey.”
He mumbled something he thought passed for a greeting.
They stood in awkward silence for several tense seconds before she said, “Um…I was just making…copies… We can talk in my office.”
He gestured her forward but didn’t comment. They stopped halfway down the hall at her door, and he followed her in. She had a pretty nice setup—spacious, expensive furniture, great view. Malcolm sat at the conference table and waited. As she walked past, he was treated to a view of her shapely backside in a pair of navy slacks that clung enticingly to her curves. The familiar scent of the soft citrusy fragrance she always wore wafted across his nose, and he closed his eyes briefly to block out the unwanted memories.
“Are you okay?”
Malcolm opened his eyes and met her concerned gaze. “Fine,” he said tersely.
Lauren regarded him thoughtfully. “It’s good to see you, Malcolm. I’m happy you’ve been able to live your dream.”
“Thanks.” Too bad he couldn’t say the same about her. “Let’s get this over with.”
Lauren sighed softly. “Malcolm, I—” She squared her shoulders and opened a file folder. “They’ve already done the DEXA scan, and your bone, muscle and fat percentages are all excellent. For your diet—”
“I already emailed you that information, so we don’t need to repeat it. My goals are to maintain where I am. Simple. This is my eighth season, so it’s not as if I don’t know the drill.” Malcolm didn’t know how much longer he would be able to sit in this confined space with Lauren. He was torn between wanting to lash out at her for what she’d put him through all those years ago and kissing her senseless. He prided himself on having a good amount of control but felt it slipping as the minutes ticked off.
Her pen stilled, and she looked up from the pad where she had been writing notes. “You did.” She rose and retrieved a sheet of paper from her desk. “Height, six one, and weight, two hundred fifteen pounds. Diet consists of fish, chicken, lean beef and a variety of vegetables and fruits.” She tossed the paper aside. “Look, Malcolm, I know this is awkward for both of us.”
“Awkward? Is that what this is?” Malcolm leaped to his feet, and she instinctively took a step back. “Awkward doesn’t begin to define what this is. Why are you here?”
Lauren frowned and folded her arms. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“You could’ve taken a job anywhere. Why here?” he asked through clenched teeth. “I don’t want you here.”
She placed her hands on her hips and leaned up in his face, her dark brown eyes flashing with anger. “Because this is where I wanted to work. I was offered an opportunity few get, and taking it meant being closer to my family. What was I supposed to do, check with you first? News flash, Malcolm Gray, I don’t need your
permission for my job choice, and whether you like it or not, I plan to be here for a long time!”
Something within him snapped and before his action registered in his brain, he hauled her into his arms and crushed his mouth against hers in a hungry and demanding kiss. Malcolm expected Lauren to push him away, slap him or make some kind of protest…anything, but she didn’t. She kissed him back. And in the way that drove him crazy, like only she could.
“Malcolm,” Lauren whispered.
Finally, sanity returned, and he jumped away from her as if he had been burned. What the hell am I doing? His breath came in short gasps, and his heart thumped erratically in his chest. His gaze was drawn to Lauren’s lips, still moist from his kiss, and the rapidly beating pulse in her neck, which didn’t help matters. He needed to leave now. Malcolm stepped around her, crossed the office in three strides and snatched open the door. He paused and turned back. “This changes nothing. I still don’t want you here.”

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