Bound by Their Love
Publisher: Escape Publishing
From Nicole Flockton comes the intense, emotional conclusion of her best-selling Bound trilogy…
Reclusive, exclusive, and world renowned, Jeffrey Courteux might get a lot of attention for his exquisite jewellery, but he keeps his personal life under tight wraps. His solitary life fuels his creativity and keeps him sane, and he’s not willing to give it up – until a pair of sexy legs in killer heels makes hiding away less appealing than it used to be…
Smart, driven, and ambitious, Greta Adamas knows she’s the only suitable candidate for Vice-President of her family’s advertising firm. Landing the Jeffrey Courteaux account for his new line of jewellery will only catapult her to the upper echelons of the advertising world, and nothing will keep her from achieving her dreams – not even the overwhelmingly attractive designer who won’t leave her thoughts…
Mixing business with pleasure is always a potent cocktail, but one with consequences. What happens when two people who know what they want suddenly want something completely different – and completely out of their reach?
Read an Excerpt
“I want you to design an exclusive collection for the Palazzo Regent. And I want you to be present when we unveil it to the public.”
There it was. The question, internationally renowned jeweller Jeffrey Courteux, had known his best friend Luciano Morelli was going to ask. He had his answer ready. “No.”
“Why not?” Luc countered.
It took everything in Jeffrey not to get up and walk away from the conversation. He had a feeling Luc wasn’t going to let the subject go. The last thing he wanted to do was fight with his friend.
“Look, Luc. You know I’m not a designer who mass produces designs to display in jewellery stores. It’s not how I work. I don’t need to work like that.”
“I’m not asking you to mass produce. I want one exclusive collection for the Palazzo Regent as an introduction to the public. To let them know we will have select pieces from you for them to purchase. What I’m proposing is no different to what you’re currently doing now with Fierro’s Pearl Farm.
Jeffrey couldn’t deny what Luc was saying made sense. If he agreed to Luc’s proposal it would mean he’d have to make more and more trips to Perth. Putting himself in the spotlight. The last thing he ever wanted to do. He liked his privacy. Hell he’d created his whole brand around it. “I’m still not comfortable doing that. I never wanted to be a commercial designer.”
“Look, Jeff, I know that and I’m not trying to change who you are. I just think an exclusive collection every couple of years will be good for you. I’m asking as a friend. Will you do this one collection for me? Will you create something so special that everyone will be talking about it for months?” Luciano paused. “Please, Jeff.”
Jeffrey couldn’t deny his friend, even though he really wanted to. The only other time Luc had asked Jeffrey to design something had been the wedding rings he’d created for him and Jasmine.
Luc had always been there for him, quietly in the background. Always there to talk, but never to pressure him to leave the solitude of his house.
It was time to repay Luc’s loyalty. He could do this for his friend. It was only going to be one collection.
“Fine. I’ll do one collection and we’ll see what happens.”
Luc stood and clapped him on the back. “Great, Jeff you won’t regret it. I’ve already spoken to a few advertising agencies to come up with some possible campaigns.”
Jeffrey couldn’t help but laugh. “Really? You were that confident I was going to agree?”
“Jeffrey you should know Lukas never comes unprepared to a meeting. Even when the meeting is with friends.” Jasmine said with a smile as she placed her hand on her husband’s leg.
“I have a feeling I’ve just been played by a master.” Jeffrey muttered.
“No, Jeff not at all. If you had continued to say no, I would’ve been disappointed but I would’ve accepted it. I would’ve simply contacted the advertising agencies advising them the campaign wasn’t proceeding.”
While Jeffrey wanted to believe his friend would’ve accepted him saying no to designing a collection. He had a feeling Luc wouldn’t have given up.
Jeffrey wondered how much more Luc was going to expect of him during this time and if he could live up to the expectations of his friend.
How much of himself was he about to give up?
Greta Adamas’ pen flew across the page. Unable to keep up with the words and images pounding her brain. Never had she been so inspired. The necklace was exquisite in its simplicity. The heart-shaped diamond had to be at least five carats. Tiny seed pearls created an arrow, giving the impression it pierced the heart.
Why was something so beautiful on display and for sale in the gift shop of a tourist town pearl farm? Sure the gift shop was nice but it wasn’t an exclusive jewellery store in Kings Street, Perth. That was where this type of jewellery should be displayed.
It didn’t make any sense.
She’d heard Jeffrey Courteux wanted to support the town he lived in, but it was a waste of his talent. These pieces deserved to be showcased properly. Where they could be appreciated. If they were in a gift shop at the five star Orchard Hill Resort she’d understand it. There was no way they could be fully appreciated here in this dinky little gift shop.
It only made her more determined to win the jewellery advertising account her father’s firm was vying for. To get the Morelli Corporation account would prove she was more than capable of taking over the Vice President’s role when Joe retired. Prove that Graham was completely the wrong person for the job. Prove that she could hold her own in the advertising world, like she’d been doing for the last seven years.
She moved onto the next display case, which housed some pearl and diamond earrings. This seemed more in the price range for the average person. Even though they were beautiful there was no way she would believe they were Jeffrey Courteux designs. She glanced at the description card and gasped in surprise. In the corner was the distinctive JC mark—Jeffrey Courteux had designed them. Greta took the time to make some notations.
“So simple, yet tempting,” she mused to herself. How could she showcase the two sides to Jeffrey’s designs in her campaign?
“Pearls would look lovely against your skin but I think diamonds or sapphires would suit you the best.”
Greta turned quickly and lost her balance. Strong hands gripped her upper arms to steady her. Immediately her skin warmed beneath the stranger’s touch, flowing slowly through her like the finest of wines. His touch tempted her to relax into it. Something she’d never experienced when a man touched her.
In her direct vision was a baby blue shirt, stretching nicely across a wide chest. Would the chest be hard beneath her fingers? Slowly her eyes drifted up toward his face. Over the strong jaw, past full lips until she reached his eyes, covered by dark sunglasses.
Who wore sunglasses inside a store?
“Can I help you?” her voice strong in spite of her rapidly beating heart.
“Yes you can,” he paused, a slow smile creeping to life on his face. It increased his sex appeal. His eyebrows rose above his sunglasses. “But I think we can help each other.”
That damn voice could lure a nun out of her habit. It had that husky just-out-of-bed tone to it. There was no mistaking the intent in his words. Greta should be offended by his blatant flirting. She wasn’t though. She found herself wanting to engage more with him. Hell she flirted all the time. She was no stranger to one-night stands and casual relationships. It was her usual way.
A relationship wasn’t a high priority for her. Her career and the need to succeed at everything she did was her main focus. Had been from the moment she’d worked out her father liked high achievers. He’d been so proud of the first teacher’s award she’d received at school. She made sure she got one every semester and straight A’s on her school report. Eventually she worked out that no matter how many awards she received, it made no difference to how her father treated her. Maybe if she won this account, things might change.
However, with seven simple words the desire to win her father’s approval became less of a priority. Letting this stranger’s flirting breakdown her iron-clad control over her emotions would be career suicide. She couldn’t afford lose her focus on the end prize. Not now. No matter how enticing a man with a sexy smile and voice appeared.
Drawing on that iron will, she took a step back. Unaware he still had his hands on her arms.
“Really? If helping me means you can arrange a meeting with the designer of this jewellery then, absolutely we can help each other.”
Used to sizing up her professional competitors in the cutthroat world of advertising, Greta caught the momentary tightening of his mouth before it relaxed.
Interesting, did he know Jeffrey Courteux?
If he did it would certainly give her the upper hand over Graham. The ability to have a one-on-one conversation with the designer would give her an insight to tailor the campaign specifically to his desires. There would be no way she wouldn’t win the account.
“Unfortunately I can’t help you with that, but—” he pushed his sunglasses up, allowing her a brief glimpse of brown eyes before leaning a little closer to her. “I can take you to lunch.”
The words feathered across her cheek and it was impossible to stop a shiver winding its way through her body. For the first time in her life she found herself being the hunted instead of the hunter. From the moment he’d touched her, he’d had a power over her that no other man had ever had. And she couldn’t let him have it. Couldn’t give him the authority over her body’s reactions.
Everything in her wanted to accept his lunch invitation. She had no doubt they would indulge in more than lunch and her body was screaming at her to take him up on the offer. To say yes to lunch and yes to whatever else he wanted. She had to remain strong and resolute. Remember she was there to do a job so she could earn her promotion.
Not thinking just reacting, she laid her hand on his cheek, instantly regretting it when electricity shot to life in her fingertips. “While that would be lovely, I’m afraid I have to decline.”
Before she could remove her hand, his quickly covered it, intensifying the sensations drumming to life inside of her. “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do to tempt you to change your mind?”
Just keep talking; she wanted to tell him. If only they’d met under different circumstances. If it had been at a nightclub or bar she wouldn’t hesitate to jump, not only on his suggestion of spending time together, but back to her hotel room.
She opened her mouth to tell him no again. “Yes.” The word popped out of its own violation.
At the triumphant gleam in his eyes Greta knew she’d agreed to more than just lunch. She only hoped her impulsiveness didn’t come back to bite her.