Sweet Texas Fire – Book 2 Sweet Texas Secrets
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Small town. Big secrets. Welcome to Sweet Ridge.
Gage Cooper has always wanted the family cabin. Not only for the oil on the property, but as a way to prove to his father that Gage’s past doesn’t define his future. When his dad wills the land to stranger Charlotte Wilkinson and all Gage gets is a mysterious key, he’s determined to do anything to get his rightful inheritance back.
Charlotte Wilkinson never expected to inherit a piece of property in Sweet Ridge, Texas—the Aussie businesswoman is focused on building an environmental analyst career here in the States. But the moment arrogant oil-man Gage Cooper walks into her office accusing her of seducing his father, all plans for selling the property to him fly out the window.
Then fate threatens to send her back to Australia and the dueling duo are forced to accept a fake marriage to keep their dreams alive. But as they discover common ground and a surprising chemistry together, suddenly Gage must decide what’s worth more: the land he’s always coveted or a future with Charlotte.
Read an Excerpt
Charlotte Wilkinson straightened the pile of files on the right-hand corner of her desk. A tidy desk equaled a tidy mind, her father’s edict floated through her subconscious. She needed to be focused for the upcoming meeting with Gage Cooper.
She’d developed a picture of him, the owner of a successful oil company, in her mind. He wore a white leisure suit with cowboy boots, a big cowboy hat covering his gray hair, and he had a cigar perched in the corner of his mouth. Gage Cooper no doubt looked a lot like Colonel Sanders.
And she’d have to control the urge to bust out laughing if he did look like the king of fried chicken. She had no idea why he’d called the meeting today. All their previous interactions had been through e-mail and heated phone calls. And on a couple of those phone calls she’d had to advise him that if he yelled at her one more time, she’d hang up. There was no way he was going to talk her into backing down from protecting the land around his oil fields.
A knock sounded on her door. “Yes,” she called out.
The company’s office assistant opened the door. “There’s a Mr. Gage Cooper here to see you.” Meredith’s eyebrows waggled when she said Gage’s name.
Charlotte rolled her eyes and smiled. “Show him in. Thanks, Meredith.”
“You can go right in now, Mr. Cooper,” Meredith all but simpered, and Charlotte couldn’t help but wonder what Gage thought of Meredith’s attempt at flirting. If he was like most males hitting their late fifties, he would lap up the attention.
Charlotte took a deep breath, the better to control any threat of laughter when she clapped eyes on Gage Cooper for the first time.
“Ms. Wilkinson, thank you for seeing me today,” he drawled in a Texan accent.
She looked up from the map she grabbed so she would look busy when Gage walked into her office. Her mouth dropped open. She couldn’t help it. Colonel Sanders would’ve been a much better option to deal with than the man standing in front of her.
Gage Cooper couldn’t be more than a couple of years older than her. How could a man who looked barely thirty be the owner of a successful oil company? Why, oh why, couldn’t he have a beer gut instead of a flat stomach, which, in all likelihood, sported a six-pack—and not of the beer variety. No receding hairline hidden underneath a cowboy hat, either. There was no cowboy hat in sight. He had a full head of dark brown hair that curled slightly over his ears. The five o’clock shadow on his face enhanced his high cheekbones, and his lips, full and no doubt tempting when he stretched them into a smile. At present they were pulled in a straight line, like he was annoyed at what he saw.
Indignation rose within her. She wasn’t going to be judged because she was following protocol on ensuring the environment was protected.
Taking the bull by the horns, she stood and walked around her desk, holding out her hand. “Good afternoon, Mr. Cooper. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
Gage looked at her outstretched hand and then back at her face—dear God, he wouldn’t leave her hanging, like the loser kid who held her hand up to the star football player to get a high-five, only to be ignored, would he? A second later her hand was engulfed by his large, warm one. He gripped her hand tightly before releasing it quickly and giving his hand a jiggle before placing it in his pants pocket. If her own hand hadn’t been pulsating with pinpricking sensations, she’d take it as a personal slight.
“Please take a seat.” She indicated one of her guest chairs before rounding her desk and sitting in her own chair. “I have to say I was a little surprised at your request for a meeting, Mr. Cooper. Especially since our main interactions have been via the phone or e-mail.”
He leaned forward; she sat back a little in her chair.
“Gage, please. I think we’ve had enough discussions for you to call me by my first name. And I thought it was time we met face-to-face. It’s a much better way to discuss business, don’t you think? You have an intriguing accent, Charlotte. Is it British?”
“Australian. But you’re not the first person to mistake me for being British.”
“My apologies.” She inclined her head to accept his apology and waited for him to continue. His own accent was smooth and sexy. It could easily make her forget that the man sitting in front of her had been rude and obnoxious, when she had only been doing her job. She understood the need to get the oil from the ground, but there was no need for him not to protect the surrounding environment. He told her on many occasions he liked to think he was doing things the correct way. To a certain extent he was, but she could make him do a better job.
The silence stretched between them. It almost looked like Gage was testing her. But she’d grown up with three brothers. She had plenty of patience and fortitude when dealing with the way a male mind worked. However, she didn’t intend to spend the rest of her day in a Mexican standoff with this man.
“How’d you do it?” he asked, as she was about to open her mouth and ask him exactly why he was in her office.
“How did I do what?”
“Did you sleep with him to get it?”