More Than You Know
The Harrisons #1
December 29, 2015
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Julia loves her new job, and she knows better than to think she can keep it and Dane. Even if he wasn’t her boss, Julia’s painful history has given her ample reason to steer clear of rich, powerful charmers. Still, their chemistry is unlike anything she’s known, and when it becomes too much to resist, they agree to one no-strings night together. But instead of quenching the fire, the intense encounter only proves how much they have to lose—or win…
The sleek car had already pulled onto the Cross Island Parkway when his cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket, glanced at the caller ID, and answered with a smile. “Hey, Tess. Almost at the restaurant, maybe another twenty minutes or so.”
“Damn,” Tess sighed. “I hoped you’d be running late, or I wouldn’t be. I’m still at the office.”
“Oh.” Dane let out a chuckle. Tess worked in midtown Manhattan. “Well, that puts a crimp in our plans, huh?”
“Yeah. I’m so sorry. But listen, I can make it up to you, and you’ll thank me later,” Tess wheedled.
“You’ll still stay over tonight, right? I should be home by the time you get back after the club. I’ll see you in the morning?”
“Yes, you will.”
“Good. Because I really don’t know what time I’ll get out of here. Gotta finish this proposal.”
“Don’t work too hard,” Dane said with affection.
“And hey, don’t forget to eat something.”
“I won’t, Mother Hen,” she joked. “My assistant already ordered me dinner, it’s on its way.”
“Good.” Dane looked out the window at the passing scenery as the driver maneuvered the car from the Cross Island to the LIE. It was early spring, and the trees were finally budding, a sea of yellowgreen and white and pink. The sky was a deep blue above the branches as the sun had just set, but sincethey were heading east, the changing colors of the sky were behind him.
Tess had called him the day before to tell him about the club on Long Island, and its singer. “It’s a martini bar, over in Glen Bay. On Friday nights, they have a regular singer who does everything from standards to Adele. Jeannie and her husband went there with friends two weeks ago and according to Jeannie, this woman’s got a knockout voice, and is something of a knockout herself. So, since you haven’t found your chanteuse yet, want to go check it out? I’ll come with you.”
“Sure,” he’d said. “Your best friend is a good enough reference for me. Why not? I’ve been looking all over Manhattan; maybe I just didn’t look far enough east. Frankly, I never considered looking on Long Island.” He hadn’t. And was getting desperate . . .
Now, Tess sighed. “I wish I could go with you tonight! Damn. Sounds like it’d be a good evening. I always have fun with you.”
“That’s what I’m here for, Tesstastic: a good time. Rain check. We’ll do it again,” Dane assured his younger sister. Only two years apart, they were more than siblings, they were truly friends, and he adored her. “Everything else okay with you?”
“Nothing new and earthshaking since yesterday morning,” she said with dry amusement.
“Get back to work, then, so you get home before midnight. And eat, Missy!”
“I will, I will! Stop nagging me. Go have a good time for both of us.”
“Not a problem,” Dane said assuredly. Tess chuckled. “Of course it isn’t. Who am I talking to? Wherever you go, you have a good time. It’s just a given. I think fun finds you.”
“Yes, I do,” Dane agreed with a grin. “And yes, it does.”
By the time Dane strolled into the martini lounge, it was close to ten-thirty. It was a nice enough place; not as worn as some of the bars he’d gone to in the city, but not as upscale as some of the others he’d frequented. And to him, there was a distinctly different vibe in a Manhattan bar or club compared to a Long Island one—or anywhere else, really. New York City had a feel and energy all its own. Nothing and
nowhere matched it.
He’d grown up on Long Island, not far from where he was now. The second son of a multigenerational, multimillionaire family, Dane had been born and raised in one of the most affluent communities on the Gold Coast of the North Shore. He had led a charmed life, despite his family’s dramas, explosions, and scandals. When it was time to go to college, he got out of that mega-mansion of misery and went out of state. But neither his lively years as an undergrad at Duke nor his time at the Wharton School of Business could keep him from returning to New York by his midtwenties. He was a true New Yorker, it was in his blood. He loved living in the city, he loved the business he’d started and grown there, and he loved the vitality. He thrived on it. Long Island, though nice, just felt . . . muted. Smaller. Quieter. And that wasn’t for him. Dane was all about color and sound, living large, taking life for a ride.
He smirked as he remembered Tess joking that a good time always found him. It was true. He loved life, so it loved him back. He never dwelled on negative things. There was no reason to. He was an upbeat, satisfied man, living a charmed life, so he just went with the flow.
The bar was dimly lit as he found a small table for two in the middle of the room. The waitress he’d passed on the way in brought his drink to him as he sat down. He’d heard the last bars of a song as he’d entered the midsize room, but now it was all applause. The audience obviously liked the singer, or the song, a lot—plenty of the gigs he’d gone to recently didn’t get such an enthusiastic response. In fact, some of the patrons were too cool or sophisticated to acknowledge the entertainment, much less applaud like this audience was. This, to Dane, was a good sign. He sipped his dirty martini and glanced around to gauge the crowd before he looked at the singer.
But when he looked up and saw the woman onstage, everything just . . . shimmered. Maybe it was the air around her, maybe it was the woman herself, maybe there was something in his drink? Dane experienced something akin to when he’d done mushrooms back in college. The air seemed to actually twinkle and glow. It was the damnedest thing. Dane sat very still as he stared at her. Dark red hair that fell to her shoulders, big dark eyes, delicate pale skin, and an hourglass figure made for debauchery, encased in a navy blue sheath dress and matching stilettos. Beautiful and sultry, her presence was powerful, tangible. Time seemed to hang for a few seconds, spin out and slow . . . then everything was normal again as the singer spoke.
Jennifer Gracen hails from Long Island, New York, where she lives with her two young sons. After spending her youth writing in private and singing in public, she now only sings in her car and has fully embraced her lifelong passion for writing. She loves to write contemporary romance and romantic women’s fiction for readers who yearn for better days, authentic characters, and satisfying endings. When she isn’t taking care of her kids, doing freelance copy editing/proofreading, reading, or talking to friends on Twitter and Facebook, Jennifer writes. She’s shocked her family hasn’t yet staged an intervention for her addiction to social media. But the concerts she gives in her car and the dance parties she has in her kitchen are rumored to be fabulous.