This Man #1
OMG I LOVED this book. Ava is a 26 year old interior designer. She has gotten some notoriety from an apartment building called Lusso that she has been working on. She has recently broken up with a long time boyfriend who cheated on her. She moved in with her best friend Kate.
Ava is sent to a place called The Manor. The owner asked for her because he knew of her work from Lusso. She gets to the Manor she cannot understand why she is needed. It's beautiful. She gets taken to the owner's office and is stunned by the man she finds there. It's like she is hit by a lightning bolt. Jesse Ward is the most beautiful man she ever seen. He feels the same way about her. He starts to pursue her.
Ava wants to be with him but she puts him off. They have this back and forth thing throughout the book. Will they - won't they - can they? He tells her nothing but tries to control everything. Why?
From the author:
I’m dragged from my awed like state, straight into high alert. My back straightens.
I can’t see him, he’s obscured by the big guy’s massive frame, but that raspy, smooth voice has me frozen on the spot, and it certainly doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a cigar smoking, overweight, wax jacket wearing Lord of the Manor.
Big guy, or John as I now know him, moves to the side, giving me my first glimpse of Mr Jesse Ward.
Oh good God. My heart crashes against my breast bone and my nervous breathing rockets to damn right dangerous levels. I suddenly feel light headed, and my mouth is ignoring my brains instructions to at least say something. I just stand there staring at this man, while he stares back at me. His husky voice halted me in my tracks, but the sight of him…well, that’s just turned me into a non-responsive, quivering wreck.
He rises from his chair, my gaze traveling up with him until he’s stood at full height. He’s very tall. His white shirt is casually rolled at the sleeves, but he still wears a black tie, loosely knotted and hanging down the front of a broad chest.
He makes his way around his massive desk and slowly walks towards me. It’s then that I take in the full impact of him. I gulp. This man is so perfect, I’m almost in pain. His dirty blonde hair looks like he’s half attempted to get it into some semblance of a style but given up. His eyes are sludgy green, but bright and way too intense, and the stubble covering his square jaw does nothing to conceal the handsome features beneath it. He’s lightly tanned and just…Oh God, he’s devastating. Lord of the Manor?
‘Miss O’Shea.’ His hand comes toward me, but I can’t persuade my arm to raise and clasp his outstretched offering. He’s beautiful.
When I don’t offer my hand, he reaches forward and clasps both of my shoulders, then slowly leans in to kiss me, his lips brushing lightly over my burning cheek. I tense all over. I can hear my pulse throbbing in my ears, and even though it’s completely inappropriate for a business meeting, I do nothing to stop him. I’m all over the place.
‘It’s a pleasure,’ he whispers in my ear, which only serves to make me moan slightly. He must feel my tenseness – it’s not difficult, I’m rigid – because his grip eases up and he lowers his face to my level, looking me directly in the eyes. ‘Are you okay?’ he asks, one side of his mouth lifting into a semblance of a smile. I notice a single frown line across his forehead.
I snap myself out of my ridiculous inertness, suddenly aware that I’ve still not said anything. Has he noticed my reaction to him? What about big guy? I glance over, seeing the big guy stood motionless, glasses still in place, but I know his eyes are on me. I mentally shake myself and step back, away from Ward and his potent grasp. His hands fall to his side.
‘Hi,’ I cough to clear my throat. ‘Ava. My name is Ava.’ I offer him my hand, but he’s unhurried in accepting it, like he’s unsure whether it’s safe to, but he does…eventually.
His hand is clammy and slightly shaky as he squeezes mine firmly. Sparks fizz and a curious look flits across his stunning face. We both retract our hands in shock.
‘Ava.’ He’s trying my name on his lips, and it takes all of my strength not to moan again. He should stop talking – immediately.
‘Yes, Ava.’ I confirm. He’s the one who seems to be off in his own little nirvana now, while I’m becoming increasingly aware of my rising temperature.
He suddenly seems to come to his senses, shoving his hands in his trouser pockets as he shakes his head slightly, retreating backwards. ‘Thanks, John.’ he nods to the big guy, who smiles slightly, softening his hard features, then leaves.
I’m alone with this man, who has rendered me speechless, motionless and pretty much useless.