Soft? His boss says he’s soft with clients? Entertainment attorney Ryan Donahue is simply more “in tune” with his clients’ needs than his resentful associates. But if he wants to make partner so he’ll be viewed as an equal amongst his medical family, he must suck up his pride and accept the assignment to represent the boss’s financial interests on a fledging TV production.
Unable to find another gig after the cancellation of her travel show, producer Ainsley Hilton uses her interior decorator sister’s apartment renovation project to cheer up a friend as the inspiration for her own show, “Change Up.” All she needs is financing.
Her best bet is the head of a large entertainment law firm intent on broadening his investments. He’s not about to part with his money unless she agrees to his conditions, including the ongoing presence of his representative charged with monitoring every penny spent.
He begrudges his babysitting job. She detests his continual meddling in her decisions. Neither wants to like her, let alone fall in love. But who can account for the heart when it finds its soul mate?
The minute she was shown into his office, his dark blue Hugo Boss suit and matching shirt and black tie told her she needn’t have tried; he won the wardrobe challenge hands down. But then, he did work for the town’s biggest entertainment law firm. She should have expected as much.
“Good afternoon, Ms. Hilton. I’m Ryan Donahue. Please, call me Ryan.”
Right to familiarity first thing. “Then you can call me Ainsley.”
When he rose and slid around his desk to shake hands, her focus moved north after lingering a tad too long on his mid-section. Lengthy dark lashes no man had a right to possess framed blue-gray eyes. Black hair, trimmed within an inch of its life, couldn’t restrain the curls.
The handshake ended too soon. That large, warm hand covering hers emitted vibes that awakened nerve endings long dormant. Her lady parts clenched.
Though he didn’t blink, for about a millisecond, the tiniest movement registered surprise, quickly replaced with a bland, friendly expression. This guy was as gorgeous as the movie star clients he represented. The last thing she needed for this meeting. She’d have to concentrate even harder on her pitch to keep from tripping over her words.
All this took place in less than a minute. He asked if she’d like a beverage, which she refused. Interesting. In her limited experience with aw firms, refreshments weren’t always offered. She didn’t assume for a minute it was a gesture of welcome. No, he was stalling, taking time to assess her. Fine. She’d experienced this kind of test before, and she could hold her own.
She took a seat, crossed right ankle over the left and settled back, leather portfolio in her lap. She didn’t wait for him to speak. If she planned to hold her own, she needed to strike first. “Tell me, Ryan, what qualifies you to judge a proposal for an interior decoration show when your specialty is entertainment law?”
The Story Behind the Story
Are you the oldest child? The youngest? In the middle? Or are you an only child? Birth order plays a role in the motivations faced by both the heroine, Ainsley Hilton, the oldest child of three and the hero, Ryan Donahue, the third of four children. Ainsley’s parents passed away before she finished college, leaving her in charge of her younger brother and sister. Even as the three of them mature, Ainsley can’t shake her need to watch out for them. Ryan is not the oldest or the youngest; birth order theory has the middle child doing whatever it takes to stand out. In Ryan’s case, he is the only non-medical one in the family and more people-focused.
Confession time. I’m the older of two girls in my family. I see a bit of myself in Ainsley. I was the trailblazer, the one who followed the rules (most of the time). My sister, on the other hand, was and still is more free-spirited, the rule challenger.