Taming Blake (A New Adult Romance): The Complete Trilogy

 

TAMING

BLAKE

The Complete Trilogy

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Eve

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Garden of Eden Press

Cover Image © 2015 – Heckmannoleg, Depositphotos.com

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1506135498

ISBN-13:
978-1506135496

 

 

Due to adult themes, this novel is suitable only for those aged 18+.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK ONE: BLAKE’S ROOM

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

BOOK TWO: BLAKE’S GAME

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

BOOK THREE: BLAKE’S GIRL

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

EPILOGUE

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Charlotte Eve was born to English parents and grew up in New York. She returned to England to study, and has settled in London, where she loves the history, the culture and the tea. Maybe not the rain though. Charlotte still visits New York as often as she can, to shop until she drops.

 

To be first to find out when Charlotte publishes something new, just drop her a line at:
[email protected]

and she’ll add you to her mailing list! Also, she just loves getting emails. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK ONE: BLAKE’S ROOM

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

“You do
know
who Blake Matthews is, don’t you?” Marianne hissed, as the glass-walled elevator rocketed us up towards the private conference room on the thirty-first floor.

I nodded.

I’d heard enough about
Blake Matthews
over the last few weeks to write a whole book about him. Rich kid property developer. Blue blood. Educated at Dalton and Harvard, of course. Used his daddy's money and connections to get his start in the hotel business. Now runs a portfolio of chic, boutique hotels. Never saw anything he didn't want that he couldn't just buy.

“Good,” Marianne nodded as she double-checked her reflection, plumping her dyed red curls, tugging at the oversized silk collar of her blouse, touching up her pillar-box red lipstick.  “Then you’ll be aware just how much we
need
this client, Jessica. Because if we do a good job on his private apartment, then he’ll be sure to give us the contract to design his next hotel. Understand?"

Again I nodded, wondering if the butterflies in my stomach were due to the view from the elevator — by now giving us a full panoramic display of downtown Manhattan — or the fact that this was the first time I’d been allowed out of the office with Marianne since I’d started as an assistant at her interior design agency last Fall.

Up until now, my duties had mostly consisted of fetching her countless lattes and sushi boxes, sweet-talking suppliers into giving her free samples, and sitting at my desk buried under mountains of email enquiries. To be honest, I was still a little unsure about what my role actually
was
at this pitch meeting, and I was still worrying about this when Marianne continued, as if able to read my thoughts:

“Now when we get in there, all I want you to do is take notes and look pretty, okay? Think you can manage that? Just leave the talking to me.”

Take notes and look pretty?

Who the hell does she think she is?

“So, how do I look?” Marianne asked, turning to face me.

How do I describe Marianne?

She had the faded looks of an eighties prom queen, and she sure as hell wasn’t gonna grow old gracefully. She had
killer pins
(well I’d die for legs like that). She was always expertly balanced atop a pair of expensive stilettos, the kind I couldn’t even
imagine
walking in. She’d been a redhead when she was younger, something she wasn’t about to let go of in a hurry. So for now, she kept up the fiction with her weekly visits to the salon. Despite the fact that I always booked her appointments, she still made out like she was a natural redhead. Her hair was always matched with bright red lipstick; I never saw her without it.

She always looked immaculate, I’ll give her that.

But how exactly do you tell somebody:
Marianne, you look great, but maybe it would be better if you let your stylist put some highlights into that color, it’s a bit brassy ... And your clothes? They’re always expensive designer labels, but a little bit ... how do I put this ... dated?

Marianne favored the styles popular when
she
was young. She owned a seemingly endless array of silk Versace blouses in a variety of dazzling colors, but I swear she was the only woman in Manhattan still rocking shoulder pads.

I didn’t know that much about fashion, but I knew she could do better than this.

She shot me a thin smile, her lips parting to reveal a huge white row of teeth, the front two of which were stained and smeared with her lipstick. I was about to tell her, then stopped myself, remembering her patronizing remarks.

“Great,” I said quietly. “You look great.”

 

§

 

Blake Matthews was already waiting for us in the boardroom, lounging casually in a high-backed executive chair like he owned the place. Which, as I reminded myself, he did. The huge, slate-grey boardroom table was empty, save for Blake's feet, encased in brand-new Patrick Cox loafers. He looked like he was daring someone to tell him to take his feet off the table. But of course, nobody was going to do that.

The moment we entered the room he stood, his face breaking out into a surprisingly bright smile, his perfect teeth flashing. His rumpled white cotton shirt was open two buttons, and tucked loosely into a pair of battered old Levis. This wasn’t quite the stuffy businessman I’d been expecting — he wouldn’t have looked so out of place strolling down the streets of Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, where I lived.

He was in his early thirties, and despite the beat-up old jeans, there was definitely an air of money about him. He was surprisingly handsome, too – it knocked me back a little. I’d seen photos of him during my research of course, but there was something about his
presence
that I wasn’t expecting. He lit up the room, and from the way he acted, it was clear that he knew it.

“Marianne, so good to see you again,” he said, his voice soft and warm with perhaps just a faint trace of an accent I couldn’t quite place.

“Blake!” Marianne cooed in return, leaning in to plant two air kisses either side of his tanned, stubble-flecked cheeks. “And how
are
Alex and Linda? It’s been so long since I saw them last, do tell them I said hello, won’t you?”

“And who is this?” Blake said, as his grey eyes fixed on me.

This is going to sound kind of corny, but of nowhere, I felt like I couldn't breathe.

“Oh, this is just Jessica, my assistant for today,” Marianne explained, waving a dismissive hand in my direction. “Don’t worry about her. She’s only here to take notes. So … shall we get started?”

Marianne took a seat at the large table, but Blake remained where he was, his gaze still fixed on me.

“Pleased to meet you, Jessica,” he said, in a slow, hushed voice, like it was some sort of secret between the two of us.

And this is gonna sound
even more
corny, but when I shook his hand it was like an electric shock passed right through my body.

Wow.

I wasn’t expecting that.

I thought things like that only happened in the romance novels I used to sneak out from my mom's bottom drawer, but here I was, completely unable to move as I felt the sparks from his handshake pulse through every little part of me.

“Fabulous view Blake, just fabulous,” chimed Marianne, suddenly reminding me that we weren’t alone in the room.

“Shall we?” Blake said, nodding over at the boardroom table, a strangely suggestive, conspiratorial tone in his voice — as if he too knew just how annoying Marianne was, and how much of a chore this meeting was going to be.

I nodded back, desperately willing myself not to blush, as I realized we were
still
holding hands.

I felt a flash of relief when he finally broke the handshake, turning and heading towards the table, and I couldn’t help steal a quick glance at him, at the athletic broadness of his shoulders, so visible beneath the flimsy white cotton of his shirt.

Now I was definitely blushing.

It was so unlike me to check out guys, especially entitled assholes like Blake Matthews — and after all, he really wasn’t my type.

What the hell are you doing?

You have a boyfriend, remember?

A sweet, funny, sensitive guy who would do absolutely anything for you …

And with this whirlwind of thoughts swirling around in my head, I made my way over to the table, my Mary Janes clicking softly on the polished wooden floor.

We sat down, and Marianne began to immediately launch into her vision of Blake’s penthouse apartment, once she’d had her way with it.

“I was thinking … terracotta paint for the walls? I’ve brought some samples for you to look at, and for the floor in the main room, something daring, masculine … How about black wood, and then … for the curtains, we'll go bold. I know the perfect thing.
Leopard print
…”

I hung my head, trying to look as prim and unobtrusive as possible, just as Marianne had asked, but underneath my bangs I couldn't take my eyes away from Blake’s face, which shifted slowly from boredom to, at her suggestion of leopard print, a faint trace of a smirk.

Marianne was losing him, and fast. Her interior design ideas were becoming as outdated as her Versace blouses. The company was getting by with its rota of incredibly rich, ageing clients. But we were struggling to bring on board anyone new.

“And then, how about a white sheepskin rug as a kind of centerpiece? I know this great place in Italy. Get this: they
massage the sheep
, daily. The wool is
super soft ...

Blake’s gaze shifted lazily across to me, his eyes landing on mine as the corner of his lip tremored in a smirk. “A sheepskin rug,” he repeated, a note of sarcasm now entering his voice. “Sounds really
stylish
.”

“I just knew you'd love it!” Marianne continued, delighted, completely oblivious to his sarcasm.

At this rate, Blake would have us out of his office before coffee had even been served.

And it was then that I felt it.

Oh no
.

It’s happening again …

You see, I got this feeling sometimes: as if there was someone else inside my body, taking control; someone much stronger and more decisive than the usual me, someone who, yes, was definitely opening her mouth and taking a deep breath, ready to speak, ready to
interrupt Marianne ...

“Or, if that’s not working for you, Blake, we could try something fresh …”

I’d actually said that.

My words were out there in the room now with no way for me to take them back.

Marianne stared at me, shocked into silence. She looked like she wanted to tear me, limb from limb, but there was no way she could rock the boat in front of Blake, so she had to let me finish.

“How about we go for a more minimal approach?” I continued, shakily. I’d been working on some design ideas of my own, in spare evenings, but I’d never actually spoken them out loud before. “We could strip the walls back to the bare brick and celebrate the building's industrial heritage? I was doing some research, and it was actually pretty exciting to discover that your building was originally a factory. They built some of the earliest radios here!  Also, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the work of Le Corbusier, and I think his clean masculine lines would really suit your style.”

Oh my God.

I just couldn’t stop talking!

Did I really just
say
all that?

By the reaction of Marianne — her eyes narrowing to two mean slits, her mouth pursing up in a trembling venomous snarl — I must have.

There was the longest, most dreadful pause, my heart drumming so hard against my ribs it felt like it might burst out of my chest at any moment.

To my surprise it was Blake who finally broke the silence.

“I love it,” he said sincerely, his mouth curling warmly into a smile. “Tell me more.”

“You love it?” Marianne murmured, flustered. Then louder, “Well of
course
you do, that was my second design scheme, I don’t know
why
Jessica has shot ahead to it so early, but yes, if you want, let’s move on to my second idea. Jessica?” And here she turned once more to me, fixing me in her gaze, her anger at my interruption barely concealed. “Fetch me a glass of water would you,
darling
?”

I nodded and got up from the table, heading over to the water jug and glasses in the very farthest corner of the room. I could hear Marianne behind me, carrying on with the pitch, practically
repeating
what I’d just said, stealing my ideas and claiming them as her own, and I could feel the anger rising and my heart drumming and something else too.

He’s watching me, isn’t he?

I can feel his eyes.

And as I poured out the water, I wondered just what exactly Blake Matthews might make of someone like me; whether
he
thought me too prim and plain, my black pencil skirt and fitted blazer too conservative and boring, the way Marianne was always hinting.

And when I turned around to carry the glasses back to the table, I realized with a shiver that sure enough his eyes were on
me,
not Marianne who was chattering away regardless.

 

§

 

It felt like the meeting would never end, but eventually Marianne pushed the portfolio towards me to carry, and Blake walked us back through to the elevator, pushing the button for us with a bronze, tanned digit.

“It’s been so good to see you again, darling,” Marianne cooed as we waited for the elevator to arrive, leaning in to kiss him on both cheeks. And as she did so, Blake caught my eye over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow, a knowing smile on his face.

I had to look away to stop myself from bursting out laughing, taking a deep breath to contain myself.

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