Wealthy recluse Anthony Lyons lures Marie Maxwell, Atlanta's most sought-after event planner, to his isolated estate in North Carolina to coordinate a wedding and reception for a "very special couple.”
Despite her sophisticated veneer, Marie’s a street-smart orphan without a past. Adopted by the owners of the elegant Hotel Maxwell, she was raised in the business. For an outrageous fee, Marie accepts Lyons’ challenge to plan a wedding for 200 guests in 10 days at Lyons’ Den. Her work is complicated by an absent bride and bridegroom and an arrogant and exasperating employer who is too interested in her and her personal life—especially those lost years.
Confronted by a mysterious stalker, two murder attempts and dark shadows from her shrouded past, Marie finds an ally in an amorous feline of some unknown species. But who’s got it in for her? And what’s with Anthony and all the cats?
Marie Maxwell’s internal warning system went on high alert. Someone was stalking her. That was particularly offensive since she was used to being the predator, not the prey. She sniffed the air, then inhaled deeply. Something peculiar, yet familiar. Dangerous.
Damn! No one could get that close without me knowing it. She spun around to find herself nose to chest with the most gorgeous male she’d ever seen. He was golden, from his close-cut hair to those oh-so-inviting eyes and that luscious tan. Her own ash blonde hair and blue eyes paled in comparison.
“Pardon me if I startled you.”
His voice was liquid gold, a baritone for sure. The black Armani tux was a perfect fit, hinting at a kick-ass body. His chiseled features, down to that cleft chin, would be the envy of a male model. He held himself with the assurance that came with power and wealth. He could be thirty, or even forty. Usually, she would be drooling but something about him set off alarms. Best to put some distance between them.
“I am Anthony Lyons.” He offered his hand. “And you are ...?”
“Hired help. If you will excuse me, sir, I am needed elsewhere.” She bolted from her observation post behind one of the hotel’s palms, then forced herself to a sedate stroll through the dining area surrounding the dance floor. Her elegant black suit and discreet ear-clip set her apart from the guests swirling around her in designer formals and glittering jewels.
A shortcut behind some props took her to a service area where she could monitor the event’s progress undisturbed. The bride and groom were on their way to Hawaii and the reception was winding down. A popular DJ blasted dance music for the post-reception partying. The couple’s parents relaxed at a table with drinks in hand and smiles on their faces. She breathed a sigh of relief but something wasn’t quite right and that set her on edge.