Chauffeuring New York’s rich elite isn’t Roman Malcolm’s dream job, but one client, Zoe Crispin, is his dream girl. Too bad she’s engaged to Aiden, a world-class jerk who doesn’t appreciate her.
Quiet and down-to-earth, Zoe prefers to stay in with a good book and decent glass of wine. It’s exactly what she intends to do for the most romantic night of the year, since her fiancé is stuck at the office. Again. Only, apparently, he’s not, because Roman explains that he’s to pick her up for a surprise dinner date with Aiden.
Roman makes his first mistake in assuming that an engaged couple would be dining together on a date. When he and Zoe learn Aiden intends for a different woman to be his Valentine, Roman refuses to make another mistake and let Zoe go without confessing his love first.
She sighed at Roman’s follow-up text. Five min.
Whoops. She’d been standing at the door to leave, but damn was she nervous about the evening. Enough dilly-dallying.
On my way down now.
And she was. She couldn’t stall on her feelings anymore. Her clutch passed from one hand to the other as she stuck her arms into her coat. The ride down in the elevator was lonely, and she was still wrapping her coat around herself as she rushed through the lobby.
“Looking lovely, Miss Crispin. Enjoy your night,” the elderly doorman called.
“Jose. Thank you, but for the last time, it’s Zoe.” She gave him what she hoped was a coquettish smile as she backpedaled to the lobby’s door. “Repeat after me. Z-o-e.”
The first clutches of February’s cold wrath gripped her mostly bare legs as she stepped to the sidewalk.
Shoulda worn the long gown.
She flipped the collar up and nuzzled the faux fur—she didn’t care what Aiden’s expectations of appearances were, she’d never wear animals. The brutal winds and low temps stole the air out of her lungs, but the sight of Roman leaning against the car kept her breathless.
Waiting for me.
And, oh, was he, indeed.
Stretched back to the side of the car, he stood there with lazy strength, a debonair aura to his too tempting body. Long legs crossed at his ankles. Thick arms held over his chest. His shoulders were so wide she wondered how those suits fit him still, but damn did he fill them out well.
Is he sure it’s been a couple of years since working out? He had to grow muscles in his sleep then because no man who sat in a car all day could look that rugged and ripped.
“I’m back,” she said and attempted a curtsy.
Yeah. Not happening unless she wanted to moon Jose back in the lobby.
She had to say and do something though because his stare, so dark and fully on her, erased reality. It could have been a humid night in August for all she knew anymore. He simply stared, so heavily and hot at her, her prior nervousness almost exploded into full-out chaos. All she could see and feel was his gaze on her.
Finally, he pushed off the car and nodded.
“Hot pink,” he commented. “My favorite.”
She tossed him a smirk as she came closer. Hot pink and Roman? He was so the antithesis of anything girly and frilly. This man would go well with other colors. Red, maybe, like sin. His dark gray suit was very fitting to him, too. Or black, in reference to how dark and mysterious he seemed as he still stared at her, his attention like a chain linking them.
“Thought Aiden preferred … sophisticated hues,” he said as he opened the door and draped his arm over it.
She shrugged. “Felt like a hot pink kind of night to me.”
Did other women of New York’s upper class discuss their dresses with their chauffeurs? Banter and goof off with silly arguments? Border on … flirting? No one had ever trained her on how to treat hired help. And Roman was a godsend of a friend in a city where she knew so few. She didn’t feel like she belonged with the elitists, but her association to Aiden stuck her in there without she liked it or not.
Roman’s grin spread a flush on her skin, and she hid it, she hoped, by rushing into the backseat. There was no way to gracefully lower herself and keep the dress low enough, so speed it was. If he was exposed to an eyeful, it wasn’t like he’d be tempted to peek. Not his style, it seemed. She couldn’t possibly be the type of woman he’d desire, nor was he crass enough to blatantly oogle.
But what if…
What if he could be attracted to someone like her?