Title: Opposites Attract
Author: Shirley Hailstock
Genre: Romance Contemporary
Pairing Nefertiti Kincaid (called Never by everyone) with Averal Ballantine is like pouring gasoline on a raging fire. Fiercely loyal Information Technology Director, Never, is an explosion waiting to happen. Since her company merged with a larger pharmaceutical magnate, she’s watched her friends and colleagues lose their jobs. Now it’s her turn. Her department has come under the scrutiny of management consultant, Averal Ballantine. Immediately attracted to the director, Averal finds it difficult to maintain a business relationship and even more difficult to keep his vow of steering clear of women who cherish hearth and home. Coming from a home that broke under the strain of his brother’s death from sickle cell anemia, Averal feels the trait he carries will prevent him from ever having a family of his own. Yet the sizzle between them is apparent in the boardroom and the bedroom. You'll love this romance version of the Cinderella FairyTale.
He still smiled at her. She refused to respond. After all, what did she have to smile about? He had every reason. She doubted there was any stress in his life, yet in hers it was only beginning.
His eyes didn't move as she approached him. They were clear, amber-colored, and dancing as if he was happy about something. She could see only half of his body. She was glad she wore high heels. She needed the height to give her confidence to face the man. He had no idea of the impact he would have on her livelihood. He was already having an impact on her person. Nefertiti Kincaid, Never to her friends of which he was not, pushed it down, refusing to allow it to blossom into anything like attraction or arousal.
"Hello," he said in a clear baritone voice. It was dark and sexy, and exactly what his photo had told her it would be like. Hearing his one word made her feel as if she'd been touched; that somehow his hand had reached out and wrapped itself around her arm. She fought the urge to turn her head and check.
"The woman at the counter tells me you're Averal Ballantine."
"Guilty," he said playfully. Never still didn't smile. "Would you like me to sign your book?" He glanced at the plastic bag in her hand.
She really didn't want him to sign it. She only wanted to get a closer look at him. She wanted him to be old and staid and not abreast of current traditions and changes in business management, but she'd already seen his photo and knew he was only in his thirties. She wanted to know how much of an adversary he was going to be. Was he a reasonable man? Could she deal with him, discuss her future and those of the people she managed? She wouldn't be able to tell that from a look and a few sentences of conversation. She hoped the book would give her some insight into the man behind it.
She'd read Averal Ballantine before, but the analyzing she would do with this book over the weekend hadn't been needed before the merger brought him into her life.
"Would you like me to sign your book?" he repeated since she'd taken so long to answer him. Never pulled the book from the bag and handed it to him.
He opened it to the title page and poised his pen over the blank space that looked as if it had been specifically left there for autographing.
"Would you like it inscribed to you?"
"No," Never said. "Just a plain signature will be fine."
While he wrote, Never gave him a good look. Objectively, she had to say he was good-looking. While she didn't think he would have turned her head if they'd passed each other on the street, he would most definitely have turned a few. Up close, his hair tended to wave. It looked soft and smooth, and she had the uncanny desire to reach out and touch it. His face was clean shaven. When he looked up, she saw his eyes, and knew they were his most devastating feature. They were a clear brown, almost transparent, and she felt as if he could look into her mind. Quickly she changed her thoughts, irrationally preventing him from reading what she was thinking.
She reached for the book. He closed it and handed it to her, but as she tried to pull it clear of his hand, she felt a slight tug. She met his eyes again. He was holding onto the book, and unless she yanked it away, she'd have to listen to what he had to say.
"Are you sure you don't want it personalized?" There was that smile again.
"Absolutely," Never returned a little too quickly. He opened his hand. She stuffed the book back into its bag and turned away without the customary thank you.
It wasn't like her to be rude. It wasn't like her to be attracted to a man she'd only nearly met. It wasn't like her legs to wobble or her knees to threaten non-support. But all of that was happening.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
It's almost a ripped-from-the-headlines story. Mergers forcing people out of jobs is the crux of the plot, but the attraction between these opposites sizzle.
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Runs June 8 – June 12, 2021.
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Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling author Shirley Hailstock began her writing life as a lover of reading. She likes nothing better than to find a quiet corner where she can get lost in a book, explore new worlds and visit places she never expected to see. As an author, she can not only visit those places, but she can be the heroine of her own stories. The author of over forty novels and novellas, Shirley has received numerous awards, including the RWA/NYCLifetime Achievement Award and The Emma Merritt Award from Romance Writers of America. RT Bookclub Reviews awarded her a Career Achievement Award. Shirley's books have appeared on Blackboard, Essence Magazine and Library Journal bestseller lists. She is a past president of Romance Writers of America.
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