Savannah's Secrets

By: Reese Ryan


CHAPTER ONE

Blake Abbott rubbed his forehead and groaned. He’d rather be walking the floor of the distillery, preparing for their new product launch, instead of reviewing market research data. Out there on the floor was where the magic of making their world-renowned bourbon happened.

His assistant, Daisy, knocked on his open office door. “Blake, don’t forget the interview for the new event manager position… It’s in fifteen minutes.”

Blake cursed under his breath. His brother Max had asked him to handle the interview. The new position fell under Max’s charge as marketing VP. But he was at a trade show in Vegas. Probably partying and getting laid while Blake worked his ass off back at the office.

Their mother—who usually handled their special events—was in Florida helping her sister recover from surgery.

Tag, I’m it.

But Blake had more pressing matters to deal with. Production was two weeks behind on the limited-edition moonshines they were rolling out to commemorate the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of King’s Finest Distillery. Once an illegal moonshine operation started by his great-grandfather in the hills of Tennessee, his grandfather had established the company as a legal distiller of premium spirits.

What better way to celebrate their golden anniversary as a legitimate enterprise than to reproduce the hooch that gave them their start?

Getting the project back on track took precedence over hiring an overpriced party planner.

Blake grunted, his eyes on the screen. “Too late to reschedule?”

“Technically? No,” a slightly husky voice with an unfamiliar Southern drawl responded. “But then, I am already here.”

Blake’s attention snapped to the source of the voice. His temperature climbed instantly when he encountered the woman’s sly smile and hazel eyes sparkling in the sunlight.

Her dark wavy hair was pulled into a low bun. If she’d worn the sensible gray suit to downplay her gorgeous features, it was a spectacular fail.

“Blake, I’m sorry.” Daisy’s cheeks flushed. Her gaze shifted from him to the woman. “I should’ve—”

“It’s okay, Daisy.” Blake held back a grin. He crossed the room, holding the woman’s gaze. “I’ll take it from here, thanks.”

Daisy shoved a folder into his hands. “Her résumé. In case you can’t find the copy I gave you earlier.”

Blake thanked his assistant. She knew him well and was unbothered by his occasional testiness. It was one of the reasons he went to great lengths to keep her happy.

“Well, Miss—”

“Carlisle.” The woman extended her hand. “But please, call me Savannah.”

Blake shook her hand and was struck by the contrast of the softness of her skin against his rough palm. Electricity sparked on his fingertips. He withdrew his hand and shoved it in his pocket.

“Miss… Savannah, please, have a seat.” He indicated the chair opposite his desk.

She complied. One side of her mouth pulled into a slight grin, drawing his attention to her pink lips.

Were they as soft and luscious as they looked? He swallowed hard, fighting back his curiosity about the flavor of her gloss.

Blake sank into the chair behind his desk, thankful for the solid expanse between them.

He was the one with the authority. So why did it seem that she was assessing him?

Relax. Stay focused.

He was behaving as if he hadn’t seen a stunningly beautiful woman before.

“Tell me about yourself, Savannah.”

It was a standard opening. But he genuinely wanted to learn everything there was to know about this woman.

Savannah crossed one long, lean leg over the other. Her skirt shifted higher, grazing the top of her knee and exposing more of her golden-brown skin.

“I’m from West Virginia. I’ve lived there my entire life. I spent the past ten years working my way up the ranks, first at a small family-owned banquet hall. Then at a midsize chain hotel. In both positions, I doubled the special events revenue. My recommendation letters will confirm that.”

She was confident and matter-of-fact about her accomplishments.

“Impressive.” Regardless of how attractive Savannah Carlisle was, he would only hire her if she was right for the job. “You’re a long way from West Virginia. What brings you to our little town of Magnolia Lake?”

“Honestly? I moved here because of this opportunity.”

When Blake narrowed his gaze in response, she laughed. It was a sweet sound he wouldn’t mind hearing again. Preferably while they were in closer proximity than his desk would allow.

“That wasn’t an attempt to sweet-talk you into hiring me. Unless, of course, it works,” she added with a smile. “This position is the perfect intersection of my talents and interests.”

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