The CEO's Seduction

By: Diane Alberts

Chapter One


Picket fences. Lush green lawns. Bright little flowers lining all possible walkways. Sparkling pools and laughing kids. Soccer moms. Basketball hoops. Sunny skies and hot summer breezes. Everything typically found in his familiar Georgia suburban hometown was here, staring Brett in the face.

He hated this goddamned town…

And the memories it brought back.

After his parents died, his aunt and uncle had reluctantly taken over his care. He used that term loosely. They’d been pretty much the worst guardians ever, but hey, they’d been family. And he’d made it out the other side alive. Still, after he graduated from high school and went to college, he’d moved an hour and a half away to Atlanta to run his father’s company…

And he never looked back.

Not even once.

Now he was too busy as the CEO of his father’s successful company, and he lived in Atlanta, so he didn’t have time to come back to Jefferson even if he wanted to.

Which he didn’t.

The only place he willingly returned to was the Hamiltons’ family home. He straightened his suit jacket and headed up the walkway. As he reached for the doorbell, the door flew open. His fingers hadn’t even grazed the little orange circle, yet already someone knew he was here.

Ah, life in a small town.

Brett smiled, expecting to see his best friend, Christopher Hamilton, on the other side of the door. Instead, he found an equally familiar pair of gray eyes staring at him. Eyes that he couldn’t seem to shake, no matter how hard he tried.

And he fucking tried.

Back when they were kids, she’d looked at him like he held the responsibility for the rising of the sun and the moon. Damn it all to hell if she still didn’t look at him that way, too.

Just like old times.

“Brett,” Anna Hamilton, Chris’s little sister, said, greeting him with a wide grin. Her eyes danced with excitement, and she did a little jump. “You’re here!”

His gut twisted into knots at the sound of her soft voice, like he was about to jump off a cliff and crash onto the jagged rocks below. “Anna. Long time, no see. You look… Damn.”

She flushed, a small smile playing at her lush pink lips. “Right back atcha. You know my brothers are all behind me watching you, right?”

“When aren’t they right behind you?” he asked drily.

Pursing her lips, she thought about it for a second. “When I’m in bed.”

“Anna…” He leaned in, his cold, dead heart picking up speed when she swayed closer. He lowered his voice so only she could hear. “Did you just invite me to your bed?”

He shouldn’t be talking to her like this, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself. This was why he avoided her in the first place, as a typical rule. There was something about her that cracked his usually hard exterior and slipped through the fissures.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” She thumped his chest. “It’s good to see you again.”

She stepped back and brushed her hair off her face with her left hand, and for a brief second he caught sight of the scar on her palm. He was the only one who knew where it really came from. He’d been the one to help her come up with a good cover story for it—one that had never been discovered.

“The feeling is mutual. It’s been too long.”

Smiling, she threw her arms around his neck. She’d always been big on hugging everyone, and he’d always been big on hugging her. He returned the embrace, making sure not to pull her too close since her brothers were watching—and they didn’t blink even once.

Not. Fucking. Once.

“Easy, now, Twinkletoes.” He let go of her instantly, but she took a fraction of a second longer to step back from him. “You’ll get me beat up before I’m even inside the door.”

She groaned, but he didn’t miss the flush in her cheeks as she glanced over her shoulder at her brothers. “Don’t tell me you’re still stuck on that nickname.”

Once when they were much younger, Brett came over and found her home alone, dancing around the house in a tutu, singing opera out of key. At some point, as he watched her in amazement, she caught him staring. At first, she looked horrified. But then a spark of mischief lit up her eyes, and she came to his side with her hand out. Before he knew what was going on, or what the hell he was doing, he’d been in her arms, twirling around the house and laughing like he’d never laughed before—and he’d never laughed like that again. That’s when he’d first called her Twinkletoes, and the nickname stuck. “Do you still dance around the house and sing?”

“Uh, occasionally…”

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