When Fate Delivers
Life is good for Lauren Taylor. Her company, recently listed on the stock exchange, is sought after for its unique innovations, and she is becoming recognized in business circles. After nine grueling years, everything she's worked for has come together... until Sean Coleman threatens to take it all away.
Length: Mid Novel
Word Count: 67,200
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Kat Richards, September 2007
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Lauren Taylor lifted her chin. “Look at him. We’ll never pull this off.”
“It’ll work,” her vice president, Ashley Carmichael, assured her with her usual overconfidence.
“What? Lying?” Lauren peered through the mirrored window into her own conference room of Taylor & Company. Soft lights with dark green leaded glass were lit at each corner. The carpet’s understated floral pattern was more representative of an old fashioned library than a place of business. It was a serene pleasant atmosphere that Lauren had worked hard to maintain.
But now the air was charged with tension. At the polished mahogany table sat lawyers and staff from her own company and from that of Coleman Enterprises. Others stalked the room.
“Stalling for time,” Ashley said. “That’s all we need today, just a little time to regroup.”
Lauren thought they’d need more than that but kept it to herself.
They both watched in silence the way the president of Coleman Enterprises towered above his staff as he leaned against the wall, hands thrust deep in pockets of designer trousers. Lauren’s last scrap of confidence dissolved as she studied the man noted for his ruthless takeovers, because the next company he had chosen to target was hers.
“He looks dangerous,” Ashley murmured, then frowned.
Lauren nodded. She could see it for herself. His crisp white shirt contrasted nicely with hair the color of the darkest espresso. It was expertly cut and combed smoothly off his face. She would bet he left nothing to chance.
“It could be worse,” Ashley said. “Look at the tall blond, the one who looks more like an athlete than a business man?” Her gaze lingered on him. “He looks amused.”
“How is that worse?”
“I don’t know. I’m reaching.”
Lauren groaned. “I know he’ll recognize me.” Though it had been just one day and so long ago, she remembered well the feel of strong arms sweeping her up, carrying her safely into the house.
“You were eleven years old,” Ashley said. “I doubt you made much of an impression.”
Lauren tugged at the hem of her power business suit. “Let’s hope I didn’t so he doesn’t make the connection. But the man’s not stupid. Even if I succeed in holding my own today, he’ll eventually figure out that I was the little girl he rescued that day.”
Ashley tucked a strand of thick blond hair behind her ear. “Actually, that may work in your favor, may evoke some empathy. That is, if the man has any. And your company is probably of little consequence to him anyway, simply a paper transaction.”
“That’s what I don’t get. Why is he even at such an insignificant meeting?”
Lauren sighed. She hated this. Give her a spreadsheet and data, a nice statistical analysis, and she could come up with a viable plan in hours, but place her wits against a live human being and she was lost.
She turned back to her adversary and studied the way his eyes roved, staking out his territory, awaiting the kill; just the type of man she’d always avoided socially. But this was much worse. If he bought fifty percent of her stock, he would be her partner in business. She’d be no match for him. She held her breath, warding off the wave of hiccups threatening to erupt.
“What’s important,” Ashley said, “is that you remain professional. You’re good, Lauren, damned good - when it comes to business.”
Lauren flicked lint off her skirt in rapid clicks.
Ashley grabbed her hands. “You can do this, Lauren.”
Now even Ashley, who Lauren could always count on to keep her cool, was panicking.
But it was no wonder. It had been a week of hell.
Lauren glanced down at the postcard discarded on her desk. It had arrived Monday from her sister, Jessica. Milan, Italy, this time. Along with her usual greetings, she mentioned that she was selling her half of their inherited retail company.
Dumfounded, Lauren and Ashley, nevertheless, had managed to get Coleman’s representatives to agree to a preliminary meeting before the sale went through. They never expected Coleman himself to show up.