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Playing with Fire - E-Book Bundle

Playing with Fire - E-Book Bundle

Contemporary Billionaire Romance Romance with Suspense

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'Playing with Fire' Exclusive E-Book Bundle!

Enter the fiery world of Paisley Grove and Hercules Valentine in the gripping 'Playing with Fire' trilogy. 


Born into rival families, their instant, intense attraction defies years of bitterness. Fate relentlessly draws them together, fueling a forbidden passion that they can no longer deny.

Through deception and destiny, watch as their combustible love story unfolds, leading them to an unbreakable bond.

Get ready for a sizzling tale of love against all odds, where the heart's true desire refuses to be extinguished.

SYNOPSIS

In Tempting Fate, Paisley and Hercules have always wondered how it would be if they gave in to their undeniable attraction. Even though their families despise each other, fate has a way of bringing them together. This book details their serendipitous beginning, leading to the moment before Paisley embarks on her biggest deception ever. 

In Deception, Paisley must infiltrate Hercules's company. She's not supposed to get too close to her co-workers or the man she can never forget. She fails at both. When Hercules discovers the extent of her deception, he just may never trust her again.

In Soul Mates, to get back into Hercules' good graces, Paisley accepts his proposition, one that will undoubtedly lead them from the boardroom back to the bedroom.

SERIES READING ORDER

Playing with Fire

1 - Tempting Fate

2 - The Deception

3 - Soul Mates

TEMPTING FATE - LOOK INSIDE

PROLOGUE

Palo Alto, CA

“Remember what they took from us, Paisley,” whispers the voice of my brother Max, echoing in my mind.

"Hello? Paisley, are you there?" Lake Clark's voice breaks through, the girl who has just confirmed my new role.

My gaze is lost in the thick green hedges outside my window. The urge to end the call is strong, yet I can't give in. Pushing aside my emotions, I muster a smile to infuse warmth into my voice. "Yes, Lake, I'm still here."

"Fantastic. As mentioned, we're excited to offer you the role of principal software developer. Mason Harper, our head of software development, is eager to have you on board. Can you start next Monday? I realize it's short notice, but we're eager to get the position filled."

The weight of the moment causes a dull ache in my temples, and my body tenses in resistance to her request. "I can't start on Monday," I say, trying to keep my voice even. "I'll need two weeks." Those fourteen days are crucial; a preliminary test must be run before I start.

She hesitates, her voice wavering with a hint of disappointment. After a brief pause, she regains her enthusiasm. "Alright, two weeks it is. We can make that work."

Her lightheartedness feels like a weight in my stomach. I shut my eyes, trying to shake off the uneasy sensation. Lake continues, outlining the specifics of my first day—the date, the time, the place to report. She goes on to mention an HR representative giving me a tour, leading me to my team's section. Enthusiastically, she extols the company's perks: the concierge service, cutting-edge dining facilities, resting pods, and a gym. But with every word, it feels as though the walls are closing in on me. I yearn to interrupt her, to tell her she doesn't need to persuade me further. I've accepted the job. Even if every fiber of my being screams to retract my acceptance—which it does—I'm committed.

"Lark, can you hear me?" Lake's voice breaks through the haze.

For a split second, I'm disconnected, unsure of whom she's addressing. Then the reality dawns: I am Lark Davenport, the false identity I've adopted to infiltrate Valentine Technical Innovations, or VTI.

I blink, pulling myself back into the conversation. "Yes, I'm here."

"We can work out the finer details upon your arrival," she says, her tone betraying her effort to overlook my apparent lack of enthusiasm. This role is prestigious, and under genuine circumstances, I'd be elated to have landed it.

A sudden warmth engulfs the nape of my neck, and an overwhelming urge to shed tears takes over. A voice inside me screams, longing to warn her: "Stay away, Lake Clark. I'm not who you think I am."

Pushing myself, I conjure a smile. "Sounds fantastic," I reply, though my voice lacks the genuine enthusiasm the words suggest.

"Great. Any other questions for now?"

"Not at the moment," I reply with a touch of cheerfulness.

"Perfect. Welcome aboard, Lark."

"Thank you," I reply. After exchanging goodbyes, I set the phone down on my desk. An instant wave of constriction hits, and I find myself tugging at the collar of my thin T-shirt. I take in a deep breath, hoping that with each inhalation, the suffocating sensation will lessen.

CHAPTER ONE - THE BOY CALLED HERCULES

"Before we close this chapter of your high school journey, let's give a heartfelt round of applause to Paisley Grove. She has earned a full scholarship to the esteemed Albrecht Institute of Technology," Mrs. Fontaine, my economics teacher from sixth period, proudly announces.

Her applause is enthusiastic, almost exaggerated. I fixate on my doodles, wishing the patterns to extend and engulf me. My classmates take a moment, but eventually, a tepid applause trickles through the room. I can't blame them for their lack of enthusiasm; my final year, which should've been filled with lasting memories, has been nothing short of challenging.

I'm the new girl at Dorset Meacham Academy, an elite private school in Manhattan's Upper East Side, having joined a week after the semester had already started. The unexpected death of my beloved grandfather, the renowned Charles Gregory Grove, had been a shattering blow to our family. And with his passing, my father, Xander Clyde Grove, stepped into the massive shoes of chairman and CEO of Grove Investment Bank. The result? A hasty move from our serene lake house in Agoura Hills, California, to the bustling city. And frankly, I hate it here.

Relocating was a challenge, mainly due to parting with friends I'd known since elementary school. I’m shy and nerdy, which makes forming bonds like those I had in California feel daunting. At Dorset Meacham, genuine connections are elusive. I often wonder if the constant presence of my bodyguards – Jim, Dennis, and Mike – plays a role. Moreover, our family's significant wealth, highlighted by our rank on the Forbes list, might seem intimidating. I can't fault my peers for their reserve; in their shoes, I might feel similarly cautious.

But right now, as I try to shrug off the obligatory applause of my peers, there's a wholly different reason for the prickling sensation at the nape of my neck and the surreal feeling that my head's detaching from my body. All these sensations can be attributed to one person: Hercules Valentine. He's undeniably the most stunning and enigmatic boy I've ever encountered.

I wonder if he's watching me and if he's joining in the applause. But I dare not glance his way. Every time our paths cross, the sight of his striking features sends my heart racing. It's perplexing. Before Hercules Valentine, I'd never been so taken by anyone. And amidst this whirlwind of feelings, I mustn't forget one vital fact: the Groves and Valentines have always been enemies.

Not yet, Paisley. Don’t look yet.

"Paisley, please stand,” Mrs. Fontaine encourages.

Her prompt sends a jolt through me, akin to an electric shock. My head spins with uncertainty. Does my skirt make me look unflattering? I had a wardrobe mishap with a button earlier, but thankfully, my shirt conceals it.

From the corner of my eye, all I can discern of Hercules are his hands. They're either rhythmically tapping on his desk or perhaps sketching. He's known to doodle occasionally.

Before I realize it, I'm standing, though I can't recall the exact moment I got up.

"The National Tech Excellence scholarship isn't merely prestigious; it's a testament to merit and hard work," Mrs. Fontaine proudly explains. "You don’t just receive it — you earn it."

Unable to resist any longer, I turn and find my breath caught by Hercules's intense gaze. While Mrs. Fontaine continues, essentially detailing my achievements, I should be paying attention, especially when she mentions my victory at the national CodeOrama competition and how the school will implement my software, Curricula Crown, for the foreseeable future. But the bell chimes, signaling freedom from high school, and Hercules's attention shifts, momentarily breaking our connection. As students bustle around me, joyfully gathering their things, my knees weaken, and I sink back into my chair, almost drained by the sheer intensity of our silent exchange. Though I've been here for six months, we've barely spoken. This could be my last opportunity to change that.

Suddenly, I tense as a light tap sounds on my desk. My gaze first lands on his strong legs, then travels up his athletic form, coming to rest on his striking face. My mouth hangs slightly open, and my breathing becomes erratic.

"Congratulations on AIT," Hercules remarks.

But I'm just there, frozen, mesmerized by his features. Speak up, Paisley! I muster the intent to express my gratitude, but before I can voice a simple 'thank you', he's already moving away. A rush of embarrassment washes over me. Why couldn't I just say something?

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