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NO TURNING BACK
by HelenKay Dimon

Genre: E-book, Contemporary Romance

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The man had been in her house for less than five minutes and she’d already lost control. He hung by the door, all broad-shouldered with damp hair and a T-shirt that stretched over him and highlighted the trim waist and what she guessed was a super-flat stomach.

Impressive, but no way was she getting sidetracked by all that hotness. “Let’s set some ground rules.”

“I would have bet money you’d have ground rules.”

Before he could say something else to tick her off, which she assumed was inevitable, she walked to the back of the house. She didn’t know he’d followed until his husky voice hit her in the back of the neck from only inches away. The shiver that ran through her had nothing to do with fear.

She kept moving until a table separated them. With her hands resting on the back of the chair at the head of the table, she let her gaze wander over him. The man had the Holy-Hell-Hot thing down. He wasn’t pretty-boy handsome. He had a dark edge that went far past his near-black hair. Control oozed until an invisible wall surrounded him and he silently dared her to break through.

Maybe he learned it through the discipline of the Army, or maybe dear old Charlie passed the trait on, though she was starting to doubt that, but Declan’s self-assurance showed in every line of his body. He walked into a room like he owned it.

He glanced down at the yellow lined notebooks and pens. “About those rules?”

Following his gaze, she noticed how she had lined up the edges of the paper with the pens. Man, it looked like she used a ruler. Nothing like a good case of nerves to bring out a woman’s buried compulsions. “They're simple.”

“I’m betting they’ll piss me off.”

She launched right into her prepared speech. “No straying off topic. No touching. No chit chat. We negotiate and hammer this out, so you can move on to whatever other state suits you. Preferably one on the East Coast.”

Straightforward and in a calm voice, she ticked them off on her fingers despite the circus act spinning and jumping in her stomach. When she finished, her heart thumped loud enough to drown out her voice. That had to be a good sign. A teacher once told her panic was just a sign of her body preparing her to do whatever she feared doing.

The longer the silence stretched, the more she cursed that teacher and her idiot theory.

For what felt like an hour, but probably barely amounted to minutes, he didn’t move. “Go back to the second one.”

"What?"

"The second thing on your list."

Touching. So much for thinking she’d handled everything well. She tightened her grip on the chair, letting the edge bite into her palm. “You know very well what I said.”

“If this is a business meeting, why are you worried about touching?”