Read 1st Chapter of Her Texas Billionaire Oil Men Here

19 Sep


Raw Texas Heat 1


Copyright © 2011

Chapter One
Jake McKenna signed the last of the documents with a flourish of his platinum fountain pen. With his hands behind his head, he leaned back in his leather executive chair and placed his booted feet on the mahogany desk. Yep, life was pretty damned good at the moment. He smiled as he studied the gray Dallas skyline from his office on the fifty-sixth floor of McKenna Quinn Oil. Having reached the top of his game in the business, financial worries were now a thing of the past.

He idly flicked through his diary. Maybe, he’d take an early day. Relax by the pool. Watch that movie he’d promised himself. Perhaps, he’d be able to persuade Brody to come, too. Without delay, he went out into the open plan suite of offices adjoining his own. “I’m going to call it a day, Joan,” he announced to his secretary on the way out.

Jake scanned the large office. Brody, his business partner, was still there, sitting in the same chair, just staring out at the concrete jungle below. Ever since Paige, his wife, had died, he hadn’t been able to reach him. No amount of cajoling, coaxing, or pleading had brought him out of his mourning. It had been one whole year, and Jake was becoming worried. He guessed Brody had had the real deal. He’d loved his wife dearly.

Jake grimaced. He’d loved Paige, too, but obviously not in the same way as Brody. Paige had understood that. He’d never been the type of guy to take things seriously. He doubted he would ever find that all-consuming passion. There were plenty of women out there, but they never piqued his curiosity long enough to get to know them better. That was the way he liked it. By becoming emotionally attached, Brody had opened himself up to all this heartache. That was something he’d never allow to happen.

He smoothed a hand over his jaw, feeling the stubble rasp against his fingertips. He needed to find a way to reach Brody. But how? At the moment, Brody was leaving all the business decisions up to him. He seemed to have lost interest in life. He’d turn up for work day after day but contribute very little. Even members of staff were beginning to talk. How long before the news became public knowledge? He guessed the headlines would read, “Brody Quinn loses grip on McKenna Quinn Oil.”

Their share price would plummet.

He spoke to his secretary. “Has he moved at all, Joan?”

She shook her head. “Not an inch, Jake. I’ve tried everything. I’ve even tried to tempt him with his favorite sushi.”

He glanced across at Brody. His forehead was pressed against the cool glass as he stared absently at the city below. His dark hair looked disheveled as though he’d just got out of bed. Jake doubted he’d even combed it. If he weren’t careful, his best friend would slip further into depression. “Hmm, what he needs is a vacation. Any suggestions, Joan?”

His secretary shrugged. “Vegas or Hawaii?”

He laughed and wagged a finger, gently admonishing her. “You’ve been reading the papers. Those are my style of haunts, as you well know. My guess is Brody would appreciate something a little closer to nature. Maybe a trip to his ranch in Montana would do the trick. Get back to the simple life, do some hunting and fishing. Chill out. A month oughta do it.”

“Sounds ideal.”

“It’s all hypothetical. We really can’t leave the business for more than a few days.” Jake suddenly had an idea. “Say, Joan, would you like to come? It would make things run more smoothly.”

Joan had worked at McKenna Quinn for more than a decade. She’d been with them from the very beginning, when they’d first struck oil. She was a dependable rock in a storm. He knew by her face that she was going to say no.

“I’m sorry, Jake, but my first grandchild is about to be born any day soon.”

He gently squeezed her shoulder. “That’s okay. I know how much you’re looking forward to it.” Joan had spoken of little else these past few months. “We’ll just have to find another way.”

“Jake, I think I have the perfect solution.”

“Yes?” Joan was a bit of a magician. Could she pull a rabbit from the hat, yet again?

“I’ve been training a couple of girls from the personnel department. I thought it wise considering I might be called up for Grandma duties at any moment. They’re both fully up to speed on how things work here at McKenna Quinn. One of them would be ideal to liaise between yourselves and the office on a day-to-day basis.”

To Jake, that sounded very workable. If they took somebody with them, they could field the telephone calls and at least give them some quality time alone. “Joan, you’re a star. Now all I’ve got to do is convince Brody.”

* * * *

One week later

Brody slumped in his chair in the office he shared with Jake. They both had a desk, set at right angles to each other. It was a formidable set up when dealing with clients. Psychologically, it put them in charge and their clients at a disadvantage.

He held his hands out, palms upward. “Look, Jake. You’ve got me to agree to this damned vacation. I don’t see why I need to be here. You choose. I really couldn’t give a fuck.”

“Brody, I’ve said it ’til I’m blue in the face. This personal assistant we’re taking along is going to be with us twenty-four-seven. It’s the only way we can keep in contact with the office back here and still find time to relax. Besides, we both have to like her. Otherwise, it will be a month of sheer hell.”

Resigned to his fate, Brody raised his hands. “Okay, okay.” He breathed out. “Let’s just get this over with.”

With any luck, they could wrap this up in an hour or so. Since Paige had died, he just didn’t feel sociable anymore. There just didn’t seem a point to anything.

Jake flicked a switch on his intercom. “Joan, send Candice Novak in.”

Brody watched as the first candidate entered the office.

Jake motioned toward a chair. “Do sit down.” It was placed dead center between them and was designed to give them the upper hand.

A typical blonde, she wore far too much makeup. The woman almost spilled from her tight-fitting top, and she hung on Jake’s every word. At thirty-seven, Jake was two years older than himself. They’d met at Harvard and struck up a true friendship. They’d shared everything together. The good times, and the bad. He had those devil-may-care looks that the women just seemed to go for. Jake was a real charmer all right. He knew exactly which buttons to push. The women always flocked toward him.

Well, if Jake insisted he stay, he’d make sure his best friend didn’t get it all his own way. As far as he was concerned, Candice was strictly off limits. He guessed he was just being grumpy, but he didn’t feel much like watching his business partner and life-long friend womanize for a whole month. When she finally left, he just hoped the next candidate was far more suitable.

Jake turned to him. “Well, you were a great help.”

“Look, you’ve got me to stay. Don’t push it.”

“Okay, buddy.” He heard him sigh, and then Jake flicked a switch on his desk intercom again. “Joan, send in Taylor Matthews.”

Within seconds, there was a knock at the door, and a rather slim, mousy woman entered. She wore a pair of dark-rimmed glasses and a dull, gray business suit. It did little for her complexion, making her look far too pasty and pale. Her chestnut hair had been coiled on top of her head and secured with a large pin. It was the type of pin that defied the laws of physics. He stared at it. How the hell was one pin holding it all together?

Jake slipped into his charm offensive again. “Taylor, what a beautiful name. Please take a seat.”

As she sat down, her glasses slipped forward, and she pushed them back onto the bridge of her nose. It was a simple act but one that Brody considered cute. He firmed his mouth into a thin line. He was taking far too much interest in the woman. Paige deserved better. Taylor fit the bill of studious employee perfectly. She was exactly what they needed for a month long vacation. Plain. He sat back and let Jake do all the talking. He’d already made up his mind.

* * * *

Taylor Matthews took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. To say she felt intimidated was an understatement. The two business partners behind the oil company, McKenna Quinn, had already acquired legendary status in the ten years they’d held the reins. To actually meet them in the flesh had practically rendered her speechless. She’d seen them around the office, but never this close.

She clasped her hands nervously together on her knees and tried to relax. It felt rather difficult considering her interrogators were the two most attractive men she’d ever seen. Jake McKenna‘s persona exuded charm, but that was hardly surprising given his reputation. The newspapers had coined him “The Texas Playboy.” He had the most wonderful smile and piercing blue eyes. They seemed to stare right into her soul as he studied her from his side of the desk. Brody, on the other hand, appeared moody and quiet. He didn’t smile at all and just kept idly chewing a pencil as though bored with everything. Occasionally, he would stare at her, and she wondered what he was looking at. She nervously patted her hair into shape, making sure the pin that secured it was still firmly held in place.

When it came to looks, they were polar opposites. Jake had thick blond hair that fell disheveled about his face, whereas Brody had short dark hair that tapered neatly into his neck. He had a certain vulnerability to him, too. Taylor knew his wife had died about year ago, so she guessed that might be the reason for his melancholy.

Jake cleared his throat and smiled. “So, Taylor. We’ve read your résumé. At twenty-seven, you have plenty of experience, and Joan tells me she’s advised you how to execute all her duties.”

“That’s correct, Mr. McKenna. I’m perfectly familiar with the way Joan works. She’s shown me everything.”

“That’s good. As you know, you would assist us while we go on vacation.” Taylor pushed the glasses back up the bridge of her nose. It had been a last minute decision to wear spectacles instead of her usual contacts, but she thought she looked more businesslike. Besides, it seemed a good idea to give her eyes a rest. Now she regretted her decision. The damned things would keep slipping down her face.

Jake spoke again. “So, tell me, Taylor, why do you think you would be suitable for the position?”

This was the opportunity she’d been waiting for since starting to work at McKenna Quinn. Maybe it would lead to better prospects in the future.

“I’m punctual, discreet, and attentive to my clients needs.”

Jake grinned. “Excellent. That’s just what we’re looking for. Taylor, do you like horses? Can you ride?”

She felt her brows shoot upward in surprise. What did horseback riding have to do with working as a personal assistant? “Why?” she asked, feeling perplexed.“

Let me explain.” Jake folded his arms and leaned forward, and Taylor could clearly see the muscles on his arms flex under his shirt. With her curiosity piqued, she let her gaze wander over his impressive physique. The collar and top two buttons of his shirt were undone, and she could just see the slight smattering of masculine hair on his chest. She traced the powerful ridges of his neck to his full, sensual mouth then moved her gaze to his piercing blue eyes. This man had an air of confidence that consumed her rational thoughts. Surely, any woman would be Jell-O in his hands?

When he smiled, Taylor swallowed hard. A set of dimples creased into his cheeks and caressed his eyes with amusement. Now, dimples were her favorite. As a blush began to form on her face, she pushed his presence from her mind. Fantasies about employers were a strict no-no. Jake McKenna had a reputation. No doubt he was amusing himself at her expense.

He continued, “We’ll be heading up to Montana to a private ranch in the mountains. From past experience, we need someone to deal with any calls and inquiries related to the business but only convey the important messages to us, which need our full attention. There will be an element of horseback riding, should you need to contact us during the day, because we will be out fishing and hunting and do not intend to take a cell phone with us. You see, Taylor,” he smiled, “we need rest and relaxation just like everyone else.”

“I grew up on a ranch, so I can ride, Mr. McKenna.” The idea of spending an entire month with these two attractive men unnerved her. “The accommodation, how will that be arranged?”

Jake McKenna leaned back in his executive chair. He steepled his fingers together against his chin. Without releasing eye contact with her, he said, “You can explain that, Brody, better than I. It’s your ranch.”

Taylor turned to Brody. The guy clearly didn’t want to be there. He dropped the pencil he’d been chewing into a penholder. His voice was deeper than Jake’s, with a heavier Texas twang. “You’ll have your own personal annex, a short distance from the main ranch house. Two members of staff will come during the day to take care of the livestock, clean, and prepare meals. They will leave before it gets dark, and then it will be just the three of us.”

It sounded very intimate. “My own annex, you say?”

His light gray eyes caressed her face. With the dark lashes curling down onto his cheeks, he looked very sexy. A five o’clock shadow stained his jaw and made him appear incredibly masculine. His full mouth almost curved into a smile. Almost. “Everything will be strictly above board and totally professional, Ms. Matthews. You will have complete privacy.” He turned to Jake, and they both nodded their agreement. “We would like to offer you the position, Taylor.” Had they just concurred with one look? These guys had been together for so long they’d become intuitive to one another. Now that seemed sexy as hell, and just a little bit dangerous. “Double the trouble” came to mind.

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