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British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.
Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss.
Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.
AUTHOR’S NOTE – despite what you might be thinking at this point, there is NO cheating in this story – just an incredibly romantic hero who will make you swoon with the way in which he sweeps the heroine off her feet!
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I was a little worried about reading this book because quite simply, it’s a long one!  But, I’m glad I took the chance, because this book contains my favorite aspect in all of romantic fiction…the buildup!
Ian Gregson comes from a background of wealth, influence and propriety.  He is the Managing Director for his family’s company, Gregson Resorts.  Tessa Lockwood is also an employee of Gregson Resorts.  As a member of the Management Support Team, she ends up working closely with Ian after being transferred to San Francisco.  They are attracted to one another, but Tessa is a married woman.   Ian refuses to go there despite the intense attraction.  That is, until he finds out that Tessa’s husband has filed for divorce and left the country.  This leaves them free to finally act on the
intense and palpable attraction they have for each other.  And Ian being a man who gets what he wants decides what he wants is Tessa…forever.
Well, holy crap this was a hot book.  I love me some build up and this book has it in spades.  The attraction between the two and their subsequent denial of it is delicious to read about, and spurred me on to finish this book in less than a day.
This book is written in the third person, which I admit is my least favorite tense for something to be written in.  The reason for this is that most of the time, it’s just not pulled off well.  I have to say, though, this author pulls it off. She manages to tell a concise and gripping story in the third person.  BRAVO!
The characters in this story are also really great.  Ian is everything you want and need in a romantic hero.  He’s strong, knows what he wants but is sensitive and has a bit of vulnerability that shows through when he decides to offer his heart up for Tessa.  And Tessa, who despite her past is a somewhat shy but honest, hardworking and genuinely good person.  She and Ian are really great together.
Overall, this isn’t a challenging read, but there’s nothing wrong with that.  I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and now must pick up the first standalone in this series!  4.5 stars!
Tessa walked inside the enormous room slowly as he flicked on a lamp somewhere. Ian’s master suite was easily larger than her entire apartment, kitchen and bath included, and every bit as lavish as the rest of the house. She imagined the view from the bank of windows set against the far end of the room would be breathtaking, and she could envision herself curling up on the wide, padded window seat sipping tea and watching the sun rise.  The furniture in here was all dark, polished woods and clean, simple lines, large pieces that nonetheless didn’t dwarf the room. Like the rest of the house, there was nothing the least bit fussy or overdone, and it was very obvious that this was a man’s room.
Tessa’s gaze fell to the imposing four poster bed, easily the largest of its kind she’d ever seen. It was covered in a thick duvet of a pale mocha shade, both luxurious and simple at the same time. She couldn’t resist running her hand over it lightly, the fabric soft and almost velvety to the touch.
“Do you like it, Tessa?”
She whirled to face Ian, who was standing just behind her. He’d removed his suit jacket and tie as she’d been inspecting the room, and her breath caught at the splendid sight of his white shirt stretching across the broad expanse of his chest and shoulders.
Aware that he was waiting for her reply, she nodded and then glanced away abruptly. “It’s wonderful, Ian. This is – way beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I’ve never seen so much – well, I suppose splendor is a good word for it.”
Tessa shivered in reaction as he came up behind her, pressing his body against hers and lightly running his fingertips up and down her bare arms.
“I’ve wanted you here in my house – my room – my bed for so long now, darling,” he murmured in her ear, his lips caressing the side of her throat. At the same time, his arms circled her waist, one hand splayed over her belly as he pulled her in closer. “I never imagined it would actually happen, though. Seeing you here now like this – tell me I’m not dreaming again, Tessa.”
The pleading tone of his voice startled her, for he sounded almost desperate. She was quick to reassure him.
“You aren’t dreaming. I’m really here. But I’m the one who feels like she’s in some fantastic dream world,” she confessed.
His tongue began to trace erotic little patterns around her ear before he gently nibbled on the lobe. “If you aren’t ready for this, I promise I’ll understand. I won’t ever pressure you, Tessa. So tell me – should I drive you home or will you stay here with me?”
Tessa closed her eyes as her head fell back onto his shoulder, one of his hands now stroking her hip and then up the side of her rib cage. “What – what happens if I stay?”
Ian’s voice grew huskier, and was filled with so much raw passion that she felt she might swoon. “Then I do what I’ve dreamed about doing since the first time I met you – undress you slowly, lay you out on my bed, and then taste and touch every inch of this beautiful body.” His hand slid up her abdomen to cup her breast, his thumb brushing masterfully over her erect nipple. “After that I’ll slide inside of you, all the way in, and stay there for a long time. Hours, maybe days. After all, I’ve got two years of unfulfilled fantasies to satisfy.”
“Ah, that’s so good,” she whispered roughly, as his hand squeezed her breast, his fingers plucking the nipple through the fabric of her dress. “Please, Ian.”
“Tell me first, Tessa,” he demanded. “Will you stay – or should I take you home?”
Tessa cried out as one of his hands slid down to cup her sex. “Oh, God! S-stay! I want to stay here with you.”
“Thank Christ,” muttered Ian as he kept one arm banded about her waist, while grasping her chin with his other hand.
Janet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades, with her first e-book Serendipity published in December 2013. Splendor is book two of six in the Inevitable series, each book a standalone with no cliffhangers.
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