Evidence of Desire

Evidence-of-DesireEvidence of Desire
September, 2012

Law Number Two: Love Writes Its Own Laws!

Azure Ellison may have undergone a total makeover, but she never expects to be romanced by Harper Hamilton, her former prep school friend. The ambitious journalist is after a career-making story about Harper’s powerful Philadelphia family. But the charismatic attorney wants something from Azure in return: her vow to become his lawful wife in a marriage of convenience!

Harper can’t believe the girl he once knew has transformed into this stunning, successful beauty. The longtime bachelor has his own reasons for proposing, but Azure has awakened a desire he’s determined to consummate. With the paparazzi eager for the wedding of the year, Harper is ready to start his honeymoon. Until a breaking scandal about the Hamilton dynasty threatens his marriage to the woman he now wants to have and to hold forever…

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“Harper Hamilton?”

At the sound of his name, spoken on such a rich, melodious tone—one that evoked thoughts of passionate kisses, tender caresses and soulful lovemaking—he wheeled around. And when Harper saw the tall, willowy woman standing before him in the white tank top and shorts, the temperature in the indoor court soared to a thousand, unbearable degrees.

“I’m Azure Ellison,” she said, offering her right hand. “We met last month when I interviewed your family for Eminence magazine at—”

“My uncle’s Integrity estate,” Harper finished, taking her soft, supple hand in his, and
giving it a light squeeze. What he really wanted to do was take her in his arms, and discover once and for all if her lips tasted as sweet as they looked, but fear of getting slapped upside his head and humiliated in front of his younger brother prevented Harper from acting on his desires.

“You don’t need to remind me who you are, Ms. Ellison. I know.” How could I forget? You’ve had a recurring role in my dreams for the last three weeks!

“I’m flattered that you remember me.”

“I never forget a face, and certainly never one as gorgeous as yours.”

If only that were true, Azure thought, masking her disappointment with a fake smile. She’d been convinced that once they were alone, away from Harper’s family and all of the  employees crawling around the Integrity mansion, he would remember her. But Harper didn’t, and for some inexplicable reason, it stung.

Azure told herself to get a grip. There was nothing to be upset about. Back in prep school, she’d been a plump, painfully shy scholarship student who didn’t have a single friend, and it was silly to think that Harper Hamilton—a powerful, accomplished attorney who’d probably bedded women in the hundreds— would remember her after all these years.

“What’s up? I’m Nelson. Harper’s younger, devastatingly handsome brother.”

Tearing her gaze away from Harper, she smiled at the aspiring actor with the piercing eyes and movie-star good looks. “It’s great to finally meet you,” she said, shaking the hand he offered. “I’m sorry you couldn’t join us for the shoot, but I understand you were out of town.”

He nodded his smooth, bald head. “I really wanted to be there, but I had an audition for a commerical with Eva Mendes, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to meet my favorite actress.”

“And a woman you’ve had a giant crush on for years,” Harper added, clapping his brother on the shoulder. “He watched the movie, Hitch, so many times the DVD broke!”

The brothers laughed.

“Harper told me you’re an up-and-coming writer for Eminence magazine, but he never mentioned how beautiful you are.”

Nelson flashed his trademark grin, the one Harper had seen him use to get out of parking tickets and score tables at the best restaurants in town. “I didn’t tell you she was stunning because I didn’t want you to embarrass me. You know how you get when you see a drop-dead gorgeous woman!”

Azure’s heartbeat wailed in her ears like a siren. Me? Drop-dead gorgeous? Harper couldn’t be serious. He had to be playing, kidding around. Thanks to her aesthetician, she now had great skin, and lush, shiny hair, but no one had ever showered her with compliments before. And more shocking still, Harper and Nelson were wearing matching smiles and staring at her intently. What was it with these Hamilton men? she wondered, fighting the urge to squeal like a school girl. Why did they all have to be suave, good-looking and charming?
“I bet you used to model,” Nelson said smoothly. “Am I right?”

No, but not for lack of trying. Azure shivered as bitter memories from her childhood re-surfaced. If her mother, a former beauty queen, had had her way, she would have been a toddler in a tiara. But beauty pageants were for thin, pretty girls, and Azure had been neither. At least that was what pageant organizers repeatedly told her. Now her younger sister, Eden, was another story. She was born to rip the runway, and from the time she could walk, she was doing just that. “No runways in my past,” she replied, with a nervous laugh. “I love fashion, but I was born to be a writer. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of doing.”

Harper wore a pensive expression on his face. “That’s too bad. With your look, and that million-dollar smile, you could have had a long, and prosperous career.”

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