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Unlock My Heart - - Jennifer Wilck

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Unlock My Heart

Tagline: Can love break through their firewalls?

Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his difficulty hearing to his clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

AsTed and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and soon the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client's system indicates one of his employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together? 

 

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excerpt

Ted grasped Abby as she started to topple. Pulling her tight against him, he skated them to the rail and leaned against it, giving her time to get her feet back under her. Greg was right; Ted shouldn’t hold her like this, but no one was around and with Abby everything felt right.

And he was enjoying her body against his. He stifled a groan. Soft breasts, delicate bones, strawberry-scented hair. He wanted her, more than he’d ever wanted another woman.

She’d bragged about his success to her mother? For a man who’d grown up with a dad who called him stupid, Abby’s brag was more of an aphrodisiac than any sexy model ever could be.

He hugged her to him on the pretense of making sure she remained upright and waited for her to pull away.
Her lips moved, and he studied them, unable to hear her with the background music, the whoosh of air as they glided, the voices of the skaters, and traffic noise. He thought she said “thanks,” and he nodded. When she started to speak again, he took his finger and placed it over her lips. They were velvety soft and pink, and he would have given anything to kiss them.

Instead, he shook his head. “I can’t hear you. And lip reading is exhausting.”

He expected the usual shame to creep in. Maybe because she was out of her element here on the ice and relied on him. She clutched his hand as he guided them slowly over the ice. Maybe it was because he saw no pity. In fact, desire flashed. She blinked, and it was gone. But he’d seen it.

He could spend their entire time together wondering what conversations he missed. He could worry about what she thought, or about whether or not the CEO of the company should skate this close to his employee.

Or he could skate.

He held her close again, and they circled the rink. The cold air reddened her cheeks and nose. His hands should have been cold without gloves, but they weren’t. Holding Abby, melding their bodies together, created a furnace between them. He was surprised the ice beneath their blades didn’t melt.

They circled the rink once, twice, three times, and on their fourth turn, snowflakes fell. The sky glowed from the reflection of the lights on the clouds, which were so low, it seemed as if the tops of the buildings supported them. Abby shivered. He drew her close again as he stopped at the railing.

“Cold?” he asked.

She shook her head no.

If she wasn’t cold...he leaned toward her, and her eyes darkened. Her lips parted, and his heart thumped in his chest. He wanted to kiss her more than he wanted to be able to hear the sound of his name on her lips.
She reached out and traced her finger across his cheekbone. When she pulled back, there was liquid from a melting snowflake on the tip, and a blaze of heat across his cheek.

“...never...snow...”

He caught the gist, and his shock at her comment broke the spell. “You’ve never seen snow?”

She shook her head. He wanted to ask her where she’d grown up, but this wasn’t the place because of the noise of the tourists. Besides, it was late, and if he weren’t careful, he’d do something he shouldn’t.

Like kiss her next to the golden statue in Rockefeller Center.

He steered them toward the exit, and they returned their skates. Moving away from the noise of the rink, Ted took a deep breath when he could hear again.

“You want to walk in the snow or cab it?” he asked.

The look of joy on her face was contagious as she held her hands out to collect snowflakes. He’d grown up in Ohio. Snow was nothing new to him, although he remembered how much he’d loved to play in it. He’d built huge forts in the snowdrifts, where sound was muted and light filtered through the flakes. The snowy walls offered a natural barrier and allowed him to dream of days when he’d be far away.

Like now.

 

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