By Roxanne Snopek
A Men of the Zodiac Novel
He takes control…and gives all kinds of pleasure
In the space of about a second, successful restaurateur Dane Bergman has gone from millionaire playboy to daddy. Now he’s the sole guardian of a very adorable and willful five-year-old child, and he’s counting on his executive assistant, Pamela Atwater, to save his ass. Even if it means bringing her along on a month-long ocean-side retreat…
Pamela Atwater prides herself on being the perfect assistant. Whatever Dane wants or needs, she’s there—pretending to ignore Dane’s golden charm and drop-dead gorgeousness. On vacation, however, Pamela sees a side of Dane she never imagined. And it’s a side that tempts her to cross the line between professional and personal. But is one month enough time to prove to Dane that his perfect assistant might just be his perfect match?
About the Author: Stories by Roxanne Snopek are a bit like her life: dramatic, emotional and messy, with dogs, cats and other critters usually underfoot. She believes that the best heroes are cowboys under the surface, even if they deny it. She lives in beautiful British Columbia with her hero of 25 years and whatever kids and pets happen to be around.
“Dani needs some, uh, personal help,” Dane said, without preamble. “How soon can you get here?”
Surprise left her momentarily speechless. Her boss rarely called her at home and never at such an hour. His voice was scratchy, gravelly, like he’d just gotten up. Or maybe hadn’t gone to bed at all. Like his hair might be mussed, and maybe he was shirtless, too. Definitely not The Great Dane Bergman.
She glanced down at her skimpy outfit and felt warmth flood her cheeks, as if somehow he could see her.
Which was crazy and inappropriate and just wrong.
“Is she okay?”
“Yes, yes,” he said. “She needs…a woman’s…help, that’s all.”
That initial stab of fear turned to irritation at his presumption. Whatever his crisis was, it was his. Not hers.
Pamela walked into her small kitchen and set the kettle on to boil. She wasn’t on the clock. He didn’t have the right to commandeer her personal time.
“Rough first night, I take it?”
“Come on, Pam. I’m desperate here.” He tried for a laugh and that little pretense broke through her defenses. “I know I shouldn’t ask.”
“Never mind.” She sighed and turned off the kettle. Who was she kidding? “I’m on my way.”
She dressed in record time. When she arrived at his penthouse, he answered the door with a haggard expression and tight lips, ushering her through the door without a greeting. Not that she’d have been able to answer if he had. The man before her was not the polished, in-control Dane Bergman she knew. This man’s hair was a messy, golden tangle that flopped over his eyebrow. His strong chin was shadowed with stubble and the intimate scent of a body still warm from bed surrounded him. He had a shirt on, thank goodness, but it was a thin, soft T-shirt that revealed tan skin and well-defined muscles beneath. Fleece track pants hung low on his hips and his feet were bare.
An intriguing change from the boss image.
Not intriguing. Disturbing. How was she supposed to work with him at the office once she’d seen him like this? And why was he so nonchalant about it? It was as if it didn’t even occur to him that she might be affected, like she was “just Pam” so it didn’t matter if he greeted her half-dressed.
Well, if it doesn’t matter to him, then it doesn’t matter to me, either.
She tore her gaze away. Tell that to the jumping beans cavorting in my stomach.
“What’s the big emergency?” she asked.
“She’s in the bathroom.”
The jumping beans turned to firecrackers. “You called me here because she’s in the bathroom? I can’t believe—”
She whirled around.
He put his hands up, catching her shoulders, holding her in place. “She’s been in there a long time. I don’t know what she’s doing, and I’d like to keep it that way.”
Pamela pulled out of his grip and shook her head, ignoring the way his shirt shifted, revealing the taut belly beneath. Instead of making him seem more human, his state of undress and the strength of his hands underscored his power, his maleness.
Right. A helpless, willfully ignorant male, she told herself. He was using her.
But no. That wasn’t it. She also heard concern in his voice. Dane didn’t do things he wasn’t good at and he hated asking for help.
She sighed. “Not the way it works, Daddy. But I’ll help you out this time. Go make yourself some coffee. You look like you need it.”
Sweet baby Jesus, where do I start on this one? Hum…
1. Major swoon worthy hero – check
2. Smart heroine – check
3. Perfect trope, secret baby w/a twist – check
4. A child that was adorable, not annoying – check
5. Emotions galore by all the characters – check
6. Setting, can I go to the island? – check
7. Another perfect trope, secretary/boss (that wasn’t contrived) – check
8. Watching a grown man finally figure out that he is worthy and a good person – check
9. A heroine that stuck to her guns and didn’t back down – check
10. The perfect ending – check
So there is my top ten list of why you should read the book but now I’ll tell you why I LOVED it.
Dane is the perfect messed up millionaire. Sure he had some the typical qualities of the millionaire but he wasn’t an *sshat. He did treat people right from the beginning. He didn’t use his status to get his way…well most of the time. The protesters in the beginning I didn’t understand their role in the story but trust me they hold a HUGE part of the story but not until near the end. Ms. Snopek absolutely nailed that plot point. Plus, I love to read about a man that doesn’t have a clue about children. And the scenes with Dani are priceless. The bathroom scene where he has to call Pam…ROFL.
I can honestly say that this might be the first time that a millionaire actually treated his assistant with the upmost respect in a book. Sure he was demanding but once he realized how much he truly did depend on Pamela, he made sure she knew about it. Of course, it was almost too late but he did learn. *snicker* He never had any sexual or otherwise feelings towards Pamela until the island. Again, it was refreshing that he wasn’t trying to get in her pants from the get go. 😉
Pamela was a breath of fresh air for me. Smart, dedicated but at the same time not a doormat. She gave back to Dane has much has he gave her. It was a balanced relationship from the beginning but as you know, through sex in the mix and it gets complecated. Oh how I loved the way these two came to together at the island. It was unexpected for both of them but needed at the same time. Pamela knew the score going in but did she really? I really enjoyed watching Dane and Pamela fall in love with each other. There wasn’t the usual angst, misunderstanding, etc. Straight forward communication would have helped but then that would have been easy.
This is not my first book by Ms. Snopek and she is becoming a real favorite of mine. She writes intelligent romance with the usual tropes but she puts a twist or two with them that really hooks me in. I read this book during some down time at school when I was subbing. I recommended to some of the teachers to read this book. Once I read the blurb, some of them got on their tablets and bought the book. They were sold on the blurb and of course, me gushing about Dane and Pamela.