French billionaire Marcel Mercier loves women. And there's a string of broken hearts across two continents to prove it. But as CEO of Mercier Shipping, he's got more important things to worry about . . . like why the charter company he just purchased in the United States is suddenly the center of an international media firestorm.
Now that big, bad Mercier Shipping owns Captain Dani Lloyd's ship, she's sure her job is at stake. But she won't go down without a fight—even if it means chaining herself to the mast of the Esther Reed and refusing to set foot on shore.
The delectable captain and her newsworthy dramatics are a PR nightmare, but Marcel is happy to let Dani prove her skills on a weeklong sail to Boston. He knows no woman can resist him for that long . . . in fact, he's counting on it.
But Marcel's plan to seduce Dani backfires as sparks fly between the billionaire playboy and the passionate captain. Which leaves Marcel realizing that winning her heart is a challenge he can't afford to lose.
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“Just yanking her chain?” Julie finished.
“Oh, that was baaad,” Denny said, lowering the camera. “You’re so going to hell.”
“And I’m sure I’ll be escorting her,” said Marcel Mercier. “So, how soon can we leave?”
Dani took in all six-foot-whatever of hot billionaire Frenchieness and tried to imagine being locked on a ship with him. But that was the least of her problems. She knew if she didn’t prove herself as capable as any man, he’d never see past her as a woman. And it wasn’t because she thought herself irresistible, either. To make it in an overwhelmingly male milieu, she’d learned to make her sex as much of a nonissue as possible. She always dressed conservatively, never got mixed up in any “office” liaisons, and never joined in her crew’s bawdy chatter. And because she was usually one of the few female crew members, to prove herself she had to work twice as hard for twice as long, most nights allowing her only enough time to collapse for a few hours in her two-room Queen Village flat. But it had been worth it. Those concessions had earned her a 100 ton license and not only her own ship, but the Esther Reed.
And skippering the Esther Reed trumped hot billionaire Frenchieness any day.
“Well?” he said, shifting in those khakis.
Esther Reed. Esther Reed. Esther Reed, Dani thought, swallowing hard.
“First things first,” Julie said, her mic coming in for the kill. “Yes to the charter, or what?”
Dani looked from Occupy Vagina, now fully on deck, to the onlookers gathered around the Velcro of Julie’s TV news van, to the tall growl of a man who dangled her future in his grasping corporate hands. How fitting he’d appropriated her own idea. Especially when it’d probably be her own noose she was tying.
But when had that ever stopped her from attempting anything, especially with the irresistible chance to take the ship out on the open water under full sail? She looked to her flag, waving in the breeze. They were a team, she and the Esther Reed. And the old girl would never let her down.
“Yes,” Dani said firmly. “I’ll take Mr. Mercier to Boston. But only so I can show him along the way how capable a skipper I am.”
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