Everyone had one foible, didn’t they? Macy thought them adorable as she reflected on Stacy and how she chewed her bottom lip while Sandy quirked an eyebrow, and she herself tended to pull on her earlobe when she was concentrating. Although some considered them pretentious, she’d long ago decided they were habits that had developed somehow at some point at some time for some reason. Not great in a poker player, she thought, but she wasn’t playing poker.

Everyone had one foible, didn’t they? Macy thought them adorable as she reflected on Stacy and how she chewed her bottom lip while Sandy quirked an eyebrow, and she herself tended to pull on her earlobe when she was concentrating. Although some considered them pretentious, she’d long ago decided they were habits that had developed somehow at some point at some time for some reason. Not great in a poker player, she thought, but she wasn’t playing poker.

Not in the truest sense of the word; she wasn’t sitting with an actual deck of cards in front of her, but then, bidding on an advertising campaign and hoping to win might be considered a gamble, especially when the stakes were this high. They, Marchande and Company, her family business, desperately needed to win this bid. They’d been losing out to Harold’s on a steady basis the past six months.

Marcus Harold was a formidable opponent. He played his cards close to the vest and she was having difficulty reading him. His body language gave little away. He always seemed relaxed, laid back and very much at ease as if the outcome was unimportant. Macy just didn’t buy it, not for a second, not with the unprecedented slow down in the market.

Understandably, times were tough and people were feeling unsure, many unwilling to take risks they didn’t consider absolutely necessary and as a result, they were holding back, weren’t buying anything they considered too lavish.

As a result, she’d had to completely overhaul her campaign strategy taking a less ostentatious route, appealing to her audience on a different level and in a different way. Harold’s had done the same, and they were good at it. They seemed to strike the right note again and again which had her feeling frustrated and even annoyed.

She was good at her job, considered one of the leaders in the industry and yet, time and again her campaigns fell short and they lost out. Again and again, she’d been assured she’d struck a chord, but the client had chosen to go down a different path.

Macy gave her presentation, carefully looking each attendee squarely in the eye, directing each focal point toward a different individual and when she finished, sent up a silent prayer.

Walking out of the building, her assistant helping to carry the materials used, she smiled and sighed. Before heading off toward their own vehicles, she wished her a relaxed and fun-filled long weekend.

Stacy was headed toward a nearby outlet that would offer up her favourite ice cream, determined to reward herself with a decadent helping of double berry chocolate chip mocha ice cream, a blend she’d created and they were now offering their customers and which had become a huge hit.

Headed back toward her car, her thoughts on the presentation, trying to figure out the odds on whether they’d go with her presentation, she tripped and would have fallen flat on her face if a sudden arm hadn’t reached out and hauled her backward against a solid chest.

Looking first at the delectable treat that had taken her place and splatted everywhere, she regained her composure and turned to find herself enveloped in the arms of none other than Marcus Harold. Up close and personal, he was incredibly handsome and the glint of amusement that lit his eyes was decidedly appealing.

“Um thanks.”

“Your welcome.” He hadn’t removed his arms and they still encircled her.

“You can let go now, I’m not going to fall.”

“I find I rather like holding onto you. Your quite delectable.”

She stared up at him as if he’d grown a second head which had him laughing outright.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. You are always fastidious, prepared, determined and rather unapproachable. This may be my one and only opportunity. I think I should make the most of it.”

“Really!”

He smiled at her repetitive comeback was unusual and endearing. As was the characteristic tug on her earlobe.

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