Read All Grown Up Online

Authors: Janice Maynard

Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance

All Grown Up

A Man Like No Other

Believing Sam Ely was the only one for her, young Annalise Wolff threw herself at him. But he claimed he was too old for her…and that she was too forward. Seven years later, she’s still reeling from his words, vowing never to forgive. Then she’s offered a job she can’t refuse.

Although it means working closely with Sam, Annalise is determined to ignore age-old feelings. But then a snowstorm strands them together…without power…without family interference…without inhibitions. And Annalise has to decide if falling for Sam again is worth the risk of a second broken heart.

She Could Climb Trees, Play Football, Talk Cars And Quote Sports Statistics With The Best Of Them. And If The Need Arose, She Knew How To Fell A Man With One Quick Move.

What she hadn't quite mastered, though, was how a woman could resist when the man she'd wanted for years was so close she could lift her lips and touch her mouth to his.

With every fiber of her being, she yearned to move against him, rest her head on his shoulder and feel his big masculine arms enfold her. But that was exactly why she couldn't.

Any notion she'd ever had of snagging Sam had disappeared when she'd embarrassed herself with a youthful, impassioned declaration that was ill-timed to say the least. Sam might pretend he'd only been letting her down easy, but she had a hunch that in their charged encounter way back then, he had been speaking the truth.

Sam's perfect woman was not Annalise. Not by a long shot.

Dear Reader,

When I set out to write Annalise’s story, I knew she would be someone special. I also realized that her hero needed to be a man who could see past her outer shell of wealth and beauty to the sometimes emotionally fragile woman within.

Annalise fascinated me as she came to life on the page. She and I have very little in common. So I had to stretch my limits to understand this complex sister/daughter/cousin.

After growing up on Wolff Mountain amid an incredible sea of testosterone, Annalise had to learn (as an adult) what it meant to be a woman. Not a carbon copy of anyone else…but simply herself. A still-sore memory from her past puts the lone female Wolff’s unexpected chance to find a mate in jeopardy.

Sam and Annalise strike sparks off one another. Come along and see what happens when two strong-willed people go head-to-head and happen to fall in love when they least expect it.

Happy reading,

Janice Maynard

www.JaniceMaynard.com
www.WolffMountain.com

Janice Maynard

All Grown Up

Books by Janice Maynard

Harlequin Desire

The Billionaire’s Borrowed Baby
#2109
*
Into His Private Domain
#2135
*
A Touch of Persuasion
#2146
*
Impossible to Resist
#2164
*
The Maid’s Daughter
#2182
*
All Grown Up
#2206

Silhouette Desire

The Secret Child & the Cowboy CEO
#2040

*
The Men of Wolff
Mountain

Other titles by this author available in
ebook format.

JANICE MAYNARD

came to writing early in life. When her short story
The Princess and the Robbers
won a red ribbon in her
third-grade school arts fair, Janice was hooked. She holds a B.A. from Emory and
Henry College and an M.A. from East Tennessee State University. In 2002 Janice
left a fifteen-year career as an elementary teacher to pursue writing full-time.
Her first love is creating sexy, character-driven, contemporary romance. She has
written for Kensington and NAL, and now is so very happy to also be part of the
Harlequin Books family—a lifelong dream, by the way!

Janice and her husband live in beautiful east Tennessee in
the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. She loves to travel and enjoys using
those experiences as settings for books.

Hearing from readers is one of the best perks of the job!
Visit her website,
www.janicemaynard.com
, or email her at
[email protected]
. And of course, don’t forget
Facebook and don’t forget Facebook and Twitter. Visit all the men of Wolff
Mountain at
www.wolffmountain.com
.

This book is dedicated to women everywhere who pave their own way with grace and beauty and originality. Never apologize for being who you are. Life has shaped you with experiences both good and bad. Embrace your unique self and let the world know what you have to offer. Shine!

One

A
nnalise Wolff regarded Sam Ely much like
she did the IRS. She was forced to deal with him occasionally, but the
experience inevitably gave her a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach…thus
making her voluntary presence in his office today all the more incomprehensible.
She leaned back in her chair, crossed one slim leg over the other and admired
the sheen on her soft ebony leather boots. They were Prada, as was her
voluminous purse.

Suffering the indignity of face-to-face contact with the
ridiculously handsome architect required full body armor. Her crimson cashmere
sweater and narrow black wool skirt were designed to show him she was all grown
up.

Unfortunately, Sam didn’t seem all that impressed.

He lounged against the window frame, his gaze absently focused
on the wintry day outside. “Yes or no, Annalise,” he said, a faint but
unmistakable bite in his voice despite his honeyed drawl. “I’m giving you the
courtesy of first refusal, but there are dozens of interior designers who would
jump at this opportunity.”

He was right, damn his scurvy, sexy, Southern hide. The
Shenandoah Valley home and dairy farm that belonged to his grandparents dated
back to the time of Thomas Jefferson. The house was listed on the national
register. Experts in historic renovation were handling the extensive changes Sam
had drawn in detail via the plans rolled out on a nearby table. The project was
an interior designer’s dream. She stalled, telling herself she could walk away.
“And the magazine spread afterward is a done deal?”

“My college roommate’s mom is the managing editor of
Architectural Design
. She’s salivating at the
opportunity to put Sycamore Farm in the earliest possible issue. The only holdup
at the moment is you.”

He returned to his desk and sat down on the edge of it, his
long, muscular legs dangerously close to hers. The position put him above her,
and she knew he did it deliberately. She’d known this man for most of her life.
His father had done the architectural design for much of Wolff Castle, and Sam
and his dad had been frequent visitors to the Wolff home over the years. For an
adolescent girl locked away like Rapunzel in her tower, Annalise’s interactions
with the much older Sam had been her first and only exposure to hormonal-driven,
adolescent passion.

“When would I start?” she hedged. “If I agree.”

He glanced down at the calendar beside him. “I’m sure you have
a few things to wrap up. How about a week from Friday? Gram and Pops want you to
live onsite, given the remoteness of the farm. Too much time commuting would eat
into the schedule.”

She felt her face heat. “Where will you be?”

He put his hands on his thighs, drawing her attention to their
size and firmness and the shape of his masculinity nestled where they met.
“Don’t worry,” he muttered, irritation etching a scowl between his eyebrows as
he glared at her. “Gram wants me to spend a couple of days at the beginning to
orient you to the project, but afterward, I’ll return here to my office, far,
far, away. That should put your mind at rest.” He ran a hand through his hair.
“For God’s sake, I’m not making you a prisoner. Go home whenever you need to,
but I want you to give this job a hundred and ten percent. Or nothing.”

He sat up, back straight, arms folded, eyes glittering with
challenge. “Do I make you nervous, Annalise?”

“Of course not.” Her reply was commendably quick, but
lamentably false. “I’m just not sure if I have the time to fit you into my
schedule.” Annalise didn’t need the money. But the cachet of having her name on
this massive undertaking would take her business and reputation to a whole new
level. She was ambitious, damn it. Sam might not think of her as anything more
than a family friend, but professionally he had her pegged.

He took her hand and drew her to her feet, cradling her loosely
in the vee of his legs. “Make time, Annalise,” he said, his gaze locking onto
hers like a charlatan preparing to hypnotize an unwary victim. “You know you
want to.”

* * *

Sam was overplaying his hand. Sexual nuance was not his
normal mode of doing business. But the God’s honest truth was, Annalise made
him
nervous. He’d hurt her badly seven years ago
when she’d had a big crush on him, and though he’d like to believe that was
water under the bridge, the wariness in her sooty-lashed, pale blue eyes was
unmistakable. The adoration she’d showered him with so long ago had changed into
fury the instant he’d rejected her, and she had never forgiven him.

The reluctant attraction he battled even now had simmered back
then. He’d never been able to forget what happened, and though he’d tried on
several occasions to apologize over the years, Annalise shut him down time and
again until he finally gave up and avoided her as much as possible. She did
likewise.

But like a stubborn splinter beneath the skin, he couldn’t seem
to extract her from his life and his thoughts. So when his grandparents insisted
he offer the job to Annalise, he’d relished the opportunity to get her alone, to
invite her to his office, to see her face-to-face.

The color of her irises was unusual for a woman with hair so
dark and glossy. But then again, most everything about Annalise Wolff was
extraordinary. Tall and slim and infinitely confident, her striking looks could
have made her a runway model or a film star. She carried herself with a boldness
that did nothing to minimize her intense femininity.

For a split second, Sam allowed himself to imagine all that
boundless energy and subtle sexual aggression in his bed. His sex hardened to
the point of pain. This was why he normally kept a healthy distance. He didn’t
want to think of her that way. Cursing his own stupidity, he set her aside and
put the desk between them. “I can’t give you long to make up your mind. Gram
wanted you because of the work you did on the president’s home at UVA. She and
my grandfather attended the reception that showcased the renovations there and
they were both very impressed with your work. But if you don’t have the time,
just say so.”

Annalise folded her arms beneath her breasts. The soft red
sweater she wore delineated her modest curves and her narrow waist. Sam had big
hands, and it was not a far stretch to imagine himself lifting her and spreading
her legs and—

Oh, hell.

She tilted her chin upward, nose in the air. “You’d like that,
wouldn’t you? But sorry, Sam Ely, I guess you’re stuck with me. If your
grandmother wants me to do this project, I’m in.”

The jolt of joy that stabbed through his chest was a surprise.
Did he really want an excuse to spend time with the prickly, stubborn Annalise
Wolff? Apparently, according to his unreasonable but insistent erection, he
did.

Sam cleared his throat, making a show of turning the calendar
around and jotting a note. “I’ll get my attorney to draw up a contract. Do you
have any questions?”

* * *

Ten days later, Annalise steered her Miata along a
narrow paved road that led up to the entrance of Sycamore Farm. In the dead of
winter, the property was not all that impressive. Fallow fields crusted with
frost flanked both sides of the road. Excessive freezing and thawing had played
havoc with the asphalt, leaving the occasional pothole.

Sam’s grandparents had been gone for several weeks, searching
out warmer climes. But Annalise had been assured that the fridge and pantry were
stocked and at least one bedroom outfitted for a long-term guest.

Remembering her last encounter with Sam, she muttered an
expletive. Growing up in an all-male household had done unfortunate damage to a
ladylike vocabulary. On New Year’s Eve she’d made a resolution to give up
cursing, but so far, her progress hadn’t been stellar.

Sam’s last words still rang in her ears.
Do you have any questions?

Hell, yes, she had questions, one in particular.
Was I so repulsive seven years ago that you couldn’t bring
yourself to have sex with me when I threw myself at you and acted like a
fool?

The remembered humiliation churned bile in her stomach.
Steering with one hand, she rummaged in her purse for an antacid. The
intervening days and months had done nothing to blunt the sharpness of the
memory….

“Hi, Sam.” She was breathless from running
downstairs to intercept him before he got in his car. She’d kept a vigil at
her bedroom window for the last half hour. Sam and his father had driven
separately, because the older man was lingering to play poker with her
father and Uncle Victor.

Sam paused, one hand on the top of the
car, the other holding a set of keys. “What’s up? I thought you weren’t
feeling well.” His slow drawl and lazy hazel-eyed smile took her breath
away.

She bit her lip, legs trembling. She’d
feigned a headache to get out of dinner. Sitting across the table from Sam
would have been torture, because she dared not let her daddy see how much in
love she was. Vincent Wolff was very protective of his baby daughter. She
lifted her chin, reaching for calm. “Actually, I had some work to do. I’m
graduating from college in a few weeks. And I’ll start my master’s program.
Interior design,” she added, hoping he would be impressed. She felt like an
adult for the first time in her life, with a level playing field, and the
resultant adrenaline gave her confidence.

Sam jingled his keys. “Oh.” The look on
his face wasn’t encouraging. If anything he was eager to get on his way. At
almost thirty, Sam Ely was in his prime, and just about the hottest thing
Annalise had ever seen.

She moved three steps closer. “I thought
you might like to take me out to dinner sometime,” she said.

The look on his face—as if he’d been
poleaxed—was not flattering.

Desperation lent wings to her feet. She
moved forward with determination, went up on tiptoe to wrap her arms around
his neck and kissed him square on the mouth. His arms went around her
reflexively, but his entire body stiffened. “Um, Annalise…”

She scattered kisses from his nose to his
chin to his tanned neck revealed by an open-collared dress shirt. “I know
you’ve been waiting for me to grow up,” she whispered. “Please tell me you
want me. I know you do.”

His burgeoning erection gave truth to her
words. But at twenty-one, more naive than most, she didn’t fully grasp the
difference between male reflex and a more romantic motive.

After one heartfelt moment when it seemed
as if Sam might return her kiss, he set her away firmly, holding out a hand
when she would have embraced him again. “No, Annalise. I think of you as a
sister.”

Confusion brought her up short. His body
had responded…unmistakably. “I think I’m in love with you, Sam,” she
cried.

He winced. He actually winced. And her
heart turned to ashes.

The kindness in his gaze scorched her with
humiliation. “You’re barely an adult, honey. And I’m years too old for you.
I’m flattered. You’re an amazing young woman. But both of our dads would
string me up if I tried anything with you… And besides…”

He had said enough. Annalise didn’t want
to hear any more. She was mute with misery.

“Besides,” he said slowly, “most guys like
to do the chasing. You might want to think about that. I know you’ve grown
up without a mother to teach you these things, but men like gentle, feminine
women. Soft, self-effacing. I guess it’s the whole caveman thing.” He
brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. “You’re beautiful, Annalise.
You don’t need to try so hard....”

The front of the car hit a larger-than-normal pothole, and
Annalise was jerked back to the present, clutching the steering wheel as she
slowed to a crawl.
Please, God, let Sam Ely’s visit
be short. She would listen politely, take notes and bid him a civil goodbye.
Then she could get to work.

If she ignored the debacle from the past, surely he would have
the decency to do so as well.

As she rounded one last bend in the road and came in sight of
the cluster of buildings that comprised Sycamore Farm, she saw a lone,
immediately recognizable figure standing on the front porch despite the frigid
temperatures. Her heart beat a sluggish rhythm as she put the car in Park and
got out.

She was a grown woman, well-traveled. Sophisticated. Sexually
experienced to some degree. She had done everything in her power to forget her
first love, to deny how much Sam’s rejection had wounded her tender heart. Sam
Ely was just a man like any other. For thirty-six hours, forty-eight at the
most, she would impress him with her calm competence and her utter lack of
interest in his sexy smile and masculine charms. By the time he left, all he
would remember about Annalise Wolff was that she was damned good at her job.

He lifted a hand in greeting, the habitual smile nowhere in
evidence.

Annalise opened her mouth to say hello. But in an instant that
felt like the most dreadful slow-motion replay, disaster struck. Her heel hit a
patch of ice in the driveway, her feet flew out from under her and she fell flat
on her back. Hard.

When she opened her eyes with a groan, Sam Ely’s big body
crouched over hers as his hands ran lightly over her limbs checking for damage.
Gently he lifted her head and felt for a knot.

Annalise shivered inside her warm down coat, but it had nothing
to do with the snow flurries swirling around them. All he had to do was touch
her and she was that young, desperate woman again.

He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. “Are you
hurt?”

* * *

Sam winnowed his fingers through silky black hair that
clung to his fingers with static from the cold air. “Say something, damn it. Are
you okay?”

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