Read Brushing Off the Boss: A Half Moon Bay Novel (Entangled Bliss) Online

Authors: Annie Seaton

Tags: #enemies to lovers, #artist, #small town romance, #Mira Lynn Kelly, #opposites attract, #forced proximity, #San Francisco, #Kristan Higgins, #Category Romance

Brushing Off the Boss: A Half Moon Bay Novel (Entangled Bliss)

BOOK: Brushing Off the Boss: A Half Moon Bay Novel (Entangled Bliss)
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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The one passion they had in common was the one that would keep them apart.

Artist Sienna Sacchi is about to have everything she’s ever dreamed of, when sexy playboy Jack Montgomery comes strolling back into her life as the owner of her gallery. Her plan to buy it herself ruined, she refuses to let him interfere with the most important thing—her debut exhibition. But Jack’s not just taking over her workplace, he’s also intruding on her art studio, her home, and maybe even her heart.

Jack Montgomery has few rules for his carefree life, but never mixing business with pleasure is one he is determined to keep. He’d planned on finally satisfying the tension between him and Sienna, but discovering he’s her boss puts an immediate end to that. Unfortunately, being forced to share a tiny apartment with the gorgeous, tempting sculptor is pushing Jack to his limits. One brush with desire could ruin everything they’ve worked for.

Brushing Off the Boss

a Half Moon Bay novel

Annie Seaton

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Annie Seaton. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Bliss is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit
http://www.entangledpublishing.com/category/bliss

Edited by Alethea Spiridon Hopson and Wendy Chen

Cover design by Jessica Cantor

ISBN 978-1-63375-071-5

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition September 2014

Table of Contents

As always, to the wonderful man in my life. I have the best husband in the world.

Chapter One

The door of the Sea View Gallery shut with a satisfying
click
behind the last customer of the day, and Sienna Sacchi turned the closed sign around on the glass door.

“I thought she’d never leave.” She looked over to the electrician who was waiting to show her the new lighting he’d installed in the front corner of the gallery.

“But she was loaded with bags with the gallery insignia on them, if I’m not mistaken?” Jeremy waited for her to come over to the counter. “You were wasted in restoration, Sienna. You are a born saleswoman.” She’d been friends with Jeremy since he’d done the electrical work for the restoration business Sienna had run with her twin sister, Georgie, and their best friend, Ana, before they sold the business last year.

“And a talented artist, too, don’t forget.” She grinned at him as satisfaction coursed through her. A sale like the one she’d just made reassured her that her decision to focus on her art and buying the gallery had been the right one. She would be her own boss once again; working for someone else stifled her creativity. “And yes, she loved my enameled frogs, and bought one for each of her friends back in Florida.” It had been one of the biggest sales Sienna had made since she’d taken over the management of the gallery a couple of months ago. It had all been done by email with the company and she hadn’t even met the owner; it operated under a company name. Once she owned the place, she would have final say in how it was run.

“That’s the sort of customer you want.” Jeremy looked at her with a grin. “I saw the price tag on your frogs when I was running the electrical wires under the shelves.”

Sienna nodded with a smile. “So are you done?”

“I am. Are you ready to be bedazzled?”

“I am.” Sienna had gradually filled the corner at the front of the gallery with her own work. She waited as Jeremy stepped behind the elegant glass table she used as a counter, reached down, and flicked a switch.

Sienna gasped and put her hands to her lips as she surveyed the once-dark corner. The various little creatures came to life on the display shelves along the side wall. Colorful frogs peeked from behind small pieces of wood softly lit by downlights hidden beneath the higher shelves, and copper grasshoppers gleamed in the corners. She had been working day and night to finish her sculpted metal creatures for her upcoming exhibition and still had a lot of work ahead.

“Happy with the job then, Sienna?”

“Happy? I’m delighted. It’s like fairyland.” The small creatures she had enameled in bright primary colors were highlighted by the carefully placed lighting. She stepped closer and twirled around, looking at the lights as they twinkled, and let out an excited whoop. “You’ve worked magic, Jeremy. Thank you so much.”

“My pleasure.” He picked up his toolbox and crossed to the door. “I won’t bill the company until I finish the whole room for your exhibition. Let me know when you want me to come back.”

After he left, Sienna wandered around, barely able to keep the smile off her face. The gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea looked very different from when she’d taken over as manager, with an option to purchase, only eight weeks ago. The last email from a secretary at the company advised that any changes she made before the contract was signed must be approved and then would be billed out to the company. It had taken three weeks to get the approval to go ahead with the lighting, and she’d worried it wouldn’t be complete before her exhibition. As soon as she’d received an email giving her the go-ahead, she’d called Jeremy to come in to do the work.

There’d been no reply from her lawyer about the contract of sale when she checked at lunchtime; she glanced down at her watch. Hopefully she could finalize next week and the gallery would be all hers with the freedom to do as she wanted before her first exhibition. There was no time to check her email before she left for the restaurant. As usual she was running late, and the girls would tease her about being late for her own birthday dinner.

She grabbed her iPad and her bag from beneath the counter, and with one last satisfied smile at the beautifully lit display, she flicked the lights off and headed for the back door.


The waiter leaned over the table and the cork popped out of the champagne bottle, flying over the heads of the patrons in the crowded restaurant. Sienna laughed and leaned forward, holding her glass beneath the cascading liquid.

“Happy birthday!” Ana pushed her glass under the bottle as wine frothed over the top onto the checkered tablecloth.

Georgie mopped at the damp cloth with her napkin and smiled at Sienna. “Happy birthday, sis.”

“You too, Georgie.” Sienna grinned back, wondering for the millionth time how they could be so different. Even though they were fraternal twins, in twenty-nine years she had never been able to find one glimmer of similarity between them.
Looks, personality, interests, or attitudes.
About the only thing they shared was their birthday.

“So Machu Picchu is still the plan for next year’s big thirty?” Ana, their best friend since grade school, sipped her wine. Sienna and Georgie had always promised themselves a special trip for their thirtieth birthday, even if they were married with kids. But that hadn’t happened for either of them—intentionally for Sienna, and not so intentionally for Georgie.

Sienna shook her head and looked across at her twin. Georgie was leaning into her latest boyfriend, Cal…or something? She couldn’t keep up with the men in Georgie’s life. Her sister always tried so hard to find Mr. Right. Each time a guy sensed Georgie was after the wedding dress dream, he took off and she was left nursing another broken heart.

She should know relationships rarely work out, and she needs to toughen up.

Georgie caught her eye and smiled. “No, Sienna will be busy. Are you going to share your news?

Sienna rose to her feet and tapped her glass with a spoon, but the hum of noise from the other patrons in Crab Louie’s Bistro on the old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey covered the sound. She sat back down with a grin and waited until she had the attention of the small group at the table. Leaning back on her chair, she lifted her glass and sipped before she announced in a dramatic voice, “I
almost
have news.”

“Come on, don’t keep us in suspense.” Ana leaned forward and placed her elbows on the table.

“You know how much I loved working at the Mountain View Gallery?”

Ana nodded, and Georgie had a knowing smile on her face.

“Well, I quit.” Sienna knew she had a flair for drama; Georgie had always said she should go into the movies.

“What?” Ana frowned. “I thought you were about to have an exhibition of your sculptures?”

“I was, but my sculptures and I have moved to the Sea View Gallery.” Sienna picked up her glass and sipped. “And I am about to buy it. I will have my very own gallery. I’m just waiting to hear when I sign the contract.”

She waited for their congratulations, but Ana looked at her with a strange expression on her face, almost disbelief. “Did you say the Sea View Gallery?”

“Yes. It’s in a much better location than the other one. I’m so excited. You know I’ve always dreamed about having my own gallery. All that hard work in our restoration business has paid off. I’ll have my own place where I can show my work.”

Still no flurry of congratulations.

“And you’ll all get a special invitation to my first show at the end of the month.”

It wasn’t like Ana to be so quiet. Sienna frowned at her across the table

“What’s wrong, Ana? Aren’t you just a teensy bit excited for me?”

Ana reached out across the table and grabbed Sienna’s hand. “Sweetie, there’s something you need to—”

“Is this a private party, or can I join you?”

Sienna’s heartbeat kicked up a notch as she turned. She recognized that sexy voice; a delicious shiver ran down her back. Jack Montgomery was standing behind her chair. Ever since she’d first met him a couple of years back when he was visiting the area with Blake, her heart had fluttered each time they’d run into each other. Blake had ended up buying the local hardware store and falling in love with Ana. Jack never stayed around long enough for them to go on that date he’d mentioned. Last she’d heard from Ana, he was in New York looking after the family company. His bad-boy reputation had piqued her interest, although Ana assured her he had settled down since his dad had been ill.

“I told Blake I was coming to town, and he invited me to join you.” Jack looked around with a frown. “Where is he?”

“Blake had to cancel.” Ana gestured to the chair beside her and Sienna bit her lip, feeling like a jealous teenager. She’d been about to invite Jack to sit beside her.

“There was a crisis at the store and he asked me to look out for you, Jack,” Ana said.

“So he hasn’t changed his workaholic ways? Even though he’s moved from big business to a small store of his own? I think I’ve won a bet there.” Jack pulled out the chair and sat beside Ana, but his intent gaze was fixed on Sienna, and her heart felt like it was doing backflips in her chest.

“I’ll have to line him up for a game of golf or two.” Jack didn’t take his eyes from her.

She swallowed and flicked her scarf back over her shoulder, trying to regain her composure. He was the only man who ever made her nervous. “How are you, Jack? We haven’t seen you for a while.”

“I’m well, thanks.” Jack kept his green-eyed gaze on her, and his sexy grin sent another shiver down her back. “Especially now that I’m moving here for good. We must catch up.”

“We must.” She smiled and a frisson of anticipation shot through her in a lazy swirl.

Ana put her hand over her mouth and cleared her throat loudly before Jack answered.

Her brow was wrinkled in a frown and she stared at Sienna.

What’s going on?

The noise of the conversations in the restaurant washed over her as Sienna moved her gaze from Ana back to Jack. He would make a good subject for a portrait; her fingers tingled with the urge to capture his face on canvas. It would be a happy portrait of a man at ease in his own skin. Jack always had that sexy grin on his face. He had high, sharply defined cheekbones, and sensuous lips that were tilted up in a smile as he looked back at her. His sun-streaked hair flopped onto his forehead, and his sexy eyes fixed on her were enough to give her palpitations. Having him back on the coast might prove to be very interesting…and a lot of fun.

Life’s looking good. Jack’s back on the scene; I’ll have my own gallery and an exhibition coming up.

“Sienna?” Ana’s soft voice pulled her from her dreamy musing. “Come for a walk with me?” Ana looked across at Jack apologetically. “Please excuse us for a minute.”

“Excuse me.” Sienna pushed her chair back and caught Jack’s eye. This time the tingle that ran through her was warm and settled nicely in her belly. “I’m pleased you were able to come tonight.” She ran her hand lightly down his arm as she passed by his chair, and his warm skin beneath her fingers kept those tingles going.

This is going to be fun.
I’m overdue for some, that’s for sure.

As she followed Ana to the ladies’ room, thoughts of Jack and the launch she’d planned once the gallery was hers filled her head. She’d invite him…

Ana kept walking past the ladies’ room before she pushed open the door of the restaurant that led out onto the pier.

“What’s up? Where are you going?” Sienna followed her until they reached the gap between the buildings where the pier overlooked the harbor.

Ana leaned against the white timber wall, her back to the water. She grabbed Sienna’s hands; unease caught in her throat as Ana held them. “I need to tell you something before you put your foot in it with Jack.”

“What do you mean? What’s wrong?”

“I so wish you’d told me you were at the Sea View Gallery. I know you keep things close to your chest, you always have, but you are going to be so disappointed.”

“What on earth are you talking about? Stop talking in riddles.” She stared at Ana.

“The gallery’s not for sale anymore.”

“How could you possibly know that?”

“Jack called Blake last night. Now that his father has recovered, Jack can hand the family business back over. He never wanted to be there in the first place.” Ana held Sienna’s gaze and squeezed her hands. “He’s moved here to run another business his company bought a couple of years ago. An art gallery. The Sea View Gallery.”


Jack leaned back in his chair and watched as Sienna and Ana headed for the door. Sienna was even prettier than he’d remembered. She was wearing a tight-fitting black top tucked into a colored floaty skirt. His blood zinged in appreciation. Sienna had fascinated him from the moment they met, and the attraction was mutual. He’d always intended on asking her out, but getting called back to New York when his father took ill put that on hold. Tonight, he’d pick up where he’d left off.

“So you’re here to stay this time?” Georgie smiled at him, and Jack shot a glance at the guy who was sitting on the other side of her. He held his hand out across the table.

“Jack Montgomery.”

“Sorry, how rude of me. I didn’t introduce you.” Georgie said. “This is my friend Cole. He just started work at the hardware store in Nebbiton.”

Cole shot him a sullen look as Jack shook his hand.

What’s his problem?

Jack turned away from the guy with the death stare to speak to Georgie. “It’s good to be back on the coast. When I told Blake I was arriving today, he said you’d all be down here tonight.”

“We came to celebrate our birthday. Sienna and I, that is.” Georgie shot him a grin. “Where are you staying? In Monterey?”

“No, in Carmel. I swung by my gallery and threw my bag in on the way. There’s a sofa at the back of the studio, and that’ll do for a while. At least I hope there is. I only had a quick look at the place when I bought it. It’s been managed by Dad’s company for a couple of years.” Jack stifled a yawn. “Sorry. I left New York three days ago, and I rode my bike from Salt Lake City today. Left at the crack of dawn.”

BOOK: Brushing Off the Boss: A Half Moon Bay Novel (Entangled Bliss)
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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