Her climb up the corporate ladder was one done with plenty of sacrifices, but the one that troubled Alejandra the most was losing her friendship with Jeremy Wilkerson. In Ready for Love, the fourth book in the Wilkersons in Love series, circumstances bring Jeremy and Alejandra back together… but can they manage to keep it that way with so much conflict between them?
For #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday), I am featuring an excerpt from Ready for Love featuring todays #WCW Alejandra Moore. Enjoy!
“You must get tired of that.” Alejandra looked away from the two men seated at the end of the bar. “People loving your brother one minute and talking trash about him the next has to be irritating.”
The Philadelphia Liberty was beating the Minnesota Twins and the other two patrons inside the hotel lounge weren’t thrilled about it.
Jeremy was surprised she even knew who they were talking about since no names had been mentioned. He shrugged and reached for the glasses in front of them. After handing Alejandra one, he offered her a lime wedge. “Everyone is entitled to an opinion.”
“Well his was rude,” Alejandra said, making sure her statement could be heard over the sound of the game. “The way they’re smoking one cigarette after the other, they would pass out if they even tried to swing a baseball bat. Yet they have the nerve to say KW is out of shape.”
Jeremy laughed off Alejandra’s rowdiness. “You never could hold your liquor.”
She rarely indulged in alcohol on business trips or during after work gatherings. She always opted to be the designated driver, but tonight there would be no driving when all they had to do was take an elevator to their rooms.
During the last holiday party, Alejandra had surprised Jeremy when she admitted not wanting to be labeled as “that girl” around the office. The few times he witnessed her kicking back with a drink was when they were away from their colleagues.
“Liquor’s meant to be consumed not caressed,” Alejandra replied with a smirk.
Jeremy laughed. “Ready?” He slid the saltshaker toward her.
She stared at it. “How do I do this again?” she asked.
Jeremy shook his head. “You never did shots before?”
“Yeah, but it never came with the fixings for a marinade.”
He stared at the doubles between them. While he drank his beer, she had two mojitos and he could tell she was starting to feel it.
“Don’t start acting stupid on me now.” Jeremy laughed and Alejandra joined him. “I normally drink my tequila straight up, but I’ll show you. Just watch.”
She turned the stool to face him, placing her legs between his open ones. Jeremy glanced down at their limbs, both covered in jeans, except hers were snug and cute. His were merely for comfort after spending the week in Minnesota on a wind farm. With Alejandra’s thighs brushing up against him, his own jeans started to feel snug, too.
“First, we need to figure out a toast,” Jeremy said, hoping to ignore what he was sensing.
Alejandra kept her eyes fixed on his drink but gripped her glass. Jeremy reached out to guide her hand back to the bar. “You’re going to spill it, and then I’ll have to make you pay for the next round.”
“Oh sorry,” she replied nervously.
He heard the change in her voice and leaned forward. “What’s up? That look makes me think you forgot to unplug an iron.”
She smiled and turned her head just as her cheeks reddened. The abrupt movement caused dark brown hair to fall into her face and against her upper arm. Jeremy stared at it, hoping to somehow get a sense of how her hair would feel brushing against him, against his arm, against his face… against his chest.
Jeremy looked at Alejandra again, appreciating everything that made her beautiful.
Their eyes met when Alejandra caught him staring. She blinked away whatever emotions she must have been feeling and looked at him with clear blue eyes, which were a sharp contrast against her complexion. “It’s my birthday today.”
Taken back, Jeremy playfully pushed her shoulder. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?”
“Why would I?”
“You could’ve caught a flight home last night or earlier today so you could celebrate with your friends.”
Alejandra shook her head. “I am with a friend. Besides, there’s too much on the line with us trying to finish before the state incentives deadline. I couldn’t leave you in a lurch. It’s just my thirty-first birthday. The last one was a bigger milestone.”
Jeremy blinked and looked Alejandra over once more. For some reason he always thought she was in her twenties. So much for the excuse of age coming between them...
He recovered from his shock and grabbed the salt. “Don’t think you’re going to take advantage of me tonight,” he teased.
The joke he made every time they got together for a drink made her laugh. Except tonight he almost considered not saying it. When she met him in the lobby fresh from her shower and a change of clothes, he wondered what it would be like to sleep with her. Recalling it made him frown.
“Nah, you’re too serious for my blood,” Alejandra replied.
He looked up. “What are you saying?”
“You need to laugh more, Jeremy.”
“I am laughing. All night we’ve been laughing.”
She pulled her bottom lip in between her teeth and slowly blinked one time. Looking up through her lashes, Alejandra quietly added, “You should live more. Do more. Maybe even love more, too.”
“What makes you think I don’t already?” He heard the two men at the end of the bar walk behind them toward the exit. “All you know about me is where I work.”
“I know you still wear that,” she said. Alejandra pointed to the band on his finger and instinctively, Jeremy’s left thumb moved to touch it. “And you’re raising a four year old girl by yourself.”
“I have a little help.”
Alejandra shrugged a shoulder. “Not as much as you’d like.”
“You make it sound like my life is pitiful,” Jeremy said, lightening the mood with a smile. “I’m rarely in the office enough to have people talking about me, so where’s all this coming from?”
Alejandra shook her head. “Nothing... Just an observation...”
He considered asking again, but chose to leave the conversation alone. There were some things he didn’t care to reveal to a coworker anyway. “Let’s drink to your birthday.”
Alejandra nodded, this time reaching for her glass with a steady hand. She watched Jeremy sprinkle salt between his index finger and thumb, toss back the contents in the glass and bite into the lime wedge after licking the salt.
He signaled for another for himself and told Alejandra to wait to drink hers so he could join her.
Raising his glass, Jeremy looked at Alejandra and smiled. “¡Felíz cumpleaños!”
Alejandra thanked him and tilted her head back to drink. He smiled when she frowned at the glass and hissed. Biting into the lime soured her face even more.
“You okay over there?” he asked with a smirk.
She nodded her head slowly as she blinked. Their bartender returned with some of the food they had ordered and Jeremy encouraged Alejandra to eat something.
“Now what are you thinking about?” he asked after some time had passed.
She shook her head. “Nothing...”
Jeremy reached for her chin, turning it so he could get a better read of her eyes. “No. Tell me.”
Alejandra stared back with glazed eyes. “I was wondering what it would feel like to kiss you.”
“What’s stopping you from finding out?”
“You wouldn’t mind?” Her voice sounded excited and doubtful at the same time.
“It’s just a kiss,” he answered. Alejandra knew from the times she sought him out for friendly advice to understand how he felt about commitment, but she didn’t know this wasn’t the first time that question on whether or not to kiss her had popped up between them. Alejandra had the type of mouth dreams were built on. “No harm can come from a simple kiss.”
Jeremy looked at her and caught her sighing. When her lips parted he considered telling her, but there was something about the way her mouth beckoned him to come closer.
Leaning forward, Jeremy brushed his mouth against hers. Alejandra responded by kissing him back.
Copyright © 2014 by Tia Kelly. All rights reserved.
Ready for Love (Book Four in the Wilkersons in Love series)
With the death of his wife he lost the love of a lifetime. But what if you get more than just one?
When his wife died, Jeremy Wilkerson resigned himself to living a passion-free life. He throws himself into his career and raising his daughter Noelle. Convinced that casual affairs and one-nighters are all he needs, because it isn’t as though anyone can replace what was lost. Or so he thinks.
Alejandra Moore is driven. She doesn’t see family or even a long-term relationship in her near future, and fortunately, her colleague Jeremy Wilkerson feels precisely the same way. Their no-strings-attached arrangement suits both of them just fine. Jeremy is passionate only about his career and being a good father.
But just as Jeremy and Allie reach an understanding that what happens between them in private remains that way, two unexpected occurrences threaten to tear down the walls between bedroom and boardroom. And when the dust settles, Jeremy and Allie will have their ideas tested about the meaning of commitment, family and the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.