Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

No, she wasn’t a fool. She knew that people enjoyed sex. Some of her “ladies” had even told her that they didn’t always have to fake their orgasms when they were on the job. But for McKenzie, her one and only sexual partner had been…horrific. She shuddered even thinking about it.

But why was she thinking of Byron Knight and sex in the same sentence? Just because his kiss had heated her blood didn’t mean a thing. She’d been around overconfident men for years, and they did nothing for her.

Byron Knight made no difference in her life, and he never would. Though she might be a friend of the intolerable man’s sister-in-law, McKenzie would run into him only rarely. Certainly not at her new accounting business, which would open its doors on Monday.

He wouldn’t know where those offices were, and a man in his income range would have no need for an accountant like her. Big boys like him swam in another pool altogether. With any luck she’d never see him again. So what if she was attracted to the man — where had that come from? She hated herself for feeling that way.

Out of sight, out of mind. That was her philosophy. If she didn’t see him, didn’t think about him, didn’t talk about him, then she would soon forget about him. It wasn’t as if he were hanging out with Jewell — he rarely showed up at Jewell and Blake’s place. So McKenzie was just fine.

The stoplight changed to green — finally — and she made it to her street, pulled into the driveway, and walked inside her home. It didn’t matter how many times she shut and locked her front door. When she turned and looked at her modest living room, peace washed through her.

It was her house, a house that she’d paid for completely. No bank could come and take it away like they had her mother’s home.

Yes, McKenzie’s life had been difficult, but the baptism by fire — okay, baptisms in the plural — had made her stronger. She was who she was because nothing had been handed to her. She was strong and independent and there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do.

It was time to put the finishing touches on her business plan. Next week, her life would change forever.

Chapter Two

I think we’re officially in the black.”

McKenzie took a break from staring at her computer screen and looked up at the smiling face of her business partner, Zach Sinclair. It really was too bad that she wasn’t attracted to the man. He was intelligent — one of the most intelligent men she knew, actually — and he could make her laugh. On top of that, he was single.

Didn’t matter. She felt nothing but friendship for the fellow. Maybe she was broken. She was twenty-nine years old, hadn’t been in a serious relationship for ten years, and hadn’t been interested in being in one, either.

There were plenty of men who had asked her out, but she turned them away. Her ex, whose very name still turned her stomach, had left quite a mark on her. She didn’t need a psychoanalyst to tell her that, and knowing when and how she’d been messed up couldn’t change how she felt.

Oh, yes. They were in the black. “Did you ever doubt we would be?” she asked.

“No. But most businesses don’t make a profit in the first two months. It usually takes years,” he replied as he propped himself on the edge of her desk. Their doors had been open officially for two months this coming Friday, and business was good — or better than she had pictured at this point.

“That’s why we save for the rainy days, Zach. But we still bust our asses so we don’t have to rely on those savings.”

“Well, don’t get too excited, sweetheart. We’re only in the black by a very small margin. We need to land more clients pronto.”

“We’re new. It will take time for big clients to trust us, and to feel that we are not only competent, but better than all the other accounting firms. Until then, we have a lot to smile about, though, because we already have ten full-time employees and six part-timers. We’re doing better than most.”

“Yes, that’s true. And I have meetings with potential clients every day this week.”

“I was afraid to take on a partner, Zach — you know that. But you’ve given me reason to hope that some of you men are actually worth trusting.”

“Ah, coming from you, that’s a real compliment,” he replied. “And we meshed well when I was your teacher in college. I knew three years ago that you were going places. I’m glad you took me up on the offer to open this place. We’re going to be the finest accounting firm in all of Seattle.”

He’d impressed her with his teaching skills, and he still taught a night class two days a week, but to have his own business had been Zach’s dream. If she hadn’t been in several of his classes over a three-year stretch, she never would have had the confidence in him to go into business together. But she’d watched him do his job well, and then she’d shared a few coffees with him during his office hours when she came by to ask questions. It really was too bad she didn’t feel an attraction for him. But it was great that he’d never shown one for her.

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