Tempted by Her Tycoon Boss

By: Jennie Adams

CHAPTER ONE

 ‘GOOD MORNING, CECILIA.’ Linc MacKay spoke the greeting as he stepped between shoulder-height hedge shapes bursting from within with raised flowering displays. ‘Your second-in-command told me I’d probably find you here.’

 ‘Here’ was the feature maze area of the Fleurmazing Plant Nursery on its acreage just outside the Sydney city limits. The Australian sun warmed the air, and the light breeze carried the scents of a summer garden.

 Now it had also brought a handsome millionaire, stepping around a corner of the maze to an alcove where a statue of a sun goddess draped in gossamer folds reached her arms upwards as though to bless the world with her light.

 Was it the soft look in Linc’s eyes as his gaze moved beyond the sun goddess and lingered on her that made Cecilia’s breath suddenly catch? A moment later the expression disappeared, if it had ever truly been there at all.

 ‘Linc. Is it that time already?’ She focused on projecting professionalism into her words and tried to push those discomforting questions to the back of her mind. ‘I’m glad Jemmie was able to point you in the right direction to find me.’

 Cecilia placed one final hedge trimming into the basket over her arm and walked towards the plant nursery’s owner. If she didn’t feel entirely calm she could at least act as though she were.

 ‘This is my favourite part of the maze, to be honest.’

 ‘I can see why.’ His gaze took in the maze, its beautiful flowers every shade from creamy white to deepest violet and blue. But then he turned back and took in Cecilia, too, from the top of her honey-blond hair in its high ponytail, over her face, lingering on each feature, and quickly sweeping over the simple strappy sundress that showed off her curves to perfection.

 She rarely dressed in her best girly attire for work but, knowing that today she’d be inside most of the day in the office, Cecilia had let her most feminine side have its way.

 ‘It’s stunning,’ Linc finally said. ‘The...ah...the maze.’

 ‘Thank you.’ She drew a slightly unsteady breath. ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t up front, ready to greet you.’

 Cecilia glanced at the trimmings in the basket over her arm and hoped by doing so she would disguise her swirling thoughts from him.

 ‘This is a never-ending job.’

 ‘And a very important one at the moment, I can imagine.’

 Why, oh, why did she have to feel suddenly oh-so-conscious of him? She had much better control than this. Usually...

 Wasn’t it enough that she’d mistaken his interest once before, years ago?

 ‘The maze needs to look good. Fantastic, in fact.’

 She forced the words out and told herself to concentrate on matters at hand. The Fleurmazing plant nursery was the third and most recent of Linc’s Sydney plant nurseries that she had managed over the six years she’d been in his employ, but this one was different.

 It was her brainchild—a holistic nursery that required greater upkeep but offered an enhanced experience for its visitors. At least in this aspect of her life she had it together!

 She should keep her focus on that. Now, of all times, Cecilia needed to ‘sell’ the nursery’s virtues to Linc at any opportunity she got. Noticing his character traits or wondering if his attention was caught on her wasn’t part of that plan.

 ‘We’re logging hundreds of people every day, who all come here specifically because they want to experience the maze. Sales out of that alone are fantastic. And the maze needs to be perfect in time for the part we’re playing in Sydney’s Silver Bells charity flower show, so I’m giving it a lot of attention at the moment.’

 ‘A masked ball in the middle of a plant maze is ambitious.’ One side of his mouth kicked up. ‘But I’m sure if anyone can carry it off it’ll be you.’

 ‘The Silver Bells organisers have put their faith in me, so I have no choice now.’ She said it laughingly, but the importance of it was never far from her thoughts.

 She wouldn’t have had the opportunity if Linc hadn’t agreed to let her take the risk.

 ‘It’ll pay off, Linc. Your whole chain of plant nurseries will get good attention out of our participation in the Silver Bells event.’

 Linc owned a dozen nurseries across the city, along with bucketloads of real estate and a commodities trading portfolio that, on its own, probably ran into millions. He truly was the quintessential millionaire bachelor, with the world at his feet. They were more than poles apart, which had made her faux pas of throwing herself at him six years ago even more embarrassing.

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