The Millionaire's Proposal

By: Janelle Denison

Dear Reader,

THE MILLIONAIRE’S PROPOSAL was originally written as a Harlequin Romance in 1998 (as The Baby Surprise), and is much sweeter and more traditional in tone than my current books. I’m thrilled to have the rights back to this book that has been out of print for years, and I’m equally thrilled to share some of my earlier novels with my readers.

This book was originally written at a time when millionaires, cowboys, babies and brides were a very popular theme in romance novels. I’ve made a few changes to update certain aspects of the story, but the classic tone remains the same.

I hope you enjoy Grace and Ford’s story!

Happy Reading,

Janelle Denison

Chapter One

The impact of colliding into such a solid wall of masculinity knocked the breath out of Grace Holbrook, and dazed her to the extent that she saw a few stars. It was as if he’d appeared out of nowhere, though she was sure he’d just come out of the bank where she’d been heading. That’s what she got for ogling the new brochures she’d just picked up from the printer’s for her flower shop, instead of watching where she was going.

“Are you all right?”

His voice was deep, rich, and incredibly sexy, coaxing her back to the present with that direct pull on her feminine senses. Still feeling dazed, she blinked and slowly glanced up, summoning an apology for her clumsiness.

The words caught somewhere between her vocal chords and lips. He was a tall man, towering over her own five-foot-five frame with shoulders wide enough for a woman of her petite stature to completely lose herself in.

He was staring at her. At least she assumed he was watching her through the dark sunglasses he wore. She couldn’t see his eyes, and resented that they concealed what appeared to be, by lack of original description, a drop-dead gorgeous face. What she could determine of his features was chiseled with strong lines and angles, except for his nose, which looked like it might have been broken at one time. The slightly crooked slope, and those sensual, well-shaped lips of his, and thick, rich sable hair cut into a short, executive style, only served to accentuate his good looks.

Her admiration took in a hunter green and beige patterned silk shirt, and tan pleated trousers that fitted to lean hips and thighs. Expensive Italian loafers completed his urban image.

He wasn’t from around the small town of Whitaker Falls, Virginia, of that she was certain. For one, they didn’t grow such sophistication, and second, word would have spread that a gorgeous new hunk had taken up residence nearby.

“Are you still with me?” He tilted his head and smiled, producing a fascinating dimple at the corner of his mouth that flirted, charmed, and made Grace’s breath hitch in her throat.

I know that dimple, that devastatingly seductive smile, she thought, then shook off the notion as absurd and a trick of her imagination. Her internal chastisement did little for the awareness fluttering in her belly.

“Since it seems I’ve knocked the breath out of you, maybe I ought to administer mouth-to-mouth?” he suggested, amusement evident in his voice. “I’d be happy to oblige . . . ”

Her face flushed. “Yes. I mean no.” She groaned in mortification. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so flustered. Attempting to untie her tongue, she tried again. “No to the offer of resuscitation, and yes, I’m fine.”

“I’m disappointed,” he murmured.

Oh, so am I. Her gaze dropped to his lips, imagining the ways they could revive a woman. An all too familiar emptiness within her expanded to startling proportions.

She realized he was holding her upper arm; he must have steadied her when they’d collided. His grasp was gentle, his long fingers incredibly warm against her skin. Those same fingers that had offered her balance were tucked next to the side of her breast—innocently, of course, yet her pulse quickened erratically.

“I’m more embarrassed than anything,” she said, for lack of something better to say. “I should have been paying more attention to where I was going.”

“As I should have,” he said, sharing half the blame.

His thumb stroked along her arm, an idle caress that caused another riot of sensations to bloom just beneath the surface of her skin. Unable to bear much more of the physical stuff, she eased her arm back and he released her. The movement caused the strap of her purse to slide down her shoulder, jarring the arm carrying the brochures. Half of the printed material slid out of the protective plastic insert and fluttered to the brick sidewalk.