Dating the Rebel Tycoon

By: Ally Blake

“I’d really like to see you again,” Cameron said.

Snap! Rosie’s eyes flew north till they met his. Deep, blue, heaven…“Seriously?”

He laughed. She bit her lip.

Just because he’d used her full name in such a deferential way, and just because more than once she’d caught him looking at her as if she was the most fascinating creature on the planet, it didn’t mean she should go forgetting herself.

He said, “Do you want a list of reasons why? Or would you prefer them in the form of a poem?”

Rosie’s heart danced. She knew that taking guidance from one’s heart was as sensible as using one’s liver for financial-planning advice, having witnessed firsthand what listening to the dancing of your heart could do to a woman. If she needed any further reason to call it a day…

And then Cameron had to go and say, “What are you doing tomorrow?”

Dear Reader,

Did you know that this year is Harlequin’s sixtieth birthday? Well, it is!

Thinking about it takes me back to the much-loved dog-eared favorites my grandmother kept in boxes galore under her spare bed. I can still smell the old paper, see the creased, faded covers of books read and reread by a true fan and remember opening book after book to check if I had read the story before. And then came a new opening line, a new first time a heroine saw her hero and an old familiar rush of anticipation, delight and warmth.

To tell you the truth, not much has changed! Okay, so maybe a little. The Harlequin books I read now I have picked up in bookstores, not from under my grandmother’s bed. Many of them are now written by wonderful, wise, warm women I consider friends. And I am absolutely honored to be a writer of Harlequin romance novels myself. But in the reading, that old familiar feeling that sneaks up when I sink into a story has never gone away.

The very idea that, out there in the world, a reader might pick up one of my books, read the first line and settle in, knowing that she will be in for a fun, flirtatious, moving, sigh-filled ride amazes me every day.

So thanks, Harlequin, for letting me be a part of your world, then and now. Happy birthday and many happy returns!



CAMERON Kelly opened the heavy side-door of the random building, shut it smartly behind him and became enveloped in darkness. The kind of inky darkness that would make even the bravest boy imagine monsters under the bed.

It was some years since Cameron had been a boy, longer still since he’d realised people didn’t always tell the truth. When he’d found out his two older brothers had made the monsters up.

The small window between himself and the Brisbane winter sunshine outside revealed the coast was clear, and he let his forehead rest on the cold glass with a sheepish thunk.

Of all the people he could have seen—many miles from where a man such as he ought to have been while commerce and industry raged on in the city beyond—it had to have been his younger sister Meg, downing take-away coffee and gabbing with her girlfriends.

If Meg had seen him wandering the suburban Botanical Gardens, pondering lily pads and cacti rather than neck-deep in blueprints and permits and funding for multi-million-dollar skyscrapers, she would not have let him be until he’d told her why.

So he, a grown man—a man of means, and most of the time sense—was hiding. Because the truth would only hurt her. And, even though he’d long since been cast as the black sheep of the Kelly clan, hurting those he cared about was the last thing he would ever intentionally do.

He held his watch up to the parcel of light, saw it was nearly nine and grimaced.

Hamish and Bruce, respectively his architect and his project manager, would have been at the CK Square site for more than an hour waiting for him to approve the final plans for the fifty-fourth floor. This close to the end of a very long job, if they hadn’t throttled one another by now then he would be very lucky.

He made to open the door to leave, remembered Meg—the one person whose leg he’d never been able to pull, even with two adept older brothers to show him how—and was overtaken by a stronger compulsion than the desire to play intermediary between two grown men. His hand dropped.

Let the boys think he was making a grand entrance when he finally got there. It’d give them something to agree upon for once. He could live with people thinking he had an ego the size of Queensland. He was a Kelly, after all; impressions of grandeur came with the name.