Heat Exchange (The Alpha Billionaire's Virgin Book 1)

By: Deana Farrady


Chapter 1




Janey stared at the her phone, feeling tears well up in her eyes. The email had just come in as she'd been waiting on the ground floor for the elevator.



TO: Janey Pankowski

FROM: Vince Edelston

SUBJECT: Your Invitation



Hey, Janey. Got your message about the concert. I'm kind of busy this week so I'm afraid I can't make it. But thanks for thinking of me. That birthday cake was awesome. We'll definitely use your company for goodies when the holiday season comes. It was great to meet you and your assistants.



Take care,



Vince Edelston

Program Director

Smith Greggor Systems



Janey deleted the email, sniffing. It was her third rejection from a man she'd asked out on a date in as many months. She guessed it served her right for trying to move forcibly past her own shyness with men. She'd figured if guys wouldn't come to her, then she'd try going to them and ask them out. What could she lose but what little ego she had left as a 29-year-old virgin?

So what had happened? Fail, fail, and fail.

This time she'd been really assertive, too. "Would you like to go with me," she'd said clearly to Vince's voice mail system. Not "Why not join us" or "Hey, drop by if you feel like it." She'd made it super obvious that she was asking for a date. The least the man could have done was acknowledge that he was refusing a date, not a casual invitation. And returned her call instead of sending a cop-out work email.

Guys. They made no sense to her.

She didn't get why the good guys ignored her and only the sleazy ones came on to her. Even the sleazy guys just wanted to grope. Not date her.

It wasn't like she was hideously ugly. Her face was average. True, she didn't go to the trouble of plucking her eyebrows, but she wasn't overly hirsute in the first place. Her hair was brown. And sure, she didn't have the best body in the universe—her breasts could in no way be called perky and too many samplings from her catering gigs ended up in her rear end and thighs. But she didn't look that far different from her sisters and they didn't have problems attracting guys—guys that in some cases, Janey had actually found for them! So what was it about her that said she's not girlfriend material?

She blinked back the tears as she tucked away her phone, then looked back and forth between the elevator doors, waiting for one to ding. The only other person standing nearby waiting for the elevators was a tall young man with a briefcase. Her eyes passed over him, then did a double-take because, well, who wouldn't look twice at that? Dark brown hair tousled from actual wind rather than artfully styled, wire-framed glasses, wide shoulders, and a tanned, shadow-stubbled face that was lean, angular, and sensual all at once. Whew. While not pretty, the guy was beyond cute and well into the land of magazine-cover hot.

He seemed about Janey's age, but that's where the similarities ended. He wore a pair of loose khaki trousers that defined his hips and legs just enough to show that he was athletic but not bulked up. His ecru shirt looked plain, but it had shell buttons and was some kind of sheeny Italian fabric, obviously not off the Walmart rack like Janey's. He wore a nice, simple narrow belt low on his waist. His shoes were those black leather ones that actually looked stylish and comfortable, like they'd been custom-made for his feet.

So she wasn't surprised that he didn't seem to notice her, even though she was the only other person waiting. He was out of Janey's league in all ways.

Unfortunately, her body didn't seem to have gotten the memo. It was on full red alert as she gaped at him. Until the elevator dinged and the door in front of him opened.

Almost too late she realized she'd been standing there like a star-struck teenager. She grabbed her totes and scrambled onto the elevator, feeling her face heat. Three people were running from the lobby towards the elevators as the doors slid shut. Hastily she hit the button to keep the doors from shutting, but too late. The doors closed before the elevator chasers made it and the elevator started ascending.

Hoping her face wasn't still too blatantly flushed, she hit the button for the seventh floor and glanced over at the elevator's other occupant with a rueful look meant to convey, too bad, I wasn't quick enough.

She did manage to catch his eye, whereupon he gave a token curve of his lips. She recognized that distant smile well, having dealt with her share of business clients. Not unfriendly, but not interested in chit-chat, either.

Janey shrugged. At least the elevator guy was honestly antisocial. Unlike Vince. Vince was friendly and—she had thought—nice. And he'd seemed interested. He'd actually patted her hip in his company's break room. That had struck her as tacky, but it made her think at least it was worth a shot. Sadly, in retrospect Vince now seemed to be one of the sleazebags instead of the good guys.

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