The Real Deal
By Alane
Jun 29, 2004 - 10:53:00 AM

Amanda Zachary is very good at her job.  She works at Extant Computers, orchestrating mergers and helping the company grow.  She has convinced her superiors that a merger with the small, family-owned Brant Computers would be a savvy business move.  Now it's time to deliver.  Amanda has thrown herself into work, especially since leaving her husband Lance after catching him in a very compromising position.  Her career is the main focus in her life and doing well means everything.

Simon and Eric Brant are the majority owners of Brant Computers.  Company president Eric handles the business end, and Simon is the creative genius.  Eric liked her initial proposal and is on her side, so Amanda thinks she has the deal nearly sewn up.  She just needs to travel to Port Mulqueen, Washington and make her presentation to Eric and Simon.  It's a great deal for Brant Computers and she's sure they'll sign.  This deal will go a long way toward helping Amanda meet her personal goal of becoming Extant's youngest executive ever.  Unfortunately, there's a problem.  When Amanda arrives for her meeting at Brant Computers, she overhears Simon making his vehement objections to the merger very clear to Eric.  What?  She thought this was practically a done deal!  Still, she considers it a minor setback.  Surely Simon will change his mind once Amanda presents her full proposal.  But there's another problem.  Simon disappears from the meeting before Amanda even has a chance to begin!


Eric has seen this before.  When creative ideas burst into his cousin Simon's head, he immediately becomes absorbed in his work and ignores the rest of the world.  Simon has always been that way, from his days as a child prodigy through his teen years as a college student and beyond.  It's one of the reasons why Elaine, the woman Simon thought he loved, left him.  She fell in love with and married Eric instead.  Simon doesn't begrudge either of them the marriage - they're a very happy couple.  And he's happy to let Eric deal with the day-to-day decisions at Brant. 


Simon may not seem interested in the business aspects of Brant Computers, but he genuinely cares what happens to every employee.  And if Brant allows the merger with Extant, some of those employees will lose their jobs.  So why is he even considering listening to Amanda' s proposal?  Nobody can believe it when Simon invites Amanda to his very private island home to present her ideas when he' s between experiments.  Least of all Simon!


Amanda is determined to succeed and actually agrees to meet with Simon at his home.  She doesn't realize she'll be moving in!  But she'll do whatever it takes to make this merger happen.  And it's not exactly a hardship to spend time with the handsome, elusive, brilliant Simon.  But with her low self-esteem - courtesy of her slimy ex Lance, and Amanda's own mother - Amanda doesn't believe Simon could ever be interested in her.


Simon doesn't understand why he's so distracted by Amanda.  Sure, she's beautiful, intelligent and strong-willed, but nothing diverts his attention when he's working in his lab.  And he certainly doesn't let women affect him.  Of course, he doesn't normally invite them to his home either, much less let them move in.  So why does he find himself actually caring about what Amanda thinks?  And taking time away from his experiments to be with her?  Sure, Simon hopes he can convince Amanda that the merger would be wrong for Brant and its employees, but there's a lot more to it than that.  He knows that one way or another, the business deal will be settled.  But what will be the outcome of the very personal business between Simon and Amanda?


I thoroughly enjoyed every page of THE REAL DEAL.  Simon is the ultimate romance hero - sexy, brilliant, and sensitive.  Amanda is strong, stubborn and determined.  Secondary characters like Simon's security expert/cook/housekeeper Jacob are entertaining additions.  Throughout the story, the sexual tension between Simon and Amanda builds, and the payoff is explosive.  The sensual, steamy scenes shine in this skillfully written story.  Set the air conditioning to cold and grab a pitcher of ice water.  You'll need it!

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