The Merger
Business minded Spencer Benson only sees the bottom line getting bigger when he begins merger talks with another family owned company, however, headstrong lawyer, Julie Jacobson, is determined to be very thorough with the merger, which throws Spencer off his game.

Spencer makes no qualms of his dislike for Julie, but when she comes to him for help he finds that perhaps she's not quite the menace he thought she was. In fact, his feelings for her change completely. But when he finds that someone has used the merger to stab him in the back, where can he turn when Julie’s name is associated with the deceit?

About Bernadette Marie

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 
In 2007—after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children—Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books. In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born. In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released her own contemporary titles. She also quickly began the process of taking on other authors in other genres. 
In 2012 Bernadette Marie began to find herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.
Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. An avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever afters.
@writesromance on Twitter

Excerpt of The Merger:
Chapter One
  Oregon was a fine place. Perhaps, Spencer Benson thought, he’d like to come back someday and visit as a tourist. However he was into his fifth month of merger negotiations with Pacific Line Lumber, and his desire to ever fly out to the Pacific coast again was waning.
  He pressed his head to the back of the boardroom chair as he listened to the eighty-year-old owner of the company reminisce, again, about the day his father had taken down the first tree to build their family house…and an empire was born.
  Spencer had a great appreciation for family business. He was part of one. His great-grandfather had started Benson, Benson, and Hart. His grandfather took over. followed by his father. His cousin Ed had been holding the CEO position for years now. It was time for him to rise to the position. However, taking five months to close a deal wasn’t making him any friends back home.
  A moment later the door opened and Spencer felt the twinge in his chest start as it did every time that bitch of a lawyer walked in the door. Julie Jacobson had found a million little flaws in the proposal. He’d like to not see her face again.
  Okay, he thought, it wasn’t a bad face. She wore her blonde hair back in a ponytail most times. Her eyes were brown. He’d noticed that as she’d burned holes through him for the past five months with them.
  Today she hurried into the boardroom dropping a stack of paper on the table. It toppled over, slid to the floor, and she scrambled to pick it all up as every man in the room watched.
  Okay, he’d later admit he’d rather have watched her fume over the papers and thought it was just, but he wasn’t that kind of man. Spencer rose from his seat and walked across the room to help the frazzled lawyer with the mess she’d created.
  When everything was stacked back on the table, she turned those brown eyes on him. They were bloodshot and full of sadness.
  “Thank you,” she said very softly as if not to let the rest of the room hear her.
  “My pleasure,” he lied and walked back to his seat.
  The meeting continued with interludes from the owner as he reminisced about this or that. A brief five hours later, they finally broke and Spencer gathered his things and headed back to his hotel.
  As he walked through the lobby, his phone rang. It was his father and he toyed with the idea of not answering it. However, that wasn’t like him.
  “Hey, Dad.”
  “Make any progress?”
  Spencer blew out a breath. “You know that bitch of a lawyer is making me crazy. We’re up to replanting. How many trees and seedlings will we replant each year to replace everything we use. We’ve gone over that.”
  His father laughed. “And how many will we?”
  “I don’t know,” he said pushing the button to the elevator. “I have a lot of math to do tonight.”
  “This is your project. You’ll do fine with it.”
  “Sure, you just don’t get what a bitch this woman is,” he said just as he noticed that very bitch step into the elevator as the doors closed. He let out a grunt. “Dad, I’ll talk to you later.”
  He turned off his phone and shoved it back into his pocket.
  Julie Jacobson didn’t turn to look at him. She didn’t say a word to him. But there was something going on. Something was wrong. Why was she in the hotel elevator?
  Was she crying?
  Oh, who cared? She deserved to cry. She was costing him time and money each time she opened her damn mouth in that boardroom and he was tired of her. Let her cry.
  The elevator opened again and another man walked in, looked her up and down then pushed a button. The elevator rose a mere two floors before he got off. Spencer watched as Julie literally stomped her foot in aggravation for the stop.
  They rode in silence for a few more floors and then the doors opened and he began to step off, but the blood that ran through him wouldn’t let a woman suffer. He lodged his hand in the door and looked at her. She was indeed crying.
  “Ms. Jacobson, are you okay?”
  She lifted her head. The bitch didn’t seem to be in there. This was a broken woman with troubles. He could see that. She only nodded and he accepted her answer.
  “Okay, then, have a pleasant night.” He stepped back again, but when her head lifted again and the sadness burned through him he couldn’t handle it. He tucked his foot back into the door forcing it open.
  “Mr. Benson, what are you doing? I’d like to get to my room, please.”
  Ah, there she was, he thought as the door closed behind him.
  “You don’t look okay. I mean something’s going on and I just want to be here if you need someone.”
  She let out a grunt. “You hate me. I know you hate me. I’m costing you time and money.” So, she was a mind reader. “My private life, on the other hand, isn’t any of your business.”
  He nodded. He could accept that.
  She lifted her hands to wipe away the tears and he noticed the tell tale sign of a wedding ring having recently been taken off. There was an indent in her finger and a white line where it must have been worn for years.
  “Would you be interested in having a drink?”
  She turned to him and those brown eyes bore right through him. “Are you kidding me? You want to take me out for a drink? I’m the lawyer for the company you’re trying to buy. I don’t think that would look very good, do you?”
  He hadn’t thought of that. “No. You’re right. I just…”
  He only had a moment to catch his breath before the woman lunged at him and pushed him up against the wall of the elevator. Spencer was ready for the knee to the groin, but her mouth coming down on his, her tongue pressing into his mouth, her hands in his hair—none of this he’d expected.
  Spencer was gripping the bar on the wall, but the man in him decided that a woman throwing herself at him would be better to hold. He placed his hands on her hips and pulled her to him even tighter. Heat rose between them. The moan from her throat was enough to make him go light headed as the blood traveled away from his brain.
  When the door opened, Julie stood straight and stepped away from him. As Spencer moved to her, she held up her hand and straightened her shoulders.
  Her breath was coming in great big gasps. Pink colored her cheeks and those brown eyes didn’t hold fire.
“Good night, Mr. Benson,” she said as she stepped out of the elevator.
  Goodnight? What in the hell? His body wasn’t quick enough to chase after her before the doors closed and she was out of his sight.
  The blood was rushing back to his head and he thought he might need a very cold shower when he got back to his room.
  What was that all about? Bitch one moment—panting horny woman the next?
  Who needed it? This was just the force and fire he needed to walk into that meeting tomorrow and say take it or leave it. He’d had enough of Pacific Line Lumber and their legal staff.
  As the door opened, Spencer stepped out onto his floor and went straight to his room. He slid the keycard into the lock, and then again, and again. He hated these stupid pieces of plastic. Finally, the door beeped and he pushed it open.
  The lightness in his head took over. He was going to need to sit down.
  He knew this feeling. He’d had it before. Crap! That woman had kissed him senseless. That’s what it was.
  Something was up with the blonde with those dark, burning eyes. Never before would he have imagined a woman like her in tears. No, something was hurting her—or someone. He’d make sure to take the time tomorrow and find out what was going on.
  Spencer lay back on the bed and closed his eyes. The heat of that kiss swam in his head again. Her hips under his hands. Her body pressed to his.
  Oh, hell, she’d messed with his mind.
  Tomorrow, she’d finally see his fire. She wasn’t going to mess with him like this. All hell was going to break loose tomorrow.
  For now, though, he was going to take a very long, very cold shower.