The Beauty and the CEO

By: Carolyn Hector

Undeniable chemistry

Makeup artist Zoe Baldwin can’t believe the gorgeous guy she flirted with on the way to a job interview was her potential boss. So when Will Ravens, CEO of his family’s cosmetics company, tells Zoe her innovative approach isn’t right for his brand, she agrees to work alongside him at a beauty pageant to prove her skills. But where there are sparks, there’s certain attraction…

Will is fighting to keep his family legacy afloat. He’s going back to basics at Ravens Cosmetics, leaving no time for romance or Zoe’s avant-garde ideas. But despite his intentions, he finds himself falling deeper under Zoe’s sensual spell. Amid the chaos caused by company sabotage, can both their career dreams and passionate fantasies come true?

As she bounced backward with a prolific apology, the wooden rails creaked. The last thing she needed to do was fall into the water with her tablet. She welcomed the strong pull around her waist, and she reached for the impeccably muscular arms.

“Whoa,” the deep and now familiar voice said into her ear.

“Mr. Ravens.” Zoe gasped. Once her eyes began to focus, she narrowed in on his lopsided smirk.

“Let’s see, we’ve shared a plane, shared a seat on a plane, and I’ve walked in on you taking a shower.”

Heat burned her cheeks. Zoe held her index finger up to correct him. “Almost in the shower.”

Will inclined his head. “Okay, almost. However, I do believe we are beyond the formalities. Please call me Will.”

Zoe bit the right corner of her bottom lip. “All right, Will. You’ll have to call me Zoe.”

“It’s a pleasure, Zoe.”

He had no idea what a pleasure it was to still be in his arms.

Dear Reader,

It’s pageant season in Southwood, Georgia. Who doesn’t want to be glitzed up by none other than renowned makeup artist Zoe Baldwin? Titles are up for grabs, including the position of creative design director at Ravens Cosmetics.

Zoe is one of those women who’s planned out her life at an early age. She expects to end up seated at the corporate table at Ravens Cosmetics—not in the CEO’s bed. But there’s something to be said about the best-laid plans.

I must confess that I am one of those people who cannot leave the house without mascara. I wouldn’t quite call it a dependency—more like a security blanket. And since I cannot seem to apply a wing tip or false lashes like a pro, I get to pay homage to the professionals in The Beauty and the CEO.


I would like to dedicate this book to my ambitious

daughter and nieces, Haley, Kayla and Ashleigh.

I live vicariously through these talented young ladies.


I would like to acknowledge the Galaxy

living in my house. Without their cooperation,

I wouldn’t get any writing done!


Morning rays of sunlight created a halo effect around the godlike body of a six-foot-four man strolling through the parting glass doors of Kelly Towers. A collective gasp of soft feminine sighs rose over the swishing sound of the automatic doors closing. With the sun behind him, the man strolled down the red carpet toward the elevator right where makeup artist Zoe Baldwin stood.

Dear Lord, Zoe began her silent prayer, if ever there were a time to get stuck in the elevator, please let it be now and with him.

The denim jeans he wore clung to his powerful thighs. A thin, white, long-sleeved shirt hugged the sculpted muscles of his arms and abdomen. As he came closer, everyone in the lobby turned their heads in his direction. Thick, dark brows framed his eyes. A prominent chin jutted out from the sharp angles of his long, masculine face. Zoe cocked her head to the left and reached up to touch the signature hoop earrings she was known to wear. Instead of the cool gold circle, Zoe’s fingertip brushed against heirloom pearls handed down from her grandmother. The jewels had a reputation for good luck. Perhaps with this fine-as-hell gentleman coming closer, the hand-me-down stories were true.

Though he didn’t carry a portfolio, Zoe pegged her soon-to-be elevator companion as a male model. The fifty-three-story Kelly Towers was home to several of Miami’s elite businesses. The local news station was housed on ten floors, while Ravens Cosmetics, Zoe’s final destination, was housed on the fortieth through the forty-ninth. Modeling and a few talent agencies were sprinkled throughout the other floors. Zoe guessed he’d get off on one of those floors. For her, the only place she needed to be was at Ravens Cosmetics—the home of the oldest and most successful cosmetic line for people of color in the United States and now globally. And if today went as planned at her interview, she could call Ravens Cosmetics home as well.