"Champagne please," I said to one of the girls behind the counter, doing my best to look at ease.

"Of course. Would you like to see the full list? Otherwise I can recommend a few things. The Dom Perignon ninety-five, the Bollinger ninety-eight and the Krug eighty-eight are all drinking wonderfully at the moment."

I paused, before breaking into a laugh. What did you expect girl, a ten dollar Prosecco?

I opened my mouth to respond, but a voice cut in from a little way up the bar. "She'll have a glass of the Krug thanks Amber. And I'll take another Laphroaig. Neat." The man turned his attention to me. "The Krug is lovely. Dry, fruity, but with a hint of sweetness too. And the smell is to die for. I think you'll like it."

As he spoke, he rose and casually moved over to sit next to me. It wasn't my first rodeo. I knew when a man was making a move. And as much as his presumptuousness would normally have annoyed me, I found it difficult to muster much anger. He was gorgeous; a tall, lithe body wrapped in a crisp, charcoal three-piece suit. There's something so god damn sexy about a man who's confident enough to wear a three-piece. It's sophisticated, but with just the right amount of old school charm.

I cast my eyes over him unashamedly, taking in the breadth of his shoulders, the strength of his hands, the way his jacket pulled tight over the powerful curves of his chest. He looked like he'd walked in directly from the set of a Hugo Boss advertisement. My pulse quickened once more.

As I studied him, he stared back, an odd smile playing on his lips. He was older than me, but not old, maybe early thirties, and he had the kind of dark complexion that always set my stomach tingling. That perfect, tantalising combination of olive skin, rugged stubble, and black, unruly hair. However, it was his eyes that really took me down for the count. Sharp and forest-green, they managed to be playful yet incredibly intense. I felt strangely powerless beneath that gaze, like he wasn't just looking at me, but into me. It wasn't fair for a man to have eyes like that.

Eventually, he glanced away, breaking the spell. As my brain kicked back into gear, I was annoyed to find myself adjusting my top. Come on Sophia, get a grip. He's hardly the first attractive guy who's ever hit on you. I placed my hands purposefully back on the bar, trying my best not to blush.

"And how would you know what I like?" I asked, adding a little venom to my voice. I hated being taken off balance like that.

"Oh, I don't know. Call it...men's intuition."

I rolled my eyes. "In my experience, men's intuition is rarely as good as they think it is."

He laughed, a look of mock offence appearing on his face. "You'll just have to wait and see won't you?"

His voice was deep and melodic, with hints of an accent; a faint European lilt that I couldn't quite place. It sent a shiver up my spine. I really wanted to be annoyed — that sort of aggressive approach was usually a major turn off for me — but he was making it very difficult.

"I'm Sebastian," he said, offering his hand.

"Sophia," I replied, returning the gesture. His grip was firm, his hand surprisingly rough, and it lingered a little longer than I'd expected.

"What a lovely name."

"It does the job," I said slowly.

He nodded, but said nothing else, seemingly happy to simply sit and study me. "Well Sebastian," I said eventually, feeling strangely self-conscious in the silence, "do you normally approach random girls in bars and select their drinks for them?"

His smile widened. "Quite often, yes."

"And how does that work out for you?"

"It usually has the desired effect."

I laughed. "Oh, and what might that be?"

"A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell," he replied, in a way that did just that. I felt a brief flash of desire at the suggestion, but quickly smothered it. Sure he was attractive, but I wasn't there to become some CEO's trophy lay for the night.

I knew that this was a golden opportunity to find out who these people were, but slightly impaired as I was, I was struggling to find an opening. It didn't help that Sebastian had me completely on the back foot. At first glance he seemed confident and charming, the sort of guy I saw every day around the office. But behind that roguish charisma lay something dangerously alluring; a potent strength that seemed to beckon to my very core. It was intimidating, arousing, and more than a little distracting.

At that moment the waitress arrived, Champagne and scotch in hand.

"Allow me," Sebastian said, taking the bottle and popping the cork with one easy twist of his wrist. He somehow managed to make even that simple gesture look sensual.

As he leaned in to pour, I couldn't help but breathe in the scent of him; scotch and sweat and something much more carnal. He smelled like pure sex, like raw, distilled masculinity. It sucked the breath from my lungs and turned my insides to jelly.

The Champagne fizzed and bubbled as it hit the glass, bringing me back to my senses.

"To men's intuition," he said, handing me the flute and raising his glass. I lifted my own, but refused to acknowledge his toast or the smug smile behind it.

Irritatingly, he was right. The Champagne was amazing. I tried my best to look unimpressed, although I didn't waste much time before taking another sip.

"How is it?" he asked.

I raised my hand and wobbled it from side to side. "It's okay."

His grin said he wasn't fooled, but he played along. "That's a shame. Hopefully next time I can do a better job of pleasing you."

Something about the way he said it made me think he wasn't talking about drinks anymore.

"So Sebastian," I said, desperate to distract myself from the growing warmth between my legs, "when you're not accosting women at parties, what is it you do?"

"I work for Fraiser Capital. We're a venture capital firm. This is actually our gathering here. We throw these every now and again; little meet and greets for some of our clients."

"Ah of course," I said, trying to act like I recognised the name. We were in dangerous territory now. I still wasn't sure how much I was expected to know, or what kind of cover story I needed. I had to tread carefully.

I glanced around the room. "I didn't realise venture capitalists had this kind of money."

"Good ones do."

It seemed a little farfetched to me. The sort of excess on display seemed beyond any sort of corporate gathering. And that didn't explain what the hell Chase Adams was doing there. But pushing any more seemed like a good way to give myself away. "I see. And what makes a good venture capitalist?"


Tags: Maya Cross The Alpha Group Billionaire Romance
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