His voice lowers, roughens. “You’re in, Amy.”
I am stunned by his absolute statement. “You barely know me.”
His lips curve. “I can think of all kinds of ways we can remedy that, with and without clothing.”
My lips curve. “You are a very bad billionaire.”
“I think you like that.”
“I don’t think I know enough to be sure.”
“Then we’d better find out.”
I shock myself by saying, “Tonight?”
His eyes gleam with approval. “Oh yeah, baby. Tonight.”
Tonight. The word lingers in the air and there is a silent understanding between us in a way I have never shared with anyone. We both know that I’ve just erased the question of where this night will end, and it will not be with me alone, regretting a goodbye we both know I never wanted to say. I’ll convincingly feed him what my file says I should and then he won’t look into my background. Lies to protect him that handle the here and now. I’ll figure out the later, when I have some time alone.
A woman delicately clears her throat and Liam and I reluctantly break apart, our eyes lingering on each other’s a moment before our salads are placed in front of us. Beneath the table, Liam’s hand settles back on my leg, his thumb stroking my knee, and I feel every caress in my sex. I do not want food. I want Liam.
“Need anything else right now?” the waitress asks.
Liam glances my direction, giving me a look at that says “you’re my dinner”, as he replies, “Not right now.”
The instant she’s gone I scold him. “Liam.”
He leans in and kisses me. “Liam, what?”
My mouth goes dry. “You have to behave.”
“Always or just right now?”
“Just right now.”
A low laugh rumbles from his chest and he hands me my silverware. “I’ll behave so you can eat. I’ve been here a few times in the past and never been disappointed.”
“When you designed the building you mentioned downtown?” I ask, and I am not afraid of my questions sparking his questions anymore. I believe Liam. He will let me answer what I want to answer. I’ll figure out what that means later. Not tonight. Tonight has been decided. I am with him and the rest of the world does not exist.
“Yes. I was here a couple of months and stayed in this area.”
A couple of months. My vow to focus on just tonight evaporates and I make a pretense of picking up my fork and picking at my salad to hide how crazy my mind is going. Will he be here that long this time? And what if I get attached to him and he goes back to New York? He will go back to New York and I can’t even visit him there. That will be when the file isn’t enough anymore. Raw and honest, he keeps saying . Why can’t I not just have that with one person in my life?
“Hey,” he says softly.
I swallow the knot in my throat and glance up at him. “Hey.”
“What just happened?”
I don’t have an answer so I don’t offer one. “I was just wondering about your meeting. How did today go?”
He narrows his eyes and studies me a moment, and I do not know what he sees, but it’s probably too much. “Better than it should have,” he finally says. “And they have you to thank for that.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’ve decided to stay around a while. If I can create something I’m excited about in the process I’d like to.”
“Yes. I’m staying. Any problem with that?”
I’ve proven I don’t have coy or goodbye in me with this man. Why change either now? “I won’t complain about seeing more of you.”
His eyes light with approval. “That’s good to hear, considering you were ready to kick me to the curb earlier.”
“I wasn’t. I just…” I need more time to think about what to say to him. “Did they like your design?”
He plays dodgeball like the pro I am. “All but one of the investors, who is a complete prick.”
“You like him that much, huh?”
“Yes. That much.”
“What don’t you agree on?”
“He still wants the tallest building in existence.”
I remember his comment on the plane and smile. “Is he short?”
He laughs and it is so warm and wonderful that I could roll around in it like sunshine on a cold day. “Actually, yes,” he says. “He is.”
“Hmmm,” I say, pondering. “That doesn’t sound good. So what do you think? Will you find a compromise with him?”
“Too many people involved want my name, and skill, attached to the project to not try to make this work.” Amazingly, I think, as he continues, he doesn’t sound arrogant, but matter-of-fact. “Two of the biggest financial investors won’t arrive until Monday. If I win them over with my design, then it’s probably a done deal. I’ll still need to meet with the engineers and make sure everyone is on the same page, but all in all, I’m probably only a week from a decision.”
I know that he’s said he’s staying, but some part of me aches for further confirmation.
“So I get you for at least a week?”
“I told you, baby. Deal or no deal. I’m not in any rush to leave.”