Page 18 of Maid for a Magnate

Catalina curled her feet beside her in the spacious chair as Will met her gaze. Those piercing aqua eyes forced her to go still.

 “What if I’m here because I’ve never gotten over you?”

 * * *

 Dammit. Why did he let that out? He wasn’t here to make some grand declaration. He was here to soften her, to get her to let down that guard a little more because he was not giving up. He’d jump through whatever hoop she threw in front of him, but Cat would be his for a while. A steamy affair that no one knew about was exactly what they needed whether she wanted to admit it or not.

 When he’d been given the ultimatum by his father to give up Cat or lose his place in Rowling Energy, Will hadn’t had much choice. Oh, and his father had also stated that he’d make sure Catalina Iberra would never work anywhere in Alma again if Will didn’t let her go.

 He’d had to protect her, even though she hated him at the time. He’d do it all over again. But he didn’t want to tell her what had happened. He didn’t want her to feel guilty or to pity him. Will would win her back just as he’d won her the first time. He’d be charming and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

 His quiet, almost vulnerable question still hung heavy in the space between them as he waited for her response. She hadn’t kicked him out of her flat, so he was making progress. Granted, he’d been making progress since that spur-of-the-moment kiss a month ago, but he’d rather speed things along. A man only had so much control over his emotions.

 “You can have any woman you want.” Catalina toyed with the edge of the hem on her dress, not making eye contact. “You let me go, you called me a mistake.”

 He’d regret those words until he died. To know he’d made Cat feel less than valuable to him was not what he’d wanted to leave her with, but once the damning words were out, he couldn’t take them back. Anything he said after that point would have been moot. The damage had been done and he’d moved on...or tried to. He’d said hurtful things to get her to back away from him; he’d needed her to stay away at the time because he couldn’t afford to let her in, not when his father had such a heavy hand.

 Will had been devastated when she’d started dating another man. What had he expected? Did he think a beautiful, vibrant woman was just going to sit at home and sulk about being single? Obviously she had taken the breakup better than he had. And how sick was that, that he wished she’d been more upset? He wanted her to be happy...he just wanted it to be with him.

 “I can’t have any woman,” he countered. “You’re still avoiding me.”

 She lifted her dark eyes, framed by even darker lashes, and focused on him. Every time she looked at him, Will felt that punch to the gut. Lust. It had to be lust because he wouldn’t even contemplate anything else. They’d been apart too long for any other emotion to have settled in. They were two different people now and he just wanted to get to know her all over again, to prove himself to her. She deserved everything he had to give.

 Will came to his feet. He couldn’t stay here because the longer he was around her, the more he wanted her. Cat was going to be a tough opponent and he knew all too well that the best things came from patience and outlasting your opponent. Hadn’t it taken him four years to best his father? And he was still in the process of doing that.

 “Where are you going?” she asked, looking up at him.

 “You want me to stay?” He stepped forward, easing closer to the chair she sat in. “Because if I stay, I’m going to want more than just talking.”

 “Did you just come to see where I lived? Did you need this reminder of how opposite we are? How I’m just—”

 Will put his hand over her mouth. Leaning down, he gripped the arm of her chair and rested his weight there. He eased in closer until he could see the black rim around her dark eyes.

 “We’ve been over this. I don’t care what you are. I know what I want, what I need, and that’s you.”

 Her eyes remained locked on his. Slowly he drew his hand away and trailed his fingertips along the thin tan line coming down from behind her neck.

 “You’re getting red here,” he murmured, watching her shiver beneath his touch. “I haven’t seen you out of work clothes in years. You need to take better care of your skin.”

 Cat reached up, grabbed his hand and halted his movements. “Don’t do this, Will. There’s nothing for you here and I have nothing to give. Even if I gave you my body, I’d regret it because you wouldn’t give me any more and I deserve so much. I see that now and I won’t lose sight of my goals just because we have amazing chemistry.”