“So, which bed will you choose as yours?” he asked, catching her off guard while she stared at his red satin spread.
Startled, she whirled. In the confined space of his bedroom, his height and wide shoulders made him seem huge. Or was it his teasing reckless grin that made her feel so vulnerable?
“Why…why…maybe that last one at the end of the hall,” she said too quickly.
“The one that is as far from mine as possible?”
“Exactly! You did say you wanted an old-fashioned courtship.”
His grin broadened.
She caught her breath.
“Relax. I’ll bring your bags up before I go to the office. The kitchen downstairs is well stocked. If you need anything you can’t find, anything at all, don’t hesitate to call me.” He pulled out a business card that contained all his phone numbers and circled his cell number. Then he leaned down and planted a chaste kiss on her cheek.
“You didn’t show me the library,” she whispered even as her heart drummed violently in reaction to his lips.
“Oh, that,” he said, his breath warm against her skin.
“After all, it was your library that tempted me to accept your invitation.”
“No, definitely, it was your library.”
“I warned you about teasing me,” he murmured in a husky undertone. “Now I really must prove you wrong.” He caught her hand and pulled her nearer.
“What are you doing?”
“Taking you up on your challenge.” Catching her shoulders he pulled her into his arms. She let out a little cry before his mouth came down on hers.
His kiss was so tenderly reverent, she imagined in its sweet heat promises he’d never made before, promises she didn’t dare let herself believe. And suddenly all the joy she’d hoped to find in his loving her when she’d been a naive eighteen-year-old girl filled her heart anew, and she surrendered to his exploring tongue for a few delicious moments without the slightest reservation.
Her arms came around his neck, and she clung with far too much relish. But slowly sanity returned and she remembered that a woman her age had to be smart about wealthy, sophisticated men like him. Sucking in a sharp breath, she pushed against his chest.
Reluctantly he released her. “I’ll get your bags.” Then he turned, and she heard his footsteps loping down the stairs.
In his beautiful bedroom, she stared after him and longed for another taste of him, longed for all the things that had been rudely ripped from her when she was eight…and then ripped from her again by him later…love…security…family…the sense of belonging to someone, somewhere, forever.
Before she knew it, she heard him downstairs again, returning with her bags. The last thing she needed was for him to discover her in his bedroom so shaken from his kiss she was harboring all sorts of wildly romantic fantasies.
Determined to get to work and get her mind off him, she dashed down the stairs to explore his library while he carried her luggage up to her room.
Knowing that Cici was at his house and would be waiting for him, made it more difficult for Logan to concentrate than usual. He called her twice. When she said he was interrupting her, he called her back and then teased her for answering when she chided him again.
He hung up. Almost immediately he picked up the phone and called a florist to order flowers for her.
Five minutes later he was on the verge of calling her back when Hayes strode inside his office without knocking.
“Good news,” Hayes said, his black eyes as sharp as his voice. “At least, it could be good for us. There’s rather more to Mitchell Butler’s asbestos problem than he led us to believe. Not only that, he’s just lost that big government contract to build more patrol boats for the U.S. Coast Guard. He’s carrying a boatload of foreign debt. I think he’s in trouble with the Feds.”
Hayes went to Logan’s computer and pulled up a Web page.
“Wow, this is bad,” Logan said. “He’s been bilking the company like a bandit. Looks like you need to give him a call and make a new offer.”
“What exactly do you have in mind?”
When Logan gave him a rock bottom number, Hayes let out a low whistle. “You certainly haven’t lost your killer instinct. Yesterday you were so down…”
“Save the compliments. Just make the offer. See what he says. Then get back to me.”
“Enjoying your crispy quail salad?” Logan said.
“Oh, my goodness, yes!” Setting her fork down, Cici glanced up at him. “Excuse me. Yes.” She dabbed her lip with her napkin. “It’s delicious.”
“So delicious, you haven’t said a word to me in at least five minutes. I never thought I’d be jealous of a quail salad.”