“Well, I want you to admit The Ditchinator sucks.”
“Fine. I admit it.”
She shook her head. “Not good enough. Which is why I’m so pleased you agreed to a second show.” She sent him her best winning smile—the one that flirted at the possibility for more. “You can go on air to admit it sucks and share the inspiration behind your app.”
He leaned close again, a spark of awareness in his gaze that sabotaged her smooth-talking abilities. “I won’t do either,” he murmured silkily.
Desire constricted her throat, making breathing difficult. She knew he was attracted to her, and God knew he thrilled her like no one had before. She could never mix business with pleasure again, but a part of her longed to know if she could ever get him to act on his attraction. “Well, then, you’d best be on your guard, Mr. Philips.”
His gaze dropped to her lips. “Hunter.”
Awareness pricking her skin and scrambling her brain, she repeated obediently, “Hunter.”
“With you around, I’m always on my guard.” His lips curled at one end. “On guard against your sharp sarcasm. The cutting words. The arsenal of charm. And...” his gaze dropped to her legs this time, kicking up her body’s response, and then lifted to meet her eyes “...the intentional flash of a little more thigh.”
“Come this second show I’m going to pull out all the stops to use that charm and get the history behind your app.”
The hard light in his gaze set her body on fire, and his secretive smile sent a shiver up her spine as he said, “There isn’t a dress short enough to pull that off.”
She bit back the genuine smile that threatened. “Is that a challenge?”
“There is no challenge.” The light in his eyes grew brighter. “I will, however, take the opportunity to beat you again at your own game.”
Despite herself, she let out a quiet laugh. The man might be tightly controlled, but she sensed a playful side in him. One he kept carefully in check, only allowing it to surface occasionally to tease and provoke her. “I’ll accept that as the dare that it is. So how about this?” she said. “If I manage to get the answer out of you, I win. And if you can resist me...” She sent him her most charming smile—the one that had always worked up until she’d met him. “You win.”
“What’s the prize?” he said softly.
Danger and desire intertwined again, leaving her body with a now familiar unsettling attraction that was uniquely his. She was traversing a very narrow line—one so thin it could double as the edge of a knife. And it was hard to focus over her heart’s incessant thumping. “I haven’t decided on the prize yet.”
“Okay, but I expect you to keep the contest fair.”
“What does that entail?”
“Leveling the playing field,” he said. “No more capitalizing on your father’s name as a resource. Which means outside our second show any and all Wolfe Broadcasting media outlets are off-limits in your effort to publically harass me into cooperation.” The man gazed at her, his eyes no less intense in the dim light, the hint of humor dwarfed by the thread of steel in his tone. “And no more below-the-belt punches.”
Intrigued, she hiked her eyebrow a little higher. “What are you going to do if I break the rules? Fit me with a pair of concrete shoes?” She leaned closer, trying to be heard over the music and desperately ignoring the sensual lips mere inches from hers. “Send me an ankle bracelet attached to an anchor and take me for a boat ride out on the Atlantic?”
His gaze was dangerously daring, lit with humor, and infused with an undeniable heat. The combination provided an edgy thrill and a sense of the unknown that shouldn’t have had her so captivated.
Jeez, Carly. You really are your own worst enemy.
His smile morphed from mysterious to killer. “I’ll think of something.”
* * *
“Carly, you know you’re heading straight for disaster, right?” Abby—doubting Thomasina friend that she was—shot Carly a worried frown as she clomped across the parking lot towards the Pink Flamingo bar. The heels of Abby’s hip-length leather boots were more clunk than spike, and her black leather dress with its flipped-up collar screamed undead. “After your blog today, Hunter Philips is gonna be seriously annoyed.”
“Why?” Irritation welled for the umpteenth time that day, and Carly frowned. “The Ditchinator just hit the top ten list for app sales.”
“Yeah, and you just used your blog and your sarcastic wit to share your opinion about that.” Abby shot her a sideways look. “Creating quite a furor, I should add.”