He grabbed her elbow again, when she turned irritably and started out the door.
“Why are you so prickly about my job?” she hissed over her shoulder. Immediately, she felt guilty. She was the one who was so prickly about her job today . . . about what Ian had told her about relocating to London . . . about Kam’s insinuations about her doing anything for her work . . . about everything.
“Because I don’t like being one of your job duties,” he replied in a hushed tone, glancing around the luxurious store. A man holding up two ties looked their way, obviously hearing their tense hisses. Kam nodded to the sunny street and sidewalk and followed Lin out the revolving door.
“I told you. Monday night was not a job duty. Not the end of it, anyway,” she said succinctly when they faced off on the sidewalk. “Monday night was a mistake. And everything we do together from here on out? Definitely work, and tedious work at that,” she added with a hard glare. She started to walk away.
He cursed in French under his breath. “I’m sorry,” he called out baldly.
She halted abruptly and glanced back at him, her mouth falling open in surprise.
“I’m sorry for suggesting that you were acting on Ian’s orders to have sex with me to soften me up,” he said in a muted tone, glancing from side to side to make sure no one was in hearing distance. “I wasn’t thinking straight at the time.”
“I’ll say you weren’t. You were acting like a bully.”
His eyes flared with anger, but then he briefly closed them and inhaled.
“You’re right. I deserve that,” he said stiffly.
Her gaze narrowed as she stepped toward him. “It would have been one thing if you were just being an oaf. But you were being intentionally rude. You were trying to be hurtful. Why?”
He blinked, grinding his jaw, looking like he was “chewing metal” as Richard had put it. “When I saw you getting dressed that night when I came out of the bathroom, I realized you were done with me,” he suddenly bit out.
Her expression went flat. A tingling sensation swept along her limbs. A car horn beeped loudly as traffic passed, but it barely penetrated Lin’s awareness.
“It suddenly hit me how truly unlikely it would be that a woman like you would have initiated something with me,” Kam said.
“So you accused me of going to bed with you on Ian’s orders?” she clarified quietly.
He shrugged and glanced uncomfortably out at the street. “I knew I was wrong almost the second I walked out your door. But if I hadn’t fully guessed how wrong I was then, I would have this morning.”
Lin took another step closer. For the first time since they’d slept together she looked straight into his eyes. He noticed and glanced down at her. She thought she really did see regret mixing with irritation in the light-infused, silvery depths. She got the distinct impression the frustration she witnessed was with himself. “What do you mean?” she asked. “What happened this morning?”
“Ian seemed genuinely put off by your . . . presentation in his office earlier. There’s no way in hell he could have asked you to tango with me purposefully,” Kam scoffed. “If he had, he wouldn’t have seemed so stunned by the way you acted. He seemed completely out of the loop for once in his life.”
“Tango with you?” she clarified, amused despite her determination to keep him at arm’s length.
“Face it. I set you off balance,” he said, leaning down slightly, a small smile tilting his lips.
She blinked, unsteadied yet again. “Your cockiness is epic,” she said in mixed amazement and irritation, forgetting momentarily that he’d just admitted point-blank a weakness to her. He’d been as vulnerable as she had been after they’d had sex.
“Only if it works,” she thought she heard him mutter under his breath in a thick accent. “Will you have lunch with me?” he asked, his gaze sinking slowly to her mouth in a familiar way that she recognized from the other night. Heat rushed through her, testing her straining defenses.
“I told myself I was going to steer clear of you, Kam.”
“Why?” he asked, taking a step closer, so that the placket of his open shirt brushed against her coat. She found herself staring up into those magnetic eyes. She was nearly as close as she had been Monday night when they lay side by side, both of them turned inside out by thunderous climaxes. “I apologized, didn’t I?” he reminded her quietly. “I know when I make a mistake. Or are you one to hold a grudge?”
“No, it’s not that. I appreciate your apology,” she admitted. “It’s just . . . you’re trouble.”
“As a rule?” he murmured. “Or for you in particular?”
She hesitated. “Both, I think.”
“Best news I’ve had all day.”
Something hitched in her chest when she saw the smile in his eyes.
“At least have lunch with me. It’s boring in that hotel room all alone.”
“You said you wanted to be alone. You’ve lived in isolation for almost all of your adult life,” she reminded him.
“But always with something to do. I don’t like being bored.”
“There’s a fantastic workout facility at the Trump Tower hotel.”
“I already used it today.”
“You could take a tour of the city. Or I could plan a tour for you at a Noble Enterprises manufacturing plant.”
“Ian is going to take me out to a plant next week to show me around. We planned it today during the tour downtown. But if you know of any other technology or telecommunication sector companies I might visit while I’m here, I’d be interested,” Kam said, surprising her. He leaned in and said with mock confidentiality, “And you don’t even have to hold my hand during the tours if you don’t want to.”