“But you have that right?” she asked angrily, removing the watch and putting it in her purse. Maybe he was right, as annoyed as that realization made her. They’d gotten through the first meeting with the Gersbachs without the device in evidence, they could do the same with the Stunde representatives. “And if I’m not calm, it’s with good reason. You’ve been messing with me, Kam,” she accused, unable to stop herself. “You’ve had ulterior motives in sleeping with me.”
His sharp bark of laughter made her jump slightly. She gaped at him, aghast at his manner. “I had ulterior motives in sleeping with you? That’s rich.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she demanded.
She blinked dazedly at the sound of the woman’s hesitant voice.
“Nina, Kyle. I didn’t see you arrive,” she said, standing and shaking hands with the Stunde executives. She forced herself into her professional role, difficult as it was, especially with Kam’s scowl and surliness fully in evidence when she made introductions.
Fortunately, the dinner was a moderate success, despite Lin’s confusion and anger and Kam’s inexplicable coolness. At least nothing was ruined, and Kyle and Nina were very interested in the product. Kam’s manner during dinner segued from his perplexing anger at her to being aloof and distant, but since Nina and Kyle were unfamiliar with his typical presentation, they seemed not to notice anything unduly remarkable. Like the Gersbachs before them, they seemed to assume he was an idiosyncratic, somewhat withdrawn genius. He answered their questions with his typical succinctness, his incising intelligence impossible to hide despite his preoccupation. By the time the meeting and luxurious meal came to a conclusion, Lin was feeling very raw and abraded, her façade worn thin by Kam’s palpable chill. She didn’t think it was her imagination that his coolness was aimed exclusively at her.
Why was he giving her the cold shoulder? Wasn’t she the one who had a right to be miffed, given the circumstances?
She turned toward him on the sidewalk after Kyle and Nina got into the first cab and it drove away.
“You are such an arrogant ass,” she hissed furiously, unable to contain her summation of his character a second longer.
Fury and confusion pulsed through her when she saw the trace of sarcasm cross his handsome face. He glanced down at her contemptuously.
“You really do turn that act on and off like a light switch, don’t you?”
“What is wrong with you?” she grated out, stunned by his disdain.
His lip curled into a snarl. Suddenly it seemed impossible to Lin that she’d thought he’d been cool since Kyle and Nina had arrived. He wasn’t just simmering with emotion. He was about to boil over.
“Wrong with me? Maybe it turns my stomach to watch you smile and charm and look like a beautiful doll all night long. You always have the perfect line on the tip of your tongue, don’t you? Does anybody ever see the real you, Lin? I wonder if you even know who she is.”
“You son of a—”
He caught her flying hand in midair. A shock resounded in her flesh. She gasped in disbelief. His blazing eyes burned right through her. She’d never told herself to do it, but she’d been about to slap him before he’d stopped her. Dozens of diners would have witnessed the spectacle she made through the glass windows of the posh restaurant. She’d never lost control in public like this before. She rarely did in private . . .
Kam’s nostrils flared in anger. Lin’s lungs burned. She couldn’t draw air. He jerked her wrist and her body thumped against his. Electricity seemed to jump from him to her. Against her will, she felt herself respond to his long, hard length.
“So the polished little kitten has claws. Well, that’s a start at honesty, I guess,” Kam muttered through a clenched jaw. His remark bounced off her; she was still momentarily stunned by her actions. He put out his hand to hail the next waiting cab. Lin said nothing when he held open the door for her. She couldn’t believe he’d goaded her so easily. Her entire body seemed to vibrate with chaotic emotion.
Kam slid into the seat next to her and tersely gave the driver the address to his apartment before he slid the plastic divider between driver and passenger seats closed. Lin turned to him, her mouth opening to accuse him of being a manipulative bastard. Kam opened his hands along each side of her jaw, holding her in place, and seized her mouth in an angry, searing kiss.
All her confusion about her desires, all the longing she’d felt ever since she left Kam’s arms on Monday morning, all the bubbling emotion she’d been feeling since Ian had told her about Kam’s plans, all of that and more found a channel in erupting lust and need. It roared to the surface, both a threat and a potent thrill that was impossible to resist.
Still, she was outraged. She wrenched her mouth free after a moment and tore his hands from her face. Their gazes clashed in the city-lit cab. She saw the dangerous glint in his light eyes.
“Do you honestly think I only want you because I want you to work for me? I wish that were true. I haven’t had a moment of peace since the first second you walked into that restaurant,” he growled ominously, sounding furious at that fact.
“Damn you, Kam,” she whispered, affected by his raw admission whether she wanted to be or not.
“Damned is right,” he assured her before he bent to her again. This time, his kiss was every bit as dark and dangerous, but it was more controlled. It was the devil’s seduction. His tongue claimed her mouth, sweeping it everywhere. He moved his lips in a sensual enticement, sucking at her, pulling her in to him in a way that was impossible to deny. Lin tangled her tongue with his, angry, aroused, overwhelmed. He wrapped a hand at her waist and pulled her closer against his hard body, and Lin knew she was something else.