“For all we know, Leroy might change his mind about socializing and we’ll be off the hook,” Ryan said, rolling his head from side to side.

“What do you think are the chances of that happening?” Jaci asked.

“Not good. He doesn’t like the fact that I have you. He’ll make me jump through hoops.”

“Because you’re everything he isn’t,” Jaci murmured.

“What do you mean?”

You’re tall, hot and sexy. Charming when you want to be. You’re successful, an acclaimed producer and businessman. You’re respected. Leroy, as far as she knew, just had oily hair and enough money to keep a third-world economy buoyant. Jaci stared at her hands. She couldn’t tell Ryan any of that; she had no intention of complimenting her blackmailer. Even if he could kiss to world-class standards.

“Don’t worry about it.” Jaci waved her words away and prayed that he wouldn’t pursue the topic.

Thankfully he didn’t. Instead he reached for the bottle of water on his desk and took a long sip. “So, as soon as I hear from Banks I’ll let you know.”

“Fine.” Jaci pushed herself to her feet, wishing she could go back to bed and pull the covers over her head for a week or two.

“Jaci?”

Jaci lifted her eyes off her boots to his. “Yes?”

“We’ll keep it completely professional at work. You’re the employee and I’m the boss,” Ryan stated. That would make complete sense except for the sexual tension, as bright and hot as a lightning arc, zapping between them. Judging by his hard tone and inscrutable face, Ryan was ignoring that sexual storm in the room. She supposed it would be a good idea if she did the same.

Except that her feet were urging her to get closer to him, her lips needed to feel his again, her... God, this was madness.

“Fine. I’ll just get back to work then?”

“Yeah. I think that would be a very good idea.”

* * *

When Jaci finally left his office, Ryan dropped into his leather chair and rolled his head from side to side, trying to release the tension in his neck and shoulders. In the space of ten hours, he’d acquired a girlfriend and the biggest deal of his life was placed in jeopardy if he and Jaci didn’t manage to pull off their romance. He hadn’t been exaggerating when he told Jaci that Leroy would be furious if he realized that Jaci was just using him as an excuse to put some distance between her and his wandering hands...but hell, talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time!

It was the kiss—that fantastic, hot, sexy meeting of their mouths—that caused the complications. And, dammit, she was right. The first kiss, initiated by her, had been tentative and lightweight and he was the one who’d taken it deeper, hotter, wetter. Oh, she hadn’t protested and had quickly joined him on the ride. A ride he wouldn’t mind taking to its logical conclusion.

Concentrate, moron. Sex should have been low on his priority list. It wasn’t but it should have been.

When he’d come back down to earth and seen Banks’s petulant face—pouty mouth and narrowed eyes—he’d realized that he’d made a grave miscalculation. Then he’d added fuel to the fire when he’d informed him that Jaci was his girlfriend. Banks wanted Jaci and didn’t like the fact that Ryan had her, and because of that, Ryan would be put through a wringer to get access to Banks’s cash.

Like his father, Banks was the original playground bully; he instantly wanted what he couldn’t and didn’t have. Ryan understood that, as attractive as he found Jaci—and he did think that she was incredibly sexy—for Leroy his pursuit of her had little to do with Jaci but, as she’d hinted at earlier, everything to do with him. With the fact that she was with him, that he had her...along with a six-two frame, a reasonable body and an okay face.

This was about wielding power, playing games, and what should’ve been a tedious, long but relatively simple process would now take a few more weeks and a lot more effort. He knew Leroy’s type—his father’s type. He was a man who very infrequently heard the word no, and when he did, he didn’t much care for it. In the best-case scenario, they’d go on a couple of dinners and hopefully Leroy would be distracted by another gorgeous woman and transfer his attention to her.

The worst-case scenario would be Leroy digging his heels in, stringing him along and then saying no to funding the movie. Ryan banged his head against the back of his chair, feeling the thump of the headache move to the back of his skull.

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