She didn’t look exactly like the profile picture on her blog. She looked better. It was the spark in her eyes. Not the make-up and the ‘look-but-don’t-touch’ dress, but the underlying attitude. That hint of something more dangerous within her—the certainty that she was keeping part of herself back.
He found her as irritating and as attractive as hell.
Yeah, he’d do anything to avoid thinking about that meeting. Absolutely anything. And everything.
He’d bite through those layers of rich, sweet icing. There was definitely more substance—more cake—than he’d first thought. And he did like cake.
But it wasn’t all about him. He wanted to see her fall into it—fall apart. He wanted to watch her eyes glaze and her cheeks redden without the aid or the mask of make-up. He wanted to see her sweaty and wet and flushed and laughing. And then crying her release. He wanted her mindless and begging to be tipped over the edge. He wanted to be the one to make her.
So inappropriate. Borderline insane. Sexual harassment stuff.
He had to rein it in.
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t had sex in years. He enjoyed holiday affairs with women who didn’t know who he was. When they found out he moved on. They were a short escape from his real world.
He wanted to escape now. He wanted to scoop her up and toss her into the nearest swimming pool so he could see her clearly. He wanted to see her wet.
The urge to provoke her was irresistible. The urge to touch her he was restraining. Just.
Because he hadn’t lied. Jack Wolfe wasn’t like his playboy brother George. Or his bona fide hero James.
Truth was, they weren’t related at all. And there was the cause of the ache. He was no Wolfe.
‘Are you going to answer that?’ she asked, her soft voice rasping.
His phone was ringing.
She watched him. No expression creased that immaculately painted face. But in her eyes all was emotion—all concern.
He hated it. He wanted nothing but that heat again.
He forced himself to tear his attention away from her. Glancing down, he read his brother’s name on the screen.
‘No,’ he said shortly.
He wasn’t going to answer. He couldn’t speak to his brother at this moment without giving himself away. If his brother heard his anxiety he’d be hounding him for the reason. And Jack wasn’t ready to explain it yet. But the second his phone stopped ringing it chimed to signal another text message.
He put his phone on the back seat again. ‘I run a company. “Busy” comes with the territory.’
A phone chimed. Hers this time.
‘Do you mind?’ She echoed his words as she opened her small bag.
‘Not at all.’ He watched as she quickly scanned the screen, a very faint frown pulling at her eyebrows. ‘Busy blogger?’
‘Of course. As you know, my audience is global. People like to have their comments acknowledged.’
‘So you’re always on call?’
‘Not for just anyone.’ She sent him a look. ‘Only my followers.’
He smiled, finding her slight snarkiness oddly soothing. ‘Your fans?’
‘People who like what I do,’ she said proudly. ‘I like to keep them happy.’
‘You’re not out to please everyone, then?’
‘We all know that’s impossible. We all know the internet has plenty of haters lurking behind anonymity.’
He didn’t like the idea of haters hating her. Even though he’d come close to it himself.
‘I perform for my crowd,’ she said.
‘And that’s what it is? Purely a performance?’
Caution clouded her eyes. ‘I believe in what I do.’
So did a lot of people, given how popular she was. Her blog and video channel transcended borders. Her audience went way beyond Melbourne—beyond Australia, even. Apparently millions of young women hung on her every word. And she had plenty of words. There were lists on what not to wear, on make-up, movies. On where to eat, what to eat… There were commentaries on celebrity outfits during the awards season. She had people clicking on her blog as she provided chat through movie awards, music awards…
It was a bright, bubbly mash-up of lifestyle, design and travel tips, geared towards the urban young woman. The segment of the market his company wanted greater engagement with.
Jack had read only a couple of her blogs and watched mere seconds of one video before switching it off in annoyance at the over-the-top girlish effervescence. But he’d relied on the advice of his researchers that Steffi Leigh was it. Apparently making enough money not to need a real job. And yet she wanted this deal.
That was why she was determined to be nice to him. Even when she didn’t really want to be. Which told him that she needed this sale to go ahead. Badly.