‘What do you look like without it?’
‘Even more amazing,’ she flipped back at him, unable to stop her irritation sparking.
‘I’d like to see that.’
Never going to happen.
She glared at him, her eyes locking with his. And, even though she hadn’t voiced it, she was certain he knew exactly what she was thinking. He thought she was some painted-up doll and an airhead to boot.
But suddenly, finally, the man smiled.
Stephanie almost gasped in shock as another bolt of electricity kicked through her. If she’d thought him attractive in a ruthless kind of way before, now he was just meltingly gorgeous. He looked younger, more fun, more mischievous. Yeah. Total personality transplant.
It might have been better if he’d stayed icy and unimpressed.
‘I’m sorry if I’ve been abrupt,’ he said. And he was still totally abrupt, but with that winning smile it didn’t seem so rude. ‘I was distracted when you first arrived.’
Yeah, and she needed distraction now.
Think, brain. Think.
Then she remembered she’d made a plan. She’d known there was no way she was going to manage sitting across a table from him for three hours. Steffi Leigh only did twenty-second intros, then used what was around her—products, lists, the totally random—to fill in the time. So she was going to take Jack Wolfe on tour.
‘No problem—no one’s perfect,’ she said smoothly, still inwardly stunned by his apology. ‘Look, here comes Tara.’ She gestured towards the slim woman walking towards them, mentally muttering thanks to the heavens. ‘She’s my assistant.’
But Jack didn’t look at Tara. He kept his too blue eyes on her.
‘We’re kidnapping you,’ Stephanie added brightly.
‘You’re kidnapping me.’ He glanced down at her dress again. Then looked at himself. Raised one eyebrow. ‘You have chloroform with you?’
So there was a size difference. A huge one. But her being small didn’t mean she didn’t have strength. Or cunning.
‘Charm is more effective.’ She smiled.
‘Charm, you say?’ A gleam lit in his eye. ‘I’m not sure I’d call what you have charm.’
Stephanie’s blood heated, but she refused to rise to the bait and ask what it was he did think she had. Not going to do it. And she was not going to respond to his low, alarmingly sexy chuckle either.
‘Tara’s our chauffeur for the afternoon,’ she told him. Chauffeur, make-up diva, sidekick. Saviour.
‘Sorry about that…’ Tara breezed towards her, looking down and rubbing her hands. ‘There was this hand cream in there that I just had to try, only it had—’
‘Tara.’ Stephanie interrupted quickly. ‘This is Jack Wolfe.’ The man didn’t need to know about Tara’s insatiable cosmetics fetish.
‘You’re Jack Wolfe?’ Tara finally stopped admiring her hands and looked up at him. Her stunned expression would have been comic if it hadn’t been so annoying. that the guy had this effect on everyone?
‘I’m afraid so,’ he said, with surprising softness. ‘Were you expecting someone else?’
‘No. You’re… perfect as you are.’
‘Thank you.’ He shot Stephanie a sideways look and echoed even more softly, ‘Hear that? Perfect.’
Stephanie eyed him coldly and then turned back to Tara.
But Tara’s eyes had rounded and she looked from Jack to Stephanie and back again. Her mouth opened. Then closed. And then she smiled.
It wasn’t a smile Stephanie trusted.
‘Shall I go get the car?’ Tara said chirpily. ‘I’ll bring it to the main entrance.’
Stephanie stared, aghast, as her so-called friend left her alone with the man—again.
‘Why do we need the car?’ Jack asked.
‘As I said, we’re kidnapping you. You’re going on the Steffi Leigh tour of Melbourne.’ She pulled on her best smile again. ‘You only arrived in Australia this morning, right?’ His assistant had sent his schedule to her—all efficiency. And apparently he travelled without an entourage.
‘Or would you like to stay in the hotel for high tea instead?’ Stephanie’s heart sank. ‘We can go over the paperwork I’ve brought…’
‘I’m not hungry.’
Really? He looked it. He was about six feet tall, and sharp muscled in a lean way—as if he’d been fed only just enough to maintain optimal performance capability, like a caged cheetah kept on rations, so he’d run world-record-fast for the kill.
‘You’re sure?’ she queried.