He was clearly mistaken, but it was not a mistake he would ever repeat.

When she shifted on the couch to face him again, he asked in a teasing smile, “Are you done ignoring me?”

Vivian shrugged mulishly even as her cheeks turned pink at the realization that he knew exactly what she had been trying to do…unsuccessfully.

“How are you feeling?”

“Okay…” This time, she took great pains to rise slowly and carefully, and her efforts were rewarded when the world remained still and upright. She tried looking at him, but as soon as she did, her breath caught and she knew it was a big mistake.


He was really too good-looking for her to remain sensible, Vivian thought morosely as she tore her gaze away. She should leave now, before he could sweet-talk her into-—

“My full name is Gianluca Valencia.”

She didn’t speak, even as she wondered why he thought he owed her the truth now.

Luca wasn’t surprised when her face showed no recognition. It was also as he had expected, and he clarified softly, “I own LV.” Her head jerked up, and he met her shocked green eyes calmly. “As you have no doubt deduced, I am also the new owner of the company you’re working for.”

Vivian couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “But what were you doing—-”

“In the photocopying room?” he finished for her when Vivian’s voice trailed off. At her nod, he explained, “It was right next to the conference room as you know, and the first day, my secretary had to suddenly leave for an emergency. Since I had time to spare and the meeting I had with your company’s board of directors had yet to start…” He shrugged. “I decided to do her bit and—-” His gaze captured hers, and with his voice turning husky, he said, “That was when I met you.”

That was when I met you.

In his eyes, she could see the promise of something forbidden, something she thought was beyond her dreams—-

But if he’s what he says he is, Vivian, then he’s way out of your league!

The bubble burst.

No matter what she saw – or thought she saw in those eyes of his – it didn’t matter. They were from two different worlds, and the sooner she got out of his life, the better. “I should go,” she mumbled as she came to her feet.

Even with her gaze trained on the floor, she sensed him standing up as well, and his voice was a pleasant drawl as he said, “Before you go, I was hoping you’d allow me to show you something.”

Her nails dug into her palms. “I don’t think—-”

“Please don’t make me insist,” he said gently.

She quieted, his polite words working a subtle reminder that he was also her boss’ boss’ boss. Or should she add one or two more bosses to that, she wondered wildly. Meanwhile, Luca had already made his way to the desk and reached for a stapled set of receipts.

Walking back to her, he handed them to Vivian.

She took it unthinkingly, but her eyes widened when she caught sight of the header. The logo was on the same receipt she had from the loan shark she had approached.

“What does this mean?” she asked sickly. But in the back of her mind, in the deepest pit of her stomach, Vivian already knew. She just needed to hear him say the words.

He stared at her for a moment, his light blue eyes unreadable.

Vivian took a deep breath. “Gian—-”

“Call me Luca,” he invited.


She wanted to swoon at the way those words and his name rolled past his lips, and his Italian accent made everything a hundred times sexier. She just wanted to—-

Focus, Vivian!

Lifting her chin, she blurted out, “What are you trying to tell me with this?” She raised the receipt in her hand in emphasis. When he didn’t say anything, she prodded unevenly, “L-Luca? What are you t-trying to say?”

Well played, Vivi, Luca thought. She was trying to shame him into denying what they both knew he was doing, and he hadn’t expected it of her. This certainly made things interesting, but if she thought something like this could give her the upper hand?

You’re centuries too early to beat me in this game, cara.

He reached for her face and almost smiled as uncertainty flashed in her green eyes. She looked torn between slapping his hand away and leaning towards him. In the end, she did neither and instead kept herself still.

Luca’s fingers grazed her cheek.

Heat burst inside of her.

Do not melt, Vivian!

She quickly stepped back, stammering, “I think it’s time I—-” But then she caught sight of the heat that had flared in his gaze, and her voice trailed off. The sexual tension in the air made her desperately drag oxygen into her lungs, but it didn’t help.

If she didn’t leave now—-

She whirled around to leave.

Tags: Marian Tee Romance
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