At Her Boss's Pleasure(10)

By: Cathy Williams

‘I got the impression that it was more the rule than the exception. And I’m not criticizing you.’

‘It sounds as though you are.’ She could feel those dark eyes boring into her and had to restrain herself from squirming.

He was her boss. Actually, he was the lord of all he surveyed, and it was in her interests to remain as polite and detached as possible. Never mind all that tosh about his hundred-thousand-strong family of employees...he could ruin her career with the snap of his fingers. As he would doubtless ruin George Cape’s career.

She bristled with anger, stole a resentful glance at his lean, beautiful face, and wondered what it would feel like to have those sensuous lips on hers.

She didn’t even know where that errant thought had come from, but it was so vivid that her whole body responded. Her breasts ached, and between her legs...she was horrified to realize that she was dampening.

‘I’m ambitious,’ she told him heatedly, ‘and there’s nothing wrong with that. I work hard because I hope that my hard work will pay off, that I’ll be promoted... I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I’ve had to fight for every single thing I’ve got.’

It was more than she should have said, although not a word of it was untrue. It just felt weird—wrong—to be confiding in him. And why was she anyway? She wasn’t here for an interview and he hadn’t demanded that she explain herself.

Usually so reticent, she had been propelled into speaking her mind. She licked her lips nervously, realized that she was sitting forward, fists clenched on the table, and deliberately made herself relax and smile.

‘You’re implying that your colleagues come from a more privileged background than you?’

‘I’m not implying anything. I was just...stating a fact.’

Alessandro noted the pink in her cheeks. Up close and personal with her—which he had never been before—he sensed that her reactions were honest. She blushed when he wouldn’t have expected her to, because the impression she gave was one of complete self-control. He could remember asking her questions about certain technicalities in the jobs she had worked on and she had been cool, calm and knowledgeable, barely displaying any kind of personality at all.

But then...

He glanced briefly around him. This wasn’t a cold, clinical office, was it? The neat little folder she had pointedly stuck on the table next to her was the only evidence that this was a work meeting. And without the backup of an office he had a tantalizing glimpse of the person behind the beautiful but bland exterior.

Did he want to bring the conversation back to work? Not yet.

‘Maybe you think that I do...?’ he murmured in a lazy drawl.

‘I haven’t given that any thought at all,’ Kate lied. ‘I’m here to do a job, not to pry into other people’s lives.’

‘Your days must be very dull, in that case.’

‘Why? Why do you say that?’

‘Because it’s commendable to work hard, and to do a good job, but doesn’t everyone get a little titillation from office politics? The salacious gossip? The speculating...?’

‘Not me.’

Her voice was firm but her nerves were all over the place. She picked up the menu and stared at it but she could still feel his eyes on her.

‘I think I might have the fish.’

Alessandro didn’t bother to glance at the menu. He responded by keeping his eyes firmly fixed on her face while he beckoned with a slight raising of his hand and was rewarded when someone sprang to attention and hustled over.

How did he do that? Was there some poor sap hovering in the corner somewhere, waiting until the Mighty One beckoned him across?

Of course there would be. Money talked, and Alessandro Preda had a lot of it. Vast amounts.

People changed when they were around money. Common sense flew through the window. Subservience, slavishness and an awestruck inability to just act normally set in.

So she might feel something—a little insignificant twinge of awareness about the man—but that was natural. He was drop-dead gorgeous, especially when she was receiving the full, undiluted blast of his forceful personality. But she wasn’t and never would be one of those simpering airheads who turned to mush around him. And actually not just airheads. Lots of clever women—definitely two in the legal department—giggled at the mention of his name and projected crazy fantasies about him over lunch in the office restaurant. Several times Kate had had to stop her eyes from rolling skywards.

Her body might be a little rebellious, but thankfully she had her head firmly screwed on.

She politely waited as he ordered, said no to a top-up of wine, and then relented because at least it made her relax.