At Her Boss's Pleasure(2)

By: Cathy Williams

Dark-as-night eyes swung in her direction and lazily inspected the cool, pale face that had not cracked a genuine smile in all the time she had been working at his company. At least not in his presence.

‘Yes, you’

‘Alessandro...the name is Alessandro. It’s a family firm—I like to keep it casual with my employees...’

He swung round to perch on the edge of her desk and Kate automatically inched back in her chair.

Hardly a family firm, she thought sarcastically. Unless your family runs into thousands and happens to be scattered to the four corners of the globe. Big family.

‘What can I do for you, Alessandro?’

‘Actually, I came to leave some papers for Cape. Where is he? And why are you the only one alive and kicking here? Where are the rest of the accounts team?’

‘It’s after They all left a while ago...’

Alessandro consulted his watch and frowned. ‘You’re right. Not that it’s stretching the outer limits of the imagination to think that at least a few members of my highly paid staff might be here. Working.’ He looked at her, eyes narrowed. ‘So what are you still doing here?’

‘I had a few reports I wanted to get through before I left. It’s a productive time of day...when everyone else has left for the evening...’

Alessandro looked at her consideringly, head tilted to one side.

What was it about this woman? He had had some dealings with her over the past few months. She was a hard worker, diligent, had been fast-tracked by George Cape. He certainly had not been able to fault the quickness of her mind. Indeed, she seemed to have a knack for cutting through the crap and finding the source of problems—which wasn’t that easy in the fiddly arena of finance.

Everything about her was professional, but there was something missing.

The cool green eyes were guarded, the full mouth always tight and polite, the hair never out of place.

His eyes roved lower, taking in a body that was well sheathed behind a prim white long-sleeved shirt, neatly cuffed at the wrists and buttoned to the neck.

Outside, the temperatures had been soaring for the past three weeks—and yet you would never guess, looking at her, that it was summer beyond the office walls. He would bet his fortune that she would be wearing tights.

He, personally, thrived on a rich diet of sexy women who flaunted their assets, so Ms Kate Watson’s severe veneer never failed to arouse his curiosity.

The last time he had worked with her—for several days, on a tricky tax issue with which she had seemed more adept at dealing than her boss, George Cape, whose head had recently been in the clouds—he had tried to find out a bit more about her. Had asked her a few questions about what she did outside work...her hobbies, her interests. Polite chit-chat as they had taken time out over the food that had been delivered to his office suite.

Most women responded to any interest he showed in them by opening up. They couldn’t wait to tell him all about themselves. They preened and blossomed when he looked at them, when he listened to what they had to say, even though, in fairness, his attention wasn’t always exclusively on what they were talking about.

Kate Watson? Not a bit of it. She had stared at him with those cool green eyes and had managed to divert the conversation without giving anything of herself away.

‘You’re here every evening at this hour?’

Still perched on her desk, invading her space, Alessandro picked up a glass paperweight in the shape of a goldfish and twirled it thoughtfully between his fingers.

‘No, of course not.’ But far too often, all things considered.

‘No? Just today? Even though it’s the hottest day of the year?’

‘I’m not a big fan of hot weather.’ She lowered her eyes, suddenly a little angry at some kind of unspoken, amused criticism behind his words. ‘I find it makes me sluggish.’

‘It would,’ Alessandro pointed out, dumping the goldfish back on the desk where he had found it, ‘if you wear long-sleeved shirts and starched skirts.’

‘If you’d like to leave the papers with me, I’ll make sure I give them to George when he’s back.’

‘Back from where?’

‘He’s on holiday at the moment. Canada. He’s not due back for another two weeks.’

‘Two weeks!’

‘It’s not that long. Most people book two-week holidays during summer...’

‘Have you?’

‘Well, no...but...’

‘Not sure this can wait until Cape decides to grace us with his presence.’

He stood up and slapped a sheaf of papers on her desk, then placed his hands, palms down, squarely on either side of the papers and leaned into her.