At Her Boss's Pleasure(7)

By: Cathy Williams

He wondered how long her hair was. Impossible to tell.

She swung round sharply and he straightened, flushing guiltily at being caught red-handed staring at her. Not very cool.

‘I doubt George is going to do a runner if he gets wind that you’re on to him. And that’s if he’s guilty of anything at all!’

‘Why are you so keen to protect him?’

‘I’m not keen to protect him. Just being fair. Innocent until proved guilty, and all that.’

The lift doors opened with a purr and she stepped out into the vast marbled foyer that still impressed her after nearly two years.

She wasn’t protecting George Cape. Or was she? When she thought of George, a little guy staring down the barrel of a gun and not even realizing it, she thought of her own vulnerable mother, who had lived most of her life staring down the barrel of a gun and not realizing it, and when she thought about her mother she felt her heart constrict.

Which, of course, was not going to do. Least of all with a man like Alessandro Preda. And naturally she could see his point of view.

‘Commendable,’ Alessandro murmured. ‘So we begin on Monday. The hunt to find out whether Cape is guilty of fraud or stupidity. Either way, he will doubtless end up being sacked. Now, where do you live...? My car’s in the underground car park.’


[IT HAD TAKEN a lot for Kate not to get in touch with George Cape over the weekend. Was he guilty of fraud? It was hard to believe. He was a true gentleman, courteous and kind, and he had taken her under his wing when she had started working for him. That said, he had not been his usual self over the past three months. Was there an explanation there somewhere?

She had looked through the files. Thankfully, no dummy companies had been set up—which she hoped ruled out fraud on a systematic large-scale basis. But the odd entries were definitely there, and...

She sighed and looked at her watch. She had managed to put off Alessandro the previous Friday evening, but he would be expecting her in his office now. At nearly seven p.m., the offices were again practically empty—aside from a few hard-core, nose-to-the-grindstone employees who barely glanced in her direction as she briskly walked out of the office with her files towards the bank of lifts.

It had been a while since she had been in Alessandro’s office. Not since that tax problem that had needed sorting out. George and the head of finance had been there too, but there had been a brief period when it had just been her, doing the grunt work with the numbers, and Alessandro, who had been covering other aspects of the problem, and he had ordered in food for both of them.

It had been one of the few occasions when they had been alone together and she could still vividly recall the way she had burned when she had glanced up at one point and their eyes had met.

He had very dark eyes, fringed with thick, dark lashes, and that day he had had the sort of brooding, thoughtful expression that sent shivers racing up and down her spine. Having him look at her had felt like a very physical experience and she hadn’t liked it.

And now that she was stepping into the lion’s den again she was determined to bring her wayward reactions to heel.

Unfortunately her rapidly beating heart was already letting the side down, and by the time she heard that deep, masculine drawl telling her to enter her palms were sweaty and her nerves were all over the place.

He was sprawled in his leather chair, hands folded loosely on his stomach.

‘Slight change of plan.’

They were his opening words and Kate stopped abruptly in her tracks. ‘I could always leave the files and we can discuss them another time.’ Disappointment warred with relief. ‘If you’re busy.’ Her eyes flickered away from their compulsive visual tour of his body.

‘We will discuss this over something to eat.’

That had her snapping to attention, and she looked at him with alarm. ‘There’s no need.’ She had already recalled the last time they had shared a meal in this setting, and a repeat performance was something she could do without. ‘I haven’t managed to speak to the computer department about getting hold of George’s password, but I don’t think we will need to do that.’ She took a few steps forward and thrust the files onto his desk. ‘There are no dummy companies. I’ve checked that out thoroughly. And—’

‘Over dinner.’

He slung his long body out of the chair and grabbed the jacket that had been tossed on the leather sofa by the wall. He didn’t bother to put it on, preferring to hook it over his shoulder with his finger, and then he continued.

‘I’ve asked you to work after hours. It’s only fair that I take you out to dinner. I mean, we do both have to eat...’