The Billionaire's Seduction(8)

By: Kristi Avalon


The smile soon vanished into a straight line. Oh, no. Had she only imagined that glimpse of encouragement, of empathy?

“So you are aware,” he said quietly, in a deep voice like jagged stone wrapped in velvet, “we are on surveillance.”

She swallowed and let her glance casually roam the upper corners of the room. Two of the four were fitted with cameras. Setting her elbows on the table, she extended her clasped hands in a prayer formation. “I promise you, whatever is going on, I have nothing to hide.”

“Did you give Alex Atlas your two weeks’ notice today?”

“I did.” When he didn’t say anything else, she felt the need to fill the silence. “I did that so I could start my own business. I signed all the non-compete forms the day I started working here, and I will abide by them. Mr. Atlas can rest assured I’ll only offer accounting practices for regular people, not big business owners—or any casinos. I promise.”

When he didn’t respond positively or negatively, her shoulders slumped.

“What can I do to make you believe me?” she asked.

He blinked slowly, then winked his right eye. It was a spit-second movement, something a camera wouldn’t catch.

Did that mean he believed her?

He rolled the ankle inside the boot resting on his knee, bringing her attention back to his aged cowboy boots, and the reminder put her a little more at ease.

“Are you a hard worker?”

She straightened. “Yes,” she said with pride.

He blinked slowly again, followed by a flash-wink. Okay, that seemed to be another subtle sign of communication.

“Have you dedicated yourself to the company’s success for nine years?”

“Yes.”

Again, that slow blink and quick wink.

He was definitely communicating with her using subtle cues a camera wouldn’t catch. Nothing else explained his deliberate responses.

She drew closer to him, across the table.

As if he’d noticed her slight relaxation, he blinked slowly and offered the slightest dip of his chin. Would the cameras catch that? She hoped not.

When the door swung open, she jumped in her seat. The guard entered.

All the tension coiled again inside her. She didn’t trust those other men.

The guard extended his hand to offer a bottle of water.

Instead of letting her reach for it, her interrogator accepted the bottle, unscrewed the cap, and set it aside as he handed her the bottle.

Relieved, she downed several gulps.

The door slammed shut. Her throat clenched, and she almost spit out the swallow remaining in her mouth. She choked and coughed.

The interrogator stood, came to her side of the table, and patted her back. “You okay? Relax, take a couple deep breaths.”

Eyes still watering, her lungs gasped for the luxury of fresh air. Once she could breathe normally, she nodded.

Drawing close, he whispered in her ear, “I set that cap on the table for a reason. It can serve a purpose for both of us, not for the cameras to see. Move it to the right if you’re speaking the truth. To the left, if the answer is no. Keep it in the middle, if you don’t want to talk about it. No matter what, it’s okay. You’re okay. I’ve got you.”

The effect of his words created a soothing balm she needed.

His hand lingered on her back a moment longer than necessary, before he returned to his side of the table. On her side, she sat forward, ready to answer his questions to clear her name. She took another deep drink, then placed her hand discreetly over the cap. She drew it close like the tiny piece of plastic offered salvation. Maybe it did.

The stranger—no, Liam—resumed his former relaxed pose, ankle crossed over his knee. Those boots, she couldn’t get over them. Amusement gathered at the back of her throat to form a laugh, but she tamped it down. Did he wear those boots everywhere? That looked to be the case. If he seemed more comfortable in worn out boots, why did he also dress in an expensive suit?

“Sophia.”

She snapped to attention, unsure why his boots offered such a distraction. Along with his eyes. And his hair. She couldn’t figure him out. He intrigued her.

“Have you ever secretly felt anger toward your boss?”

She sat back, startled by the question. “No, never.”

When he deliberately glanced at the bottle cap, she moved it far left, to indicate not ever even once.

“Have you ever watched a patron win money? A lot of money?”

That made her smile. “I happened to be on the first floor, heading to the garage where I park my car. This woman jumped up and screamed so loud, the card dealers stopped and turned around. She won something like fifty-thousand dollars on a jackpot. Those bells were still ringing in my ears long after I left.”