Propositioned Into A Foreign Affair(4)

By: Catherine Mann

“Thanks bunches for your help with that reporter.” She fisted her hand on the sheet, securing the scant covering, and thrust her other hand out to shake. “I’m Bella Hudson.”

Sure he probably already knew who she was. Most people recognized her on sight, thanks to all the pre-publicity for Honor. Posters with her face were plastered all over the U.S., U.K. and France. But it seemed rude to assume someone already knew who she was. Besides, she liked life to be as normal as possible.

Well, as normal as it could be for a girl sprinting around in nothing more than a sheet as she escaped a rabid reporter.

“I know who you are.” He extended his hand. “Sam Garrison.”

“I know who you are,” she echoed, her hand sliding into his callused grip, enfolded in heat, hidden from sight by the size of his hold.

Oh, boy.

Any hopes of staying aloof scampered away like leaves in the fall wind. Not that she felt cold. Nooo. Heat tingled up her fingers, infusing warmth through her veins from tip to toe. Too much. She’d come here to escape these sorts of feelings, damn it.

Bella snatched her hand back. “Uh, so,” she shifted from bare foot to foot, “where did a rich dude like you learn street-fighting moves like that?”

The hotel mogul Garrisons were reputed to be worth more than even her family, who’d made their money from Hudson Studio’s box-office hits. From European boarding schools to holidays in Fiji, she hadn’t exactly grown up without means, but the Garrisons had wealth that ran deeper with houses around the world. They had a Rolls Royce lifestyle all the way.

“Wealthy people don’t know how to fight?” He urged her through his office door into the empty reception area, out of the hallway and away from possible onlookers who might straggle through even after regular work hours.

“That’s what bodyguards are for.” She just hadn’t expected to need one inside a Garrison Grande spa, for crying out loud.

“I fight my own battles—always have.” His steely eyes went harder for a flash before he smiled.

Suddenly she felt very, very alone with him since everyone else must have clocked out for the night. That left her alone with Sam Garrison in the lush reception area leading to his office just beyond the open door. Alone with a very sexy male at a time when by all rights she should be swearing off any guy, much less this one, a known ladies’ man.

She’d met him briefly a few times in the past since the Hudsons and Garrisons frequented many of the same fund-raisers, parties and galas. It was a part of the whole networking game for their high-powered families to be seen in all the right places.

Sure she’d registered he was handsome in the past, but given he was nearly ten years older than her, he’d been out of her range before. What made him so much more compelling tonight? All he’d done was clothesline a reporter.

A shiver of excitement tripped up her spine.

She kept her expression bland—thank goodness for those acting skills of hers. The rogue attraction must be a by-product of raw and vulnerable emotions after her breakup. Not to mention the shock of learning about her uncle and her mother’s long-ago affair.

All the more reason to retreat to her room for a bubble bath. Far, far away from any man until she had her equilibrium back. “Thanks again for coming to my rescue. Now how can I get back to my room without flashing the entire lobby?”

“My apologies for this mess.” He knelt to scoop up Muffin then crossed to tuck the dog back into the carrier. Had he even heard her question? “We pride ourselves on privacy for our clientele. Rest assured the breach in security will be investigated and addressed.”

“It’s all right.” Stepping on the edge of the sheet, she kicked her foot free and shuffled across to take Muffin’s carrier from Sam. “I certainly don’t enjoy being hounded by the press, but I understand it’s the price I pay for having been born into this family and doing the job I love. Most of the time it’s okay.” She paused to clear the hitch in her throat. “I’m just having an especially tough month.”

He kept his hand on top of the dog carrier, preventing her from picking it up. “Then please give me a chance to make your month take a turn for the better.”