Beautiful Moves(Shifting Steel Book 3)(10)

By: Stephanie West

Wolf felt like a dick, but he refused to apologize. Ella was a conundrum. There was something about her that needled him. Ella attempted to leave, again. It was apparent she didn’t like conflict.

“Hold it,” he insisted. Ella paused. “I didn’t say no. I asked you what makes you think you’re going to have rent later, if you don’t have it now? It was an honest question.”

Ella turned back around and eyed him. Her brows scrunched in consternation. It was actually pretty endearing. Wolf liked the fact he was getting to her. Even her scent had spiked, giving off a sharp, slightly savory aroma.

“If you must know, I just graduated with my bachelors in interior design.” Ella looked a little old to be fresh out of college, but it took some longer than others. “And I was offered a job today. It doesn’t start for another few weeks, but when it does I’ll be able to pay you.”

Wolf repressed the grin he felt tugging at his mouth, seeing Ella’s hands on her hips, in a confidant and somewhat defiant stance. Her spirited attitude had Wolf’s inner beast straining toward her.

“Congratulations. So, where’s this job?” he asked with sincere interest.

“A place called Perkins and Will, in Chicago,” Ella replied, looking a bit discombobulated by his earnest inquiry. She shifted uncomfortably on her feet.

Wolf suddenly realized Ella had been walking back from the Metra station earlier wearing her swank little interview outfit. She probably didn’t even own a car. She must really be desperate if she was living this far outside Chicago, renting from his shitty little apartment complex.

Wolf glanced at her oversized shoulder bag with a thick binder sticking up

“What do you have there?”

“My portfolio.”

“You mind if I take a look?” he asked. Ella frowned but dug out her portfolio anyway. “Have a seat. I don’t know how you can possibly stay upright in those shoes,” Wolf commented as he flipped open her binder.

“Um, okay.” The crease in her brow deepened as she sat.

“These are nice. You have a wide variety of interiors. This mural is really good. It’s not over the top like most.” Wolf admired the picture of a bathroom turned Zen garden.

“Thanks,” Ella mumbled.

Wolf looked over, and was stunned to see the flush in her cheeks. She was embarrassed. Again, he was shocked. Ella was so put together; modesty seemed contradictory to the way she carried herself.

“It looks hand painted,” he commented.

“It was.”

“Well the artist is talented.” Wolf studied the photograph.

“Thank you,” Ella replied quietly. Wolf watched her cheeks turn an even deeper shade of red.

“You painted it, didn’t you?” he asked.

Wolf almost missed her subtle nod. Ella was talented. Why did that embarrass her? With her barrier dropped, there was something erotically compelling about Ella. The primal side of him again shifted beneath his skin. The mysterious woman peaked his curiosity and incited his hunting instinct.

“Here’s the deal. I have a job for you. I need work done on my clubhouse. In exchange, I will cover your rent and utilities, till your job starts and you get your first paycheck.”

Ella’s mouth dropped open, shocked and confused by his sudden offer.

“Are you sure?” she stammered.

Wolf was a bit stunned himself. He’d completely intended to stand his ground. He couldn’t let people walk all over him, even gorgeous women. An alpha had his reputation to uphold. But then his mouth opened and out came the offer.

Well this way the clubhouse will look less like a garage sale.

If he was honest, he liked the idea of seeing Ella more often, and maybe riling the unflappable little female. Wolf couldn’t resist the impulse. His mouth cocked up at the corners in a raffish smile.

“You may not want the job after I show you the clubhouse.”

It wasn’t so much the building as the occupants that might be an issue. Then again, exposing Little-Miss-Straight-Laced to the pack might be entertaining.

“No. I’m sure I can do the job. Thank you.” Ella smiled and it transformed her face.

Ah, damn, he groaned, lost in her beauty.

Wolf almost felt bad for wanting to tarnish her polished veneer.

“You should look at it before you agree. It’s probably a bit different from what you’re used to. It’s a motorcycle club.”

“Oh, okay.” Ella was still smiling but now she looked thoughtful.

Wolf ushered Ella to his car before she could change her mind. He was glad it didn’t take long to get to the clubhouse on the edge of town. He had a hard time keeping his eyes on the road. His gaze was drawn to Ella’s legs. Her dark skirt had ridden above her knees, giving him a peek of the lacey top of her stockings, and a scant bit of her creamy thighs.