Billionaire's Contract Engagement(12)

By: Maya Banks


“I thought we had a lunch date on Friday?”

She was stalling as her brain scrambled to catch up.

“I want to discuss Friday today. There’s been a change of plans.”

Her heart sank. There was no way she could have her act together right now.

“I only have forty-five minutes,” he continued. “We’re two blocks apart. Shall we meet in the middle? Our choices are French, Italian or good ole American.”

“I’m up for anything,” she said faintly.

She propped the phone between her shoulder and her ear and began frantically digging for her notes on his account. She stuffed everything into a folder and reached for her briefcase.

“Great. Shall we meet in say five minutes? I’ll start out now.”

“Sure, meet you there.”

He hung up and for a moment she stood there like a moron, the phone still stuck to her ear. Then she slammed it down, took in a deep steadying breath and declared battle.

She could do this in her sleep.

Slinging the bag over her shoulder, she all but jogged out of her office and down the hallway.

She passed Ash Williams, Maddox’s CFO, who held up a finger and opened his mouth to say something to her.

“Not now, Ash, she called as she hustled by. “Late for an important lunch date.”

She didn’t even look to see his reaction.

She ran past Shelby and hollered back as she punched the button for the elevator.

“If Brock asks, I’m having lunch with Mr. Reese. Just tell him Friday got moved up. If anyone else asks, just tell them I’ll return this afternoon.”

The elevator opened and she ducked in. As she turned around, she saw Shelby’s look of befuddlement just as the doors slid shut again.

When she reached the lobby, she stopped in the bathroom long enough to check her appearance. She wouldn’t stop traffic for sure, but at least she didn’t look as frazzled as she felt.

The heels she’d chosen to complete her outfit were fabulous—as long as she didn’t have to actually walk in them. A trek down the block on uneven cement sidewalks wasn’t what she had in mind. She kept tennis shoes in her office for just such occasions, but five minutes notice on the most important lunch date of her career didn’t give her time to worry over footwear. She’d just suck it up.

When she crossed the street to the next block, she realized she never had gotten where they were supposed to meet. Italian, French or American. Her gaze scanned the bright umbrellas scattered along the sidewalk cafés, first on her side of the street and then across.

A vacuum formed, sucking all the oxygen right out of her lungs the moment she laid eyes on him. He stood in the sunlight, one hand shoved into the pocket of his slacks, the other holding a phone to his ear.

Power. There was an aura of power that surrounded him, and it drew her like a magnet. For a moment, she just stood watching him in absolute girly delight. He was simply. delicious looking.

Then he turned slightly and found her. How, she wasn’t sure given how busy the street was, but he locked onto her immediately almost as if he’d sensed her perusal.

She straightened and started forward, embarrassed to have been caught staring.

She crossed the street, hugging her briefcase between her arm and her side. Evan watched her approach, lean hunger gleaming in his eyes. His features relaxed into a smile as she drew abreast of him.

“Right on time.”

She nodded, not wanting to betray how out of breath she was from her flight from her office.

“I chose good ole American,” he said as he gestured toward a nearby table. “I hope that was all right.”

“Of course.”

He held out his arm for her to precede him to the table at the end of the row. She sat, grateful to be off her feet, and placed her briefcase beside her.

He took his seat across from her and motioned for the waiter.

“Would you like wine?” Evan asked Celia when the waiter approached.

“Whatever you’re having is fine.”

Evan relayed his request and then looked over at Celia. “I asked you to lunch because I’m afraid something has come up and we won’t be able to make our lunch date on Friday.”

She nodded then reached down for her briefcase. “That’s all right. I brought along the information I wanted to present—”

He reached over and circled her wrist with his fingers. “That isn’t why I invited you to lunch.”

She blinked and let go of her briefcase.

“I’d still like to keep our appointment … I’d just like to change the location.”

She was royally confused now, and it must have shown. Amusement twinkled in his eyes and he smiled.

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