Billionaire's Contract Engagement(13)

By: Maya Banks

“I don’t have a lot of time today, so let me come straight to the point.”

His fingers were still around her wrist, though they’d loosened, and his thumb moved idly over her pulse point. She was sure her pulse was racing. It probably felt like a train under his fingers. She didn’t move. Didn’t even breathe. She didn’t want to lose the marvelous sensation of his touch. Did he have any idea just how devastating his effect on her was?

“I have a wedding this weekend.” She could swear his lips curled in distaste. “A family wedding. My brother is getting married on Catalina Island. I’m to be there Thursday evening, hence the reason I can’t make our Friday meeting.”

“I understand,” she said. “We can reschedule at your convenience.”

“I’d like you to go with me.”

Before she could call back the reaction, her eyes widened and she pulled her hand from his. She put it in her lap and cupped her other hand over it, wanting to preserve the sensation of his fingers over hers.

He put up his hand in an impatient gesture then lowered it and fiddled with the napkin on the table. He seemed almost uneasy. She cocked her head, curious now as to what he would say next.

“My schedule is quite busy. I need to move on this new campaign. I can’t spare weeks searching for a new agency. If you went with me, I could listen to your ideas. I realize a wedding isn’t ideal. I’d rather be just about any other place myself.”

Though it certainly wasn’t voiced as a threat, it was certainly implied. If she went with him, he’d listen to her pitch. If she didn’t he might not have time for her when he returned.

Worry knotted her stomach. Tagging along to a family wedding seemed entirely too personal even if the purpose was solely business. Not to mention it was hard enough to battle her attraction for him in a business setting. But something as intimate as a wedding?

“How long would we be … away?”

The question came out more as a squeak than a concise, professional query. She sounded like a scared little girl facing the big bad wolf. Oh, but Evan made such a yummy wolf.

It was all she could do not to put her head on the table and bang a few times.

“We’d fly out Thursday evening. Rehearsal and dinner on Friday, wedding Saturday with reception to follow and since it will likely go well into the night, we’d return Sunday.”

It would only require one missed day of work. No one but Brock would even need to know, and he certainly wouldn’t spill the beans.

She didn’t know why she hadn’t immediately agreed. She couldn’t afford to say no. He had her over a barrel and he damn well knew it. Still, she hesitated—if for no other reason than to let him know he didn’t call all the shots.

Okay, so maybe he did, but it didn’t hurt him to think otherwise. For two seconds.

“All right,” she said in as level a voice as she could manage.

Did he expect her to attend the festivities? It certainly sounded as though he did by the way he outlined the events. She supposed it would be rude to tag along and lurk in the shadows waiting for her appointed time. Or maybe he envisioned having her follow him around everywhere so he could fit in snatches of conversation when possible.

“I’d be happy to purchase any items you may need for the trip,” he said.

Startled, she glanced up. “No, I mean … no. Of course not. I can manage just fine. You’ll need to tell me the appropriate dress code of course.”

He managed a wry smile. “I’m sure anything to do with Bettina will be formal. Quite formal with lots of glitter and fanfare.”

His gaze slid sensuously over her features and then lower until her neck heated with a blush.

“I think anything you wear will be stunning. The dress you wore the other night was perfection on you.”

The blush climbed higher and she prayed her cheeks didn’t look like twin torches.

“I’m sure I can find something glitzy and glamorous,” she said lightly. “We girls do like the opportunity to play dress up.”

Interest sparked in his eyes. “I can’t wait.”

The waiter returned with the wine, and Celia latched gratefully onto the glass. Her hands shook. She was sure if she stood, she’d go down like a brick. She’d break an ankle trying to stay up on these ridiculous heels.

Note to self: Don’t pack gorgeous, sexy shoes for the weekend. Around him, she’d be a disaster on stilts. He’d spend his entire time picking her up off the floor, that is if she didn’t end up in the hospital in traction.

“I’ll call you later in the week with the flight arrangements. We’ll be taking my private jet.”

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