His Instant Heir(2)

By: Katherine Garbera

“No problem. Emma mentioned you wanted to talk to the staff. Do you think you’ll just be here one or two days a week?” she asked, mentally crossing her fingers.

“No. I want to set up an office so I can be here in the thick of things,” he said, leaning forward. “Is that going to be a problem?”

“Not at all,” she said with the only smile she could muster. She’d rather not see him ever again, but that wasn’t going to happen and she was mature so she could deal with it. She knew her smile must have looked forced when he laughed.

“You were never good at hiding your feelings,” he said.

She shook her head. Though his statement was true, it wasn’t something that he could know from personal experience. They’d had a one-night stand, not a relationship. “Don’t say it like that. You don’t know me at all. We only had one date and one night together.”

“I think I got a fairly good impression of you,” he said.

“Really?” she asked. She told herself to let it go and just concentrate on the business end of things, but that was going to be impossible. “Then why’d you leave me alone in that hotel room?”

He leaned back in his chair and took a long swallow of his coffee before standing up to pace around the room to her side of the table. He leaned back against the table and stared down at her, and she was tempted to stand up so he wasn’t towering over her. But she didn’t want him to think he intimated her.

“I’m not really a man for attachments,” he said at last. “And though you think I don’t know you, Cari Chandler, I’d have to be a blind fool not to see that you care too much.”

She wanted to deny it, but the truth was she was the bleeding heart of the Chandler family. She volunteered, donated time and money to charities and causes and she’d fallen for more than one sob story at work. Emma had been furious at first, until she realized it made their employees loyal because they felt that the executive management cared.

“I wasn’t going to cling to you and profess undying love, Dec,” she said. She barely knew him after one sex-filled night. She might have been interested in seeing him again and getting to know him better, but she’d learned all she needed to know when he’d left her. “It was only one night.”

“It was a fabulous night, Cari,” he said, putting his hand on the back of her chair and spinning her around to face him. “Maybe I should remind you of how good we are together.”

She pushed the chair back, standing up. It was time for her to take control of this meeting. “Not necessary. While I remember the details of the night, it’s really the morning after that stuck with me.”

“That’s why I left,” he said in that wry way of his. “I’m not good at dealing with the aftermath.”

“Aftermath?” she asked.

“You know, the emotional stuff women usually bring up,” he said. “The clingy things.”

She shook her head. It was clear that a one-night stand was all that Dec intended for her to be. With her secret looming in her mind, she knew she had to say something about their night together, but for now she wasn’t going to. She would focus on the business and try to figure out a way to save her family’s legacy from being dismantled and destroyed.

Though she had to admit hearing Dec talk made her sad because she wanted better for herself. She had wanted to hear him say he wished he hadn’t left and that he’d thought of her every day… Probably what he would term emotionally clingy stuff.

“Disappointed?” he asked.

“I guess I know why an eligible billionaire like you is still single,” she said, trying not to be disenchanted that he was exactly like she’d thought he was. She’d hoped she’d just caught him on a bad day.

“Maybe the right girl just hasn’t tried hard enough to change me,” he said with a cocky half grin.

“Oh, you don’t seem like the sort of man who can be changed,” she said.

“Touché. I’m happy with my life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to appreciate a woman like you when our paths cross.”

She wanted to stay angry with him, but he was honest and she couldn’t fault him there. Even though she’d hoped for longer with Dec, she’d known from the moment they’d gone to dinner that all he wanted was an affair.

“I think I’d have more luck changing the direction of the Santa Ana winds,” she said.

“Have dinner with me and we can find out,” he said.

“Would you be willing to discuss Playtone Games being a silent partner in Infinity?”

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