Defiant Mistress, Ruthless MillionaireBy: Yvonne Lindsay
Callie stiffened in her chair as his deep voice washed over her like a brush of warm velvet.
“Only those close to me call me Callie Rose,” she said firmly, determined to draw her line in the sand as quickly as possible. “You may call me Callie, or Ms Lee.”
The slow smile that spread across his face was mesmerising. Genuine humour sparked in his eyes, tiny lines appearing at the corners, before the corners of his sensually shaped lips pulled into a curve. He bent his head slightly in acknowledgement.
“Callie,” he smiled fully now, the full strength of his charisma aimed front and centre. “Can I offer you something to drink before lunch?”
“Just iced mineral water, thank you.”
She kept her posture upright, her features schooled into an expression of polite disinterest. She would not smile back at him. She. Would. Not.
The man was unscrupulous. Unscrupulous and highly intelligent, and with every business coup he successfully completed he threatened Palmer Enterprises just that much more. She would have to work hard to make him believe he would be using her as his latest stepping-stone to usurping Palmers’ position rather than the other way around.
He placed their order for drinks—to her surprise, ordering the same beverage for himself.
“You don’t need to drink water just because I am,” she said.
“Oh, don’t worry. I don’t do anything just to make someone else comfortable,” he answered, pinning her with that gaze once more. “Unless absolutely necessary, of course.”
The way his voice dropped an octave on the last few words sent a shiver across her skin and Callie had no trouble imagining what situation “absolutely necessary” encompassed. A visual image of bare skin against bare skin, of the warm touch of a gentle palm, of legs entwined, burned across her eyes.
Heat gathered deep inside her, slowly unfurling through her lower extremities and making her want to shift in her seat. Instead, she reached for the mineral water that had thankfully been promptly delivered, and took a long cooling sip.
There was an edge of humour to Tremont’s voice that slid under her skin to irritate.
“Yes, actually,” she answered. “I had quite a walk to get here, and it’s warm outside.”
“Oh? No parks left?”
“No. Someone in an overpriced set of wheels took the last space.” A cold finger of caution traced a line down Callie’s spine but she already knew it was too late, darn it. Inwardly, she sighed. “It was you, wasn’t it?”
“Guilty as charged.” He put both hands up in a gesture of surrender. “But if I’d have known I was putting you out I would have left it for you.”
“No problem. I’m not afraid of a bit of exercise.”
She hadn’t meant her words to be an invitation to him to check her out, but he did. His gaze gliding over her shoulders, her breasts and lower to where her long legs were crossed to one side of the table.
“No,” he said softly. “I’m sure you’re not. But still, it would be a shame to damage those pretty sandals you’re wearing. Manolos, right? I’ll drop you back to your car after lunch. Think of it as atonement.”
“Really, that won’t be necessary.”
She was taken aback that he’d recognised the brand of her shoes. Shoes were her greatest weakness, and considering the years she’d gone either barefoot, or clad in ill-fitting shoes purloined from clothing recycle bins, it was a miracle her feet were even in any kind of condition to be showcased in such extravagant splendour.
“We’ll see,” he answered enigmatically. “Now, I’m sure your time is precious. Why don’t you choose what you’d like for lunch and we’ll get down to business.”
When she was ready, he summoned their waiter over. Callie requested a Caesar salad and he ordered steamed salmon with glazed asparagus tips.
“Tell me, Callie, how long have you worked for the Palmers?”
Tremont sat back in his seat, one arm slung across the wide back of the chair in a move clearly designed to be casual and to invite confidence. The look on his face, however, was anything but. Callie recognised the keen perusal he gave her as he assessed her body language and prepared to process her response. She finally allowed herself to smile as she leaned forward and rested her elbows on the table, clasping her hands lightly together. Let him make from that what he wanted, she thought.