Defiant Mistress, Ruthless Millionaire

By: Yvonne Lindsay

She’d lingered for two years and her end, when it came, had been without him by her side. He’d been at the graduation ceremony for school, where he’d been awarded top honours in his year group and a scholarship to attend Victoria University in Wellington, only a short journey from their home.

He’d felt the emptiness the instant he’d set foot inside the door, both in the house and in his heart. An emptiness that remained, locked deep inside.

His fingers tightened around the frame, knuckles whitening as the helpless rage that had filled him as an angry and confused teen came rushing back. He forced himself to relax and carefully replaced the photo on the shelf, then closed his eyes for a moment, allowing the happier image to imprint over the one that always lingered in the back of his mind.

The instant he had his fury under control again his eyes snapped open and his gaze drifted to the Palmer Enterprises building, only a couple of blocks away, framed by his window. Yes, Bruce Palmer would pay for his callous choice, and he’d pay dearly. By the time Josh was finished with him the older man would know the pain of regret and Josh’s thirst for payback would finally be quenched.

Josh moved back to his desk and opened the computer file he had on Callie, his eyes roaming the head-and-shoulders shot of her that filled his screen.

His insides clenched as he observed the tilt of her head, the tint of red in her long hair hinting at the fiery potential in her temper. The picture, however, hadn’t captured the essence of her as a woman. She’d controlled herself so well at lunch the other week, but the hint of anger in her chocolate-brown eyes had barely veiled what he believed was the true level of passion in her nature. Callie Rose Lee in the flesh was an entirely more enticing package than the computer screen promised.

“So that’s the tour of the office complex all done!”

The fresh-faced staffer who’d shown Callie around Tremont’s high rise turned with a smile that almost made Callie feel like she was waiting for applause or a pat on the head for a job well done.

“Thank you, Sabrina. It certainly was comprehensive.”

So comprehensive, in fact, Callie wondered when she’d ever actually get to start some work. The tour had taken the entire morning and she’d yet to meet up with Josh Tremont again or see where she’d be working herself.

“Ah, here’s Mr Tremont now. Right on time.”

Callie stiffened, every nerve in her body going onto full alert. By the look on Sabrina’s face, she had a serious case of hero worship. Callie stifled a groan and cursorily reminded herself why she was really here.

“Callie, good to see you. I had a meeting this morning but I’m sure Sabrina has taken good care of you.”

Josh Tremont extended his hand and after the briefest hesitation Callie took it. Instantly his fingers curled warmly around her hand, enveloping her with his strength. She was glad he wasn’t one of those men who insisted on either squeezing the bejeezus out of your fingers or dominating the handshake with his hand on top.

No, men like Josh Tremont didn’t need those tactics to show who was in charge. It was clear in the look he gave her as he welcomed her into his domain—powerful, omnipotent. A chill rippled a shiver of warning down her spine and she forced back a shudder. She was truly in the lion’s den now.

He was dressed today in a black blazer teamed with sharply pressed grey trousers and a crisp white shirt. His blue tie, hand-dyed silk if her eye wasn’t mistaken, sat in a perfect Windsor knot, and reflected the colour of his eyes. He could have stepped straight off the pages of GQ magazine.

Callie slowly became aware that he still held her hand. The warmth of his grasp permeated her skin and sent a tiny flare of something hotter spiraling deep inside her. She pulled away with as much decorum as she could muster but not soon enough to stop the tingle that registered just beneath her palm. She stroked her hand down over her hip, over the hem of her sensible cream-coloured business jacket and the slim fit of her matching trousers, but it did nothing to assuage the sensation that his hand still clasped hers.

“Are you ready to see where you’ll be working while we’re based in the office?”

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