Defiant Mistress, Ruthless Millionaire

By: Yvonne Lindsay

Callie turned her head. She couldn’t afford to let him see the truth in her eyes. She’d promised Irene she would do everything in her power to unearth the mole at Palmer Enterprises and she darn well would get the job done, no matter how charismatic Josh Tremont proved to be. She forced her attention back to the job.

“So I can’t log in to the system until Drew has been here?”

Josh hesitated before answering and she felt him shift away—ever so slightly, but it was enough to create the illusion of a little more breathing space between them.

“Correct, and as much as I admire your eagerness to get to work I thought you might like to have some lunch with me first.” He straightened and stepped toward another set of tall double doors. “Come. I had the restaurant send up a light buffet for us.”

“What about Drew?”

“I’ll get the alert in my office when he arrives.”

Callie rose and followed Josh through to his office. She gasped as they entered. The floor-to-ceiling windows offered a near seamless view of the central business district and then up the inner city harbour. She almost felt as if she could step off the carpet and straight into the air over the glistening waters. But there, smack in the centre of the CBD, stood the Palmer building. It was as if he could peer down through the tinted glass and see right inside from here.

A frisson of disquiet pricked at her senses. One that made her wonder if it was more than just business rivalry that had Tremont Corporation a step ahead of the Palmers at almost every turn. But that was ridiculous. Virtually everything about the Palmers’ world was public knowledge and there were no skeletons in their closets.

“Stunning, isn’t it? I never tire of the view. You almost feel as if you own it all.”

He’d moved in close behind her. So close she could feel his breath on the back of her neck. Rather than intimidate, it sent little sparks of flame licking along her skin. This was crazy, Callie thought, he isn’t even touching me and I… She jammed a lid on the notion before it could form fully in her mind, because if it did, she’d be admitting to an attraction she knew she should never act on nor reveal.

She wasn’t here to have a mutually satisfying fling—although Josh Tremont was very much the kind of man that spoke to her femininity. He was strong, and without a shadow of a doubt he was good looking, but above all that he had an aura of survival that appealed to her on a level that went beyond the instinctive. For that reason, if not her promise to Irene, she knew she couldn’t succumb to his charm.

She’d trained herself to make her choices based on rational thought, not on gut feeling. She would not change that now, not for anything or anyone.

Callie stepped sideways to put some space between them, and turned away from the window. She allowed herself a steadying breath before she could trust herself to speak.

“Yes, the view is quite spectacular. How on earth do you get any work done?”

“It’s my motivation to work.”

“How so?”

“I’ve seen worse things and I have no desire to see them again.”

Callie nodded. “I know what you mean.”

She risked a look at Josh, surprised to find him already staring at her, a considering look in his eyes. His wide, sensually shaped lips curved into a smile.

“Yes. Yes, you would.”

His voice reverberated in the space between them, stroking her barely controlled senses back into full flame. A flame that died out just as rapidly. He knew that much about her?

“Funny thing, don’t you think?” he continued. “The harder we work for what we have, the more determined we become to hold on to it.”

She stiffened. He struck a little too close to her core. She summoned a noncommittal response and it must have sufficed because he gestured to the sideboard across the office where silver chafing dishes emitted a delicious aroma. Crockery and cutlery were stacked to one side.

Josh walked over and grabbed one of the white bone china plates and handed it to her.

“Here, would you like me to serve?”

Callie’s fingers brushed his as she took the proffered plate.

“No, thanks. I’ll serve myself.”

“Are you always this independent?” Josh asked, cocking his head slightly to one side as if he were still assessing her and hadn’t quite found the right-shaped hole for her particular peg.

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