The Billionaire's Paradise (Sexy Billionaires)By: Victoria Davies
His eyes were warm as he studied her. “You could,” he agreed. “But then I’d be obliged to agree, and we’d both be alone in no time flat. Is that really how you want to spend your evening?”
No, I’d love to spend it climbing you like a tree.
Mentally, she shook her head. Bad thoughts. Unhelpful thoughts.
Did she really want to head back to her silent room alone? Not particularly. And where was the danger in a quick drink? She needed to make it clear to him he couldn’t seduce her. What better way to do that than appear unruffled by his attempts?
Grasping at straws, I see. I’m sure this is healthy.
“One drink,” she said, ignoring her inner voice.
The smile that slowly stole over his lips was worth her surrender. Gesturing to the nearby path, he waited for her to lead. Avery headed toward the hotel, far too aware of the sexy shadow following a pace behind her.
The bars edging the massive pool were in full swing by the time they made the climb from the beach. Avery should have known her partner would have left nothing to chance when they were led straight to a reserved table beneath a pair of palm trees.
She flipped the drink menu open, trying to ignore the weight of Hayden’s gaze on her.
“What do you recommend?” she asked, thumbing through the list of mixed cocktails.
She leveled an unimpressed stare his way. “Pass.”
His easy smile was back in place. “Can’t blame a man for trying.”
When the waiter came, she ordered a daiquiri before relaxing into her chair.
“It’s a wonderful hotel,” she said, gazing around the luxury setting.
“We spared no expense with this one. It’s too bad the return is starting to slip.”
“We’ll correct it,” she replied. “That’s what I do best.”
His gaze swept to her. “Among other things.”
“What are you, twelve? This is supposed to be a work meeting.”
“No, you’d like it to be a work meeting. I’m just happy to have your company any way I can get it.”
“Okay, how about this. I’m going to ask a neutral question, and you’ll answer, and we’ll have a civilized conversation like two adults. Sound like a plan?”
“A boring plan.”
He sighed. “Ask away. We can talk about the weather or contemplate how many coconuts fall on tourists every year.”
She blinked. “Does that happen?”
“More often than you’d think.”
She glanced up at the palm trees swaying above them.
“The staff remove the excess coconuts on the property,” he said. “I promise you’re safe from heavy, yet hilarious, falling instruments of death.”
“And here I thought it was sharks I had to watch out for in the tropics.”
“I take it that’s a no to midnight skinny-dipping, then.”
“Not the way I want to die,” she agreed.
“I should point out there are no sharks in the pool.”
“Still never happening.”
He sighed. “Fine. Ask your questions.”
“Tell me more about the hotel,” she said. “When was the last time you were here?”
“It’s been a few years at least.”
She shook her head. “If I owned this place I’d be here all the time.”
A shadow passed over his expression before he replied, “There always seems to be a reason to stay away. Some fire to put out in one of the other locations.”
“Or some woman to tempt you away from your duties.”
His smile was unremorseful. “That, too.”
“You’re just lucky you have a crack team running your empire so you don’t have to.”
“Hey, now,” he protested, his voice mild. “I spent years building my company up to the point where it could function without having to sacrifice every minute of my life to it.”
“Yes, because running a billion-dollar corporation is such a sacrifice,” she teased.
Their drinks arrived before he could reply. Avery took a sip as Hayden thanked the waiter and took his scotch.
“Hotels were never my passion,” he said when they were alone again.