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At The Boss's Beck And Call(6)

By:Anna Cleary

She was about to turn away when the door opened again. Alessandro’s tall frame filled the doorway, his dark eyes clashing with hers while the stars arrested in their orbits and hung suspended in space for breathless seconds.

Her senses burst open in a weakening rush like flowers to the sun. She’d forgotten how he smelled. Soap, leather shoes, aftershave, clothes freshly laundered in some lemony agent. And, beneath all that, some barely detectable scent to do with raw masculinity and sophistication that evoked all the old sensations. The thrill in her heart. The longing.

His deep, dark eyes made a slow flicker over her, then settled on her face.

‘Oh, Alessandro,’ she breathed. ‘I just thought I’d say-hello.’

Something flashed in the depths of his eyes, then his stirringly expressive mouth hardened the merest fraction. After a second he moved politely aside and motioned her in.

Another desk had been crammed in beside Bill’s big executive piece. Donatuila Capelli was seated there, studying a thick, ring-bound folder. Alessandro nodded at her and held the door wide.

‘Tuila, please excuse us. This will take less than a second.’

Donatuila’s head jerked up and she made a faint, incredulous tsk with her tongue, then put down the folder, rose and crossed to the door, casting Lara a blistering look that Lara felt rather than saw, overwhelmed as she was by the presence of her lover. Ex-lover, she reminded herself.

Alessandro closed the door, and Lara was alone with him. Again.

She’d forgotten how intensely magnetic he was. It went deeper than his brilliant dark eyes and hard masculine beauty. Something in him pulled her at a deep, visceral level that made her want to press her body into his lean, powerful frame and hold him to her with all her might.

For goodness sake, her brain tried to bellow, the man was married. Kill that thought.

It was her body that didn’t understand. Her senses, and her instincts. Her affections, and her primal feminine responses to the raw, primitive male beneath the crisp, elegant clothes. Of course she knew she couldn’t expect him to kiss her, after so long, and with a wife and all, but every one of her skin cells tingled with a yearning to walk straight into his arms.

As though he was unaware of her internal confusion, his manner was cool and courteous. Like that of a top executive. Or a marchese who knew his minions would jump to his command without him ever having to raise his voice.

‘Yes?’ he asked, scouring her face with a dark, searching gaze. ‘Is there something you need?’#p#分页标题#e#

She felt a pang of anxiety, and made an involuntary move to touch him. To her dismay, he moved his hand away. Discreetly, but nonetheless firmly.

Her throat dried. ‘You-you do remember me, don’t you? Lara…?’

His eyes glinted and it took him a moment to reply. Then he said, ‘Vaguely. The Sydney International Book Convention, wasn’t it?’ His cool, inscrutable gaze lasered into hers, then he lowered his black lashes and, with a sardonic twitch of his brows, glanced at his watch. ‘Can I help you? Is there something in particular?’

Stunned, she stared at him for a moment, then shook her head. ‘Well, no. I only wanted to…say hi.’

His brows drew together and he let out a faint, exasperated breath. ‘I don’t really have time for reminiscing. I’m sure you understand-we are on a tight schedule. So…unless there’s something specific?’

Cold shock slammed through her, but pride and the automatic social response held her together.

‘Well, no, no, nothing specific,’ she said, flushing, her pulse pounding in her ears. ‘Nothing all that worth mentioning, in fact. I’m-so sorry to have interrupted your work.’

She swept from the room with a cool, proud smile, though her eyes, like her sensibilities, were smarting. She’d never felt more of a fool.

She went to the Ladies and sat in a cubicle for a few minutes, her hot face in her trembling hands until her cheeks cooled a little, while her brain seethed with some of the specific things she could have said. Things like…What took you so long? Or…Hi, Dad. There’s someone I want you to meet.

In the office he’d commandeered, Alessandro strolled to the desk and picked up a page of candidates that had already been shortlisted for the managing director’s position. He stared at it, unseeing, for seconds, a rapid thumping in his chest.

The nerve of her, to sashay up to his office and claim him as a friend. She’d deserved that rebuff, but why did she have to look so…?

His gut clenched. She was just another blonde. The world abounded in pretty blondes. If only…