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The Boss's Proposal(9)

By´╝ÜCathy Williams





Max looked down at her and confusingly wanted to do a number of things at the same time. First, he wanted to clear out, because he had no idea what had possessed him to go there in the first place. Unfortunately, and much to his immense frustration, he also wanted to stay put, because seeing her again had somehow managed to render him even more intrigued than he’d been on their first encounter. He also wanted to brush some of that dirt off her face, if only to see what her reaction would be. In fact, the urge to do just that was so powerful that he clasped his hands behind his back and purposely looked away.

‘Actually, I haven’t just dropped by,’ he said eventually, resenting her for putting him in a position where he was about to embark on an out-and-out lie and resenting himself for his own pathetic weakness that had brought him here to start with.

‘Oh, no?’ she asked warily.

‘It’s to do with your house, as a matter of fact.’

‘What? What’s to do with my house?’

‘Why don’t we go inside and talk about it?’ He didn’t think that he had ever been so bloody underhanded in his life before, and all because he hadn’t been able to get this chit of a girl out of his head. She had fired up his interest, for reasons he couldn’t fathom, and now here he was, behaving like some shady character in a third-rate movie. He had never, but never, done anything remotely like this in his entire life because of a woman, and he could hardly believe that he was doing it now. Conniving like a two-bit criminal.

She didn’t say anything. Instead, she headed towards the house, leaning forward into the wind, which looked as though it might just lift her off her feet and sweep her away if she wasn’t careful. Max followed behind by a few paces, his teeth clenched in exasperation as she told him to wait outside until she’d tidied herself up.

He raised his eyebrows in amusement. ‘Why outside?’

‘Because,’ Vicky said coldly, ‘it’s my house and that’s what I’m telling you to do.’ Upon which she promptly shut the door in his face before he could open his mouth to protest further.



She had never moved with more speed. The house was thankfully clean, and in under three minutes she’d managed to stash away all evidence of her daughter. It took her a further five minutes to sling off the grubby clothes and replace them with a pair of faded jeans and a long-sleeved striped jumper that had seen better days. The hair would have to remain in its charming grass-ridden style.

‘So,’ she said, yanking open the door to surprise him leaning against it, ‘what about my house?’

‘Has anyone ever mentioned to you that you are completely eccentric?’

‘No.’ She led the way into the sitting room, which had been the first room in the house to undergo redecoration and was now in restful greens and creams and blessedly free of childish clutter. She glanced at her watch and saw that it was at least another two hours before Chloe was dropped back to the house. More than enough time to get rid of Max Forbes, whose presence was enough to bring her out in a cold sweat.

‘My house,’ she reminded him bluntly, once she had installed him in a chair. ‘I won’t sit,’ she said. ‘I feel filthy. Now, what about my house?’

‘I can’t conduct a conversation like this.’ He shook his head and stood up. ‘Which is a shame because I think you’d be very interested in what I have to say, but if your ill manners override your self-interest, then—’ he shrugged eloquently ‘—at least I tried…’

Vicky looked at him doubtfully. He really shouldn’t be here at all, and she knew that she should just throw him out. In fact, she should never have let him in in the first place. Hadn’t this been the same old story with his brother? From the minute she’d set eyes on him, she’d known that he was bad news. He’d been too good-looking, too smooth-talking and too well connected to be interested in a girl like her, but he’d stopped at her desk where she’d been working with her head down and he’d leaned over just enough for her to feel overpowered by him. Everything she’d said, even Please go away, I really must get on with my work had seemed to amuse him, and he had had a way of laughing deep in his throat, a sexy laugh, while his eyes never left her face, that had made her feel uncomfortable and excited at the same time.

So if Shaun had achieved that with her, then how much more dangerous was his brother, who had struck her as being leagues ahead of him? And if her own need to protect herself wasn’t sufficient to keep her away from Max Forbes, then what about her daughter?

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