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Undercover in the CEO's Bed

By:Coleen Kwan

Chapter One

As another handful of passengers exited the streetcar, Jacinta Greene eased into an empty seat, slung her Nordstrom shopping bag beside her, and let out a sigh of relief. She’d had a trying day at work, and the streetcar had been delayed and overcrowded, but at least she’d be home soon.

Her brother would be waiting for her at their modest Outer Sunset condo. Kevin’s job interview today had gone badly, and he needed cheering up. Truth be told, so did she. Her brother had been out of work for months now, and it was depressing the both of them. Not that she’d let on to him. She’d tell him not to worry, that something was bound to come up soon. She’d be the upbeat, supportive older sister he always counted on. Plus, she’d bought him a present.

And then she had a date tonight with Calvin, the personal fitness trainer she’d met at a friend’s party a week ago.

Jacinta let out another sigh. Why couldn’t she get more excited about Calvin? He was good-looking, easy to talk to. But he did nothing for her pulse. Absolutely zero. Even when he’d admired her eyes and said she had perfectly toned deltoids, her heart rate had barely flickered. It wasn’t his fault. No one could stir her interest. Not after...

But she had to try. She couldn’t go on living like this, outwardly functioning—working, eating, socializing—but inwardly a tight, knotted ball of jagged ice. She had to get on with her life. She had to forget about him.

But today it had been particularly hard to forget. She’d visited a client in Pacific Heights, and the taxi had taken her right past his house before she’d had a chance to redirect the driver. Her entire body had clenched at the sight of the impeccably restored, three-story Victorian house where she’d spent so many incredible nights with him. The sexual chemistry between them had been nothing short of explosive. She’d never experienced anything like it before. She wasn’t even sure what it was about him that loosened all her inhibitions; maybe it was just the way he looked at her, so hungry and potent. Desire was a powerful aphrodisiac, and their lust-drenched nights had left her in a delirium, always eager for more.

A fresh spasm rippled through her. She wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed her eyes shut. Damn. She shouldn’t let herself daydream, but it was impossible to stop thinking about him. Even now she couldn’t help conjuring up his face, the image so sharp and bright it felt as though just one minute had passed since she’d last seen him instead of ten months. Ten months, two weeks, and three days. But who was counting?

She sensed someone taking the seat beside her, but she kept her eyes shut. Go away, whoever you are. Can’t you see I’m trying to forget my ex-boyfriend?

But forgetting was impossible. In her mind’s eye, not only could she see every perfect inch of his gorgeous body, she could almost smell him, that unique male aroma that had sunk deep into her pores, that still wafted out of her pillows now and then, especially when she couldn’t sleep—which was often these past months—that was now filling her nostrils so completely he might as well be sitting next to her...

Sitting next to her?

Opening her eyes, she turned, and her lungs seized up as a pair of familiar blue eyes gazed back at her.

“Hello, Jacinta.”

No, it couldn’t be. This wasn’t happening.

“Lex? Wh-what are you doing here?” Damn, why did she have to stutter?

“I’m catching the streetcar,” Lex said.

Since they’d broken it off, she’d imagined all kinds of scenarios where they’d bump into each other. There was no reason why they should; San Francisco was a big city, and they didn’t move in the same circles. He was the big shot CEO of Jubilee Holdings and a member of the fabulously wealthy Rochester family who owned the company, while she was a hard-working but obscure IT security consultant, and the only family she had was a nervous kid brother.

The chances of them running into each other were slim to none, but it hadn’t stopped her from imagining how she would react if their paths crossed. She’d always visualized herself being poised and dignified, while Lex would be startled and mournful, regretting he’d ever let her go. Instead here she was, caught off guard, with her makeup faded after a long day, her hair all frazzled, and a soup stain on her shirt.

Lex Rochester didn’t look startled or mournful. In fact, he’d hardly changed a bit. The same muscled, athletic build, the same dark tousled hair and wolfish pale blue eyes, the same classically contoured face with the dimpled chin above firm lips. In his tailored Italian suit and bespoke shirt, Lex was as handsome and vigorous as the day she’d first met him. No pining over a broken heart for him.

Lex doesn’t have a heart to break, stupid. That’s why she’d left him. That, and the fact he’d declared it was over between them, forever.

A treacherous lump wedged in her throat. “Slumming it with us wage slaves?” she managed to get out.

“It’s been an interesting ride.” His deep voice made her ears tingle, unlocking memories of the husky, dirty endearments he’d whispered to her in the bedroom. He undid the single button of his suit jacket and stretched one arm across the back of the row of seats, exuding the self-assured sex appeal that was so characteristic of him. Her senses quivered, swamped by his presence. He was too overwhelming, too attractive, damn him. She shifted away an inch, annoyed at her weakness.

She frowned as his eyes remained on her. He knew she always caught the N-Judah streetcar home at about this time.

“You got on just to see me?”

Despite herself, she couldn’t stop her pulse from leaping. It was already thudding wildly, had been ever since she’d opened her eyes to find him sitting beside her, but now her blood was surging as if she were jogging up Lombard Street.

He wants to see me again. Why? Could it be… No, she wouldn’t allow herself to entertain the unthinkable.

Instead of replying, he glanced about them as if concerned about eavesdroppers. He shouldn’t have worried. The streetcar was half empty, and the remaining passengers were too busy with their newspapers or phones to notice her and Lex.

“I wanted to talk to you,” he said.

“About what?”

“It’s...” He cast around the car again. “It’s sensitive. I’d prefer it if we discussed it in private.”

“Oh?” The air caught in her throat. From deep within her, hope came winging out like a shot of pure oxygen.

She’d never thought a man like Lex would be interested in someone like her. The Rochesters were worth billions, and Lex was a bachelor oozing with an overabundance of sex appeal, whether in faded jeans or a tailored tuxedo. He could have had his pick of countless women, but he’d chosen her. He’d dazzled her, first with his charismatic looks, and then with his wit, his drive, his overwhelming confidence. Nothing was impossible for Lex. He’d captivated her and turned her whole life upside down until she was giddily addicted to him.

But then she’d discovered what he was really like, and after their bitter argument, she couldn’t bear to be with him anymore. She despised Lex, she told herself over and over again. They didn’t share the same values, they could never be happy together, but...but, here she was, her heart pitter-pattering and her body shaking with anticipation because Lex wanted to discuss something sensitive with her. In private.

“Let’s get off at the next stop and catch a taxi back to my place,” Lex said.

Whoa, wasn’t he being too presumptuous here? He couldn’t just barge back into her life and pretend nothing had happened, that they hadn’t said those horrible, hurtful things to each other. You had me fooled for a while but not anymore, he’d flung at her. I must’ve been crazy to think you’d be different. She would never forget that.

She pressed her heels against the floor and tilted her nose in the air. “I can’t tonight. I have a date.”

She couldn’t help laying the stress on “date.” Just as she couldn’t help staring at him as she spoke, searching for any crack of emotion to show on his urbane face. Jealousy, that was what she wanted to provoke. Even the tiniest spark would satisfy her that she hadn’t left Lex unscathed. She deserved that, didn’t she? After all the months of silent heartache she’d endured.

“A date.” He sat back, eyebrows lifting.

Good. That had thrown him for a loop.

“Uh-huh,” she responded.

“With who?” His eyebrows were still up, as if the thought of her going on a date with another man was so off the charts.

“No one you know—not that it’s any of your business. We’re going for tapas. Could be a late night.”

“I see.” His enigmatic gaze flickered over her from head to toe. “Is it serious?”

Was that a flash of hurt she caught in his eyes? It didn’t give her as much satisfaction as she’d hoped.

“I only met him last week.” The words came out baldly before she remembered that within a week of meeting Lex, she’d already spent two nights with him. Telltale color rose in her neck. With Lex she’d discarded her usual prudence; maybe he thought she was still like that, but the truth was she couldn’t imagine kissing another man. Didn’t want to imagine it.

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