Losing Control. Robyn Grady
and reached for a magazine, rather than run with the offer, Cole Hunter remained rooted to the spot, and for so long Taryn began to wonder whether he’d expected a curtsy before heading out.
Her gaze crept up from the fashion section.
In that rich graveled voice that made her stomach muscles flutter, he explained, “I can’t put this meeting back.”
“Oh, I understand.”
She sent a quick smile he didn’t return. Rather, the crease between the dark slashes of his brows deepened. “My father shouldn’t be long. Rod Walker’s a busy man, too.”
Taryn nodded affably, recrossed her legs, and the magazine took her attention again. But as she flipped to the gossip pages, she was aware of the younger Mr. Hunter checking his wristwatch then shaking his jacket sleeve back down.
“My guest’s flying back to Melbourne at midday,” he went on. “We don’t have much time.”
Glancing back up, she cocked her head and blinked. “Then you’d best hurry.”
Cole Hunter wasn’t hard to work out. Foremost, he was get-out-of-my-way ambitious, which she understood. Nothing compared with the buzz of landing on top, achieving a true sense of financial and personal security. She’d grown up with an aunt. One of Vi’s favorite sayings was, At every turn, in every way, invest in yourself, which meant achieving a good education, grabbing regular exercise, staying loyal to friends and, wherever possible, dodging “trouble.” Which brought Taryn to Cole Hunter’s second quality.
Clearly, he was an intensely sexual being and, for whatever reason, she had piqued his interest. The testosterone pumping through his veins, darkening those ocean-green eyes to a storm, was as tangible as the breadth of his chest or square set of his jaw. The man exuded a masculine energy that stroked Taryn’s skin and stirred a delicious aching heat low in her belly.
Understanding these things about Cole Hunter was the reason for her reservation now. She didn’t care who he was, what he thought of himself, how many women he’d bedded, with how much skill or how little effort. Certainly she wouldn’t be rude, but Guthrie Hunter had hired her and no matter how knee-knockingly sexy, if the son was ambivalent, hell, she’d survive.
As she held her honest-you-can-leave look, Cole shifted his weight and those incredible eyes narrowed as if he were now seeing her in a somewhat different light.
“Actually,” he finally said, “that office next to Roman’s is on my way.” When she opened her mouth to decline, he overrode her. “I insist.”
He extended and continued to offer his hand until, knowing she was cornered, Taryn accepted. As expected, the same fiery trail that had flown up her arm the first time they’d touched sparked again—not that she let any hint of the rush dent her poise. She made certain her eyes didn’t widen, that her breath didn’t hitch. And yet the satisfied grin smoldering in Cole’s eyes said that he knew what she felt because he felt it, too.
As they moved toward the building’s main thoroughfare side by side, she imagined Aunt Vi holding up her hands in warning and shaking her head. Taryn agreed. Cole Hunter was one of those “trouble” spots. Hotheaded, superior, radiating sex appeal like a supernova gave off light and heat.
Thank God they wouldn’t be working together.
“Guthrie would’ve mentioned we’ll be working together.”
When his statement received no reply, Cole wasn’t entirely surprised. Taryn Quinn was attractive and charming. She was also aloof. Mysterious. As they walked together down the eastern wing of the Hunter Broadcasting building, Cole admitted he was intrigued, as his father knew he would be.
Rod Walker’s call was an excuse Guthrie had pounced upon to bring his son and new producer together, despite the fact that Cole was, one, hard-pressed for time and, two, obviously opposed to investing in Ms. Quinn’s proposal. Money was too darn tight and Guthrie knew it. But when she’d seemed so indifferent toward him—sitting there demurely with those shapely legs crossed, engrossed in that glossy magazine—blast it, he’d been intrigued all the more. Against better judgment, he’d decided to escort Taryn to her office and see if he couldn’t prick that haughty shell.
So far, no good.
Passing an interested group of employees, and still awaiting a response, Cole risked a glance. Taryn was staring at him as if he’d announced science had proven that the moon was indeed made of green cheese. Perhaps she was hard of hearing.
He spoke louder. “I said as long as you’re with Hunter Broadcasting, you’ll be working under me.”
“I’m sorry.” Shrugging back slender shoulders draped in an elegant black jacket, she looked dead ahead. “But you’re wrong.”
Cole’s step faltered. Not deaf. Nor had she misunderstood. He threw a suspect glance around. Was there a hidden camera or was she purposely ruffling his feathers?
“You must be aware of my position here—CEO as well as Executive Producer—and that’s for every show that comes out of Hunters. I give the nod on budgets, sponsor deals—” his gaze sharpened on her perfect profile “—as well as the overall vision of any given project.”
The peaks of her dark blond brows arched as she met his gaze square on. “Guthrie and I have discussed all that. I’ll be working directly beneath him.”
Cole didn’t hide his smirk. He disliked cruelty in any form but he might enjoy setting sassy Ms. Quinn back, flat on her pretty behind. Whatever Guthrie had said, he hadn’t worked in that kind of hands-on capacity for years.
Or maybe he should look at this collusion from a different angle. What had Taryn Quinn said or done to get this close to his father? And exactly how close was that?
Suddenly a dozen other questions sprang to mind, like where did Taryn hail from? What was her personal background? Did she have a criminal record? Did she know anything about those murder attempts?
Up ahead, London-born Head of Comedy, Roman Lyons, was strolling out of his office, whistling that same Cockney tune that grated on Cole’s nerves like nails down a chalkboard. When Roman first joined Hunters, the two had a disagreement over the direction of a series. Cole had terminated his contract. Guthrie, however, had persuaded Cole to give Lyons another chance. After two years, Cole would concede that Roman did a good job. He’d even stepped in to oversee things a few times when Cole had been called away. But they’d never be best buds.
Now as he and Taryn approached, Lyons issued a casual salute to Cole, but his focus was fixed on Taryn. From the awareness sparkling in Lyons’s dark hooded gaze, anyone might think that he knew her.
“This must be the new girl. Taryn, is it?” Lyons offered a knowing wink as well as his hand. “Word gets around.”
Cole’s jaw jutted. Word hadn’t gotten around to him.
“Thanks for the welcome,” Taryn said as her hand dropped away. “And you are?”
“Name’s Roman Lyons.”
“Looks like we’ll be neighbors, Mr. Lyons. I drew the office next to yours.”
“I was about to grab a cuppa,” Lyons went on. “Can I tempt you?”
Taryn’s face lit. “I’d kill for coffee.”
“Let me guess,” Lyons said. “White, one sugar.”
Cole growled. Oh, give me a break.
“I’ll leave you two to get acquainted.” He started off. “I have work to do.”
“With Liam Finlay? I saw him headed toward your office a minute ago.” Roman straightened the knot of his tie as if he were loosening a noose. “He didn’t look happy, if you don’t mind me saying.”