Confessions of a Millionaire's Mistress. Robyn Grady
business backward. Give me three months to show my father I can get the company back on its feet.’
The tugging on his mouth told her he was chewing his inside lip. After another nerve-racking delay, he exhaled. ‘One month.’
She hid a smile. ‘Two.’
‘Six weeks and with one condition. I’ll be here, working beside you the whole time.’
‘I don’t need to have my hand held.’
‘Plenty of damage can be done in six weeks. I have no intention of cleaning up any more mess than I need to.’
Her smile was tight. ‘If I had thinner skin, I’d be insulted.’
She had to think fast. To have Benton Scott around would be far too distracting. For more reasons than one she needed her mind set on accomplishing her goal, not watching her back. Perhaps a different tack would dissuade him…something to make his super-sized ego jump.
She feigned a sigh. ‘When I first saw you tonight, I assumed you were a man who enjoyed a challenge. A man who took risks. Guess I was wrong.’
When she turned away, he caught her wrist and flames leapt up her arm, colourful and consuming enough to ignite her body like a Roman candle. What was this guy’s secret? Sex appeal pills with every meal?
Hoping the blistering effect didn’t show on her face, she counted her heartbeats, then cautiously met his gaze.
While his eyes flashed, the grip on her arm eased. ‘That’s the deal. Take it or leave it. But something else needs to be out in the open.’ He spoke to her lips. ‘Six weeks is a long time. I’m not sure we can work that close for that long without…consequences.’
The innate heat radiating from his body toasted hypersensitive places Celeste hadn’t realised she possessed—and had no intention of letting on she’d discovered.
She kept her words slow and even. ‘You’ve come a long way since this isn’t the time for introductions.’
‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he continued as if she hadn’t spoken. ‘Consequences are fine. As long as you know I’m not after a Mrs Scott, no matter whose daughter I’m with. Or what that daughter wants.’
Celeste almost gasped. He was suggesting she’d try to manipulate him into marriage to keep the business! How many times had Benton Scott had his face slapped this week? ‘Sorry to disappoint you, but listen carefully…I am not interested.’
She coughed out a laugh. ‘No.’
He chewed his inside lip again. ‘I’m not convinced. Being a thorough as well as cynical man, before we go any further, I’ll need to have proof.’
He left her no time to think. With a single arm he brought her near and like an apple falling to Earth—as if it was always meant to be—his mouth dropped and landed on hers.
The first few seconds were a blackout—all brain function shut down and energy funnelled to a suspended point a notch below zero. Then, as if waking from a coma, one by one every erogenous cell in her system zoomed up and blinked on. A heartbeat later, a ground-shaking surge of heat zapped like a lightning bolt right the way through her. When the palm high on her back pressed her closer, the intensity grew—brighter, hotter—until the magnetic inferno he’d created inside threatened to burn her alive.
This wasn’t a kiss.
It was an assassination.
With skilled reluctance, he drew away, but only until the tip of his nose rested on hers. Caught in the prisms of his half mast eyes, she tried to make sense of her surroundings while her chest rose and fell, her limbs hung like lead and her core compressed around a tight, glowing coil of raw physical want.
When his head slanted as if he might kiss her again, she held her breath. But then his mouth hooked up at one side and he released her. Thank God she didn’t teeter.
‘I’m staying the week,’ he said. ‘If you’re still interested—or was that not interested?—tomorrow we can talk more, perhaps over a drink.’
By some miracle she steadied her breathing and dredged up a smile.
‘A drink sounds good. But just so we’re clear, I’ll take mine with plenty of ice.’ She took his glass and pitched the warm Scotch over the rail. ‘And so, Mr Scott, will you.’
EARLY the next morning, Ben Scott woke up face down on the sheets, hugging a comfortless pillow, painfully aware of a mean morning hard-on.
He cracked open one eye.
Strange room. No one beside him. Good Lord, he needed to roll over.
Taking the pillow with him, he groaned as spears of light spliced through the sheer blowing curtains. Then the night before flooded his mind, foremost his conversation with the irrepressible Miz Prince. Relaxing back, he closed his eyes and remembered their bombshell kiss and her clever parting remark.
He grinned. She wanted ice? More like she wanted gasoline poured on her fire. However, while he would very much like to help, common—and business—sense told him if he played too close to those flames, someone would likely get burned. He was here to take control of a high-profile business that needed an injection of funds and his undivided attention to bring it back from the edge. But if Rodney Prince viewed this takeover as a saving grace, so did Ben. He couldn’t wait to plunge in.
Soft laughter drifted in through his bedroom’s second-storey doors. Setting the pillow aside, Ben strolled out onto the balcony. Celeste Prince was in the yard, ruffling the heads of two mid-sized poodles. When she threw a ball, they raced off like chocolate-brown rabbits across the wide-open lawn.
Crouched in the shade of an enormous Morton Bay fig tree, golden tresses framing her face, she might’ve been a fairy from the garden. Then she pushed up onto shapely long legs, her rounded cleavage popped into view, and those innocent thoughts flew from his mind.
He combed back his hair and, fingers thatched behind his head, stretched his arms and spine. While he’d been wrong to take advantage and kiss her last night, he couldn’t regret it. In fact, if he had less moral fibre he’d do it again.
He finished his stretch, then cupped his hands around his mouth. ‘Ahoy down there!’
She glanced up, but her widening gaze stopped short of reaching his eyes. Rather it got stuck on his bare chest, which suddenly felt twice its usual size. His mouth twitched. What was that about moral fibre?
Lowering his hands and setting them apart on the rail, he deliberately leaned forward. Realising what he’d done—given her a better look—she stiffened, then quickly dropped her gaze. When she peered back up, although her smile was controlled, her green eyes were glistening, just as they’d glistened last night.
‘You’re up early,’ she said.
He thought of his crotch. ‘I’m an early riser. Mind if I join you?’
‘I was hoping you would.’
His brow lifted. ‘I take it you’re ready to get down to business.’
‘I’ve never been more ready in my life.’ She wound her arms up under that delectable bust. ‘Let’s do it.’
Thirty seconds later, Ben was face up under a cold shower, getting a good grip on himself.
He’d had women before. He’d respected and enjoyed every one. But, from the moment their eyes had met across the room, there’d been something different about Celeste Prince. He should’ve guessed she was Rodney’s daughter. Later, in her father’s study, he should’ve known she was laying a trap, leading him into a plan that would hopefully see him surrender his bid on the company.
He stepped from the