Taken by the Con. C.J. Miller
Cash frowned at her. “I can’t pay you a compliment?”
“You won’t win me over with flattery.”
“Flattery implies I’m lying.”
He had moved closer to her. “Aren’t you always?” She wasn’t threatened by the closeness. She would stand her ground and make him move first.
“I wasn’t lying. You know you’re gorgeous. Every man and woman on the team thinks so. I’m the only one bold enough to say it to your face.”
She scoffed. “You can’t possibly know what everyone else is thinking about me.”
“Again, I have a talent for reading people. When people look at you, they have the same interest in their eyes that I have. You’re so beautiful they need to look for an extra few seconds to take it all in. But unlike most of the people on our team, I plan to do something about it.”
“What is it you’re planning to do?” she asked, unable to help herself.
“I’ll win you over and make you forget how much you dislike me. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll see that I have a great many talents you may enjoy.”
C.J. MILLER loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted through her website, cj-miller.com. She lives in Maryland with her husband, son and daughter. C.J. believes in first loves, second chances and happily ever after.
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To my big brother Shawn. Master of the art of persuasion, the definition of grace under pressure and loyal to a fault. I’m glad you’re on my side.
Lucia Huntington peeled off her blue-and-white-pinstriped blouse and dropped it in her dry-cleaning bag. She’d spilled coffee down the front of her shirt at her morning meeting, the first in a series of bungles that had lined her day.
At least the day was over, paperwork filed and everyone’s notes reviewed and approved. After she returned her mother’s phone call, she’d have a few hours to sleep before she did it all again tomorrow.
A knock sounded on her door. Lucia hadn’t buzzed anyone into the building, but her neighbor Audrey from across the hall periodically stopped by before she went out for the night. Audrey had a great sense of humor and would provide some comic relief after Lucia’s dreadful day. On her way to the door, Lucia took another sip from the glass of wine she had been drinking.
Looking through the peephole and seeing David “Cash” Stone’s face stirred several emotions, primary among them anxiety. Ever since he strode into her morning meeting with his cocky swagger and dark hair, captivating sapphire eyes and buff shoulders, Lucia had been controlling her libido’s overreaction. Sexy with a hint of danger, everything about him screamed warnings. He was a take-no-prisoners kind of man. If she gave him an inch, he would take a mile.
Her workday was over and that meant she didn’t have to deal with him. This was her turf.
Another tap sounded on the door. “Come on, Lucia. I know you’re home.”
Not willing to hide in her condo like a coward and wait for him to leave, Lucia grabbed a coat off the coatrack and pulled it on over her bra. She wasn’t a love-struck teenager and she was in control of her hormones. Composing herself, she pulled open the door and met Cash’s steely stare. It was as if he was seeing right through her cool facade to the part of her that was panting and restless just looking at him.
“Can I help you?” she asked. She had other questions, like “How do you know where I live?” and “How did you get past my building’s security?” but she’d stick with the one that would get rid of him fast. The less time she had to spend with Cash Stone the better.
He leaned against the doorjamb. “Aren’t you going to ask me in?”
His visit was inappropriate at best, but Cash played by his own rules. He radiated charisma and self-assurance on top of his playboy good looks, and most women found the combination irresistible. Lucia wasn’t most women. She had hard-won, carefully exercised control.
Since knowing about his criminal past didn’t put a damper on her lust, she needed to find something physically wrong with him and latch on to it. The one physical flaw she could find was that his secondhand clothes lacked style. She needed to mentally harp on that point and banish any sensual ideas of him. He wasn’t someone she was planning to date. He wasn’t part of her personal life. He was the con man skilled in fraud, counterfeiting and high-tech crimes, brought in to help in an important investigation. He had an abundance of confidence and he was an untrustworthy criminal, a dangerous combination.
“I am not asking you in,” she said. “I don’t fraternize with my coworkers in my home.”
He laughed. The gun at her hip tingled against her skin. Were her instincts sending her a warning? Cash was remarkably bold and she was tempted to close the door in his face. She clamped down on the urge. She wouldn’t