Leo Harding studied the projected sales figures and elation buzzed through him. The Hardingo, the bicycle he’d designed, was now a bona fide, successful product and he was about to launch Harding’s Bikes. His company. Not his family’s, the prestigious global shoe emporium, outlets of which graced most of the UK’s high streets. Compared to Starkes, Leo’s company was small fry. But it was his and he was proud of it.
Even if his parents weren’t. Joe and Diana Harding had been devastated that Leo had decided not to work in the family business, had told him the idea of the Hardingo was foolish, a pipe dream he wasn’t capable of achieving. That without the family wealth and name, he had no chance of success. The realisation that they didn’t believe in him still hurt.
Roxy hadn’t believed in him either.
Roxy. She of the beautiful face with its wide, generous smile. Long hair, a deep glossy red that dappled chestnut in the candlelight. Green eyes that could sparkle with happiness, darken to molten with desire or tease him with a glance.
Roxy. The woman who’d rejected him, told him that his dreams for their future were no more than pie in the sky.
His phone buzzed. ‘Roxy Pemberton is here.’
The crisp, cool voice of his PA did nothing to douse the sudden heat that flushed his skin. His heart pounded, and he forced his emotions into the cooler. This was ridiculous. Roxy meant nothing to him. ‘Show her in, please.’
Roxy wondered if it were possible for her heart to burst out of her chest—probably not, but it was having a damn good try. Her gaze riveted on Leo, wanted to imprint every feature to her memory, every change and every similarity. His brown hair was shorter now, all hint of unruly curl gone. But there was still a dash of copper, the highlights that she used to tease him about. Asking how much they cost him whilst knowing they were completely natural. Sun-kissed.
Kissed. Her gaze dropped to his lips and a small shiver of remembered pleasure rippled through her, brought heat to her cheeks as she stared at the contours of his mouth, firm lips that could elicit and coax such sensual bliss.
She forced herself to raise her eyes, met the dark grey intensity of his. Eyes that looked a little older now, spoke of hard work and long nights. Nights perhaps shared with someone else. Of course—did she think Leo had been celibate for four years?
Time to pull herself together, though at least Leo seemed as poleaxed as she was. She stepped forward and to her own chagrin stumbled slightly, knowing it was due to the Leo Factor. The intensity in his eyes morphed to concern. ‘Roxy. Are you OK?’
Dammit. He thought it was to do with the accident. Any minute now, pity would seep into his eyes and she couldn’t bear it. ‘I’m fine. I just tripped.’ She faced him head-on. ‘So what exactly am I doing here?’
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