"I look like a penguin," Ash muttered, as Kiara traversed a three-sixty around him.
Not that he didn't appreciate her soft moan of approval. He planned on coaxing a lot more of those out of her later. But first, business.
She stopped in front of him, her red-slicked mouth curved in a sexy smile. "You look incredibly…handsome."
"What were you really going to say?"
A blush stained her cheeks. "Screwable."
He laughed. "You really are the female version of me, and that's a compliment."
He dropped a quick kiss on her lips because if he lingered too long he'd become distracted in pleasuring her rather than focusing on his proposal. She had to agree. His career hinged on it.
"Before I get you out of the tux, what did you want to discuss?"
She stepped back and he immediately missed her warmth. Crazy. He'd known this woman for just over twenty-four hours yet she'd been front and centre in his head ever since they'd met. It had to be the sex. Sex that good messed with his head.
"Drink?" He'd uncorked a vintage shiraz earlier and when she nodded he poured two glasses before handing one to her. "What I'm about to say will sound outlandish but I want you to hear me out."
"Oookay." She eyed him with curiosity when he chose an armchair, ensuring she couldn't sit next to him and distract.
He waited until she sat on the sofa opposite before continuing. "You heard what Elliott said yesterday about me being overlooked for a promotion?"
She nodded and took a sip of shiraz, a small appreciative sigh escaping her lips.
"It's the third time I've been overlooked for partner in two years. Not that they spelled it out exactly, but my reputation has a lot to do with it."
Intrigue made her eyes glow like sapphires. "Reputation? Do tell."
"I date. Extensively." Embarrassment heated his cheeks. "Every idiot chosen over me is either married or in a stable relationship. Shallow, vapid, arm candy are bantered around about my dates."
"Then get better taste in women," she said, her audible annoyance making him wonder if she were a tad jealous.
"I have. Now." He deliberately paused, giving her time to let his implication sink in. "Elliott admires you. He virtually said I would've gotten the promotion if I'd been dating you…"
Her eyes rounded and he glimpsed shock warring with wariness. "What are you saying?"
"A short-term arrangement. Elliott and a lot of the company's board will be at the wedding. They're friends of my parents. So with you pretending to be my girlfriend…" He shrugged, desperate to downplay the importance of his ludicrous proposal. "One of the partners is leaving in three weeks and I want that promotion." He thumped his chest. "I work hard and I deserve it."
Her silence unnerved him as much as her steely stare.
"Let me get this straight. You want me to be your fake girlfriend for a few weeks?" Her tone could've given a snowman frostbite. "What do I get out of this stellar arrangement?"
"What do you want?"
A frown furrowed her brow as she placed her wineglass carefully on the coffee table, eyeing the door like she wanted to make a run for it. “Give me tonight to think about it.”
“Okay,” he said, surprised when she stood and headed for the door. “You’re not staying?”
Shooting him a glance he had no hope of interpreting, she shook her head and walked out.
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