Home > Bared to You (Crossfire #1)(7)

Bared to You (Crossfire #1)(7)
Sylvia Day

Cross's chair was set perpendicular to the length of the table, facing me head-on. His right arm rested on the smooth wooden surface, his long elegant fingers stroking rhythmically along the top. I caught a glimpse of his wrist at the end of his cuff and for some crazy reason the sight of that small expanse of golden skin with its light dusting of dark hair made my cl*t throb for attention. He was just so...male.

"Which of Mark's suggested concepts do you prefer?" he asked again.

"I think they're all brilliant."

His beautiful face was impassive when he said, "I'll clear the room to get your honest opinion, if that's what it takes."

My fingers curled around the ends of my chair's armrests. "I just gave you my honest opinion, Mr. Cross, but if you must know, I think sexy luxury on a budget will appeal to the largest demographic. But I lack - "

"I agree." Cross stood and buttoned his jacket. "You have a direction, Mr. Garrity. We'll revisit next week."

I sat for a moment, stunned by the breakneck pace of events. Then I looked at Mark, who seemed to be wavering between astonished joy and bewilderment.

Rising to my feet, I led the way to the door. I was hyperaware of Cross walking beside me. The way he moved, with animal grace and arrogant economy, was a major turn-on. I couldn't imagine him not f**king well and being aggressive about it, taking what he wanted in a way that made a woman wild to give it to him.

Cross stayed with me all the way to the bank of elevators. He said a few things to Mark about sports, I think, but I was too focused on the way I was reacting to him to care about the small talk. When the car arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief and hastily stepped forward with Mark.

"A moment, Eva," Cross said smoothly, holding me back with a hand at my elbow. "She'll be right down," he told Mark, as the elevator doors closed on my boss's astonished face.

Cross said nothing until the car was on its way down; then he pushed the call button again and asked, "Are you sleeping with anyone?"

The question was asked so casually it took a second to process what he'd said.

I inhaled sharply. "Why is that any business of yours?"

He looked at me and I saw what I'd seen the first time we'd met - tremendous power and steely control. Both of which had me taking an involuntary step back. Again. At least I didn't fall this time; I was making progress.

"Because I want to f**k you, Eva. I need to know what's standing in my way, if anything."

The sudden ache between my thighs had me reaching for the wall to maintain my balance. He reached out to steady me, but I held him at bay with an uplifted hand. "Maybe I'm just not interested, Mr. Cross."

A ghost of a smile touched his lips and made him impossibly more handsome. Dear God...

The ding that signaled the approaching elevator made me jump, I was strung so tight. I'd never been so aroused. Never been so scorchingly attracted to another human being. Never been so offended by a person I lusted after.

I stepped into the elevator and faced him.

He smiled. "Until next time, Eva."

The doors closed and I sagged into the brass handrail, trying to regain my bearings. I'd barely pulled myself together when the doors opened and revealed Mark pacing in the waiting area on our floor.

"Jesus, Eva," Mark muttered, coming to an abrupt halt. "What the hell was that?"

"I have no freakin' clue." I exhaled in a rush, wishing I could share the confusing, irritating exchange I'd had with Cross, but well aware that my boss wasn't the appropriate outlet. "Who cares? You know he's going to give you the account."

A grin chased away his frown. "I'm thinking he might."

"As my roommate always says, you should celebrate. Should I make dinner reservations for you and Steven?"

"Why not? Pure Food and Wine at seven, if they can squeeze us in. If not, surprise us."

We'd barely returned to Mark's office when he was pounced on by the executives - Michael Waters, the CEO and president, and Christine Field and Walter Leaman, the executive chairman and vice chairman.

I skirted the four of them as quietly as possible and slid into my cubicle.

I called Pure Food and Wine and begged for a table for two. After some serious groveling and pleading, the hostess finally caved.

I left a message on Mark's voice mail, "It's definitely your lucky day. You're booked for dinner at seven. Have fun!"

Then I clocked out, eager to get home.

"He said what?" Cary sat on the opposite end of our white sectional sofa and shook his head.

"I know, right?" I enjoyed another sip of my wine. It was a crisp and nicely chilled sauvignon blanc I'd picked up on the walk home. "That was my reaction, too. I'm still not sure I didn't hallucinate the conversation while overdosing on his pheromones."

"So?"

I tucked my legs beneath me on the couch and leaned into the corner. "So what?"

"You know what, Eva." Grabbing his netbook off the coffee table, Cary propped it on his crossed legs. "Are you going to tap that or what?"

"I don't even know him. I don't even know his first name and he threw that curveball at me."

"He knew yours." He started typing on his keyboard. "And what about the thing with the vodka? Asking for your boss in particular?"

The hand I was running through my loose hair stilled. "Mark is very talented. If Cross has any sort of business sense at all, he'd pick up on that and exploit it."

"I'd say he knows business." Cary spun his netbook around and showed me the home page of Cross Industries, which boasted an awesome photo of the Crossfire. "That's his building, Eva. Gideon Cross owns it."

Damn it. My eyes closed. Gideon Cross. I thought the name suited him. It was as sexy and elegantly masculine as the man himself.

"He has people to handle marketing for his subsidiaries. Probably dozens of people to handle it."

"Stop talking, Cary"

"He's hot, rich, and wants to jump your bones. What's the problem?"

I looked at him. "It's going to be awkward running into him all the time. I'm hoping to hang on to my job for a long while. I really like it. I really like Mark. He's totally involved me in the process and I've learned so much from him already."

"Remember what Dr. Travis says about calculated risks? When your shrink tells you to take some, you should take some. You can deal with it. You and Cross are both adults." He turned his attention back to his Internet search. "Wow. Did you know he doesn't turn thirty for another two years? Think of the stamina."

"Think of the rudeness. I'm offended by how he just threw it out there. I hate feeling like a vagina with legs."

Cary paused and looked up at me, his eyes softening with sympathy. "I'm sorry, baby girl. You're so strong, so much stronger than I am. I just don't see you carrying around the baggage I do."

"I don't think I am, most of the time." I looked away because I didn't want to talk about what we'd been through in our pasts. "It's not like I wanted him to ask me out on a date. But there has to be a better way to tell a woman you want to take her to bed."

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