Undeniable Demands(4)

By: Andrea Laurence



 She pushed past him to the front door of the Airstream, pulling  it open and climbing the stairs. “What do you want, Mr. Mitchell?”

 As she hung at the top of the steps, looking back at him, Wade  realized he needed to change his tactic, and fast. His original plan had been to  tell the owner that he wanted the property for one of his development projects.  If he told her that, she’d refuse him just to ruin his plans.

 He’d have to appeal to a different side of her. That is, if he  could explain himself before she started shooting.

 “Miss Sullivan, I’d like to buy back this property from  you.”

 * * *

 Tori hung on the steps, the rage slowly uncoiling in her  belly. This man was determined to ruin everything she held dear. He had taken  away her reputation and very nearly her career. His turning on her suddenly had  also damaged her ability to trust men. Out of the blue, he’d accused her of  terrible things and tossed her out. She’d lost her first real apartment after he  fired her.

 And now that she was trying to settle down and establish  herself again, he wanted to destroy her plans for her dream home. She just knew  it. Her jaw set firmly, she made her decision before he even asked the question.  If he were on fire, she wouldn’t bother to spit on him.

 “It’s not for sale.” She slipped inside and let the door slam  behind her.

 She was pulling off her coat, about to toss it onto the foldout  bed, when she heard the door of the trailer open behind her. Tori spun on her  heel and found the bastard standing in her tiny kitchen. He’d slipped out of his  winter coat and tugged off his hat as he entered. He stood there now in a pair  of dress pants and a plaid button-down shirt. The hunter-green of the top made  his own green eyes seem even darker and more intriguing than she remembered.  Because of the stocking cap he’d worn, his short, dark brown hair was messier  than she’d ever seen it.

 Without his slick suits and perfect hair, he looked nothing  like the real-estate giant who had ruled over his company from the top floor.  But he still had a commanding presence. She’d forgotten how tall he was: at  least six foot two, with a powerful build. The large man seemed to take up all  the space in her trailer, which had always had the perfect amount of room for  her. It was as though he’d sucked up all the air, making her oddly warm and her  camper uncomfortably small.

 And she hated that about him.

 Without hesitating, she picked up her shotgun again.  Truthfully, it was loaded with shells full of recycled rubber pellets. She  carried it with her to the compost bin in case she needed to scare off any  foraging critters. She’d caught a black bear in the bin last week. The rubber  pellets would send animals scurrying without seriously hurting them. Hopefully  it would do the same with Wade Mitchell.

 “Do you mind stepping back outside? I spent a lot of money to  renovate this trailer and I’m not going to ruin it by shooting you in here.”

 Wade had only a momentary flash of alarm in his eyes before he  smiled at her in a way that made her cheeks flush and her knees weaken. She  remembered feeling that way whenever he would walk down the hallway past her  cubicle and greet her with “good morning.” She’d been fresh out of college and  in awe of the two young mavericks with their up-and-coming real-estate  development company. Alex Stanton was the golden playboy, but she was instantly  drawn to the darker, more serious Wade. Then and now, his wide grin and strong,  aristocratic features usually got him his way.

 If she wasn’t careful, she might fall prey to them again. She  knew better than to trust a guy like him.

 “Miss Sullivan, can we please talk about this without you  constantly threatening to shoot me?”

 “There’s nothing to talk about.” Tori kept the gun in one hand  while she pulled off her hat and scarf with the other. She was burning up, and  it had nothing to do with her new propane heating system. It was Wade and her  overheated and long-ignored libido. She hated that the man who’d betrayed and  fired her could still send her pulse racing after all this time. “And it’s rude  to come inside uninvited, so you deserve to be shot.”

 “I apologize,” he said, laying his coat across the bench seat  of her dining table. “But it is imperative that I discuss this with you  today.”

 Oh, she was sure it was. No doubt he had bought the forty-acre  property beside her and wanted her additional ten to add to whatever ridiculous  project he was developing out here. There might be an army of backhoes and land  movers over the horizon just waiting for her to sign off so they could start  their work. But she wasn’t giving up this land. This purchase had been years in  the making. Her genealogy research had been what lured her up here, but from the  first time she’d set foot in the area, she knew this was where she wanted to  build her home.

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