A Beauty Uncovered(9)

By: Andrea Laurence



 Perhaps he’d read her reaction wrong. She might just have a good poker face. If he went out there and she avoided looking at him…if she shied away from his scarred hand…then he could return to his life in progress and know all was right with the world again. Yes, that was why he was going out there.

 He pushed away from his desk and walked past the vintage pinball machine to the door. His hand rested on the knob for a few moments before he worked up the nerve to turn it. Earlier, he’d been angry and hadn’t thought before he reacted. Now he couldn’t shut his brain off long enough to make his wrist rotate. What if he was wrong? He didn’t want to be wrong, but what would he do if she was attracted to him?

 “Coward,” he cursed at himself and forced his way into the reception area.

 Samantha immediately shot to attention at her desk. She looked at him with wide-eyed surprise as he came out and approached her desk. Under the initial shock was a bit of apprehension. Her delicate brow furrowed as she fought a concerned frown. Was she afraid of him? She wouldn’t be the first, although he hated to think so.

 “Is s-something wrong, Mr. Eden?” Samantha leaped up from her chair, nervously straightening her blouse and fidgeting with a ring on her right hand. “I apologize for earlier, sir. That was unprofessional of me. You’ll come out of your office when you want to.”

 That explained it. She thought he was mad over her little stunt. She had probably been stewing at her desk, worrying she was about to get fired while he was thinking of kissing her. That only proved how far off base he was. He hadn’t been thrilled at the time, but it was just as well that they got over that first hurdle. She wasn’t about to be fired. Nor, sadly, was she about to be kissed. Brody shook his head dismissively. “No apology is necessary, Miss Davis.”

 She breathed a soft sigh of relief and every tense muscle in her body seemed to uncoil at his words. He couldn’t help but notice every detail of her body from the slight movement of her full breasts as she breathed to the curve of her throat.

 “Sam, please,” she said, distracting him from surveying her body.

 Sam. He liked that. There was something sassy and decidedly feminine about the nickname despite its traditionally masculine use. “I should’ve come out sooner. I’m very busy.”

 Sam nodded with understanding, but his excuse sounded lame to his own ears, so he figured it had to seem hollow to her, as well. “Of course.” She reached down to a file on her desk and handed it to him with a wide smile. “Here’s the report for your one o’clock meeting.”

 Brody froze in place, momentarily entranced by the stunning beauty of her smile. Full, pink lips. Dazzling white teeth. It seemed so sincere, begging him to trust her. It lit up her face, making her even more attractive. His foster mother had always insisted that he was so handsome when he smiled. He never believed Molly—moms had to say things like that—but it was never a truer statement than with Sam.

 He reached out and took the file from her, tucking it under his arm. At this point, he knew he should return to his office, but something kept him anchored to the spot. He wanted to stay. His mind raced for an excuse.

 Brody sucked at small talk, so he wouldn’t even try. Instead, he thrust his hand into his pants pocket and found his USB flash drive there. The tiny memory stick held most of his important files, and he carried it with him everywhere he went. It was perfect, he realized. Just the thing he needed to help him figure out if his new secretary was sincere or a really good actress.

 Grasping the flash drive in his scarred hand, he reached out to her. “I need you to print a file off this drive while I’m in my meeting.”

 He watched as Sam looked down at the small device on the open palm of his hand. She hesitated for a moment and then reached out for it. Using her shapely, pink glittery fingernails, she plucked it from his hand without touching his skin. He might not have noticed how deliberate the movement was if he hadn’t been watching for just such a thing.

 Brody tried to swallow his disappointment. She didn’t mind looking at him, but she didn’t want to touch him. It wasn’t surprising, but it was a letdown. She was polite and friendly to him because he was her boss. Nothing more. He should’ve known better than to let his mind wander to places it didn’t need to be. “There’s a white paper I’ve written on there about our latest database management innovations. Please print it out so I can redline changes later this afternoon.”

 “Yes, sir.”

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