Pregnant On The Upper East Side?(3)

By: Emilie Rose

He’d employed the one line that guaranteed she’d hear him out rather than kick him out. “For what?”

“Harper & Associates just landed a substantial public settlement. I’d like to reward the staff for their hard work.”

He definitely knew how to tickle a girl’s interest. A party for his firm could be good for business. His and hers. “What kind of event?”

“A couple hundred guests including friends, clients and a few celebrities to make it interesting. Choice of venue is yours, but I’d prefer something upscale like the Metropolitan Club.”

Size and visibility. Class and clout. A-list guests who might be persuaded to use her services for their future affairs. Not exactly money in the bank, which she desperately needed, but the exposure could be just the boost her business required.

As a millionaire finance attorney, Alex had the kind of connections she could use. Not that she didn’t have her own connections. But his were better.

She knew there would be strings. A wheeler-dealer like Alex would always have strings. She curved her fingers in a “give me more” gesture. “Details.”

He named a budget that made her salivate. “The catch is I’d like to do this within the month. The sooner, the better.”

“That could be problematic.” But a boon for her finances.

“If you’re not up to it I can go elsewhere.”

A power play. And he knew exactly what he was doing. She didn’t miss the challenge in his eyes or in the angle of his chin. “What makes you think I’m available on such short notice?”

“Julia mentioned you’d had an unexpected cancellation.”

A huge engagement party had gone kaput. The bride-to-be had run off with the groom’s youngest brother. Not pretty. And while Amanda would get to keep the deposit to cover most of her losses, there would be little left after she paid the vendors and her employees.

She ought to turn Alex down. He was demanding and impatient and a workaholic like her father. He’d be hell to work with unless he stayed out of her way. And she doubted he would.

But she couldn’t afford to say no.

“If I do this, your party is all I’m doing. Is that clear?”

One dark eyebrow hiked and his delectable mouth tilted mischievously. “Amanda—”

“Don’t ‘Amanda’me. I have no intention of being your latest accessory.”

His slow, confident smile hit her below the three-inch-wide patent leather belt she’d cinched over her lavender cashmere tunic sweater. “But we’d be so good together.”

That’s what she was afraid of. He’d be amazing. Right up until the moment he dumped her. And she’d be left with yet another failed relationship. Wouldn’t her parents love to rub that in her face?

“But as you pointed out, I’m an attorney. I know better than to force my attentions when they’re not welcome. Meet me tomorrow to discuss the party details. Park Café. Four o’clock.”

She sputtered at his pushiness. “That’s less than twenty-four hours.”

“Long enough for you to know if you can pull this off.” He turned on his heel. His long strides carried him out of the apartment. The door shut quietly behind him.

She had her work cut out for her, but she’d be darned if she’d back down from the challenge he’d issued.

She couldn’t afford to.

Amanda shifted her laptop case to her left hand, braced herself for another onslaught of Alex’s charisma and pushed open the door of Park Café.

The upscale coffee shop was her favorite, and not just because of its close proximity to the building where she lived. If she ever had to have a last supper, she wanted it to be one of the café’s double chocolate chip walnut muffins—preferably fresh from the oven while the chocolate chips were still gooey.

She waved to Trish, the barista. The warmth enfolding Amanda had everything to do with leaving the blustery outside behind and nothing—absolutely nothing—to do with spotting Alex unfolding his tall frame from a chair at a corner table.

He’d dressed casually for a Sunday afternoon in charcoal wool trousers and a dove-gray cable V-neck sweater that made his shoulders look a mile wide. She caught a glimpse of the black T-shirt he wore between the cashmere and his skin.

Don’t think about what’s next to his skin.

Keep the meeting on a business footing.

And if he flirts, ignore him.

Easier said than done when even his smile invited her to break rules and promised she’d love doing it. Why did the man tempt her to throw caution and common sense out the window?

He pulled out a chair for her and nodded toward her briefcase. “You came prepared.”

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