Pregnant On The Upper East Side?(9)By: Emilie Rose
From the aggressive angle of his jaw to the straight set of his shoulders, Alex radiated self-assurance. His black tailored suit accentuated his height and athletic build, and his white shirt brought out his olive complexion. His dark hair swooped back from the side part, the ends covering his collar at his nape. Traditional, conservative clothing and furnishings, but the deliberately in-need-of-a-trim hairstyle hinted at a rebellious side. And her rebellious side snapped to attention.
The client left. Alex turned and nailed her to the chair with his direct gaze. “Hello, Amanda.”
How did he unsettle her with nothing more than a slow perusal and a hello? She had to work on shutting down that reaction.
“Alex.” She dipped her head in greeting and rose, lifting her laptop case. “I have confirmations and contracts, and I need signatures.”
“Come in.” He extended his arm, gesturing for her to precede him.
His spacious office contained the same high-end furniture but had a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. A subtle hint of his cologne hung in the air. In addition to the desk and bookcases, he had a boardroom table set up in front of a bank of windows. He led her to that table. “Have a seat.”
His knuckles brushed her shoulder blades as he seated her in the chair closest to the glass. She hid her shiver by reaching into her briefcase, extracting his file, then admiring the view of the Manhattan skyline.
“We have the Carlyle Trianon Suite for Saturday, the twenty-second. We need to choose a theme and send out invitations immediately. If you have e-mail addresses for the people on your guest list I can also send out a blanket ‘save the date’ notice tomorrow.”
He leaned back against the edge of his desk and crossed his ankles. His unwavering gaze pinned her to her chair. “Moira can give you the addresses. You look beautiful today.”
Her brain tripped. She couldn’t remember what she was supposed to say next. How did he fluster her so easily? “Thank you.”
She dropped her gaze to the papers in her hand and struggled to regain her footing. “I have—” A knock at the door interrupted her.
“That should be our lunch. Eating in will allow us more time. I hope you like Greek food.”
Lunch in an office shouldn’t seem intimate. But it did. “A working lunch is a good idea. We have a lot to cover. And I love Greek food.”
He opened the door to reveal Moira with a brown paper bag in one hand and tableware in the other.
“Need help setting up?” his assistant asked.
“We can handle it.” He took everything from her, then placed the bag on the table and opened it. A delicious aroma saturated the room.
Amanda’s mouth watered as he removed the lids from containers of feta, tomato and spinach salad, followed by farmer’s bread and artichoke moussaka. He crossed to a small wine refrigerator tucked beneath a counter in the corner and returned with a bottle of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, which he opened and poured into two glasses.
She’d learned to keep a clear head when around Alex. “I don’t usually drink when I’m working.”
“The wine goes well with moussaka, but I’ll get you a bottle of water if you prefer.” He retrieved two bottles from a different refrigerator and set them on the table.
After scooping generous portions onto plates, he surprised her by shoving the containers to the opposite side of the table and sitting beside her instead of across from her. Their shoulders brushed as he adjusted his chair.
Too close. How could she concentrate with him touching her?
He lifted his glass and twisted in his seat. “To an enjoyable and profitable relationship.”
“I’ll drink to that.” She lifted her glass and clinked her rim against his.
She took a sip. The zesty fruit-and-berry flavor of the cool liquid slid smoothly down her throat. She would have to be careful because she liked this wine too much, and that could get her in trouble.
Alex looked at her over the rim of his glass. “I’ll need you to act as my hostess.”
Her heart skipped a beat. She snapped her gaze from the food in front of her to Alex’s. “You can’t find someone else at this late date?”
“I want you, Amanda.”
I want you.
Alex’s firmly stated phrase, delivered in close proximity and with direct eye contact, made Amanda’s insides quiver.
He means for the party.
No, he means more than that. But you’re ignoring the “more” part. Remember?
“I—I can hostess.” Usually she facilitated events from behind the scenes, but it would be much easier to make those much-needed connections by Alex’s side.