HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt
On her way to the elevator, she made a stop in Alessandro’s office. He signaled for her to enter while he talked on the phone. He spoke Italian and Tessa understood very little.
How can someone’s voice sound so sexy? He looks great with or without clothes on. Come on, Tessa, snap out of it, you’re here for business and not for daydreaming, for God’s sake!
“Ms. Cosma, what can I do for you?” Alessandro finished his conversation then glanced up at her before starting typing on his laptop.
“Mister Santinelli, how long are you going to keep up this masquerade?”
“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. First, you pretend not to recognize me, then you call me a coward, then you intervene with my dinner plans. I don’t appreciate it and for your information, thanks, but no thanks. I don’t need a babysitter. What do you think you’re doing?” She propped both palms on his desk, then leaned forward.
He stood and copied her body position.
Two players face-to-face weighing each other’s strength. Who’d make the next move?
Alessandro searched her face, lingering on her lips.
Tessa licked them instinctively.
“What I think is not important for our business arrangement. In Victor’s absence I have authority to lead this office. You have the wrong impression, Ms. Cosma. I assure you my coming to dinner tonight is not to babysit you, but to ensure our possible investor is well taken care of.”
“You don’t trust me, is that it?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You think I’d compromise the deal? You think I stole the farmers’ money and I’ll steal again.”
“Again, you put words in my mouth, words I didn’t say.”
Tessa glanced to his lips. God, how much she’d wanted to crush them! She forced herself to look down; she saw a tennis ball with a non-identifiable signature sitting on a small pedestal right between her palms. She took it and toyed with it while walking away. She stopped at the door, and turned to face him.
“I’m here because Victor asked me to help out with this deal. I need the freedom to move unrestrained, make decisions as I see fit. I have no idea why you called me a coward, but if you think I’ll go down without a fight, you have something coming. Someone trashed my reputation, I’ll die finding out who, but I will find out.” She threw the tennis ball back at him.
With expert moves, he caught it in the air without even flinching.
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