Compromising Positions

By: Tawny Taylor

Resolved not to let her intelligence go to waste, he turned to face her. “What about a name? Any thought there?”

The paper she held slipped from her fingertips. Pushing against the desk, she scooted her chair back. Her dress, black with simple lines that traced every curve, shimmied down her body as she stood. “Mr. Ryan, I think we’d better set things straight right now.”

There was no mistaking the tone of her voice. He waited with expectation. She was tough, inflexible, beautiful, and wielded a tongue as sharp as a saber. He had dreams about that tongue. A man had to be tough to stand up to her, or insane, but he was far from intimidated.

No, she was his perfect match. In every way.

She continued, “I have no choice but to accept the situation, and I suspect you don’t either. I am determined to make the best of it…”

“Good, so am I.”

“Would you let me finish?”

“You weren’t through yet? Oh, sorry.” He had to smother a laugh. Baiting Fate was his favorite hobby.

After a deep sigh and a shake of the head, she muttered, “They can’t expect anyone to work like this.”

“I think it’s a great set-up. You’re looking at the whole thing wrong. Instead of searching for a way out, you need to consider how the situation can work to your advantage. I’ve always done that, and I can’t complain about the results. Look where I am now.” To illustrate his point, he swept his hand toward his desk, presenting it like a game show hostess did a valuable prize.

She bit her quivering lip, and then the corners of her mouth lifted into a brilliant smile. “Yeah, I can see what you mean. That desk is to die for.”

He stood, shook it, and kicked at the legs as though he were inspecting a used car. “Good tires, solid. What’s there to complain about?”

They faced each other, and a tense silence fell between them like a curtain…electricity sizzled between them. He imagined himself pulling her to him, and planting a deep kiss on those pouty lips.

“What are you grinning about? That is the goofiest expression I have ever seen.”

Her words yanked him from his musings before he’d fully enjoyed them. “Um, thinking about my game show idea. It could be a lot of fun.” His cheeks reddened. Good Lord! He couldn’t be blushing…nah, must to be the heat.

“I think your idea is absolutely ridiculous. It’ll never work. For one, you’ll never find a show willing to let us do the screening. They look for specific things when they select contestants… Then again, maybe you should pursue it. On your own, of course. I’m going to lunch.”

He shrugged. No need to sell her on his idea yet. Once he’d worked the bugs out, she’d see its genius. He was simply glad to have broken the ice a bit, eased the tension. Or—He watched her ass sway as she walked to the door. Damn, that was one round, firm ass. The heat from his face spread down his body…

What was he thinking when Fate’s ass interrupted his thoughts? Shit, he had it bad.

Chapter 2

Today, of all days, am I going to be stood up?

Fate sat at the tile-topped table in the noisy restaurant, glancing at the door every few minutes. More than ever, she needed the benefit of Tracy’s levelheaded logic. Where was she?

The atmosphere of the restaurant was an odd melding of Tex-Mex steakhouse and English pub. Pop music blaring from speakers and diners’ chattering voices did little to diminish her stress. Her heartbeat quickened with every minute that passed, and each time the waiter ran by without acknowledging her.

After another glance at her watch, she sighed and waved at him again. “When you get the chance…”

Turning, he smiled and took her order: a sandwich she could pack away, take to the office if she had to. No way she would take more than an hour. How bad would a leisurely-extended lunch look today?

As the waiter stepped away, Tracy ducked from behind him and plopped into the chair across from Fate. Studying Fate with a grimace, she asked, “What’s the deal with you? On the phone you sounded like the world’s come to an end.”

“Thank God you’re here.” Fate looked at her watch. Forty-five minutes would have to be good enough. At least she didn’t have to drive back to work; she’d purposefully chosen the restaurant next door to save a few precious minutes.

“Yeah, I’m here. So what’s the big emergency?” Tracy wore her usual corporate black suit, and her golden hair was swept back in a French knot. Her makeup was flawless, her entire personage polished.

Fate wished she could be as collected as Tracy, especially today. “I have a big problem, and I don’t mean pimple on date night big, I mean big, big.”

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