Undercover in the CEO's Bed

By: Coleen Kwan

Lex kneaded one fisted hand with the other, a furrow etched between his eyebrows. “Like I said, it’s extremely sensitive. That’s why I need complete confidentiality.”

“I don’t know,” she said slowly, “I’d have to tell my boss at least.”

He was silent for a few moments. “Okay, but that’s all. Agreed?”

“I haven’t agreed to anything.”

“I’m prepared to reward you very generously for both your expertise and your discretion.”

He sounded like he was at the negotiating table. Guarded, impassive, cold-blooded. That was how he really was. The man she’d thought he was had just been a figment of her imagination. Sudden tears clogged her throat.

“Dammit, Lex. What are you trying to do here?” She curled her hands and dug her fingernails into her palms as she strove to control her voice. “We’re through. I haven’t heard from you in ten months. We’re nothing to each other now. After everything we’ve been through, why on earth would you want to hire me?”

For the first time, she noticed the faint lines around his eyes that hadn’t been there ten months before. The lines intensified as the planes of his face hardened. She sensed him withdrawing even further behind his barriers.

“Because I want people to think we’re back together.”

“You want...” She hauled in a shaky breath. “That’s just plain crazy.”

A muscle twitched in his jaw. “If we pretend we’re a couple again, no one will suspect I’ve hired you. You can come into my office or my home as my girlfriend, and no one would be the wiser. It’s the perfect disguise.”

“Your girlfriend?” She felt as though her eyeballs would pop out. “No one would ever believe that.”

“Why not? Everyone believed it ten months ago. I can make them believe it again.”

A glimmer flared in his eyes. His gaze flicked over her neck, moved lower to her shirt, and lingered on the buttons. The unnerving intimacy of his examination sped up her heart rate. Beneath her bra, her nipples began to tingle as if he’d touched them. No, no. She wouldn’t let her breasts get the better of her.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I couldn’t disguise my aversion to you, no matter how much you paid me.”

“You sure about that?”

“What you did to Kevin was unforgivable.” Her body was shaking again. She hugged herself closer.

“What I did to Kevin? He brought it on himself.”

“He made a mistake, yes, but you crucified him—”

“That’s overdramatic. I treated him the way I’d treat any employee who stepped out of line.”

“No, you went out of your way to make an example of him.” She caught her breath, an acrid taste singeing the back of her mouth. She couldn’t hold herself together for much longer. Any moment now tears would leak out, and that would just prove she hadn’t gotten over Lex, not one bit.

She gathered her bags. “I don’t know why I’m even talking to you. Find someone else to fix your security hole. I’m sure there’s someone out there willing to pretend she’s your girlfriend. Just leave me out of it.” The streetcar was approaching her stop—thank God for that. She pushed to her feet, saying stiffly, “Excuse me.”

Lex rose to make way for her. “You know how deep my pockets are. Name your price.”

“Don’t you ever give up?”

The corner of his mouth lifted an inch. “You know me.”

A shiver ran down her spine at his confidence. “And you know me,” she retorted.

She moved into the aisle, and he stepped back to let her through, but not much. “If you change your mind,” he murmured as she squeezed past him, “give me a ring on my cell phone.”

“I deleted your number,” she lied.

“Here it is, then.”

Before she could move, he slipped a business card into her shopping bag. Maybe it was the sudden slowing of the streetcar, or maybe it was the brush of his fingers across her wrist, or maybe it was a combination of both that made her stumble forward and bump against him.

She thought he let out a soft hiss, but she could barely make out anything over the rapid thumping of blood in her ears. The sensation of Lex’s solid chest pressed up against hers scrambled her already fractured wits. All she could focus on was the warmth of his body radiating beneath the soft cotton of his shirt, and the responding tremor flowing through her muscles. She put out a hand, intent on pushing away from him, but when her palm brushed against his shirt and felt the wall of his chest, she stilled, transfixed by the lure of Lex’s overt masculinity.

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