It may be cold outside, but Sebastian Baines is sure to get you
hot and bothered, just as he’s hoping to with Gina.
He has an ulterior motive for them hitting the hotel bar after the party,
and it’s not to celebrate the successful schmoozing of the client…
“You’ve probably got Speyer eating out of your hand.”
“Well he’s more amenable to the idea of Balin owning his company now, but there’s still a long way to go convincing him.”
“Oh, you’ll convince him. I can see why Tom Wagner brought you over here. You’re very persuasive.”
“You know you are.”
She’s got me there. No one knows the persuasive power of charm better than me. “Apart from Speyer − who you were more responsible for persuading than I was, seeing as you painted the portrait − just how have I been persuasive tonight?”
“You mean apart from getting me to pretend I’m your girlfriend and now drinking cocktails with you against my better judgment?”
“Why against your better judgment? What’s wrong with us having a drink to celebrate?”
“A drink? I make this cocktail number two, never mind the champagne you kept supplying me with all evening, although you hardly drank anything. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were trying to get me drunk.”
“As if. And why would I want to do that?”
“Oh, I think we both know why, but unlucky for you I can hold my liquor.”
That slight slurring of her words makes me think otherwise, but only a fool would point that out.
“And what exactly are we celebrating?”
“Getting Speyer on side. He trusts me now and both he and his wife like you, which all bodes well for a successful deal. Plus, there’s all those potential new commissions coming your way after tonight. I’d say that was cause for celebration, wouldn’t you?”
Gina laughs as I raise my glass, lifting hers and chinking it with mine. Right before she takes another long taste of her drink that as near as damn it drains the glass.
“You know, maybe persuasive isn’t the right word … Charming. Yes, that’s a better word. You’re a charmer.”
“What’s wrong with being charming?”
“I didn’t say you were charming, I said charmer. And it’s a skill you’ve got finely honed.”
Years of practice, love. “Why would you think that?”
“It didn’t take you long before you left the bar with that girl.”
Is she jealous? I search her eyes and find that little gleam I’m hoping to see. That and the way her brows pinch a little as she draws in a small stuttering breath give me the courage to run my fingertips down the side of her face.
“I only left with her because the girl I wanted to be with made it clear she wasn’t interested.”
From her slow exhale and how she leans her face ever so slightly into my touch I’d say she’s interested now, but still she’s resisting. I can see her indecision in how her gaze flicks between my eyes; should she, or shouldn’t she?
Almost there. One more drink should tip her over the edge and into my bed.
I pull back my hand and give her the same smile that worked so well on her friend Marissa as I pick up our empty glasses. “Another? We are celebrating after all.”
That small nod of her head is all I need to see to know she wants it, but can’t quite admit it to herself. But if she has another drink she can always blame it on the alcohol come the morning.