Meeting His Match
Mac paced through the reception area waiting for Bradley Winford and this Gem person. He’d yet to get a last name on the woman. He tried sitting on one of the armchairs but was too restless. He’d asked Paul to come to the meeting, but he’d had other clients to deal with. As Mac made another circuit through the room, cursing himself for his need to arrive everywhere early, the front door opened and Gem strode through, looking a little harried.
Once inside, she smoothed a hand over her hair and down her dress, which was blue, a shade darker than her eyes. The front dipped low, but not immodestly so. She rolled her lips together and trekked on crazy high heels to the receptionist’s desk. She was told to have a seat, the same way he’d been.
She sat on a chair, her back stiff and hands folded in her lap. Briefly closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply and when she reopened them, her gaze met his. Her left eyebrow quirked but didn’t make it to a full arch. Her lips moved incrementally into a smile. Then she shot her gaze downward.
Shifting on the chair, she angled her body and crossed her legs. She knew exactly how to draw a man’s eye, he’d give her that. Eyelids lowered slowly and then she glanced up at him again, barely making eye contact.
Was she seriously hitting on him?
When she brushed her hair off her shoulder—not quite a flip—he confirmed it. She was flirting. He stayed rooted to his spot, afraid to continue his pacing because then he might miss something good. Slipping his hands in his pants pockets, he rocked back on his heels waiting for her next move.
Really, if this was the best she had, he truly had no worries about competing against her.
When he didn’t respond to another smile or a too-obvious bend at the waist to reveal cleavage, she stood. She strode with a slow, hip-swaying swagger to where he stood and pointed at the poster behind him. “Have you ever seen this show?”
Her voice was low and slightly husky. In the right room at the right time, it was the kind of sound that would’ve had an effect on him. He ran his tongue over his teeth and looked at the poster.
“No, I’ve never seen it.”
“Too bad. I was hoping you could tell me if it’s worth binging.” She reached in her purse and pulled out a pack of gum, offering him a piece.
He shook his head but continued to watch her. She slowly folded the stick of gum on her pink tongue and when she reached around him to toss the wrapper in the trashcan, she not too subtly brushed against his arm.
“Excuse me,” she whispered. When she straightened, she extended her hand. “Hi, I’m—”
“Good, you’re here.” Bradley Winford’s voice boomed through the room.
Gem turned, smile bright. “Mr. Winford, good to see you again.”
Winford shook her hand a little too vigorously. “I see you’ve met Malcolm.”
What Mac wouldn’t have given to see her face.
“Who?” she asked.
Brad pointed to him. “Malcolm Sterling, your competition for the show.”
Slowly, she turned and the look on her face was even more priceless than he’d imagined.
Mac stepped forward. “Malcolm Sterling from Everyday Love.”
A flash of something came across her face, her mask slipping. It wasn’t just surprise. There was something else there. Quickly, she schooled her features back into the flirt. It seemed to be the only thing she did quickly. She shook his hand and offered a brief smile.
“Nice to meet you, Malcolm. Gem.”
Brad clapped his hands. “Let’s get this started, shall we?”
Gem turned and followed Brad. Mac fell into step beside her.
“My friends call me Mac.”
“Only my mother calls me Malcolm.”
“That would’ve been useful information to have, oh, say, ten minutes ago. You obviously knew who I was the minute I walked in.” Her voice came out a sharp whisper so Brad couldn’t hear.
“I did,” he admitted.
“Any reason you didn’t introduce yourself?”
“I was enjoying your flirting techniques.”
She shook her head and stepped into the conference room. She waited until Brad took a seat and took the one directly across from him. Mac chose the seat beside her.
She shot him a look of irritation.
Suddenly Mac decided this adventure might not be so boring after all.