Because in his end game, Isa was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Even if he didn’t deserve her, he’d damn sure spend the rest of his life making her happy.
I’m going to kill you Isa texted to Mara as she headed down in the elevator to her office.
I think you mean thank me. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten all sexy today. How’s your hand feel?
How do you even know about that? Isa hadn’t left Harrison’s office until a few minutes ago.
I have my ways.
I can actually hear you cackling as you say that. Ugh, my hand is fine. I’m a little embarrassed though.
From what I hear, he deserved more than a punch.
Isa had never told Mara about Graysen. Not specifically, anyway. When she’d become friends with Mara, Isa had mentioned an ex who was a liar, but that had been the extent of things. Talking about Graysen had just been too hard and she didn’t like people knowing all her business. But if Harrison knew about Isa and Graysen’s history, then no doubt Mara knew everything too. Still, Isa didn’t feel like talking about it now. She just wanted to hide out in her office and lick her wounds and pretend that when the new contract started in two weeks she wouldn’t be working with her ex-boyfriend—for one stupid week.
Probably, she texted back.
She tucked her phone into her purse when she reached her floor. And when she made it to her office and found Lizzy Caldwell sitting in the chair in front of the desk, offering up a cappuccino, she almost burst into tears. “That’s for me?”
Lizzy grinned. “Yep, just the way you like it. I added two sugars.”
“I freaking love you.”
“I know. I’m very loveable.” Lizzy kicked her feet out in front of her and Isa saw that she was wearing purple and pink Chuck Taylors. She had on jeans and a T-shirt that said Nerd? I prefer the term Intellectual Badass. The shirt made Isa grin. Lizzy didn’t care about ‘being professional’ at the office. Probably because she was head-hunted by government agencies all the time and knew how invaluable she was to the company. It didn’t hurt that she was married to one of the owners, either.
“Not that I don’t appreciate this,” Isa said, holding up her drink as she sat. “Or the company. But what are you doing in my neck of the woods?” Their offices were actually on the same floor, but they didn’t work together often.
Lizzy shrugged, a mischievous grin on her face. “Just knew you’d be back in the office today and wanted to say hi. And…I heard you punched a guy and wanted to ask why.”
“Oh crap. Does everyone know?” Isa had worked so hard to fit in here. After escaping DC and the hellish stories—truth—of her father being a traitor, she made a point to be a professional at all times. She was sure some people knew about her past, though no one had ever called her on it. Which was fine by her. She didn’t want to talk about that with anyone.
Lizzy snorted. “I don’t think anyone does, really. I just heard from Porter—who heard from one of the guys in the security room. They let Harrison, Porter and Grant know as standard procedure. Said you have a nice right hook, chica.”
“It’s the first time I’ve ever punched someone.” She took a sip of her cappuccino, grateful for the comfort drink. Her hand was tender but didn’t bother her as much as it had a while ago.
“Well why’d you do it?”
“He deserved it.”
“Don’t be obnoxious.”
“I really don’t want to talk about it. Not now, anyway. Harrison just gave me a new job and I’ve got to start prepping for it.” Which meant reading over a bunch of files and learning about her ‘new colleagues’ before she started with them. That was just the tip of the iceberg of what she had to do for her prep.
“Okay, but if you change your mind, just call me. And not because I want gossip—though I always do. And seriously, if you want me to mess up this guy’s life, just let me know.” She got a wicked glint in her eyes that Isa knew too well. Lizzy really could be scary when she wanted to.
“He’s a Red Stone employee.”
Lizzy’s eyebrows raised. “Porter left that part out.”
Isa lifted a shoulder. “He’s my new partner for my next job, so please don’t screw up his life.”
“You’re really not making me want to know about him any less, but if you don’t want to talk about him, I get it.” She stood, pushing the chair back. “I’m here if you need me.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it.” Once Lizzy was gone Isa set her mug down on her desk and groaned to herself.
She was going to be working a job with sexy, frustrating Graysen West. How the heck had this even happened? Seeing him in that elevator and then in the office had jolted her back to over a year ago, to the first time they’d met. The first time he’d introduced himself and acted as if he had no idea who she was.
As if he hadn’t targeted her for a specific reason.
She looked at her cappuccino and frowned, pushing back all sorts of unwanted memories. If she ever had a reason to start day drinking, now was it.
She was too much of a professional to do that though. Or she hoped she was. Because a mimosa—or three—at lunch today sounded like a good freaking idea.
Fourteen months ago
“I think this is yours.”
The deep, male voice made Isa turn around and look up, up, up into arresting blue eyes.
“What?” She couldn’t tear her gaze away from the stranger in front of her. Didn’t want to, if she got to look at this eye candy.
“The coffee. I think I grabbed yours by mistake.” That deep voice wrapped around her, his mere presence making everything else in the small coffee shop fade away.
Blinking, she looked at the cup he extended then looked at the one in her hand. She turned it and saw the name Michael scribbled in purple ink. She frowned at herself, surprised she’d taken the wrong cup, but held it out to him as he traded with her. “Sorry about that.”
“No worries.” His smile was easy, those eyes ridiculously gorgeous, and he looked a little out of place in this coffee shop that attracted mostly corporate types.