He had on jeans, a thick Columbia jacket and heavy boots. He topped off the sexy look with a hint of a beard—probably five or so days’ worth of dark scruff—and he looked a bit like a lumberjack. Or a ski instructor. Whatever the look was called, he was walking sex appeal.
She smiled again and was starting to leave when he held out a hand. “I’m Michael.”
Stopping, she shook with him. “Ah, Isa.”
“Nice to meet you.” When her fingers touched his she swore she felt an electric spark travel up her arm. Which was stupid, like something out of a clichéd romantic comedy, but she didn’t care.
“I was about to head across the street to the park to take my dog for a walk.” He motioned to the little gray and white fluffy dog secured outside, looking in the window, watching its master patiently and adoringly. “Want to join me?”
Isa needed to get back to work, but… “Okay.” She hadn’t been on a date in a while. Mainly because work was insane. And fate decided to drop this guy right in front of her? Yeah, she’d be an idiot to say no.
* * *
Shaking herself out of the buried memory, Isa glanced up from her temporary desk, expecting to see Hamilton Ridler, the CEO of Raptor Aeronautical, since it was Monday, the first day of her temporary job.
Instead it was Graysen, looking good enough to eat in a charcoal suit and a pale grayish-blue tie. It didn’t matter what the man wore—he always looked good. Something he knew and used to the best of his advantage. They hadn’t talked much in the last two weeks, and for that she was grateful. Now she only had one week to get through and she could tell Harrison she didn’t want to work with Graysen anymore.
He’d been here the whole time, working with Mr. Ridler as a new employee—one Ridler was supposedly personally grooming for a high management position. Graysen had been brought in early, and because of his new “position” he had the highest security clearance.
As did she. But she didn’t have to lie to the people she was working with about her temporary job. Not really. She’d been hired as a special analyst to see where the company could make some cuts. So of course everyone was terrified of her reporting to the big boss that their job was unnecessary. It also meant people avoided her, which was a good thing. She could do her work in peace, and mostly avoid Graysen in the process.
“Hi, Mr. Evans,” she said, using his alias for this job. For the next couple weeks, he was Garret Evans. She got to keep her first name; they’d just changed her last name.
“Isa.” He nodded once, his look smoldering as he leaned against the doorframe, not bothering to hide all that heat and hunger.
Gah, why couldn’t he keep that stuff to himself? She didn’t want to know how much he still wanted her. “Can I help you with something?”
He blinked, as if coming out of a trance. “Yes. I wanted to see if you’d have lunch with me today. You haven’t left your office all day.”
Frowning, she looked at the clock on her laptop and was surprised to see it was already one o’clock. “I’m not really hungry.” She could get like that when on a job—everything but her work took a back seat.
“I insist,” he murmured, stepping into the small office that consisted of a desk and an empty bookcase. At least it had a window, but other than that it was bare. There was something in his tone that made her straighten, however.
She stood and started to pick up her laptop but he gave a subtle shake of his head.
She picked up her purse instead, and even though she had questions, she didn’t bother asking. She would wait until they were alone.
Once they were in the hall he placed his hand on the small of her back, the action not exactly intimate but it somehow felt like it. “Thanks for taking this tour with me.” When he spoke it was a little too loud.
She quickly realized that it was because he wanted people to overhear him. He continued talking about the company and how even though he was new, that he and Mr. Ridler were going to make sure Raptor was running as smoothly as it could.
When they reached the elevators she started to ask him why he’d wanted her to leave her laptop but he shook his head again and casually scratched his ear. Oh, right, someone might be listening in the elevator. In past jobs that had never been an issue. She’d usually worked with Antoine, but they almost never had any interaction except right until the last day of a job. And even then their contact was covert.
A couple floors later Graysen steered her into what turned out to be a private, windowless office set up with multiple video feeds—including one of her office.
She turned to him, wide-eyed. “You’re watching me?” She couldn’t believe he hadn’t told her. Or that she hadn’t noticed a video camera.
He nodded and motioned to the desk with two takeout boxes. “I got you a spicy tuna roll and an edamame salad for our lunch date.”
She shouldn’t be surprised he remembered that was her favorite. “Thanks…but what is all this?”
“We’re staking out your office for the next hour.”
She snorted and took a seat in the surprisingly comfortable chair in front of her takeout box. It was cushioned and had a remote control to adjust the back setting as well as a heater for her butt. It had to be a couple grand, easy. “Where’d you get this seat?” she asked as he sat next to her in a normal-looking chair.
He shrugged as he adjusted one of the screens. “It was already in here… No one should bother us on this floor. It’s where we’ll set up our base of operations.”
But there was something in his tone that said it hadn’t been and she couldn’t help but wonder if he’d gotten it for her. She didn’t ask because she didn’t want the answer. “So, we’re staking out my office. Why didn’t you tell me before you had it wired?”
“I knew you’d act weird if you knew I had a camera on you.”
Well, that was true. “Okay, fair enough. So…this is a little different from what Antoine and I normally do for our jobs. I didn’t think you and I would have much contact.”
“As of this morning, Ridler told me that he’s certain someone is stealing from the company. Funds from two accounts have gone missing in the last twelve hours. Both over a hundred grand. He’s got one of his tech guys on it too, but because of the nature of this breach no one else knows about this.”