Taking On The Billionaire by Robin Covington

One


            Tess Lynch was a distraction.

            A sexy, smart, competent, mouth-wateringly tempting distraction.

            For the millionth time since he’d first met her, Adam Redhawk regretted his decision to take the office that was glass on three sides. Everyone had told him that this office, with its commanding prize of place in the corporate headquarters of Redhawk/Ling, was the best way to announce to the world that he was the CEO of a billion-dollar tech company.

            Now he’d give at least a million to get one damn solid wall.

            His luxury corporate fishbowl gave him zero opportunity to get his act together before his favorite redheaded private investigator sauntered into his space and plopped a thick file on the center of his desk. And God knew that Adam needed every second to get his act together when it came to Tess Lynch. He spared a glance at the pile of papers she’d tossed down, the sprawl of folders out of place on the immaculate desktop, but he couldn’t resist the compulsion to return his gaze back to her face and the sparkling flash of her golden-jade eyes.

            She was laughing at him, dammit.

            Of course she was.

            “Good afternoon, Ms. Lynch.” He glanced at his watch, knowing full well what time it was but taking the extra few seconds to school his expression before looking at her again. Her auburn curls were loose today and she wore a body-skimming dark pink dress that ended just above the knee. The entire outfit looked like it was specifically made to showcase her full, voluptuous figure. Tess reminded him of the classic film star Rita Hayworth, a favorite of his adoptive mother. Bold and self-assured, Tess was...breathtaking. “You’re late.”

            She laughed, tossing off her jacket and his censure at the same time. “Only fifteen minutes.”

            “That is still late.”

            He wanted to keep the steel in his voice, wanted to keep the necessary distance between them, needed to keep believing that he didn’t want her. But it was impossible when she slinked around the edge of his desk until there was barely an arm’s length between them. This close he could see the splash of freckles across her nose and smell the scent of her, soft and citrus sharp. Everything in his body went on high alert and he marveled that she didn’t feel the heat wafting off him in pulse-pounding waves.

            Temptation. If he looked the word up in the dictionary, she’d be there, complete with red-gold hair, freckles and a sly, kissable grin.

            “You’re right,” she agreed, surprising him with her quick acquiescence. Usually they sparred a bit longer before one of them begrudgingly conceded temporary defeat and they proceeded to take care of business. “But I knew you had a meeting with Justin right before this and he always starts fifteen minutes late and goes over by the same amount.” Tess leaned against his desk, her body language communicating just how much she didn’t care if he was irritated with her being late to the meeting. He watched as she picked up the pair of drumsticks on his desk and lazily twirled them between her slim fingers, the look in her eyes daring him to stop her. “So, Mr. Redhawk, I’m not late. I’m right on time.”

            Adam couldn’t argue with her. Her position was logical and fact based, two things that always made sense to him. And her lips twisting in a sexy “you know I’m right” smile crumbled any argument he was going to make.

            He grinned and nodded in concession while he reached out and took his sticks out of her hands and placed them back on the desk. “One day I’m going to take Justin’s watch and reset it so that he’ll be on time for once.”

            “That won’t work. You’d have better luck trying to change the tide.”

            That was true. His best friend and business partner marched to his own internal clock. He was never going to change.

            “How did the two of you ever become friends?” Tess asked, shifting over toward the grouping of personal photos on the low table behind his desk. She leaned over, focusing on one of Justin and him at Stanford. Two smiling idiots, stupid enough to think they could quit academia and make their dream come true.

            The idiots had done all right.

            “It was in the campus security lockup. Justin talked them into letting us go with just a warning.” Adam shook his head at the memory. What a pair of dumbass, know-it-all jerks they’d been back then.

            “I bet he did.” Tess laughed, shifting to peek up at him between glossy auburn curls. “What did you guys do to get busted by the cops?”