Hot, Sexy & Bad(10)

By: Judy Angelo



Still, she was a pretty good actress so, feigning composure, she walked toward her surprise visitor. “Mr. Milano. Welcome to Talk of the Town. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Call me Rome,” he said with a slight bow of the head and then he took her hand.

And, if he’d wanted to throw her off balance, he was doing a darned good job. Just his touch was enough to send her pulse racing. And not to mention those piercing brown eyes that never ceased to send thrills up and down her spine.

When he released her it was all she could do to keep from shoving her hand in her pocket to hide it from view. The last thing she needed was for the man to see the effect he was having on her.

“Rome,” she said with a nod, “come in, please. Have a seat.” Waving him over to the empty chair, she escaped to the safety of her desk. She was more than happy to hide behind that shield.

Once he’d settled in his seat she drew in a stealthy, calming breath and put on her ‘woman-in-charge’ face. “So,” she said with a lift of her eyebrows, “how may I help you?”

Rome relaxed in the chair then gave her a slow, easy smile that oozed confidence and charm. It was bad enough that the man was sinfully handsome. Did he have to be so darned smooth as well? “Miss Angelis,” he said then paused and cocked an eyebrow. “May I call you Arie?” At her nod he continued. “Arie, I’m here because I want to apologize.”

That made Arie’s ears perk up. “Apologize?”

“Yes. I owe you an apology for not doing my homework.” His smile disappeared and his face turned serious. “Aristotle Angelis, co-founder and owner of Talk of the Town, the number one catering company in the State of Louisiana. I should have known this when you walked into my office yesterday. I’m sorry.”

“Oh.” She was so surprised at his apology that, for the moment, she was lost for words. In her head she’d created such an ugly picture of him – jerk, ogre, male chauvinist pig – that his apology threw her totally off balance.

As if he didn’t even notice her confusion, Rome continued speaking. “I’ve been accused more than once of being a chauvinist.” He gave her a crooked smile. “Yesterday was a demonstration of that.” His smile softened and he gave her a look that was hard to resist. “Let me make it up to you. Have dinner with me. Please.”

Another surprise. Arie stared at him for a second and then she shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

Now it was his turn to be surprised. The sudden lift of an eyebrow, the slight twist of his lips, they were enough to tell her that Rome was not used to being turned down. But he recovered soon enough, his smile returning full force. “Are you going to make me beg?”

Enjoying having the upper hand, Arie shrugged casually. “Sounds good.”

Rome laughed and it was a comfortable, genuine laugh that had her smiling back. “Okay then, I’ll beg. Aristotle Angelis, will you have dinner with me? I’m begging.”

That made her laugh and, whether it was the wisest decision or not, there was no way she could turn him down now. Still, she had to rub it in just a little more. “Hmm, I don’t know…” She rubbed her chin as if deep in thought.

“Please.” Rome shook his head, still smiling. “Do I need to get down on one knee?”

Now that would be too much. She could just imagine the wild fantasies that would start flying around in her head if he ever did something like that. And, as she well knew, those over-the-top fantasies would never come true. Not in this life, anyway. “No, don’t,” she said quickly when it looked like he was about to do what he threatened. “I accept.”

“Thank you.” Rome gave her a satisfied look that had her thinking. The man was a master manipulator, that much was clear, but she could manipulate, too. Little did he know it.

Because, when you looked at it, it was she who’d gotten what she wanted. For some reason the stars were lined up in her favor and, just like she’d dreamed, she would be seeing more of Rome, the looker.

Within minutes they’d agreed on date, time and location for their date and Arie couldn’t have been more pleased.

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