Billionaire Bad BoyBy: C.J.Archer
"What makes you think I think you're an arrogant pig?" she asked, taking him to task on the least offensive comment. She should be polite to him, for now.
His lips twitched in that annoying, mocking way. "Women like you usually do."
She drew in a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Okay, I know I'll regret this, but what do you mean, women like me?"
He shrugged and stared directly at her with those sinful eyes. "Intelligent, conservative women."
She bristled. "You think you know me already, don't you. Well, Mr. DiMarco you've been here all of about ten minutes and let me tell you there's a lot more to me than a brain and, and...the clothes I wear."
"So you admit your clothes are conservative?"
"There's nothing wrong with my clothes! Some people might think they're conservative but a businesswoman can't wear sexy outfits or T-shirts with offensive slogans."
"Why not? Maybe you should try it one day. In fact, maybe I'll get you to try it this weekend. Something like what those girls are wearing."
He indicated the two starlets at a nearby table in their white shorts and low-cut tops with a good length of bare midriff exposed in between. Suddenly aware that the object of their temporary obsession was actually taking notice of them, they stopped giggling, replaced their grins with practiced expressions of boredom and thrust out over-sized breasts.
But Zack's attention had already returned to Annie. She had to admit, it felt good to be with him. He was smooth, sophisticated. Most men would let their gaze wander to the starlets, but he gave her his undivided attention. He knew exactly how to make the woman he was with feel good—and he was probably going to use every trick in his repertoire on Annie, just to amuse himself. Well, she certainly wouldn't fall for any of them. Plenty of men like him had tried when she was younger, but none had succeeded. She didn't care about their fickle, fake interest.
"I wouldn't be caught dead in something like that." She sniffed. "Besides, I don't have the figure for it."
Big mistake. Zack's gaze traveled from her face to her throat, then languidly over her breasts—where they lingered way too long—and down to her hips and legs. Her face flushed and she wished she'd worn long pants like usual instead of the short skirt.
"Oh, I don't know," he said quietly. "You might be able to pull it off."
She didn't know whether to be offended or flattered so she didn't say anything.
"I've embarrassed you," he said. "Sorry." He didn't look sorry. He looked amused.
"I'm not embarrassed. I'm just not sure this is appropriate conversation for two people who've just met."
"Maybe we should get to know each other first. That way I can work out what needs improving."
He held up his hands. "Sorry, wrong choice of words. It's just that Bob was very specific about what he wants. He wants a rebel. And," Zack sighed as he studied her again, quickly this time, "I just don't see an iced tea-drinking, suit-wearing woman as a rebel."
He had a point, but he didn't have to be so offensive about it.
"Speaking of Bob," she said, "how do you two know each other?"
He shrugged powerful shoulders. "He helped me out when I needed it most. Now it's my turn to return the favor. Bob asked, so here I am. Besides, it could be fun. It's not every day I get to teach an attractive woman how to behave badly."
Annie's entire body went numb. He thinks I'm attractive?
"Annie? Are you still with me?"
She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. "Uh, yeah. So you were going to tell me why you owe Bob."
"It's no big deal. But it's not casual conversation. Maybe I'll tell you when we know each other better."
Damn. She hated mysteries. She'd never been any good at reading crime novels, always skipping to the last page to see whodunit. Pity this wasn't a book. It would kill her to wait. All she knew from the gossip pages was that Zack had come from a poor background. But how did he get started in big business? He would have needed capital, contacts and financial know-how.
Zack watched as Annie's brain ticked over. He could almost see the cogs turning, considering every possibility. He doubted she'd ever guess how much Bob had done for him fifteen years ago.
But Like he'd said, it was no big deal. He just didn't want it splashed across the newspapers. In order to make ends meet, he'd stolen a vehicle. Bob's. When he learned who Bob was, Zack, possessing the gift of the gab, talked him into listening to a demo tape of his late father's, a songwriter. Bob had liked what he heard and agreed to represent Zack, his three brothers and two sisters. He landed them a very nice deal and the family collected a tidy sum from the royalties. Zack used his share to buy his first investment.