Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

She really should have turned him down, but having a client like Knight Construction would look very good in her advertisements. This would mean she could hire more employees, could make a lot more money, and could build a solid reputation in Seattle for being the best of the best. She’d been working toward that goal for seven years, and this time it would be in a respectable business.

She stood up, not caring if she should have waited for Byron to stand first. She was done with business and more than done with him as company. Byron didn’t take long to stand after she did. When he held up his hand again and had the waiter bring her coat over to him, she pushed back more irritation. But why was the man giving her coat to Byron instead of to her? Okay, the guy was just doing his job, so she chose not to snap at him.

“Thank you,” Byron said, dismissing the man. “We’re finished here.”

And McKenzie was left alone with the enemy.

“I appreciate it that you came to us for your needs,” McKenzie said, and she held out a hand.

“You know why I came to you, McKenzie.” His tone had changed, and his eyes were burning into hers.

“Because I’m the best at my job.”

She refused to play any games with this man. She considered herself worldly and experienced, but he made her feel like… Like what? Like a kitten? A little kitten with claws she didn’t know how to use yet.

“Yes, and because I have unfinished business with you,” Byron said.

“What unfinished business are you talking about?”

He stepped up close to her, his lips a firm line. He didn’t touch her, but he didn’t need to. This man commanded a room no matter where he was or who he was with — just as he was commanding her feet to stay firmly planted right there where they were.

She didn’t like it one little bit.

“You messed with my family,” he said. “Now it’s my turn to figure you out and find out if you have an ulterior motive for screwing with Blake.”

McKenzie gasped, too stunned for several moments to say a word. When she was finally able to speak, the words came out barely above a whisper. “Is this job fake?” She was finally able to take a step back.

“Not at all. If you please me in your work, I’ll back off. But I want to know what makes you tick. I don’t believe in lying and I’m not the easiest person to work for. So, if you can’t take the heat…” He left the sentence unfinished. He moved a step closer to match every step she took back until she found herself against the windows.

“Why should I take this job? From what you’ve said, it’s a losing battle, at least for me.” She sounded angry, but she was angriest at the slightly breathless quality in her tone.

“If you’re who I think you are, then, yes, you’ll lose.”

At least he was straightforward. But so was she.

“Then I shouldn’t take the job,” she said.

“The choice is yours.”

She firmed her shoulders. “I don’t play games, Byron,” she told him. Managing to step around him and free herself from his gaze, she looked out at the picturesque view over the bay.

“Neither do I,” he said. His hand came up to her shoulder and he turned her around to face him again.

Her heart was in her throat. She had no doubt that she should walk away, but the pay was great, and the reality was that she had nothing to hide, so there was no way for this man to hurt her. So, he would be the one losing this battle here, not her. If she backed down now, he would think she was up to something. Why was it that when a person looked at you as if you were guilty, it made you shift on your feet, even when you hadn’t committed the crime? She’d probably never have the answer to that.

Looking him in the eye, her back straight, she made her decision.

“Then we have an understanding.” Her voice was firm.

“I guess we do. Let’s seal the deal.”

McKenzie knew exactly how he planned on sealing the deal, and she was damned if she was going to let that happen. Stepping sideways, she managed to get away from his grasp, and after putting an appropriate distance between them, she stuck out her hand.

Byron smiled, though that smile certainly didn’t show up in his eyes, and finally he reached out and took her fingers. But instead of offering a handshake like a normal person did, he held tightly to them and then he was raising her hand to his lips and placing a kiss on her palm.

“I look forward to Monday,” he said, still holding her hand close to his mouth.

“You can release me now,” she said, her face blank, though she refused to break eye contact.

“Are you sure you want me to?”

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