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Slade Martin is under attack. An electronic thief absconded with all his liquid personal wealth and someone on his board of directors is plotting a hostile takeover. The obvious culprit isn’t the guilty party, and Slade gets help to find the real perpetrator from a surprise source – the lovely and capable Iris D’Vance.
Iris D’Vance is determined to not repeat her mistakes with men – until she meets Slade Martin, and decides all bets are off. Accepting the invitation to sit on the board of Slade’s charitable foundation lands her in the middle corporate intrigue. Slade needs her help and makes her an offer she can’t turn down.
There she was, weaving her way through the crowd, arm-in-arm with another woman. They laughed easily, comfortable in the other’s presence, walking past him without noticing him. Slade rose and followed at a discreet distance. When they reached the street, Iris’ companion hopped into a taxi, and Iris turned and strolled toward the corner where a hover-limo sat waiting.
Hover-limos were pricey, not something your average city dweller could afford. Slade hoped that was her vehicle and she wasn’t walking about the city alone.
He fell into step beside her. She jumped, startled, then recognition flickered in her eyes and her shoulders relaxed.
“Iris. What a pleasure to run into you again. How was the movie?”
“Slade.” She licked her rosy pink lips with her moist tongue. Slade stared, forgetting to breathe. Thankfully, she kept talking and he managed to keep from dissolving into a puddle at her feet. “How nice to see you again. I didn’t know you were a movie devotee.”
Slade smiled down at her. “That’s movie ‘buff’, Iris.”
“Of course. Sorry. I don’t do well with slang.”
“I don’t always, either. Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee? Or a nightcap? Your choice.”
Iris looked him up and down, a curious glint in her honey-hazel eyes. “I’d love to.” She pointed at the limo. “That’s my car.”
“I’m glad. You shouldn’t be walking about the city alone, you know.”
“Oh, Mr. Martin. If I were you, I wouldn’t presume to tell me what to do.”
The light, teasing way she said it didn’t belie the seriousness with which her warning was delivered. Slade heard the message loud and clear. They’d reached the limo and he opened the door for her, taking her hand to balance her as she climbed in.
An electric shock shot up his arm. Her scent, all fresh strawberry and vanilla, from her soap or maybe shampoo, imbedded in his brain as she brushed against him. No cloying perfumes for Iris, just natural woman.
Slade was in trouble, the kind that he didn’t have time for right now, and he knew it. He hopped in after her and slammed the door shut.
“Can your chauffeur hear us?”
Her chin lifted. “If I want him to, yes. Should I want him to, Mr. Martin?”
Slade shook his head. “No. I’m glad we can speak freely.” He groaned inwardly as Iris pursed her pouty lips. The woman was just too sexy. He had to get a grip on his libido, and the situation. There were more pressing issues to discuss than stealing a kiss.
“Slade, perhaps you should just blurt out what you think it is I’m going to do to you and your precious foundation.”
“Oh, so now it’s ‘Slade’ again, is it?”
Iris sighed and ran her fingers through her shoulder-length, brown tresses. The silver ring sparkled on her finger. She leaned back in the corner of the seat and glared at him.
“Here it is, Slade. I’m not sure how I came to be invited to sit on your board. If you didn’t want me there, why ask me?”
Slade appreciated her gloves-off approach, and adopted it in the hopes she would appreciate it.
“Farnsmore recommended you, and the other board members agreed.”
She met his gaze without flinching. “All but you?”
His Iris certainly was direct, and he admired that. “I agreed. I’m familiar with your charitable endeavors.” He leaned back on the leather seat and crossed his legs at the ankles in the roomy space between them before he continued.
“What puzzles me is your connection to Farnsmore.”
Iris shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I tried to tell you. I never met Reginald Farnsmore before today, but I’m going to make it my business to find out whatever I can about him. Are you curious as to why, Mr. Martin?”
“Sure. Enlighten me.”
Her eyebrow rose at his brazen challenge.
“He makes the hair on my arms stand on end.”
Slade watched her without comment. She stared back, unblinking. Iris D’Vance was cold as ice and he planned to be the one to heat her up. “I bet if I tried to kiss you, you’d rip my lips off my face, wouldn’t you?”
Her chin lifted, and her eyes narrowed. Without a word, she dared him to try it. Heat pooled in his groin, his body tightened. Thank God it was dark in the back of the limo and she wouldn’t notice the front of his jeans rising.
What the hell was wrong with him? This woman was likely part of the plot to strip him of everything.
His gut instincts denied it.
Iris hadn’t moved, or looked away. Slade eased across the compartment onto the seat beside her. How long had it been since he’d kissed a woman? Months? Camilla had been the last, and he shouldn’t give that faithless bitch a thought, not now, not with Iris so near. Slade put his arm around her shoulders and drew her to him, unresisting. His mouth lowered to hers.