From Enemies to Expecting(3)

By: Kat Cantrell

“I own suits,” he muttered, loath to release her and completely aware that he should have ended the handshake at least thirty seconds ago. “I’d rather go naked than wear one.”

What was he doing?

Get a grip, McLaughlin. This woman was the polar opposite of his type, and flirting with her could only lead to disaster, especially since they were supposed to be focused on winning. Unfortunately, he had a feeling the disaster train had already pulled out of the station.

“Naked is my favorite, too.” Her voice had dropped back into the throatiness he much preferred. That was not going to work, either. “Trinity Forrester. Yes, as in the holy trinity, the chick in The Matrix and the river. I’ve heard all the jokes, so save them.”

“I guess I’m not allowed to ask if you’re overly religious, then.”

She smiled, leaning in close enough to share a whiff of her exotic scent that of course only added to her allure.

“If you do, you get my standard answer. ‘Any man in a ten-foot radius is expected to treat me like a goddess. You can get started worshipping me any time.’”

Oh, she’d like that, wouldn’t she? His eyes narrowed.

If they were going to be teammates, they had to get a few things straight. No flirting. No throaty voices coupled with come-hither glances. Logan called the shots, and Ms. I’ve Heard All the Jokes had better be able to keep up. Sexy heels were optional.

* * *

The cameras had captured every word of the exchange. So far, so good.

The more the cameras tuned in to Trinity, the more times the producers would overlay her name and Fyra Cosmetics on the screen. You couldn’t buy better advertising than that, and Fyra needed all the positive press it could get.

Trinity Forrester would get that press come hell or high water. Nothing could be allowed to happen to her company, the one she and her three best friends from college had built from a concept and a dream. Thanks to an internal saboteur, Fyra was struggling. As the chief marketing officer, Trinity took the negative publicity personally. It was her job to stop the hemorrhaging. Exec-ution was step one in that plan.

Otherwise, she’d be in her office hard at work on the campaign for Formula-47, the new product they’d hoped to launch in the next couple of weeks.

Mr. McLaughlin still had her hand in his as if he might not let go. Perfect. The more enthralled he was, the easier it would be to take charge. Men never paid attention to her unless they wanted to get her into the sack, mostly because that was the way she preferred it. Sex was the only thing she’d ever found worth doing with a man.

She smiled at Logan for good measure. He had good ole Texas boy baked into his DNA. Toss in his longish brown hair that constantly fell in his face and his casual clothes, and yeah, Logan McLaughlin was the epitome of the all-American type. Also known as a nice guy.

Nice guys were always hiding something not so nice, and she’d learned her lesson a long time ago when it came to trusting men—don’t. A surprise pregnancy in her early twenties had cured her of happily-ever-after dreams when the father of her baby took off, and then a miscarriage convinced her she wasn’t mother material anyway.

“Mr. McLaughlin,” she murmured. “Perhaps you’d give me my hand back so we can get to work?”

He dropped it like he’d discovered a live copperhead in his grip and cleared his throat. “Yeah. Good idea.”

They retrieved a sealed envelope from the show’s host, and Logan followed Trinity to an area with an easel and large pad of paper for brainstorming. Her fingers itched to mark up those pristine white pages with diagrams. If that didn’t jump-start her missing muse, nothing would. Though she’d tried a lot of things.

The cameraman wedged into the small area with them, still rolling. Perfect. She’d have to come up with more outrageous things to do, just to ensure the editors had plenty to work with. Coming in late had been a stroke of brilliance. And McLaughlin’s face when she’d informed him he couldn’t hold fifteen minutes against her...priceless. He was obviously a rule follower. Shame.

He tore open the envelope and pulled out the contents, scanning it quickly. “We have to run a lemonade stand in Klyde Warren Park. Whichever team makes the most money wins the task and avoids execution.”

“Excellent.” Rubbing her hands together, she then quickly sketched out her vision for the stand, filling in small details like cross-hatching to indicate shadowing. “Orange will be the best color to paint the booth. Good contrast against green, assuming we’ll be in the grassy part of the park.”

Her partner loomed at her shoulder, breathing down her neck as he stretched one muscular arm out to stab the pad. “What is this?”

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