Matched to a Billionaire(73)

By: Kat Cantrell

“I’m fine.” He sent her another killer, knee-weakening smile. “I didn’t want you hurt, that’s all.”

The way those dark eyes held hers, and the soft, yet firm tone of his voice washed over her like a warm, protective blanket. She didn’t want to feel anything for this man. But that protective streak, and an underlying secret vulnerability, made him even more attractive in her eyes.

“I don’t think that’s all,” she commented, calling him out on whatever seemed to cripple him. “I don’t want to be rude, but you are working on a film about horses. Shouldn’t you know something about them?”

That sexy smile spread wider across his face as Grant eased forward with a slow, easy stride any cowboy would envy. But this man was from L.A., the city of sin and silicone. If it weren’t for the newly purchased clothes, which were so fresh looking they might as well have the tags dangling, Tessa would swear he lived on a farm.

But he was in the film industry. He probably always looked the part. Appearances were everything to shallow people.

Grant stopped when the tips of their boots nearly touched, and she had to either stare at the way his dark gray flannel stretched across his firm pecs, or glance up and meet that dark gaze. Either body part would tempt a nun, and Tessa was finding it hard to remember what she was saying when he towered over her and looked straight down into her eyes as if he could see her deepest secrets.

She’d been tempted before in her twenty-five years, but never this fast, this hard. Tessa feared she might be in over her head with Grant Carter because they’d been in each other’s presence for mere moments, which was barely a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things.

“Learning all about horses is why I have you. I’ve waited years to get a project of this caliber.” His eyes roamed over her face, from her eyes to her lips and back up. “And when I want something, I find a way to make it mine.”

Why did those arrogant words hold such promise? And why did she delight in the way chills raced over her body?

Had she not learned her lesson? Pretty words and attractive men were all around her in this industry. She’d been naive enough to fall for a smooth talker, had nearly taken his ring while dreaming about their future. She wouldn’t make that mistake twice.

And she certainly had no room for overeager hormones. She had races to win and titles to collect. Nothing could come between her and her goal…not even if it was wrapped in chiseled muscle and a white-knight attitude.

But she couldn’t deny the man tempted her more in these few moments than her ex had in the months they’d been together.

Tessa was proud she still had her virginity. Some women might be embarrassed by the fact, but she felt that was just another layer of her strong will. And a promise to her late mother.

But Grant did make her hyperaware of desires she’d never fully engaged in.

Good grief, why did she have sex on the brain? She’d just met this man, but those broad shoulders and mesmerizing eyes, combined with his protective streak, made all her lonely girlie parts perk up and wonder exactly what she was missing out on.

“I’m not interested in anything other than my racing and my horses,” she told him, damning her voice when it didn’t sound as strong as she’d wanted. “Don’t waste your fancy charms on me.”

One corner of Grant’s mouth lifted in a mocking smile. “Oh, my fancy charms aren’t going to waste, Tessa. You’re just as attracted as I am. It’s natural to see a beautiful person and allow your mind to wander into fantasy. There’s no need to deny the facts.”

Tessa laughed, took a step back and crossed her arms over her chest again. “If your ego is going to be the third wheel, we may have to adjust the spreadsheet to accommodate. But I’m afraid my time can’t be stretched so thin, so check it at the door, Slick.”

Grant laughed and, damn him, she just knew if she was going to lie around him, she’d have to be more convincing. There was no way she could let her guard down, or she’d find herself falling directly into his seductive, high-class world.

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