Nina grinned at him. "Enjoying the evening?” she asked.

“I think you know I’m not,” he replied.

She raised one eyebrow and stared at him over the rim of her glass. “Do I?”

Julian snagged a flute from a passing waiter and turned his attention fully on her. It was all she could do not to gasp under his heated scrutiny. It was as if he undressed her right then and there in front of a roomful of people. Her blood simmered and pooled low in her belly. He had beautiful eyes, and they were currently devouring her, delving beneath the modest evening gown she’d chosen. He made it seem like she wore the most scanty, revealing dress imaginable. She felt nude and vulnerable under his searing gaze. And somehow she had a feeling that he knew the kind of thoughts she was having about him...and that he was thinking it too. Why was he looking at her like that if he wasn't thinking about it? She shook the thought out of her head.

Focus. She told herself. Now is not the time.

“Tell me something, Nina," Julian began. "Why aren’t you over with the rest of the piranhas convincing me that your ad agency will take Mart Enterprises straight to the top?”

Her lips curved upward into a smile. “Because you already are at the top?” she said.

He smiled back, "Or maybe because we know each other, you just don't see the need. That's your plan right?"

"My plan?" she repeated, then she leaned closer to him, close enough so the scent of her perfume filled his nostrils. "Well, is it working?" she asked.

Julian grinned. “You’re such a tease,” he said.

At that her smile faded. He was right. She was flirting, and it was the last thing she wanted to do. She glanced across the room to where the other ad execs stood staring holes through her and Julian.

“I’m not desperate, Julian. It doesn't matter if we know each other or not. I know I’m good. I know my ideas for your ad campaign are spectacular. Does that make me arrogant? Maybe. But I don’t need to sell you on a load of malarkey.... And there is no 'plan'... Whatever you mean by that. I want to do this professionally, that's why I'm not playing the 'we know each other card.' All I need is the time to show you what Standard Gate Communications can do for you.”

do for me, Ni

nt innuendo. And then he went on to corre

u say, I’d hardly be taking on Standard gate and w

tage. Her fingers curled a little tighter around the glass

y, having obviously pick

relax. Believe me, you’d know th

m. She was unable to call back the shiver, or the sprinkling of chill bumps that danced

ard Gate, you won’t pawn me off to some junior executive. I’d expect y

ng with Standard Gate Commun

sip of his wine and then regarded her lazily. “If your pitch is go

“Only because you ha

odesty. I look forward to seeing what you have in mind, Red. I have a feeling you put every bit of that passion I see b

ked lightly. “I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed watchin

rby table.“Dance with me and we

es nar

ig deal. You are not a Stranger like most of these people. Look, I’ve also danced with

et it. You’re making your selection on w

resist the strong urge to flee the room. She hated the attention that Julian seemed to have no

ance, she set down her own glass and allowed

he and Julian didn’t look like lovers, but she knew the thought was present in both their minds. She could feel it.. This weird energy between them

all-male household growing up was the reason. Her family was a loud, demonstr