Read Stirred Online

Authors: Lucia Jordan

Stirred (2 page)

Eva was
amazed she could be talking to him in this way. Especially when he suddenly
looked so speculative. Quickly, she tried to bring things back to a more
manageable level. No use waving a red flag at him. The last thing she wanted
was for him to think she was
challenging
him. No way. Men like Max Nolan ate women like her for breakfast.

She
knew all about his conquests, his success with women. He was perpetually single
and yet always seemed to be just done with his last whirlwind love affair. The
latest had been some hotel chain heiress barely older than Eva, and the
three month
romance had ended with the heiress fleeing the
country to Europe to nurse her wounded feelings.

“I’d
like to personally thank you for the kind and very generous donation you made
to the Foundation tonight,” she said with a sincere smile.
 
“It seems like each time we meet, you’re
giving something away.” Eva was trying at humor to douse the crackling
atmosphere – but at least it was true; this was the second time they’d be
meeting at a charity event. From what she heard, he wasn’t much into the “in”
parties so perhaps it was only events like these he really bothered to grace
his presence with.

She had
to look away from his burning gaze, wondering how such blue eyes could bring
off so much heat. “There’s one thing I’m not giving anything away tonight,” he
said, his tone rumbling.

Eva
knew she was asking for trouble, but she asked anyway. “And what’s that?”

“Opportunity,”
he told her plainly, his tone soft. “I’m going to do what I should have done
the first time I saw you. Make my move. Make you mine.”

 

Chapter Two

Eva
gulped in air with difficulty. Oh boy. There was no mistaking the look in his
eye, the timber in his sexy, slightly accented voice. Her heart pounded in time
with the pulsing between her legs and she almost, almost actually considered
what he was saying.

Max
Nolan. And her. He wanted to make
her his
. Seriously.

“Seriously?”
she said out loud before she could stop herself, and saw him smirk.

“As
seriously as wanting to fling you over my shoulder, whisk you away somewhere
dark and private, and then fuck you for hours. Seriously,” he said, very
deeply. His eyes bored into hers as he spoke.

Eva’s
teeth sank into her lower lip as the fairytale moment of being
desired
by Max Nolan washed over her.
She closed her eyes briefly, savoring the thought, the images it created. But
even as the concept sank into her senses like hot coals on a bed of ice, she
came away feeling bereft.

“Bad idea,
Mr. Nolan,” she said on a regretful sigh. “You and me, I mean.”

“How is
it bad?”
 
he
asked quietly. “And do you think you could ever bring yourself to call me Max?”

“Okay,
sure. Max.” She could agree to that. But anything else…Her expression told him
she wasn’t budging.

 
“What did he do to you?” Max Nolan asked
softly, eyes narrowing.

“I
don’t know what you mean,” she mumbled, inwardly panicking.

“Oh
yes, you do. Men like Leon– they suck out the life from a woman, make her
feel like she needs to overcompensate for their own shortcomings. I knew he was
all wrong for you.”

“And
you’re all right?” she couldn’t help teasing with a twisted smile.

“Try
me,” he said softly.

“I
can’t,” she said with firmness. What could she tell him? That her last
relationship ended in a fiasco? The sex hadn’t been great – at all
– and she’d come away feeling she was frigid – or worse, couldn’t
attract a man in bed. Oh, she knew she was beautiful, even sexy. But behind
closed doors…a man like Max Nolan – it would be devastating if he finally
discovered how she was lacking.

So…
The
last thing she wanted, was to jump in on the rebound
especially with the first hunky stud who asked her. She wasn’t sure she could
take the turmoil if she tried and failed again. She didn’t even want to
consider it.

*

“One
night,” he said, surprising her, making her head snap up to his.


What
?” she asked, green eyes wide. She
felt his hand slide around her wrist, tight and warm. The heat of his touch
sped up her arm and spread to the nerve endings of her body.
What was it about this guy?
He simply
oozed sexuality. All the more reason why she should run the other way, she
decided. She was the least sexual person she knew
;
no
match for Max.

“How do
I put this more plainly, Eva?” he mused, his thumb stroking into her skin
tantalizingly, distractingly. She swallowed, waiting for his next words.

“I want
you in my bed. I’ve wanted that since the first time I turned around and you
were there, standing next to that chinless twit Leon Steinberg. There isn’t a
night I haven’t thought about you, wondered whether I’d ever get the right
moment.”

“The
“right moment”?” she repeated on a shaky, breathless laugh. “So, a chance
second meeting at a charity event is your right moment?”

“Who
said it was chance? How do you know I haven’t done a bit of checking up on you,
finding out more about you, enough to know when and how we could bump into each
other? What would you say if I told you I came here fully aware that I’d see
you again?”

“I’d
say stop pulling my leg,” she said, hardly breathing especially when his eyes
darkened.

“Funny
what those words bring to my mind,” he said wolfishly, before lifting her hand
to his lips, inhaling the base of her wrist, and then kissing it. She shuddered
unstoppably.

“Almost
everyone in the room’s watching us,” he told her in light tone. “And I can bet
anyone can tell in a minute that here’s one man very taken with this lovely
blonde bombshell. They’re wondering if you’ll let me have my way – or
whether you’ll play safe and run to mommy and hide.”

He
smiled teasingly as her eyes shot sparks at him. “Your mother’s looking right
this way, as a matter of fact,” he said mildly. “I’m trying to figure out if
that look on her face is horror or surprise.”

“A bit
of both I’m sure. She must know your reputation,” Eva said smartly.

“Ah…my
reputation,” he said as if in dawning realization. “Well, you’ll be happy to
know that I’m well on the road to reform. For the right woman, I’d be willing
to change my wicked ways.”

Eva
huffed, enjoying the banter despite
herself
. She
turned to him and saw with a curvy smile, “Well, maybe it’s your wicked side
that makes you so irresistible, Mr. Nolan.”

She saw
his eyes gleam, and chewed on her lip in consternation. She really shouldn’t be
flirting with him, she decided. Tugging her hand firmly from his hold, she said
regretfully. “It was nice meeting you again, but…”

“So you
think I’m irresistible?” he pressed, cutting through her words with his
bantering tone.

“Women
think you are,” she said with a shrug. “In general.”

He
chuckled deeply at her reply. “You could never bore me, my sweet – I can
tell that in a flash.”

Really?
She wanted to say mildly. Wait till you get me into bed. I’ve been told I can
bore a man to tears in there.

Remembering
the things Leon had said, which had been along those lines, made her eyes cloud
over.

“I
could kill him, you know,” Max said on a furious, low growl. Once again, he
amazed her at how well he seemed to be reading her mind. “I can see it in your
eyes. How much he hurt you.”

Drawing
in a deep sigh, she said firmly, “Look… I appreciate your concern and
everything…but whatever you’re asking, I can’t. I just can’t. I’m sorry.”

She
sped away before he could stop her, into the crowd. Away from the danger that
was Max Nolan…and yet knowing that every step she took from him caused her to
ache with regret.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter Three

The
next week her boss, the editor of their online magazine, summoned her in.
Something about running a very important interview with the billionaire
Australian cowboy who never ever gave interviews but was willing to do one with
them.

“Wait
– what?” Eva asked in shock. She was only beginning to actually pay
attention. Her heart was tripping as Nelly, her editor, stared at her over the
rims of her stylish half-moon glasses.

“Eva,
I’m talking about Max Nolan. He’s agreed to let us interview him. And guess
what, he wants you to do the piece.”

“Me?”
Eva coughed, wondering why she was even surprised. This looked just like
something he would do – wouldn’t it?

“Yes,
you. He asked for you in person. Seems like he liked the one you did weeks ago on
that young hopeful who’s interested in becoming mayor – or something.
Look, whatever. We’ve got our first big break and you will not blow it, do you
understand?”

“But…if
someone else could just…”

“What
part of “he asked for you by name” don’t you understand?” her waspish editor
said over those intimidating glasses. “When you came on here as an intern, you
gave the impression you wanted to do great journalism. Well, this is your big
chance.
Our big chance.
I’m not really sure why the
Max Nolan would pick us, but I’m over the moon about it. What a scoop, Eva. Our
online standing will hit the roof.”

“Yeah.
Sure,” Eva said, heart sinking to her peep-toe shoes. Just what was Max up to
now? Did she even need to wonder?

He had
some kind of manor home he stayed when he was in the country from Australia. Nelly
gave her the details plus the number of his PA, who Eva had to call to make
sure about the time and date of the interview.

“Mr.
Nolan has scheduled to meet with you tomorrow. He’s not doing pictures, so you
wouldn’t need to bring a camera or a cameraman. We’ll have to use some from the
ones we have on file. But you still need to ring his PA to make sure exactly,”
Nelly told her authoritatively.

Eva
left her boss’s office with a heart that alternatively felt like lead and then
pumped like she was running the half-marathon. In her own cubicle down the
corridor, she reached for the phone and drew a deep breath before calling the
required number.

“Ah,
Miss Fowler,” a strange, middle-aged female voice said on the other end, “Yes,
the interview is still set for tomorrow. However Mr. Nolan has only been able
to fix the time around evening. He was hoping you would join him for dinner at
his home. I’m sure the interview can easily be handled over a nice tasty meal?”
Her voice was courteous, even friendly.

Eva
thought of Nelly’s splenetic face, and sighed inwardly. How could Eva say no? “It
certainly can. Please tell Mr. Nolan I’ll make it.”

 

*

Eva arrived
at his beautiful, stately home, reining in her inner annoyance at his tactics.
Looked like the one week since the party had only made him more intent to have
his way.

She
walked up the stone steps to the impressive front door, and knocked. To her surprise,
he opened.

“Eva.
Welcome,” he said simply, and she warned herself to not be disarmed by his
easy, pleased charm. “I’m glad you could make it,” he added as she walked in,
handing him her coat.

“At the
threat of losing my job, I had no choice,” she said wryly, standing in the
palatial hallway and trying not to stare at him in his immaculate white dress
shirt and dark, well-fitting pants. She’d said no to
this
guy?

Common
sense prevailed over hormones, and she walked primly next to him as he led her
through his home.

“We
will be dining alone,” he said, “Everything’s prepared and just requires
serving, which I will do myself.” He smiled at the somewhat stony look on her
face. “I just wanted us to have some together time, Eva. And this was the best
way I could come up with at short notice. Forgive me?”

She
huffed slightly. “Just so you know, I’m here for the interview. Nothing more.
We dine, we talk,
then
I leave.”

“If
that’s the way you really want it to go,” he said, still with the tilted smile
on his face. She let out an angry little sigh, and then told herself that all
she had to do was try to get through the next two hours, that was all.

They
settled in to dine. He was the perfect host, setting out the courses. The food
was delicious, and they were also able to conduct the interview while they ate.
She had her tape recorder on, and focused on the questions she’d worked out
with her boss, stuff their kind of readers would want to find out about the
Australian whose holdings spanned from his home country down to theirs. He was
the perfect success story, taking up the struggling family business and turning
it into a gold mine before age thirty. He was a role model too for the substantial
financial aid he provided both in the third world countries as well as closer
to home.

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