GAMBLING ON LOVE (Travis Series) (2 page)

BOOK: GAMBLING ON LOVE (Travis Series)
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Sam found her candor refreshing
.
“Sometimes.

When she arched a disbelieving brow, he grinned
.
“Okay, most of the time
. I
t’s nice to find someone secure enough in themselves
that
my bite
doesn’t
scare them off.

He held out his hand
.
“My name is Sam, by the way.”

Beth opened her mouth to speak but decided it was probably wiser not to give a stranger her real name
.
“Anne,” she said, “Anne Dawson.

It wasn’t a total lie, she justified to herself
.
Anne was her middle name and Dawson had been her mother’s maiden name.

“Anne,” his deep voice repeated, still holding her hand.

The way he said her name sent a flurry of b
utterflies
loose
in her stomach
. F
or a moment, his hypnotic eyes held hers
.
“I
…I
need to finish my work
,
Mr. Travis.”
She pulled her hand away, hastily averting his gaze.

“Sam,” he corrected.

Beth turned her attention to the report, typing at a furious pace
.
Quite some time later, she hit the
Save
button and closed her laptop with a satisfied smile
.
Her client wouldn’t be happy with what her report revealed but he
would
be impressed with her thoroughness
. T
he steep fee she’d charge would be paid without hesitation.
 

As a corporate investigator, it was her job to enter a corporation incognito, usually as a
senior executive
, to investigate a corporate crime
.
In this case, she’d been hired to
discover
who was embezzling from the corporation and how it was done
.
As it turned out, it was the owner’s brother who
had
been stealing from the company by requisitioning hundreds of thousands of dollars for supplies and equipment that was never actually purchased
.
H
e us
ed
the money to buy stock in the company, apparently hoping to acquire enough shares
over time
to have the majority vote
.
She leaned back, already planning her strategy for the next job she’d accepted.

Sam studied the face of the woman next to him
.
At the moment, she had her eyes closed.
Now
that he had a chance to get a good look at her, he realized how wrong he’d been to think she was plain
.
Wisps of auburn hair curled around her delicate features
.
Her eyes were the light blue of a summer sky and her lips were
curved
invitingly into a soft smile
.
She had a slim figure and from what he could tell, her breasts were full and round beneath the awful t-shirt she wore.

He liked her spirited personality and the fact she
didn’t
quake when he spoke
.
As
the first stirrings of desire
ignited, Sam
decided he
would
have Miss Anne Dawson in his bed before the night was through
.
She was going to pose
more of a challenge than most women he
dated
,
but that
only
increased his attraction towards her
.
He was bored
with the women who tumbled so freely into his bed, although it certainly didn’t stop him from taking
advantage when the urge struck him
.

Beth opened her eyes to find Sam staring at her again and arched a brow
.
“Are you having second thoughts about being seen with someone so plain?”
 

Sam disarmed her with
a
rakish grin
.
“No, I think you’ll clean up nicely.”

“I’m overwhelmed by your flattery,” she said
, her tone dripping with sarcasm
.
Sam laughed
,
the deep, rich sound of it set
ting
off another round of wildly flapping butterfly wings.
 

“I guess that didn’t sound like much of a compliment, did it
?
You’re a beautiful woman, Anne Dawson
;
why do you go to such lengths to cover it up?”

Beth shrugged
.
“A woman traveling alone doesn’t want attention drawn to herself and I’ve been traveling for almost four days.”
 

“Business?”

“My business was completed four days ago
.
I always treat myself with down time afterwards.”

“So you toured the ruins of Greece by yourself
?
If we
had
only met earlier, I could have shown you around.”

“Somehow, I can’t picture you playing tour guide unless there was something in it for you at the end.”

Sam grinned
.
“You’re very observant, Anne.”

“And
you
are painfully obvious, Sam
.” She
returned his grin.

His soft laughter sent an unexpected thrill
racing
through her and she could almost hear the warning bells going off in her head
.
Sam Travis was a dangerous man
.
Beth hastily gathered her purse
.
“Thank you for letting me
sit
here
.
I’ll give you back your privacy now.

She started to rise when Sam’s strong hand clamped over hers.

“I’ve finished my work
.
You can stay if you’d like.”

She
would
like to stay
;
that was the problem
.
Losing
herself in the depths of Sam’s green eyes
would be entirely too easy
.
Beth shook her head.
 

“Thank you
.
But a deal is a deal
.
Just tell me where to meet you tonight and what time.”

Sam frowned
.
“I can pick you up, Anne
.
It wouldn’t look
right
to have my date meet me there.”

Beth
thought about it for a moment
. S
he didn’t like the idea of giving a total stranger her address, regardless of how handsome or charming he was
.
“Where’s this dinner at?”

“My clients are staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard
.
They’ve got the Crystal Ballroom reserved for the night.”

“Meet me in front of the Carousel on the Santa Monica Pier
.
It’s only about twenty minutes from the hotel.”

Sam conceded, albeit reluctantly.
“The dress is semi-formal
.
If you don’t have anything appropriate, I can set something up with one of the shops on Rodeo Drive
.
You can buy whatever you want
and
have it charged to my account.”

His
suggestion
shouldn’t have
made her angry, but it did
.
The fact that he
had
an account set up at the women’s boutiques on Rodeo told Beth he was accustomed to purchasing expensive clothing for his dates. Irrational as it seemed
, his offer
made her feel cheap, as if he was paying for her services
.

“I think I can come up with something appropriate,” she said stiffly
.
“What time will you pick me up?”

Sam noticed the change in her demeanor immediately
.
“Did I say something to offend you?”

“I don’t want you to think I’m like one of your hired escorts
.
I can’t be bought, Sam, so if you’re making plans
for
how this night will end


“I didn’t mean it that way, I promise
.
I just didn’t want you to pay for a new dress out of your own pocket if you didn’t already have something.

He smiled at the indignant way she
held
her head
.
“I’m sorry if I insulted you
.
M
ost of my clients have come to expect a certain caliber of woman on my arm and believe it or not,
I nearly lost a
deal  when
the escort service sent me a woman who didn’t live up to their expectations.”

Beth gaped at him as if he’d sprouted an extra head
.

That’s archaic!
Are you telling me they judge your ability to handle their business based on how good your date looks
?”
She shook her head
.
“I’m not sure I like being put on display like a champion mare.”

“A deal
is
a deal,” Sam reminded her.

“I guess it’s your money
.
You’re not going to blame me if I don’t live up to their
expectations
, are you?”

“I’m not worried,” he said confidently.

Beth’s eyes were drawn to his a
nd
she suddenly
found herself wondering what it would be like to go on a real date with Sam Travis.
Her
gaze strayed to his lips
. F
or a fleeting moment she
envisioned his strong arms encircling her waist
, imagined him drawing her closer for a kiss that stole her breath with its
fire and
passion
.
A soft blush
crept
up her neck when his mouth curved into a cocky grin as if he knew exactly what she was thinking
.
She cleared her throat, focusing on the purse clutched in her hands.
 

“What time?”
 

“I’ll pick you up at six
thirty
.
We should be landing soon so that will give you about four hours
.
Is that enough time?”

Beth laughed
.
“Why
?
Does it seem so impossible I could look presentable in only four hours?”

“There I go insulting you again
.” He
shook his head remorsefully, though his eyes danced with amusement.
 

“Somehow, I doubt you ever feel sorry for anything you say or do.

Beth stood and held out her hand
.
“Thank you again for letting me
sit
here
.
It was nice meeting you, Sam Travis.”

Sam took her hand, marveling at how firm her handshake was in contrast to the incredible softness of the hand itself
.
“I’ll see you at six
thirty, Anne.”
 

He
leaned around the seat
to watch her walk down the aisle, thoroughly enjoying the gentle sway of her hips as she moved
.
He hadn’t
looked forward to one of these social gatherings
in quite some time
and
found himself anticipating the evening with eagerness
.
If everything went well, he might even consider seeing her for a second time, which was not something he did often.
 

Sam had a very healthy sexual appetite
,
which he satisfied when the need arose, but he had no desire to become emotionally involved
.
Because
most women he met tended to become clinging vines after the second date, he rarely took any of them out more than once
.
He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to happen with Anne, but his interest was definitely piqued.

 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                       *
**

BOOK: GAMBLING ON LOVE (Travis Series)
2.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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