Emma sauntered toward the exit ahead of Nathan, stopping, intent on paying for her portion of the meal, being the independent type.  “Emma, please.  My invitation, my treat.”

She tossed her head looking him directly in the eye.  “Alright, this time.” At his lifted brow, she smiled.  ‘Hmm, not used to gentle confrontation or resistance. Lovely.’

Since her boss knew where she’d been headed, he’d given her carte blanc to take as much time as required.  Heading out past the boats lining the wharf, Nathan wrapped an arm around her, sliding his fingers up and down her delectable skin. Moving closer he whispered close to her ear, “You smell delectable. I want to breathe you in, every time I’m near you.”

“It’s called Fire ‘n Ice.  Any drug store has it.” She had to smirk at the surprise reflected in his eyes.

“Let’s walk.”  He pulled her closer infusing her with subtle body heat.  It felt good, and though she knew she should pull away, couldn’t. She wanted more. It aggravated her that he had this unseen power.  She knew the reports that he was a player were rampant, but from what she’d witnessed, she doubted those reports and couldn’t help but wonder why.

“Nathan, why are there so many reports about you being a “player” when I watched you and your interactions at the gala. You were courteous and helpful and that’s all.”

“Don’t believe everything you read, Emma.  I have enemies and there are many jealous of my success and dubious sorts will print anything for sales.”

Turning to stare up into his face she quickly replied, “I hope you don’t believe that’s true of me.  I would never do that.”

“Emma, if there were a chance you were anything like the far too numerous and lamentable individuals masquerading as journalists, I would know.  Sadly, no matter how much I may be attracted to you, I would distance myself and this interview would not happen.”  He smiled despite himself at the earnest concern she’d immediately displayed.  No, Emma was no slouch, and had plenty of smarts and intelligently questioned everything.  It was a plus and a minus.  He’d have to be careful, very careful.

He headed toward Fremont, a quirky funky district along the historic ship canal.  As they wandered along, Nathan asked if Emma liked a good brew.  She shook her head and he pointed out a couple of breweries in response.  Upon reaching a line of coffee shops, Emma tugged him inside, savouring the rich aromas.  “Mmm, I love coffee, seriously love my coffee.  Don’t wake me up if you don’t have a cup of coffee in hand,” she warned.

“I’ll remember that,”  Nathan winked.

“Damn why’d I say that?” Clamping a hand across her mouth she stopped short.  ‘Oh my god!  What are you thinking, Emma?’

Nathan couldn’t resist, he pulled her into his arms and wrapping a hand behind her neck, pulled her closer and as her pupils dialated, kissed her lips, left side right side, then he kissed her lips until her lips parted and she kissed him back, giving and receiving and she was lost in intensity and warmth and sexy heat.

Pulling away, dropped her head, ‘Public place! she reminded herself, ‘what the heeeell?’ Did she have no self control where he was concerned?

“It was a kiss, Emma and though the earth may have moved, I don’t think anyone else cared.  Your secret is entirely safe with me.”

She laughed despite herself.  “Your right, but I’m on the job, and I’m supposed to be professional.  Kissing the interview-ee isn’t exactly professional.”

“Call it a time out then.  Off the clock, momentarily on your own time,  enjoying your companions company as he enjoys yours. Tell me when your back on the clock.  I’ll stop.”

When he would have swooped in for another taste, she slapped a hand on his chest, “Ok, magic, I’m back on the clock.”

“You sure, Emma?” he quizzed enjoying her rampant confusion.

“Yes.  Yes I am.”

“To continue,  . . . ”

Page 22                                                                             Page 20





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