Slow Hands

Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly Read Free Book Online

Book: Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Leslie Kelly
the other night.
    “I don’t think you bid on anyone else,” he murmured, speaking softly, as if aware she’d been struck a little brainless. “I was watching you from behind the curtain for a long time.”
    Feeling a bubble of air lodge in the center of her throat, Maddy struggled to swallow it down, but couldn’t quite manage it.
    He had been watching her. Watching. Her . With all the tall, elegant, skinny women in the room, she’d caught his eye…and had apparently kept it.
    In some contexts, hearing a man saying he’d been “watching her” could creep a woman out. But this didn’t. Just the way his hungry stare hadn’t the night they’d met.
    Instead, once again, he appeared so…honest. Open about his feelings. Jake sounded both confident and almost surprised by his own admission, as if he hadn’t meant to reveal his immediate interest in her, even though his presence here in her office confirmed it.
    He’s a pro at making women feel this way , a small voice in her head reminded her.
    “I even started asking the universe to let you be the one to win me,” he admitted.
    Startled into laughter, Maddy knew exactly what he meant. Tabitha had recently been touting the brilliance of the same self-help bestseller. She swore it was the reason she’d landed her latest fiancé, a well-known Chicago hotelier, who was nice, a bit dull, but richer than an oil baron.
    “You don’t strike me as the type who needs any secret when it comes to winning over a woman, Mr. Wallace.”
    “I obviously needed to find out one secret…your identity.”
    Smooth.
    “Fortunately, like Cinderella, you left a clue behind.”
    “I think I had both shoes on my feet when I got home.”
    “Your check. With your signature.”
    Frowning, she crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair. “They gave you my check?”
    “Just a quick peek. Then a helpful stranger told me the rest of what I needed to know.”
    How kind of the stranger.
    Honestly, though, considering she was edgy and excited, her pulse a little fast, her heart beating a little hard, maybe it had been a kindness. Maddy hadn’t dated anyone in a long time. The last scene with her ex had burned itself on her brain and left her skeptical of the sweet promises of any man. Oliver’s final words—when he’d insisted they could still be a great team with her money and his family connections, with no messy, intimate “emotions” attached—had replayed in her mind many times since then.
    She was a suitable candidate for the position of Oliver’s wife, with an acceptable pedigree and lots of cash. A great business prospect. Nothing more.
    Ouch.
    “Everybody knows everybody in your circle, huh?”
    “It’s the world’s biggest small pond.”
    “Yawn.”
    “You’ve no idea.”
    “So come swim outside the reef with me. You might not be surrounded by your colorful, tropical kind, but sometimes us plain old trout can be entertaining.”
    Maddy couldn’t help chuckling again. The man was just cute. As if he could be plain old anything . “You know, lately, I’ve been sticking to the shallows.”
    “Double yawn. Come on, take a chance.”
    Uh-uh. The shallows suited her fine. Here she could safely ignore any thoughts of her personal life. Along with working insane hours, she’d been dealing with the usual family crises, including Tabby’s upcoming wedding. The social functions she attended were more a matter of courtesy and professionalism than pleasure and the men she met at them always fell into two camps—the boring and proper, or the greedy, who saw dollar signs on her forehead.
    The first type could never catch her interest. The second made her skin crawl. None of them could ever make her consider swimming out into those romance waters again. She just wasn’t interested.
    Until now .
    Yes. Until now. This man had slowed her down, made her think, made her aware of herself for the first time in ages. For that, at least, she owed him thanks. Because though she

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