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Seduced Into Her Boss's Service

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«Seduced Into Her Boss's Service» - Кэтти Уильямс

This tycoon plays to win!When widower Stefano Gunn meets trainee lawyer Sunny Porter he’s instantly sure of two things – she’s the perfect person to take care of his daughter and is by far the most sinfully seductive woman he’s ever seen!Once Stefano has ruthlessly coaxed Sunny to trade her lawyer’s robes for a nanny’s apron, he turns his attention to their undeniable attraction. Sunny might be reluctant to breach the barrier between professional and personal, but this billionaire didn’t get where he is by running from a challenge. And in this game of seduction he will win…Discover more at
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‘I’m not sure whether it would be entirely ethical for me to work with a client.’

‘In which case I’ll take my considerably high-paying work away from your law firm. How does that sound?’ Stefano charged.

‘You wouldn’t.’ Sunny was aghast at that threat, because if he did that then the worst-case scenario would be a great deal worse than the ones she had conjured up in her head.

‘Yes. I would. You would be surprised at the lengths I would go to in order to get what I want.’

He thought of that small but perceptible change in his daughter on the drive back to his house.

For that reason alone it was worth the hassle of being here. He could hardly believe that she was kicking up a fuss at being paid handsomely to do a babysitting job of limited duration.

‘The job. Yes or no? You’ll start first thing on Monday. I’ll have my driver collect you from work and return you to your flat. Meals will be provided and you’re free to do as you wish with Flora, although she’s accustomed to going to bed by eight. I’ll open an account for you if you want to take her anywhere. Feel free to use it.’

It was a fantastic opportunity. She knew that. So why was she hesitating?

‘Okay,’ she agreed, a touch of trepidation in her voice. ‘I’ll do it. I’ll take the job.’

CATHY WILLIAMS can remember reading Mills & Boon books as a teenager, and now that she is writing them she remains an avid fan. For her, there is nothing like creating romantic stories and engaging plots, and each and every book is a new adventure. Cathy lives in London, and her three daughters—Charlotte, Olivia and Emma—have always been, and continue to be, the greatest inspirations in her life.

Seduced into

Her Boss’s


Cathy Williams



About the Author

Title Page











Sunny looked up from where she was buried in a mound of paperwork and reference books. The paperwork was to be filed, the reference books to be consulted for precedents on a complex tax issue which her boss was working on.

With a workload that barely gave her time to escape to the bathroom, she had still not been able to ignore the fever-pitch excitement that had gripped Marshall, Jones and Jones ever since they had learned that Stefano Gunn was going to be throwing some business their way.

Literally, Sunny had thought, throwing business, in much the same way as someone might throw a bone for a dog. Marshall, Jones and Jones was a recent addition to the legal scene in London. Yes, some really bright lights had been poached from a couple of the bigger firms but essentially it was still just a fledgling medium-sized firm without the decades of experience a man like Stefano Gunn would be looking for.

But he had thrown some business in their direction and speculation was rife.

Even lodged in the smallest honeycomb of rooms at the furthest end of the building, with her head firmly in her work and her body language projecting all sorts of not interested in rumours signs, rumours had still trickled down to her.

He had chosen their firm to handle some patent work for him because of Katherine, one of the partners. He fancied her and so he had chosen to sweeten her up by flinging a bit of work at them.

Sunny thought that that was a stupid piece of pointless speculation. Why on earth would the man do that? When he could make a simple call and ask for a simple date? Like any other normal person? Not, she knew, that Stefano Gunn was like any other normal person. Most normal people weren’t capable of holding the city of London in the palm of their hand at the tender age of thirty-something.

Not that she was giving any of the fuss much thought. At the end of the day, all work was good work for a new company and the work he would be giving them might be peanuts for him but, for them, it would result in a hefty pay packet for the company.

Now, she propped her chin in her hand and looked at Alice, who shared the office with her.

Alice was small, plump, talkative and found it almost impossible to sit still for any period of time. Hence, out of all of the juniors who worked at this end of the building, she had been the one who had made it her duty to find out as much as she could about the billionaire.

For the past two weeks, she had carried every file and report from their offices to those of the bigwigs who occupied the other two floors of the building. Every time she had returned, she had brought with her more titbits of information Sunny had largely ignored.

‘And did you manage to get a glimpse of The Big Man?’ Sunny asked, eyebrows raised.


‘Just a simple yes or no...’

‘Don’t be such a spoilsport, Sunny.’ Undeterred, Alice dragged a chair over and positioned it directly in front of Sunny’s desk. ‘You can’t be that uninterested!’

‘I bet you I can be,’ but she grinned back. Alice was everything Sunny had always imagined would get her back up. She spoke in just the sort of cut-glass accent Sunny had always found irritating and offensive, bounced around with the irrepressible self-confidence of someone for whom life had always been kind and, to top it off, had only got the job at the law firm because, as she freely admitted on day one, her father had connections.

But, mysteriously, Sunny had taken to her and so now, although she just wanted to get on with her work, she was willing to take a bit of time out to indulge her colleague.

‘No,’ Alice sighed and pouted. ‘And I couldn’t even quiz Ellie for details about him because everyone out there is on good behaviour. Anyone would think that she’d suddenly had a personality transplant. She’s always happy to chit-chat...’

‘Perhaps she just had a heavy workload,’ Sunny said gently, ‘and didn’t think that ten-fifteen in the morning was the right time to settle down for a good gossip about a new client.’

‘Not just any old client...’

‘I know. We’ve all heard about the wondrous Stefano Gunn...’

‘And you’re really not impressed, are you?’ Alice said curiously. ‘How come?’

‘I’m hard to impress.’ Sunny was smiling but she had tensed up inside. She wondered when she would be cured of that, when she would be able to deal with personal questions without freezing up. Would she ever really be able to relax or was that something that would always be denied her? Alice hadn’t been prying, hadn’t actually asked her anything that could be called personal and yet Sunny had not been able to prevent that instinct to withdraw.

She knew she was buttoned up.

She knew the group she worked with, who were all her age, found her pleasant enough but distant and unapproachable. She guessed they probably gossiped and speculated about her behind her back. She was the way she was and she knew why she was the way she was but she still couldn’t change it and sometimes, like now, she wished she could.

She wished she could lean into Alice, who was gazing at her like a good-natured, eager little brown-eyed puppy, waiting for her to say something.

‘Someone like that just isn’t the type of I could ever find...well... I’m not impressed by someone because they’re rich or good-looking...’ she finished lamely, before gesturing to the pile of paperwork on her desk. ‘It’s good that he’s going to be letting the company handle some of his business. I’m sure all the partners will be thrilled...but anyway...’

‘Who gives a hoot about all the partners? If he’s after Katherine, I think she’ll be thrilled by more than just the business he’s bringing to the company.’ Alice grinned. ‘I’ll bet he’ll be thrilling her over more than just a desk and a cappuccino...with Sammy sitting in the corner taking notes... I’ll bet he’ll be thrilling her in all sorts of different ways tonight when they celebrate the business he’s given us without a bunch of prying office eyes on them... Although...’ she ran a canny eye over Sunny and grinned ‘...if it’s looks he’s after, you’re a hottie—if only you’d dress the part. And whoa! I’m going before you shoot me down in flames for saying that!’

She stood up briskly, still grinning as she brushed her short, short skirt and asked whether there was some paperwork she could take to the third floor. No? Well...she’d better be off and do a couple of minutes’ work...

Sunny watched her saunter back to her desk but her mind was off her work now. As if a man like Stefano Gunn would ever find her in the least bit attractive. Ridiculous.

Everyone had heard of Stefano Gunn. The whole world had heard of Stefano Gunn. Or at least anybody who was anybody and didn’t live with their head buried in the sand. The man was ridiculously rich and stupidly good-looking. Not a day passed without his name popping up in the financial pages of a newspaper, reporting some deal or other he had secured which would boost his already inflated bank balance.

Sunny never read the tabloids but she was pretty sure that if she had she would have found him popping up there as well because ridiculously rich and stupidly good-looking men never led monk-like lives of self-restraint and solitude.

They led playboy lives with Barbie-doll women tripping along behind them and hanging on to their arms like limpets.

None of this was any of her concern, but Alice had opened up a train of thought which was normally kept safely locked away and, like opening a Pandora’s box, Sunny could feel all those toxic thoughts uncurling from their dark corners and slithering through her head.

She stared at the computer winking at her and at the dense report she had been instructed to read. What she saw was her own life staring back at her—the pathos of her childhood, the foster home and all that horror, the boarding school to which she had been given a scholarship and all those girls who had made it their duty to sideline her because she wasn’t one of them.

Self-pity threatened to engulf her and she had to breathe deeply to clear her head, to focus on all the positives in her life now, all the chances she had grasped and the opportunities she had taken that had led her to this up-and-coming law firm where she could gain experience whilst completing her LPC.

Deep, deep, deep inside, she might carry those scars that could still cause her pain but she was twenty-four now and grown-up enough to know how to deal with that pain when it threatened to surface.

Like now.

The report swam back into focus and she lost herself in her work, only surfacing when her phone buzzed on the desk. Internal line. When she looked at her watch, she was startled to find that it was already twelve-thirty.


‘Hi, Katherine.’ In her head, Sunny pictured Katherine, one of the youngest full partners in any law firm in the city. She was tall, slim, with a sharp brown bob and open, intelligent brown eyes. Her impeccable background had primed her for a life of solid achievement and she had fulfilled all her potential. Every so often, she joined some of the other girls lower down the pecking order for drinks after work because, as she had once said, it didn’t do to wedge yourself into an ivory tower and pretend that anyone who didn’t live there with you didn’t exist. So she would come out for a drink and, on one of those rare occasions when Sunny had actually been coerced into joining her colleagues, had confided that the only thing missing in her life was the husband and the kids, which she never tired telling her parents would never come. They just didn’t believe her.

Katherine was a one hundred per cent career woman and Sunny’s role model because, as far as Sunny was concerned, the only reliable thing in life was your career and, if you worked hard enough, it would never let you down. The letting down always came from people.

‘I realise it’s your lunch hour and I really do hate to impose but I’m going to have to ask you to do me a small favour... Perhaps you could meet me in the conference room?’

‘Is it to do with the files Phil Dixon asked me to go through? Because I’m afraid I’m not finished with them just yet...’ And she’d been working flat-out but, unlike most of her other colleagues, she had debts to pay and the after-work job she held down left her precious little time to devote to work once she finally made it back to the flat she shared with Amy.

She heard anxiety creep into her voice. The files weren’t due back for another week but she still tensed up in preparation for disappointment or a reprimand.

‘Oh, no, nothing like that. Meet me in the conference room and of course bring whatever you’re working on with you. And don’t worry about lunch. I’ll have whatever you want sent up to you.’

Inside, the building was cold, thanks to air conditioning. Outside, the sun was shining, the skies were blue and, as she walked up the two flights of stairs to the conference room, she noted that a lot of the offices were half empty.

St James’s Park was only minutes away from the building and, on a fine summer day, who would want to stay indoors and eat at their desk? Or even bring a sandwich back to their desk? Not many people.

She hit the third floor and immediately went into the plush cloakroom to neaten up.

The image that stared back at her was as tidy as it always was. Her long silvery-blonde hair, flyaway fine and, when loose, a riot of tumbling curls, was tightly pinned back into a chignon at the nape of her neck. Her white blouse was pristine, as was the grey knee-length skirt. There was no need to inspect her pumps because they would be shiny and unscuffed.

She was a businesswoman and she always left the flat every single morning having made sure that she looked the part.

The striking looks, which had never done her any good at all, were always ruthlessly played down. Occasionally she wished she had poor eyesight so that she could play them down even more with a pair of thick-rimmed glasses.

Alice had called her a hottie and she had flinched from the description because it was the last thing in the world she wanted to be seen as and she made strenuous efforts to make sure she wasn’t.

Katherine was waiting for her in the conference room, a large space impeccably decorated in muted colours. Long walnut table which could seat twenty people around it, a matching sideboard to house coffee- and tea-making facilities, pale tan carpet and vertical blinds at the floor-to-ceiling windows. No bright colours, no demanding paintings, no eye-catching plants.

And next to Katherine was...

A small child mutinously sitting with her arms folded and a variety of gadgets next to her—iPad, iPhone, sleek, slim computer.

‘Sunny, this is Flora...’

Flora didn’t bother looking up but Sunny’s mouth dropped open.

‘I know you’re probably surprised but I need to ask you to sit with Flora until my business with her father is over.’ She mouthed something over the child’s head that Sunny didn’t understand and then eventually said, moving to stand next to Sunny and out of earshot, ‘Her grandmother was supposed to be looking after her but she’s been called away and dropped her off half an hour ago.’

‘I’m babysitting?’ Sunny was appalled. She had never been one of those girls with a driving maternal instinct. She’d had no experience to speak of with kids and the little she did have had not left her with glorious rosy memories. The kids she had met at the school she had attended off and on until the age of ten had been horrible. Even then she had been a victim of bullying by most in her peer group because of the way she looked—blonde-haired, green-eyed with, she had overheard one parent telling another with just a hint of malice, the face of an angel. At an age where the most important thing was to blend in, she had stuck out like an elephant in a china shop and had paid the price.

Life lessons had taught her that the safest route to follow was the most invisible one and being highly visible had not drawn a vast circle of friends around her.

She’d never babysat for anyone. She had grown up fast. There had been no room in her life for playing games and especially not playing games with young children.

What on earth was she supposed to do with this one?

‘She’s hardly a baby, Sunny,’ Katherine corrected with a smile. ‘And you really won’t have to do anything, which is why I told you to bring whatever you’re working on with you. It’s comfortable here and I’ve booked you in for the afternoon. I should be wrapped up with Mr Gunn by around five-thirty.’

‘This is his child?’ Sunny’s jaw hit the ground with a thud and Katherine grinned.

‘Unless he’s having us on and, trust me, he’s not the sort to have anyone on. We’re not exactly rolling in the aisles from his sense of humour in there.’

‘So...!’ She stepped briskly back towards the child, who eventually looked up when there was no choice because Katherine had made introductions and was heading at speed towards the door.

Sunny got the feeling that the other woman was probably as awkward around young kids as she was.

The door shut and Sunny walked towards Flora and looked at her for a few seconds without saying anything.

She was a beautiful child. Long dark hair flowed down her back; her eyelashes were so long they brushed her cheeks, the eyes staring right back at her were huge, almond-shaped and as dark as night.

‘I don’t want to be here either.’ Flora scowled and folded her arms. ‘It’s not my fault Nana had to drop me off.’

A surly, rebellious child was more what Sunny felt she could deal with and she breathed a quiet sigh of relief. ‘You’ve brought all your toys to play with?’ She eyed the collection of high-end gadgets and wondered how many other children of eight or nine walked around with thousands of pounds’ worth of electronics to amuse them.

Faced with this unexpected job, she had had no time to ponder over the weird fact that the billionaire Stefano Gunn had a child. He might feature in the Financial Times with the regularity of a subscription holder but she had to concede that he was very private when it came to his personal life because, as far as she knew, no one was aware of the fact that he had a daughter.

For that she owed him more credit than she had otherwise thought.

‘I’m bored with them.’ Flora yawned extravagantly without putting her hands over her mouth.

‘How old are you?’

‘Why do you want to know?’

‘You may think you’re tough but you can never outdo me when it comes to being tough,’ Sunny said honestly, which provoked a fleeting spark of interest. ‘How old are you?’

‘Nearly nine.’

‘Good.’ She beamed and walked towards the files she had lugged into the room with her. ‘In that case, if you’re bored with your toys you can help me with my work...’

* * *

Long legs stretched out at an angle, Stefano did his utmost to stifle a yawn.

This entire situation could have been handled by one of his employees. In fact, had it not been for his mother, this entire situation would not have been happening in the first place.

He had a perfectly competent team of in-house lawyers and had they not been up to the job of dealing with this particular slice of intricate patent law then he would have immediately gone to the biggest and the best.

Instead, here he was, at his mother’s instigation, sitting in the offices of a company that was so new that it had barely left the embryo stage.

‘Jane’s daughter works there. You remember my friend Jane, don’t you?’

No, he didn’t. With those opening words three weeks ago, Stefano had been able to second-guess where his mother was going and Jane’s daughter, whoever she was, was going to feature in the scenario.

It wasn’t the first time Angela Gunn had tried to set him up. Ever since his ex-wife had died, driving too fast, having had too much to drink in a car that was way too sporty for winding New Zealand back roads, his mother had been keen to find him a suitable woman who could provide, as she was fond of telling him, a stable, nurturing maternal influence in his daughter’s life.

‘A girl needs her mother,’ she had repeatedly said in a wistful voice. ‘Flora barely knows you and she misses Alicia...that’s why she’s finding it so hard to adjust...’

Stefano had had to agree with his mother on at least one count and that was that he barely knew his daughter, although he always made sure to refrain from telling his mother just why that was the case.

His marriage to Alicia had been brief and disastrous. Having met young, what should have been no more than a passing fling had turned into a marriage of necessity when she had fallen pregnant. On purpose? That was a question he had never directly asked, but was there really any need? Alicia had come from New Zealand to study and had decided to stay on to work in one of the larger London hospitals as a nurse. He had met her there when he had suffered three broken ribs while playing rugby and the rest, he had always thought, was history. He had lusted after her, she had played coy and hard to get and then, when he had eventually got her into bed, safe in the knowledge that she was taking the Pill and, as a nurse, would be only too aware of the importance of making sure she stuck to the rigid regime, she had had an accident.

‘I remember having a tummy upset,’ she had told him, winding her arms around his neck and snuggling against him while he felt the bottom of his world drop away, ‘and I don’t know if you know but sometimes, if you have a stomach bug, the Pill doesn’t work...’

He had married her. He had walked up the aisle with all the enthusiasm of a man walking to meet his executioner. They hadn’t been married for five minutes before he realised the enormity of his mistake. Alicia had changed overnight. With free rein to more money than she could ever know in a lifetime, she had taken to spending with an exuberance that bordered frenetic. She had begun demanding that he spend more time with her. She had complained incessantly about the hours he worked and thrown hissy fits if he was late back by more than two minutes.

He had gritted his teeth and told himself that pregnancy hormones were to blame, even though he knew that they weren’t.

When Flora was born, her demands had become more insistent. She needed constant, round the clock attention. Their London mansion became a battleground and the less he wanted to return to it, the more spiteful she became in her verbal attacks.

And then she began, as she took great pleasure in telling him, to find stuff to do because she was bored and he was never around.

He found out what that stuff was when he returned to the house early one afternoon and caught her in bed with another man. The fact that he had not felt a shred of jealousy had been the clearest indication that he needed a divorce.

What should have been a straightforward separation of ways, for he had been more than willing to give in to her strident, excessive demands for the sake of his daughter, had turned into a six-year nightmare. She had grabbed the money on the table and fled back to New Zealand, from where she had imperiously controlled his visiting rights, which, from the other side of the world, had been difficult, to say the least.

He had done his utmost to fight her for more reasonable custody but it had been impossible. She had thwarted him in every way conceivable and only her premature death had granted him the child he had fought so hard to know, but in reality had only seen a handful of times.

Now he had Flora but the years had returned him a daughter he didn’t know, a daughter who resented him, who was sullen and uncooperative.

A daughter who, having now lived with him for nearly a year, needed, as his mother kept insisting, a mother figure.

He looked at Katherine Kerr, who was frowning at the various company accounts he had brought with him.

‘You mustn’t worry about your daughter.’ She caught his eye and smiled warmly. ‘I’ve left her in the capable hands of one of our brightest stars.’

Katherine Kerr was intelligent, attractive and empathetic. His mother would be hoping that they would click, that his next step would be to ask her out to dinner. It wasn’t going to happen.

‘I’m not worried about Flora,’ he drawled. ‘I’m worried that if we don’t put this one to bed soon I’m going to miss my five-thirty meeting at the Savoy Grill.’

‘It all looks fairly straightforward.’ Katherine closed the file and sat back. ‘If you’re happy to leave it with us, then I can assure you we’ll do an excellent job for you, Mr Gunn.’

Stefano looked at his watch and stood up. If the woman was looking for things to go further, then she was going to be disappointed. ‘If you tell me where I can find my daughter, Miss Kerr, then I won’t keep you any longer. I take it you now have all the relevant information you need to proceed with this patent case?’

Yes, she did. Yes, it was a pleasure doing business with him. She hoped that should he need any further legal work, he would consider their firm.

Leaving the office, Stefano decided that he would have to gently tell his mother that she would have to curb her desire to find him a wife. It wasn’t going to happen. She would have to accept that when it came to women, he liked things just the way they were. Pretty, undemanding and admittedly not over-bright little things who came and went and allowed him windows of fun and sex for as long as he required them. It worked.

He made his way to the conference room, already bracing himself for the expected confrontation with his daughter and feeling mightily sorry for whoever had had the dubious pleasure of looking after her. Flora had a special talent for making her antagonism known and she was invariably antagonistic towards anyone babysitting her.

The offices smelt of recently applied paint and newly acquired carpet and had been decorated in just the sort of style he liked, which was understated and unpretentious.

This wouldn’t have been a natural choice for him when it came to law firms but he’d liked what he’d seen and he was toying with the idea of throwing some more work their way as he knocked perfunctorily on the door before pushing it open and striding into the room.

Sunny looked up.

For a few seconds she felt winded, as though the breath had been knocked out of her.

She knew what Stefano Gunn looked like. Or at least she’d thought she’d known. She’d seen blurry pictures of him in the financial pages of the broadsheets, shaking hands, looking satisfied at some incredible deal he’d just pulled off. A tall, good-looking man whose roots lay in Scotland but whose looks were far from Scottish.

Seeing him in the flesh was a completely different matter. He wasn’t just good-looking. He was staggeringly, sinfully sexy.

He was very tall, his body lithe and muscular under the hand-tailored suit. His black hair was slightly long, curling at the nape of his neck, and the arrangement of his features...was dramatic. Everything about him oozed exotic sex appeal and she found that she was holding her breath.

Horrified to be caught staring, she pulled herself together at speed and stood up, hand automatically outstretched.

‘Mr Gunn. I’m Sunny Porter...’

His cool fingers as they briefly touched her sent an electric impulse racing through her body and when she withdrew her hand she had to fight not to wipe it on her skirt.

‘Flora...’ she turned to the child, who hadn’t glanced up and was ferociously highlighting the photocopied piece of printed paper which Sunny had given her ‘...your father’s here.’

‘Flora!’ Stefano’s tone was sharp but he modulated it to add, ‘It’s time to go.’

‘I’d rather stay here,’ Flora said coolly, throwing Stefano a challenging stare.

For a few terse seconds complete silence greeted this mutinous remark. Embarrassed, Sunny cleared her throat and began shuffling her papers together. She could feel his presence and it was suffocating.

‘You seem to have captured my daughter’s interest with...what exactly is she doing?’

Sunny reluctantly looked up. She was tall, at five eight, but she still had to crane her neck to meet his eyes.

She’s beautiful was the thought that sprang into Stefano’s head as he stared down at her. Not just pretty or attractive, but a stunner, even though she couldn’t have done more to try and conceal that fact.

Her clothes were cheap and drab, the colours draining, but they still couldn’t subdue the radiant, startling beauty of her heart-shaped face and those huge green eyes. His gaze roamed the contours of her face, taking in the small straight nose and the full, perfectly formed mouth.

Sunny was used to men staring but Stefano’s brooding dark eyes didn’t send her irritation levels soaring. Instead, she felt her nipples pinch with sudden, forceful awareness and an unfamiliar, horrifying and unwelcome dampness spread uncomfortably between her legs.

Her response confused and panicked her.

Having lived the unstable, disjointed and bewildering life of a child with a mother whose primary concerns were men, drugs and drink, a mother who had been prone to disappearing for days on end, leaving her with a neighbour, any neighbour, Sunny prided herself on being tough, on being able to handle any situation.

Especially men.

She’d been attracting their attention since the minute she had become a teenager and started to develop. When her mother had died from an overdose, leaving behind her eleven-year-old daughter, she had been fostered by a couple and had lived on her nerves, uncomfortable with her foster father’s leering eyes, terrified into locking her bedroom door every night although he’d stared but never touched.

At thirteen she had won a scholarship to an exclusive boarding school and, even there, she had been ostracised because of her remarkable looks. She was the cuckoo in the nest, out of her depth with girls who came from serious money, isolated because whenever boys happened to be around, they drooled over her.

She had hated every second of it all but the shell she had developed had protected her, had allowed her to ignore what couldn’t be changed.

Men were driven to look at her. She had learned to blank them out.

She had told herself that the guy for her would be one who would want her for her brain, for what she had to say, for her personality.

Except when, at university, that guy had come along, dear, sweet John, who had been kind and chivalrous and thoughtful; she just hadn’t been able to respond physically to him. That had been two years ago but it still hurt to think about it.

Had she, under the tough shell, been secretly searching for love? Had she longed for someone to ignite the sort of gentle romance she’d fantasised about in the deepest, darkest corners of her mind? Was that what had driven her to John, who had ticked all the right boxes as candidate for the Big Romance? If that had been the case, then she’d been way off mark and what she’d got hadn’t been a Big Romance, but yet another tough learning curve which had closed the doors, for good, on any stupid belief that she was destined for a happy-ever-after life with the perfect soulmate. John should have been the perfect soulmate and she should have wanted to touch him all the time. It hadn’t been that way at all. She’d concluded what she should have concluded a long time ago, which was that her background had irretrievably damaged her. She had moved on and accepted her lot.

So why was she all hot and bothered now? In the presence of a man like Stefano Gunn? Since when had she ever felt hot and bothered when some guy stared at her? Hadn’t she stopped being an idiot two years ago when she and John had ended their doomed relationship?

‘Flora didn’t want to play with...any of her expensive toys—’ she fought to remember that this was a very important client and swallowed down her natural instinct to be contemptuous ‘—so I gave her some work to do and she’s been doing it for the past three hours.’

‘Work?’ He drew her aside while Flora continued doing what she was doing with the highlighters and making a pointed show of disinterest in his arrival.

‘Not actual work,’ Sunny explained, shifting a few inches away from him in an attempt to ward off the disconcerting impact of his presence. ‘I photocopied some pages of one of my law books, Petersen versus Shaw, and asked her to read it and highlight the bits she thought were relevant to Petersen winning the case.’

‘You did...what?’

‘My apologies, Mr Gunn.’ She stiffened, automatically defensive. What else was she supposed to do? Magic up some Lego and play building games with her? Was that even what eight-year-old girls were interested in doing? ‘She said she was bored with are on her iPad...or laptop...and I had a stack of work to get through...’

‘I’m not criticising you,’ Stefano said drily. ‘I’m expressing open-mouthed amazement that Flora was drawn into doing something like that.’

Sunny relaxed and stole a glance at his handsome face. His voice was deep and lazy, as velvety as the smoothest of chocolate and his bronzed colouring spoke of an exotically foreign gene pool. And she could breathe him in, a woody, clean, utterly masculine scent that made her senses swirl.

‘She’s more than welcome to take the little file back with her.’ She could feel the hot burn of an uncustomary blush. ‘It’s a historic case. I would never have given her anything that could have remotely been seen as sensitive information.’

‘What are you doing later?’

‘I beg your pardon?’ Her eyes flew to his face in consternation.

‘Later. What are you doing?’ The Savoy Grill would have to be put on hold. ‘I’d like to thank you for your impromptu babysitting by taking you out to dinner.’

‘There’s no need!’ Sunny was aghast at the thought of having dinner with him. She was aghast at the thought of doing anything with the man, aside from saying goodbye and never clapping eyes on him again. He did something to her that she didn’t like—something that made mincemeat of her nervous system—and for someone who valued her control that was tantamount to disastrous.

Stefano eyed her narrowly, taken aback by her horrified refusal.

‘I... I couldn’t.’ She backtracked from being outright rude. ‘I...happen to have a job that starts at six so I couldn’t possibly...and there’s really no need to thank me... All in a day’s work...’

‘A job?’ He frowned. ‘What job?’

‘I... I work four nights in a restaurant... Qualifying to be a lawyer costs money, Mr Gunn,’ she said bluntly. ‘I also have rent to pay and food to buy. What I earn here doesn’t quite stretch to cover it all.’

‘In which case,’ Stefano said smoothly, ‘have dinner with me. I have a proposition for you and I think you’ll find it...irresistible...’


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