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       Last Resort, p.6

           Jill Sanders
Luke waited until she settled herself on the edge of her desk. Her silver eyes watched him carefully, as if she was waiting for him to go against his word.

  He’d had a plan when he’d walked into the Boardwalk Bar and Grill—to get the owner, Cassey Grayton, to sell this place to him and his family.

  His family had owned Crystal Shores, a large hotel in Emerald Beach, for several generations. Now, with his fresh college degree hanging behind his desk in his impressive top-floor office in a glass tower overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, he was ready to show his father what he could do. Acquiring this pier-front property was the first assignment. He leaned back and crossed his leg over his knee.

  He hadn’t planned on Cassey Grayton being so beautiful. When he’d opened his eyes and seen her standing over him, he’d first thought that he was dreaming. Her dark hair was tied up, but strands of it fell around her face in soft clumps. Her lips had drawn his eyes. They were full and looked like they were made to be kissed. They were the color of the petals of a delicate pink rose.

  He looked up into those silver eyes and saw annoyance there. Smiling a little, he sighed, knowing he’d wasted enough time.

  “Okay, just so we’re clear, my intent is to get you to sell this place.” She flinched and started moving towards the door. He was up quickly and grabbed her arm lightly.

  “Wait, hear me out.” He looked down at her. She was smaller than he’d first thought. The top of her head reached just below his shoulders.

  “If you are going to stand in my office and lecture me about why it’s a great idea to sell you my property, then there’s the door.” She nodded.

  “No lecture.” He smiled. “Only a friendly chat. I promise.”

  She looked at him for a few moments. His fingers were still wrapped around her arm lightly. She jerked her arm away and walked over to her desk and sat down. He followed her lead and sat back down on the couch.

  “Why won’t you sell?” he asked.

  She closed her eyes and sighed. “Just like yours, this is a family business.”

  His eyebrows shot up. “I was led to believe that you were the sole owner.”

  “I am. However, this building and property have been in my family for generations. Much like your business has.” She nodded to him. “I can’t and won’t sell this property.” She leaned forward. “Now, why are you still sitting in my office?”

  His smile was quick. “I like a woman who’s quick to the point.” He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Go out with me tonight.”

  She blinked a few times and leaned back quickly, as if she’d been slapped. Then a small crease formed between her eyebrows. “Why?”

  “Why?” This time he frowned and then chuckled. “Because you’re an attractive woman and fellow business owner. I’d like to spend an evening getting to know you better.” What he wasn’t telling her is that his father had told him not to return until the deed to her place was in hand. And that he got a strange flutter when she looked at him like she was doing now. Besides, he wanted to find out what was under those tight black pants and silky pink top.

  “I’m sorry, Mr. Callaway. You’ll just have to entertain yourself while in Surf Breeze.” She turned to her laptop again and started punching keys. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

  “Surely you can take a night off, at least once in a while,” he said.

  She looked up at him and waited.

  His mind whirled, thinking of a way around the stubborn streak he’d just discovered in her. Then it clicked and he smiled. “Suit yourself. I’ll show myself out.” He got up and stood with his hand on the doorknob. “Let me know if you change your mind. I left my card there.” He nodded to the edge of her desk. “My cell number is on the back.” He turned and left.

  Walking down the narrow stairs, he headed straight for the bar. A pretty blonde was behind it, looking bored.

  “Hi, what can I get you?” she said in a breathy voice as she leaned over the bar, showing off an impressive amount of cleavage. He was shocked that her flirting did little to arouse him and wondered why sad silver eyes popped into his head, instead.

  It took almost two hours before Cassey walked down the back stairs. He’d sat at the bar the whole time, nursing a beer and asking Wendy, the bartender, every question he could think of about Cassey. When he noticed her walking down the stairs, his mind stopped for almost a minute. She’d changed from her casual black pants and shirt into something tight and sexy. Her heels gave her almost three inches and made her legs look…delicious. She’d done something with her hair and makeup that made her eyes look bigger and deeper. Her lips were painted a deep red, causing his eyes to zero in on them until she was standing a foot in front of him.

  “What are you still doing here?” She looked annoyed. When he didn’t answer right away, she crossed her arms over her chest, pushing her slight breasts together, and his mouth started watering. Why was he salivating over her small frame rather than the ample figure of the bartender? Then he looked up into those eyes and knew the answer. He wanted her. Wanted her like he hadn’t wanted anyone else in a long time.

  He leaned back against the bar and tried to smile, even though his heart was beating faster than if he’d just run a marathon.

  “Well, I thought I’d stick around and see how you run the show.” He nodded to the almost crowded room. The dining tables were turned over quickly, so the people lining up for a table didn’t have to wait long. The dance floor was almost vacant, but so far, the DJ had only played prerecorded music. The sign out front said there was live music on Fridays and Saturdays. He wondered if the place really packed out on those nights.

  “You’re welcome to enjoy yourself, but I warn you.” She leaned closer and he got a quick whiff of her perfume, causing his eyes to close momentarily in ecstasy. “If you interfere with any of my staff, or with me, I’ll have Tyrone haul you out.” She nodded to a dark man who looked like he’d just walked out of the ring at a WWW match.

  He smiled at her and then shocked himself when he gently ran his fingertips down the outside of her arm. She jumped and scowled at him, causing him to smile even more. Her skin was feather soft and he knew without a doubt that he had to get his hands on it again.

  She turned and walked away quickly. He watched as she mingled with customers, laughing and talking with each table. She had a way about her. He couldn’t deny it; she was born for this. By the time she’d visited each table, she looked more relaxed than he’d seen her.

  She approached the bar and asked for her usual. He smiled when Wendy handed her a Coke. He slid down the bar to stand next to her.

  “Busy night.” He watched her tense and wondered what it would take for her to relax around him.

  “Not as busy as it used to be.” She took another sip of her drink.

  “Is it just me? Or do you dislike everyone that walks in here trying to buy your place?”

  She sighed and looked at him, tilting her head. “I haven’t decided yet.”

  He chuckled, and then felt the full force of how truly beautiful she was as she smiled.

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