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Driven (Page 16)

I follow him down the hallway, a little insecure in my attire. I feel underdressed for a business meeting, but if Teddy doesn’t care, neither should I.

Teddy enters the conference room ahead of me announcing, “Here she is, Colton.”

I turn the corner, entering the doorway and come to a dead stop. Donavan is sitting in a chair at the other end of the conference table, a stack of papers on the table in front of him. His arms are crossed casually over his chest and his biceps pull noticeably at the sleeves of his polo shirt. His eyes meet mine and his mouth spreads into a slow, smug smile.

What the hell? I stop in the doorway looking at Teddy and back to Donavan. “I—I don’t under—understand?” I stammer.

The appalled look on Teddy’s face tells me that I’ve made a serious blunder in my reaction. “Rylee?” He questions as he looks at Donavan quickly, making sure I’ve not offended him, and then back at me, a warning look on his face. “Rylee, what are you talking about? This is Colton Donavan, among other things, the CEO of CD Enterprises—I introduced you to him the other night?”

All at once, with these words, my world turns and tilts on its axis. My head is reeling from the fact that the man across from me—the man who reduced me to a puddle of sensation the other night—is none other than Colton Donavan. The Colton Donavan—hot and upcoming racecar driver extraordinaire, son of a mega-Hollywood-movie director, and the serial philanderer who gives the tabloids constant fodder for their gossip columns.

The Colton Donavan who left me with salacious dreams and a carnal, unrequited craving since last Saturday. Fuck me!

I can’t believe that I didn’t put it together sooner. I knew he seemed familiar when I met him, but in light of my actions, I realize I wasn’t thinking rationally either. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. All of the air has been punched out of my lungs.

My head swivels from Teddy to Dona-er-Colton and back to Teddy. From the way Teddy is staring at me, the look on my face must be quite unpleasant. I look down, take a deep breath, and try to compose myself and quiet the emotions rioting in my head. I can’t screw up this donation regardless of my own feelings—there is too much at stake if I do.

“Um—I apologize,” I say softly, “I just—I thought your name was Donavan.” I walk further into the room, gaining confidence, telling myself I can do this. “I misunderstood when we met the other night … ” The quick flash of Colton’s grin in mention to the other night stops me and transports me to the here and now.

You can do this, I repeat to myself like a mantra. I refuse to let him know that he can affect me so easily.

I hold my head up and walk with purpose to where he sits, holding out my hand, plastering a smile to my face. “Nice to see you again, Mr. Donavan.”

I can hear the deep breath Teddy has been holding—afraid my reaction has possibly hampered this deal—release from his chest. The tension in his face ebbs.

“Colton, please,” Donavan says as he unfolds himself gracefully from his chair and rises, taking my hand in his, holding it a beat longer than necessary. “Nice to see you again too,” he states, a spark flashing through the emerald of his eyes.

“Please, let’s all sit,” Teddy says, enthusiasm returned. We oblige him and he looks at Colton. “Colton, I’ll let you fill Rylee in on your company’s proposal.”

“I’d be glad to, Teddy.” Colton says professionally, all business, as he shifts his chair to face me, placing a packet of paper in front of me. “CD Enterprises is invested in giving back to our community. On a yearly basis, my team and I choose an organization, and devote time, connections, and funds to create awareness for their cause. After unexpectedly attending your function last weekend in my mother’s place when she fell ill, I found the premise behind your organization to be inspiring.”

I observe him while he continues on with facts and figures of past organizations that CD Enterprises has supported. I’m having a hard time rationalizing that this professional, put-together man is the same person who reduced me to tremors and whimpers. He is delivering his presentation with an understated confidence and an overwhelming passion.

This is the type of man I usually fall for. All business. Black and white, no grey area. Knowledgeable and passionate. This is what I find sexy. Not the arrogant, self-serving bastard from the other night full of reckless and uninhibited actions. Thank goodness I know the truth so I don’t find myself falling for this facade in front of me.

At least this is what I’m telling myself when I hear my name pass from his lips.

“What?” I ask as I shake myself from my thoughts.

“Do you have any questions thus far?” Colton asks me, cocking his head to the side as he regards me pensively. The humor lighting up his eyes tells me he knows exactly what I’m thinking about—him in particular.

“First of all, let me say that I hope your mother is feeling better,” I state, letting my manners override my contempt for him. When he nods, I continue, “What exactly does CD Enterprises do, Mr. Donavan?” I ask.

“My mother is doing better, thank you. As for CDE, the company’s primary function is ownership and management of a race team. My race team,” he says exuding pride. “Among other things, our biggest current venture is a cutting edge technology that will help increase the safety quotient for drivers. It is currently patent pending.”

“Hmmmm,” I contemplate trying to figure out how this can all tie in, “and how exactly are you going to tie a race car or team, per se, into raising funds for orphaned kids and Corporate Cares?” I am back in business mode now, my intellect unaffected by his charm. For the most part. I’m trying to feel out what else is going on though because Colton’s quick flashes of smile resemble the ones he gave me at the charity event. My subconscious tells me there’s a catch here.

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