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Just To Be With You (Page 11)

Yet again, he’d been wrong about her.

“You didn’t need to be here for another fifteen minutes.”

She slipped the sunglasses she was wearing onto the top of her head as she turned toward him with a smile that wasn’t the least bit dimmed from yet another of his rather unwelcoming greetings. And though he’d assured himself he was prepared to see her today, just one look at her incredible beauty nearly took him to his knees on the pavement.

“Time is money on film sets. I assumed it would be the same for you. Plus,” she added with another grin that was a thousand times too adorable for his peace of mind, “I’ve found that being punctual means people will usually forgive me for everything else.”

“Everything else?”

“I’m messy. Really messy.” She said it without the slightest bit of regret or guilt. “Every time I think about cleaning up or organizing, there’s always something else I’d rather do.”

Order was an integral part of Ian’s life. Messes drove him crazy.

No wonder Tatiana made him feel like he was losing it, one beautiful smile at a time.

If he’d been able to think straight, he would have gotten her inside the building before anyone noticed who she was, but because he couldn’t get his synapses to fire properly around her, several people stopped to do double takes. He quickly punched in the security code, but by the time the door opened, strangers were already lining up on the sidewalk to ask her for autographs and pictures.

Tatiana was gracious and friendly and didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by any of the attention, even from the guy who stood a little too close and didn’t ask for permission before putting his arm around her for the photo. Though he was related to several famous people, and his sister was now engaged to a rock star, Ian had never been able to understand how any of them could accept the constant lack of privacy. At his first opportunity, he got her inside.

She was wearing a black coat that covered her from shoulder to ankle, and her hair was pulled up off her neck. Clearly, she’d intended to make herself as unexceptional as possible to passers-by, but she obviously didn’t realize that she’d have as much chance of that as she would trying to get the sun to stop rising every morning. Even weeks of rainy days couldn’t make you forget what it was like to feel the heat of it on your skin, or keep you from remembering the bright reflection of it on the open waters all around Seattle.

“Does it ever work?”

She stepped into the elevator beside him. “Does what ever work?”

“Your disguise.”

She slipped out of her big coat and put her sunglasses in one of its pockets. “Very rarely,” she admitted. “Which is why, usually, I don’t even bother to try. But I didn’t want there to be any problems on my first day shadowing you, so I figured I’d at least give it a shot. Sorry about all that outside. I hope I didn’t make us late for your meeting.”

Without her coat on, he could see that she’d also tried to dress for the office in such a way that she wouldn’t draw attention to herself in any of his meetings. Only, despite the blue blazer and slacks that were similar to what the other women in his office often wore, Ian was certain that no one would ever make the mistake of overlooking her. Not when she was an endlessly intriguing puzzle of innocence and pure sensuality, from the slight wave in the red-blond hair that was threatening to spill out of its pins, down to the tips of the heels she wore as if she’d been born walking on four-inch spikes.

Ruthlessly forcing away his attraction to her the same way he had all weekend long when she’d crept into his thoughts again and again, he said, “We’re not going to be late, but if we had been, it would have been my fault, not yours. I should have known to get you off the sidewalk as soon as possible.”

“It was fine,” she said, as unconcerned with the potential ramifications of her fame now as she’d been outside. “I walked here from my condo, actually. It was really nice to see what downtown Seattle looks like before it wakes up for the day.”

She’d walked here? Alone? “Shouldn’t you have a bodyguard with you?”

She made a dismissive sound. “No.”

“Does Valentina know you’re walking around by yourself downtown? And that you’re letting strange guys put their hands on you for pictures?”

Her beautiful green eyes flashed beneath raised eyebrows. “I’m sure you taught Mia to watch out for herself. My sister taught me the same things. I’m rather attached to my freedom, but I’m not stupid about it, Ian. I’m careful, I promise. Plus,” she added with a grin, “I’ve taken some karate lessons, so if that guy had done anything weird, I would have knocked him flat with a punch to the solar plexus.”

How many times was she going to surprise him? he asked himself as they got off the elevator, then headed for his office.

Of course, his lust-filled brain instantly twisted the question up as he wondered, would he be surprised by the softness of her skin beneath his fingertips? Would the taste of her lips against his tongue be as sweet as he imagined? And what would she sound like as she came apart beneath him? Whimpers? Gasps? Or would she be too breathless for either?

Business, damn it. He needed to keep his mind on business. “Do you have any questions about the schedule my assistant sent you?”

As she pulled a folder out of her bag, her scent played effortless havoc with his quickly diminishing self-control. “Just one.” Holding up the three pages that detailed the next twelve hours of his life, she asked, “When do you get a moment to take a breath?”

“Breathing is usually scheduled for just after lunch,” he replied, before he could think better of teasing her.

Her eyes widened for a moment before she began laughing. “I’ll make sure to pencil it in.”

Her scent and her nearness were destroying his restraint moment by moment. Boundaries. He needed to make sure the boundaries between them were clear—not just to Tatiana, but in his own head, as well.

But before he could lay down any ground rules, she said, “Like I said on Friday, not only do I not want to get in your way this week, but the best way for me to learn is to see you do whatever it is you would naturally do throughout the week. I truly intend to fade into the background, so please don’t give me another thought.”

She went to sit down on the couch, but he stopped her with one incredulous word: “How?” He made a sound of obvious disbelief. “You can’t even get away with a disguise outside. So how do you think you could ever fade into the background in my office?”

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