After leaving the restaurant yesterday evening she’d been feeling off. She knew why, too. She’d thought of Graysen West all night. Had even dreamed of him. It was making her edgy, and she hated that—but she didn’t hate him. That was what drove her the craziest. She should hate the man after what he’d done, but…some stupid part of her still held on to all those sweet memories.
Lies, she reminded herself. All those memories might be real but everything about them had been a lie. Ugh, get the freak over it already. She wished life was that easy, that she could just order herself to forget him and move on. Unfortunately, getting over a man like Graysen was hard. It wasn’t just that he was sexy—which he was. He was giving and sweet… Gah, and a giant liar. What the hell was wrong with her? He wasn’t giving or sweet. He sucked.
As a woman moved off past her, Isa slipped her phone into her jacket pocket and glanced at the shiny chrome keypad on the elevator wall. Only three floors to go. She hadn’t dressed as sexy as Mara had said to, but she was wearing a dark green sheath dress with high heels that she could admit showed off her toned calves. She didn’t love everything about her body—what woman did?—but she liked her legs.
“You really need better spatial awareness.” A familiar, deep voice from behind her made her jump out of her skin.
Feeling almost numb, she turned to find Graysen West standing there—and looking way too sexy for his own good. Or for her own good. She’d thought she was completely alone in the elevator now.
She blinked once. Yep, he was still there. Well over six feet of raw masculinity, bright blue eyes she could drown in, and a disapproving frown that somehow made him look sexy.
“When did you get on?” Okay, that was probably the dumbest thing that could have come out of her mouth, but whatever. She was just glad she’d found her voice.
“Same time you did. But you were too busy on your phone to notice.” He frowned, looking all judgmental, and she just about snapped.
“Seriously, that’s the first thing you say to me? You criticize me about being on my phone?” She’d been working, not that that was remotely the point. He had no say in her life. If she wanted to play games on her phone, she damn well would.
“You’ve got to pay better attention to your surroundings. Did you even know there was someone else still on the elevator with you?”
Isa felt almost possessed as she lashed out. A year of built-up anger and hurt came bursting to the surface with his obnoxious ‘I know better than you’ tone. Her arm was moving before she’d processed what she was doing but when her fist connected with his nose, she cursed at the pain that jolted through her hand. Punching someone hurt.
He grunted as his head snapped back. But other than that he barely reacted.
She belatedly realized he hadn’t even moved to defend himself, and considering his training, he would have with anyone else. Stupid tears stung her eyes because she felt bad for punching him and she hated the insane way she’d just reacted to seeing him. It was completely nuts. She’d literally just assaulted someone in an elevator.
But Graysen apparently brought out the crazy in her. She spun away from him as the elevator doors opened, glad that no one was waiting and thankful for the escape. She didn’t care why he was here. She wasn’t dealing with him right now. Not now, not ever.
She heard him call her name but she ignored him and ducked in to the nearest women’s bathroom before he could see her cry. She’d cried enough over that man and she’d punch him again before she let him see her have an emotional breakdown.
* * *
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Holding a hand to his bleeding nose, Graysen started to follow after Isa but held back. He’d already screwed up by surprising her in the elevator.
He’d been staring at her perfect ass the last couple minutes and she hadn’t had a clue he’d been there.
What if some nut had been in the elevator with her? God, how many times had he told her to pay better attention… He inwardly cursed. Yeah, not the point right now. Not the point at all.
Turning away from the closed bathroom door, he headed down the quiet hallway. He didn’t want to leave her, but he thought he’d seen tears glistening in her eyes before she stormed off. He didn’t want to ambush her again. Not when he knew she needed time to compose herself.
As he moved toward Harrison’s office he quickly catalogued his surroundings as he always did. Everything was decorated in soft blues and greens, and Van Gogh prints lined the main hallway. Graysen knew that Harrison headed up a few departments, including the new one that Isa had been working with the last year.
When he stepped into Harrison’s assistant’s space, the dark-haired woman’s eyes widened. She started to stand. “Mr. West—”
He shook his head. “I’m fine.”
She eyed him warily but nodded. “Okay… Mr. Caldwell is in his office. He said to send you in when you arrived. Ms. Harper isn’t here yet but I expect her any moment. She’s always on time.” As she spoke she was already buzzing Harrison to let him know that Graysen was here.
Graysen only entered when she gave him the go-ahead. Harrison didn’t look exactly surprised when he saw Graysen standing there bleeding.
Harrison rounded his desk and headed to the small bar near the big spread of windows that overlooked the city. With efficient movements, he filled a small plastic bag with ice from the minibar and pulled out a pack of wet wipes. He handed them to Graysen before sitting back down.
“Got a call from security,” Harrison said mildly as Graysen started cleaning up the blood. There wasn’t much, but his nose still hurt.
Crap. Of course security would have seen Isa punch him. “What did you tell them?”
“To let me deal with it. Damn it, Graysen. Isa is normally one of the calmest, most rational people I know. It’s why she fits so well with this new venture Red Stone has taken on. We’re appreciative of the new contract you’ve brought us, but did you ever stop to wonder if you’re going to screw up her work dynamic?”
Yeah, he’d thought of it. But this was the only way he could get her to talk to him, to interact with him. She’d shut him down every other time he’d tried to reach out to her—not that he blamed her. “Just give me a chance. This one job with her.” The job he’d managed to snag was huge. Raptor Aeronautical—an aeronautical engineering company that took on contract government jobs designing military aircraft. The CEO wanted to tighten things up and do an annual check on security, and Graysen had convinced him to hire Red Stone for the check. They’d just been waiting on the final approval. “One week working with her, and if she wants, I’ll step back. You can replace me with someone else.” Even saying those words made him break out in a cold sweat. He wasn’t sure that he could convince Isa after only a week but he was damn sure going to try.