“Looks like this is the winner,” I say with a grin. “I’ll take it.” I pull my wallet out of my handbag, but Eli lays his hand over mine and shakes his head.
“Bill me,” he tells Charly, who smiles and nods happily, while handing me a list of hair products to try, waving at us as Eli leads me back out into the heat. “Feel better?”
“Hmm,” I murmur, but, oh, God, yes, it feels so much better. “Thanks for the hat.”
“You are welcome,” he replies, his accent making me squirm again. I met this man just a few hours ago, and so far, everything he does makes me squirm.
Not good. Not good at all.
“Tell me about yourself,” I say, surprising myself. All I know is, I need to get my brain on something other than the mass of testosterone walking next to me. We cross the street, me on the outside, and Eli immediately trades places with me, tucking me next to him away from the street. “Chivalry isn’t dead,” I whisper.
“No, dawlin’, it’s not.” He flashes me a quick smile before leading me to a café with beautiful courtyard seating.
“It’s surprisingly cool in here,” I murmur after we’re seated.
“The trees keep it cool,” the waitress says with a smile. “Need a minute with the menu?”
“Do you eat seafood?” Eli asks me.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Good. We’ll both have the seafood jambalaya, please.”
The waitress nods and walks away, leaving us alone.
“Now, tell me more about your plans to catch the person stealing from my company.”
“You didn’t answer my question first,” I reply, and butter a piece of the bread the waitress just set down for us.
“Tell me about you.”
“I don’t matter.” His voice is calm, but sure. Final. He leans back, folds his arms, and shutters immediately close over his eyes.
“It’s your company, so yes, I do believe you matter.”
“All you need to know about me is that I’m your boss, you’ll be paid timely, and I expect nothing but your best on this job.”
I set my bread on a small white plate and lean back, mirroring his pose with my arms crossed. “Actually, I believe it was Savannah who hired me, and I don’t ever give less than my best. Ever.”
He raises a brow and cocks his head to the side. “Beau, Savannah, and I hold equal shares and equal interest in the company. All three of us are your bosses, Kate.”
“Understood.” He watches me for several minutes. I can’t figure him out. He has moments of being so kind, nice, and I think he may be attracted to me, and then the walls come slamming down and he’s distant, impersonal, and borderline rude.
Which is it?