I looked up at him. We were less than a foot apart. His eyes were a blue deep enough to drown in. It took me a moment to regain my train of thought, but what came out wasn’t what I’d intended to ask. “Did you request me to be assigned to this project?”
His gaze briefly dipped to my mouth before he refocused on my eyes. “And if I say yes?”
“I would say thank you for the opportunity to prove my loyalty.”
“That’s why Jenna requested you. You’ve already proved it.”
I frowned. “When?”
“Last week. She thought it was hilarious that you wouldn’t give me the erroneous report for Marcus because it would’ve broken company protocol.”
My cheeks burned. “You told her about that?”
He grinned. “Yes. It’s not often I’m told no.”
“I imagine it is a rarity for a man like you, especially coming from someone like me, who’s beneath you.” I could’ve kicked myself for my stupid phrasing. “I mean under you.” Dammit. That wasn’t any better.
“I don’t purposely surround myself with yes-men and -women, but it certainly turns out that way. So your honesty and honest reactions are refreshing.”
Yep. He knew the right thing to say too. “Is it hard knowing who to trust?”
He shrugged. “Does it make me sound like a controlling dick if I admit I test people from time to time?”
It seemed he wanted to talk, so I supposed I could oblige him. Oh, who the hell was I kidding? We were having an actual conversation for once where I wasn’t making an idiot out of myself. “For example?”
“I mentioned a few months ago that it’d be beneficial to add aquatics to our employee fitness center.”
“Like adding a swimming pool?”
“Yes. I touted the health benefits of swimming versus high-impact exercise.”
“I hope they told you that you were crazy.”
He cocked his head. “Why?”
“Why?” I snorted. “Because, first of all, the fitness center isn’t on the ground floor. I imagine the price of putting in a pool— even a lap pool— would be cost prohibitive because of the added structural support systems needed to hold that much water. Plus, there would be maintenance issues, as well as chemical storage issues. Not to mention insurance issues. And I can’t believe a fitness pool would get that much use in a business environment. I mean, can you imagine seeing your supervisor in a skimpy polka-dot bikini or a Speedo? Employees would avoid it for that reason alone. Or what if Bob from Accounting whistled at Susie from PR? Would that qualify as sexual harassment if it happened over the lunch hour?”
A startled look crossed his face.
Crap. I’d become a babbling idiot again. Then he smiled at me as if I’d passed some kind of test.
“Those were my thoughts exactly.”
Whew. “So what did the members of your team say when you brought it up?”
“At first, no one said a word. Then, let’s say . . . Bob”— he smirked—“ agreed it was a damn fine idea and he’d take the lead on getting the project under way.”
I groaned. “Did you dress him down in front of everyone for being an ass-kisser?”
His eyes narrowed. “My reputation is that bad?”
“Mr. Lund. Surely you’re aware of the terror you invoke merely by walking into a department,” I said dryly.
“Didn’t appear to hold true for you, Lennox.” That sexy smile danced on his lips and I found it impossible to look away from his mouth.
“Wrong. You can’t tell I’m quaking in my stilettos?”
He blinked as if he didn’t believe me.
I held out my hand, showing him how badly it shook.
He took my hand and squeezed it. “You must be a helluva poker player, because I never would’ve guessed. You’re always so . . . I can’t place my finger on it, which is probably why I keep finding reasons to talk to you and try to figure it out.”
The way he was looking at me— not like a CFO passing the time with a secretarial worker, but a man wanting to spend time with a woman he was attracted to— utterly addled my brain.
Jenna hustled into the room. “There you are,” she said in an exasperated tone.
Feeling guilty, I immediately dropped his hand and spun around to face her.
But she wasn’t talking to me. “You cannot hide in here.” She handed Mr. Lund a file folder. “They’re waiting for you in Mr. Nolan’s office. He told me to make sure you brought that.”
His mouth flattened into a grim line. Then he looked up at me. The frown bloomed into a charmingly sheepish smile.
My belly jumped.
“Thanks for the enlightening conversation, Lennox. I hope we can do it again sometime”— he shot Jenna a dark look—“ without interruptions.”
“Me too, Mr. Lund.” One hank of his dark hair fell over his eye as he studied the paperwork in the folder, and I had the urge to smooth the hair back into place. After he disappeared through the door, I glanced up and realized I’d just been ogling Jenna’s boss— right in front of her.
She didn’t wear a look of censure, just a knowing smirk. “Yes, he always looks that good. It’s annoying really. Just once I’d like for him to show up at work in stained sweatpants with his hair uncombed and facial scruff.”
“Even then I bet he’d look amazing.”
Jenna chuckled. “Good point. Luckily, Mr. Lund is somewhat . . . unaware of his attributes. That makes him a little more human.”
“After talking to him a few times, I see that he isn’t nearly the big bad I thought he was.” At least not in the same way I had before.
“Big bad. You kids and your weird phrases. I never understand half of them.” She pointed to the stacks of paper. “Let’s wrap this up so you can finish the day in your own department. I’m sure you’ve got big plans for the weekend.”
Jenna studied me. “Seriously? You’re— what, twenty-five?”
“I’m just surprised you won’t be out hitting the clubs and partaking of the Twin Cities nightlife.”
“I lived it up plenty in my misspent youth,” I admitted. “My idea of a perfect weekend is staying in.”
“You sound just like him.”
I didn’t have to ask who “him” was, but it intrigued me that the CFO of one of the Twin Cities’ richest families wasn’t out at charity events every weekend. I imagined him soaking in a bubble bath, a lowball glass of Scotch in his hand. Then, when he unfolded himself from the deep water— because I knew he wasn’t the type who could sit idle for very long— the bubbles slipped down his gleaming naked torso, revealing—
“Lennox?” Jenna prompted. “Are you okay?”
Not really. Just ignore me while I have explicit sexual fantasies about your boss. “Yes, you just got me to thinking about the weekend.”
“Well, whatever put that dreamy look on your face, I hope it figures into your plans.”
Not in a million years. But I smiled and said, “One can hope.”