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Blackmailing The Billionaire(8)

By:Melody Anne

Cassie felt like she'd just been taken to the principal's office and  scolded for causing rumors. What else was she supposed to think when no  one was around, and the boss was sleeping on the couch? He could give  her the benefit of the doubt that she'd check into it before writing  anything up. Just because she took notes didn't mean she wouldn't verify  facts. She could tell the next month was going to be a long one.

She didn't know what to say, so thought it better to sit quietly and  gather her thoughts. She didn't want her first day in the life of Max  Anderson to be fraught with tension. That wouldn't do either of them any  good. If push really came to shove he could end the interview process  all together and there wasn't anything she could do about it. Sure, the  publicity from him hitting her would make a good story for other  reporters, but it would die down in no time, and then she'd be out of  her story and worse off than she was before the accident.

"If this was such a bad day for the interview to start, we could've waited until tomorrow," she told him.

"And you would've believed I was telling the truth?" he asked. He knew  her better than she thought, because no, she wouldn't have.

Max was second guessing the entire interview process. It gave him an  excuse to figure out why she affected him, but he didn't like having to  explain himself, nor the invasion of his privacy. He thought about the  kiss a few moments ago and couldn't keep the smile from his face. He  could get used to waking up like that each morning. He wasn't a saint  and had been with many beautiful women, but he never spent the night  with them. Once his needs were met he had no desire to cuddle and tell  each other their life story. He'd never actually woken up with a woman,  and found it wasn't an unpleasant experience. Cassie McIntyre had him  intrigued.

On the other hand, his father and uncle were all for the interview,  saying it would be good for the company. Anything those two men were  happy about would end up causing him a huge headache. They'd never met  Cassie before the accident so he didn't see how they could be involved  with any of this, but he was going to be weary anyway. He was especially  nervous with her staying at his uncles, but she'd be cleared to move  back to her own place in a few more days. He didn't like the idea of her  being on her own, but she'd recovered remarkably well and there was  nothing he could do to stop it. He shouldn't care where she stayed,  anyway.

"I need coffee and food. I haven't had any of either since last night,"  he said as he stood up. He went to the couch and quickly put his socks  and shoes on, then stood and straightened his clothes. He stepped  through a door she assumed was a bathroom and came out looking much  better than when he'd went in.

"Do I need my jacket?" she asked, not sure if they were leaving the building.

"No, we'll eat here. They have a café on the first floor." He led her  from the room and quickly walked to the elevator. They were silent on  the way down. She needed to get better control over herself because she  was never going to get a Pulitzer Prize from a silent interview. She  shook her head to clear it and as the doors opened into the busy lobby  she felt better. Hustle and bustle she could deal with. Silence, not so  much.

"Do you eat here often?" she asked. She wanted to smack herself in the  head. All the questions she could ask and she started off with something  that lame. He didn't even bother to answer, he just looked at her with a  brow raised. "I actually wanted to know if you often spend the night  here at the offices."         



"Curious about my love life, Cassie?" he asked suggestively. Cassie  stared at him wide-eyed, too shocked for a moment to say anything. She  took a deep breath as she heard his chuckle. She wasn't going to let him  intimidate her.

"Not in the least, though, I'm sure some of my readers will love to know  just how eligible you are. I'm simply trying to establish how hard you  work," she said a bit smugly, then stepped in front of him to enter the  large café. What he called a café actually resembled more of a hospital  cafeteria. It was huge. There was a buffet style serving area with a  line of people, and employees serving food that smelled delicious. She  heard her stomach growl and decided she was hungry, herself.

She grabbed a tray and jumped in line, sure he'd follow her. She knew he  didn't like someone else getting the last word in. He didn't disappoint  her.

"You know, it's not going to work," he said, making her jump. He was  right behind her and had his head bent forward so the words were  whispered right behind her ear, his hot breath lightly running across  her bare skin. She couldn't stop the shudder that trembled through her.  He was really good at causing her body to go haywire.

"What won't work?" she asked breathlessly.

"No matter how much distance you try to put between us, I'm going to get  to know you just as much as you think you're going to get to know me,"  he said. She moved forward too quickly and crashed into the person in  front of her, causing a laugh to escape Max's lips. He knew what he was  doing to her. She quickly apologized to the person.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she bluffed. He didn't say anything else but they both knew she was lying.

They got their food and he found a table in the corner and sat down. She  followed him and placed her tray in front of her, diving into the  delicious food. He started eating as if his life depended on it and they  were both silent for several moment.

"Who's this beautiful woman?" a man said as he approached their table  and sat down without being invited. "I'm Trenton, Max's older brother,"  the man said. Cassie recognized him from some articles she'd seen  written up on him. He'd gotten married a while ago.

"This is Cassie McIntyre, Trenton. She's going to be following me around  like a lost puppy dog for a while, doing an interview," Max said.  Cassie sent him a glare. He couldn't have been more rude if he'd tried.

"Nice to meet you, Cassie. If you're looking for some real dirt on this  guy then you'll have to come see me," he said with a wink. Cassie  instantly liked Max's brother.

"I will certainly take you up on that, Trenton," she said, feeling better even after the dog comment.

"That's not part of the deal," Max growled, clearly not liking her interacting with more of his family members.

"There's nothing that states I can't talk to your family members about  you. It just says I can't invade their privacy," she said smugly. She  would've never signed something saying she couldn't talk to his family  or employees. She wasn't stupid. Max glared at her and pushed his food  away. She had a feeling he'd make the rest of her day unpleasant if he  could get away with it.

"Don't be so grouchy, Max, I won't spill too many secrets," Trenton said  with a laugh and wink, which earned him a glare. Cassie found their  interaction amusing. She pulled out her iPad and took some notes, which  made Max glower even more. Heck, if she could get under his skin that  easily she would take the thing out more often. She enjoyed riling him  up.

"So, Cassie, you're a reporter?" Trenton asked.

"I'm hoping to be. I graduated at the top of my class in journalism, but  sadly have been working as a barista for a small coffee shop. I've  tried getting a job with different papers and magazines, but the  market's so competitive that I haven't had any luck so far. I know this  exclusive interview with Max will get me a job with no problem, though,"  she said, beaming. She was so excited to work in a busy news room. She  soon would be back on track for her ten year plan she'd made for herself  before she graduated.

"Yep, Max is definitely cagey when it comes to interviews. The rest of  us usually just get them over with so we're not hounded all the time,"  he said. He seemed to realize he may have offended her, but she had much  thicker skin than that.

"I know reporters can be annoying, don't worry about it. When you're in  the public eye like your family, though, the public wants to know all  about you. I promise to be tasteful and won't hound any of you after I'm  done," she responded.         



Cassie picked up her cup and took a long swallow of coffee. She needed  the pause in conversation and she needed the caffeine to wake her up.  Max was oddly silent as she and Trenton talked for several more moments.  His silence worried her more than his sarcastic remarks. He was good at  thinking of new ways to intimidate her.

Max leaned back in his chair, drinking his coffee and looking back and  forth between the two of them. She didn't trust the look in his eyes one  bit. She knew he had something else up his sleeve.

"How long is the interview for? It sounds like more than just an afternoon," Trenton finally asked.

"For a month," Cassie told him. Trenton coughed in surprise, spilling a bit of his coffee. Cassie smiled.