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Millionaire's Secret Seduction

By:Jennifer Lewis

Millionaire's Secret Seduction
Jennifer Lewis

       One




"G et out before I call security!"

The woman's voice rang across the large space. Dominic Di Bari blinked  in the fierce light that poured through a wall of windows.

Apparently she had no idea who he was. He took a step forward.

"I said-"

"I heard what you said." He could just make out a figure at the far end  of the room, small in the cavernous space. "I don't believe we've met."

"The sales training conference is on fourteen. This is fifteen." She strode toward him, heels clicking on the marble.

He squinted, but still couldn't see much. She had a white lab coat on.  Computers and other high tech equipment punctuated long countertops. A  white marble floor magnified the late-afternoon sunlight blasting  through the windows.

"Is this some kind of lab?"

"I hardly see that it's any of your business."

"A week ago, I'd have agreed with you." Before the strange phone call that turned his life upside down.

"I warned you I'd have to call security." She pulled a phone from a  pocket in her lab coat. He couldn't help but notice that her legs went  on forever. She dialed the number and tapped her foot on the floor,  looking anywhere but at him.

He crossed his arms and fought a smile that kept trying to sneak across  his mouth. Judging from those legs, he'd bet there was quite a body  hidden under all that white permanent-press polyester. Straight brown  hair with natural-looking gold highlights grazed her shoulder as she  pressed the phone to her ear.

"Yes, Sylvester, there's an intruder on fifteen. I told him to leave but  he won't." She shot him a hostile glance. Gray eyes. "Thank you, I'd  appreciate that."

She snapped her phone shut. "Security will be here in a few moments. Now is your chance to exit with dignity."

"Dignity can be so dull." He leaned against the doorframe. Her anger lit  her cool eyes and hardened the determined set of her chin. "Are you a  researcher here?" he asked.

"As it happens, I'm an executive vice president in the cosmetics division." She pursed her lips.

"Interesting." So Tarrant's eye for the ladies extended to those he  picked to run his company. This woman didn't look a day over  twenty-five. Obviously legs trumped experience around here. Hardly  surprising, given what he knew about Tarrant Hardcastle, the jerk that  DNA tests had proved to be his biological father.

He heard an elevator open behind him.

"This is him." She pointed a long, graceful finger at him. No nail  polish. Shouldn't she be wearing some if she was EVP of cosmetics?

"Mr. Hardcastle." The friendly middle-aged security chief who'd been  instructed to give him the run of the building gave a little nod.

Dominic knew he should correct him. He'd been Dominic Di Bari his whole  life and he had no intention of changing his name now to suit some  egomaniacal billionaire who needed an instant son.

But right now being Mr. Hardcastle suited his purposes.

Her pretty pink lips parted. "What?"

"You heard the man." Dominic shifted his weight. "Sylvester, is there a problem?"

"Ms. Andrews mentioned an intruder."

"I think there's been some mistake." Dominic spoke slowly, and let that  smile he'd been fighting pull his mouth upward. "Dominic." He held out  his hand for her to shake.

She stared at it in horror. Then she stepped forward and shook it.  "Bella Andrews. I had no idea. I must apologize. We deal with a lot of  sensitive material in this lab and we can't have strangers … " She trailed  off.

"I quite understand." Her skin was soft and smooth-as it should be,  given her chosen profession. Her palm heated against his as he held her  hand a couple of beats longer than was truly polite.

Her gray eyes gave away nothing of her thoughts.

When he let go she pulled her hand back fast and turned to the security guy. "Thanks, Sylvester. Sorry to have bothered you."

They stood in silence while Sylvester made his exit. He could almost  feel her burning curiosity as a palpable force in the chemical-scented  air. He smiled, as if to invite her most probing questions.                       
       
           



       

"You're one of Tarrant's relatives?" Her skin colored after she asked.

"His son." He gave her a cool smile. "You're going to say you didn't know he had a son, aren't you?"

"I, um." She pushed a stray wisp of hair behind her ear.

The story wasn't a pretty one, and he decided to keep it to himself for  now. Sometimes it was fun to keep people guessing. Especially a  scientist who probably lived to have her hypotheses proven correct.

"My father invited me here to show me how the company works." He took a  step toward her. "So, to repeat my question, is this a lab?"

"Yes, it's the development lab." He watched her elegant fingers brush a  speck of imaginary dust from a computer monitor. "I must apologize  again. I hope you realize that I'm just protecting the company's  interests."

"I understand. The fountain of eternal youth must be safeguarded at all costs."

His eyes had adjusted to the light and he could see the end of the long  room. The sinks and burners he might have expected in a lab were there,  carefully separated from racks of computing equipment and other  robotic-looking devices. He didn't see any beakers or test tubes. Those  must be hidden in the expensive cabinets lining the far wall. "Let me  guess, you're really seventy-eight years old?"

A dimple pierced the smooth skin of her cheek. "Not quite. Though we've  made some impressive advances in antiaging products. Do you have  experience in the field?"

She shoved her hands in her pockets, which had the delightful effect of  pulling her lab coat tight over her shapely backside as she crossed the  lab.

"Not a lick, I'm afraid. I'm here to learn."

To learn as much as he could about Tarrant Hardcastle and his evil empire, where until a week ago he'd been very unwelcome.

Dominic still smarted over losing his bid for the bankrupt chain of  drugstores he'd counted on as real estate for his chain of food stores.  Tarrant had undercut him on the price and still got them. Now every  store was sitting boarded up-a blight on the main drag of at least fifty  towns in America.

Did Tarrant know he'd screwed over his own son? Had he done it deliberately, as a kind of power play?

Just thinking about it heated Dominic's blood. But he'd get his own back, one way or another.

Bella Andrews gathered some papers that were spread out on a counter and  shoved them into a drawer. Her breathing shallow, she looked nervous.

And maybe she should be. Her high-handed attitude-and the way those  luscious lips pressed together in a line of disapproval-gave him an  appetite for a little sweet revenge.



She had to get rid of him. Thank God he didn't get a look at the files  she'd been reading. The entire team of research chemists was at a  conference in Geneva and she'd been sure of some privacy for serious  snooping. Now she'd almost been caught red-handed by the boss's son.

Tarrant Hardcastle had a son?

"This is where our staff of chemists experiments with new formulas and  improves on the current ones. We have a strict chain of procedures and  each product is thoroughly tested before it hits the market."

"On animals?" His eyebrow raised.

Funny question. Despite his elegant suit, Tall, Dark and Dangerous  looked like a man more likely to eat animals raw than to worry about  their welfare.

"We eliminated animal testing when I arrived. It's not necessary for our  products." She sucked in a breath. "Right now we're working on a new  line of age-defying cosmetics. In fact, our first product launches in a  few days. Tarrant hopes to secure global distribution by the end of the  year."

"I don't doubt he'll succeed." Something in his tone made her glance up.  His black-coffee eyes locked onto hers. "Do you like working for  Hardcastle Enterprises?"

"Of course, why?" Her voice came out kind of squeaky. It sometimes did that when she was lying.

And something about this man put her on edge. Not his L'Uomo Vogue good  looks. She was used to that. Tarrant Hardcastle put a premium on pretty  faces-male and female-in his employees.                       
       
           



       

Nor was it the tall, broad-shouldered frame lounging against the marble counter.

There was something in his expression that gave her the idea he could  see right through her. A possibility that made her belly contract with  anxiety.

"Just curious."

The look of satisfaction on his face suggested he'd read her traitorous  thoughts. Her gut tightened into a knot, even though she knew that was  impossible. "What would you like to see?"

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