The Wedding(4)

By: Emma Darcy

Tessa worked on her composure as she rode up to the twentieth floor where Blaize Callagan reigned in the managing director’s suite. Cool, calm and collected, she recited, like a mantra that would soothe all manner of palpitations.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. Not once she was ushered into Blaize Callagan’s office and she came face to face with him. It ran through Tessa’s mind that there wouldn’t be a woman in the whole world that could stand in front of Blaize Callagan and not suffer at least some palpitations.

He rose from his desk as she entered, six feet of masculine virility that had lost nothing in thirty-six years of high-powered living. His physique alone had strong sex appeal, lean enough to lend him a lithe elegance in the superbly tailored suits he wore—charcoal grey today—yet with that hint of danger in the hard muscularity, which proclaimed him superbly fit and ready for any type of confrontation.

He had a hard, angular face, barely fleshed, yet there was an austere and compelling beauty in its strong bone structure. His skin colour was a natural golden tan, complementing thick black hair and eyes so dark they were almost black, as well.

Tessa had never seen such penetrating inescapable eyes on anyone. They gleamed with a diamond-hard intelligence that would not allow release until he willed it. The moment they locked onto hers, a weird feeling of vulnerability crawled down Tessa’s spine. They gave nothing away, expressed nothing. They simply imparted his dominance.

“Miss Stockton.”

A short nod of the head by way of acceptance, or approval, or acknowledgement. Tessa had no idea which. His voice had a velvet purr that raised goose bumps on her skin. Somehow she made her tongue work.

“Yes, sir” was all she managed. Even that was a pure act of will.

He gestured an invitation to a chair in front of his desk. “Good of you to oblige at such short notice,” he said pleasantly, then waited for her to sit down.

His eyes flicked over her in quick appraisal as she walked forward. Tessa had the nerve-quivering impression that nothing about her—absolutely noth-ing— escaped his notice. She almost slumped into the chair. Her legs were proving unreliable under pressure.

She forced herself to look at him inquiringly. His mouth moved into a little quirk that suggested some sensual satisfaction. His eyes stabbed briefly into hers, then he sat down and concentrated all his attention on the documents spread across his desk.

Tessa stared at him, waiting for him to give her instructions. She waited so long that her mind started to drift through all she knew about him. He was now a widower, but his wife, Candice, had been a famous model turned fashion designer. Her wild mane of red-gold curls had been her trademark, along with flashing green eyes, pearly skin and a tall, fabulous figure. An eminently suitable match for a man such as Blaize Callagan.

No doubt he was finding it difficult to replace her since her tragic death three years ago in a speedboat collision. But it wasn’t for want of trying, according to the gossip that circulated about his affairs. Although whether or not the rumours were correct that he was bedding women right, left and centre, nothing—but absolutely nothing—distracted him from getting on with his business.

Everyone said he had a brilliant incisive mind, and certainly he couldn’t operate an international company with such success if he wasn’t shrewd at top-level decision-making. Tessa knew that it was Blaize Callagan who set all policies for CMA and saw that they were carried through, come hell or high water. Ruthless, he was, in getting his way. So it was rumoured. And reported by Jerry Fraine.

His head lifted.

Tessa snapped her mind to attention.

But his eyes didn’t lift to hers. They seemed to study her legs, running a slow and very deliberate survey from the shape of her thighs—outlined by the narrow black skirt—to her knees, to her calves and ankles. He gave such concentrated attention to every detail that Tessa felt every bone and muscle had been mapped and committed to memory. The expression on his face said he liked the map. Very much. He gave a quick, short, decisive nod of his head, then pulled his gaze to the documents again.

He must have been thinking of something, Tessa reasoned, although it didn’t make her feel less conscious of the prickling of her skin against her stockings. And when, a couple of minutes later, he stared at her breasts, which her suit jacket moulded to prominent effect, no reasoning Tessa could come up with stopped her nipples from doing what they shouldn’t. He seemed to know, to place them exactly. Those X-ray eyes of his were very, very unsettling. She was intensely relieved when he gave another nod and they dropped to the documents again.