What is it they say about first impressions?
Never trust them or always trust them?
Harlow Hart is about to find out.
It’s not like I didn’t know places like this existed, or people like Cash lived in them. I just never expected to have an up close and personal encounter. It’s so far removed from my world. I’ve spent my life in the poorest parts of the world with my parents, traveling in pop up clinics where they would treat and vaccinate and I’d teach. Since graduating University that is my life, six months abroad, six months in the UK raising money to do the next six months.
Sniffing, an unpleasant thought crosses my mind. I push it to the back and lock it away.
“What?” Cash narrows his eyes, watching my face for clues. It’s probably written like a big fat Sharpie pen across my forehead, still I force a flat smile and shake my head.
“Nothing.” I say silently reminding myself; not the time Harlow, not the time to point out that his furniture probably cost more than I will make in my lifetime.
He drops his piles of letters, irritation clipping his words nice and short. “OK, we might as well get this out of the way if you’re going to be working for me.” He straightens himself to his full height and walks closer to me. I straighten too. I’m not intimidated by his height, it’s his aurora that has me shaken and he damn well knows it. So much so that it takes a few long seconds for my brain to process what he’s just said.
“Get what out of the way? Wait a minute! What do you mean, work for you? Why on earth would I work for you?”
“Because darlin’ You. Owe. Me.” He steps closer with each carefully pronounced word.
“Did I stutter?” He cocks his head and leaves me utterly speechless. He can’t be serious? I mean he looks deadly serious but really? What a complete fucking arsehole.
My blood is boiling at this point and it takes every ounce of restraint not to knock that smug expression off his face. I storm over a the desk in the corner of the room with a flashy Apple PC and wiggle the mouse to wake the screen. He walks up behind me, his body brushes mine. I ignore the sparks of electricity that crackle between. He’s too close to think. Leaning over, I find I have to bend with him or he’d crush me trying to reach the switch on at the wall. The screen lights up. It’s a compromising position and I happily elbow him in the gut to give me some space. He steps to the side, clearly amused a throaty laugh rumbles from him. I sit. It takes a moment to open my bank and a few seconds more to remember my login details.
“So how much do I owe you exactly?” I ask.
“Twelve thousand dollars for the flight and lets say two hundred for the transfer and accommodation. I’ll throw the food in gratis.” He says mater of factly. I snort.
“Oh you’re such a gentleman but you can do one, if you think I’m paying twelve grand for a flight I already paid for. I didn’t ask for the upgrade.” I’m standing now, indignation prickling my last nerve raw.
“But you took it.” He states.
“You didn’t give me a choice.” Exasperated, I don’t know him well enough to know if he’s playing me. It feels like a game yet, it doesn’t.
“Oh please, you had a choice. It just served your goodie-two-shoes ideals to pretend you didn’t.” He arches a knowing brow. Even if this was a game I’m done playing and the last thing I want in the world is owe this man a single damn penny.
“You are unbelievable you know that?”
“I’ve been called worse, now pay up princess.” He cups his hand as if waiting for my to hand over the physical cash into his expectant palm.
“How do you sleep at night.?” I snide and sit back down.
“Butt naked with the AC on full.”