Playing with Seduction

By: Reese Ryan
CHAPTER 1

The click of high heels against the hardwood floors prompted Wesley Adams to look up from his magazine.

A mature, attractive blonde extended her hand, her coral lips pressed into a wide smile. “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Adams. I’m Miranda Hopkins, executive director of Westbrook Charitable Foundation.”

“The pleasure is mine.” Wes stood and shook her hand. “But please, call me Wes.”

“Wes, I’m sorry to tell you Liam won’t be joining us for today’s meeting.” Miranda frowned. “One of the girls isn’t feeling well, so he stayed home with her.”

“No, I wasn’t aware.” Wes was surprised his best friend hadn’t called him. After all, Liam had hounded him for more than a month to fly in from London for this meeting in Pleasure Cove. The woman looked worried he’d bolt, so Wes forced a smile. “But I’m confident he left me in good hands.”

“You’ve managed some impressive events in the UK,” Miranda said in her heavy, Southern drawl as she guided him toward a carpeted hallway. “We’re so excited that you’re considering taking on our project.”

Wes nodded and thanked her, glad his friend had clearly gotten the point. He was here to assess the project and decide whether it was a good fit. Nothing was written in stone.

As they approached an open door of a glass-walled conference room, he heard the voices of two women. One of them was oddly familiar.

“Wes, this is our events manager, Lisa Chastain.” He reached out to shake Lisa’s hand. Then Miranda drew his attention to the other woman. “And this is Olympic champion and international beach-volleyball star Brianna Evans. Bree, this is Wesley—”

“Adams. We’ve met.” Her expression soured, as if she smelled a rotting corpse. It sure as hell wasn’t her glad-to-see-you-again-Wes face.

Bloody hell.

He hadn’t seen Bree since the night they met at that little club in London’s West End more than a year ago.

Liam, I’m going to strangle you.

He’d tell his friend what he thought of his matchmaking attempt later. For now, he’d play it cool. After all, he hadn’t done anything wrong. But Bree, whose lips were pursed as she stared at him through narrow slits, obviously disagreed.

Wes widened the smile he’d honed while attending boarding school with kids whose parents made more in a month than his parents made all year. He extended his hand to Bree, despite the look on her face that dared him to touch her.

Bree shoved a limp hand into his, then withdrew it quickly, as if her palm was on fire.

What did, or didn’t, happen between he and Bree was personal. This was business.

“I believe Miss Evans has a bone to pick with me.” Wes pulled out Brianna’s chair and gestured for her to have a seat.

She narrowed her gaze at him, then took her seat. As she turned toward the two women, who exchanged worried glances, Bree forced a laugh. “Wes predicted my alma mater wouldn’t make it back to the Sweet Sixteen, and he was right. I’m convinced he jinxed us.”

Nicely done.

Wes acknowledged her save with a slight nod. He slipped into the chair across from her—the only open seat with an information packet placed on it.

The night they’d met in London, her eyes, flecked with gold, had gazed dreamily into his. The coy, flirtatious vibe she exuded that night was gone.

Bree’s face dripped with disdain. Anger vibrated off her smooth, brown skin—the color of a bar of milk chocolate melting in the hot summer sun.

Wes only realized he’d been staring at Bree when she cleared her throat and opened her information packet.

“Well, I…” Miranda’s gaze darted between Brianna and Wes. “We’re all here. Let’s get started, shall we?”

The meeting was quick and efficient. Miranda and Lisa were respectful of their time and promised they would be throughout the course of planning and executing a celebrity volleyball tournament over the next six months.

Six entire months.

Liam had laid out a dream project for him. The perfect vehicle for expanding his successful UK event planning and promotions company to the US. However, working with Bree Evans for six months would be as pleasant as having an appendectomy, followed by a root canal. On repeat.

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