His shoulders tensed at the thought of her dancing with other men, looking the way she did tonight. He blew out a breath through his nose and deliberately drew his shoulder back down. It was none of his goddamn business whom she danced with.
“Like I said, sometimes impulsivity leads to the best sort of fun.” Taking on a life of its own, his thumb drew soft circles on her lower back. “How else would we have had this great opportunity to build rapport?”
“Now it’s rapport-building?” She held his eyes and her lips lifted into a Mona Lisa smile. “This keeps getting better and better.”
With their heads bent close to hear each other, the sexy-as-hell hint of whiskey on her breath was driving him wild. He lowered his head imperceptibly to breathe in her scent, and she shivered in his arms. She felt the magnetic pull, too, and it was damn hot. When her eyes searched his, he slowly angled his head until their lips were mere inches apart.
Both of them drew back as though lightning had struck them. They were dancing in the middle of a crowd. They couldn’t do this. Breathing roughly, they gazed at each other in wonder and panic, not quite knowing what to do next. Then a look of stubborn determination filled her face, and Jihae slowly rose to her toes, shocking the hell out of him. She was so bold and true to her feelings. He respected her and wanted her exponentially more. And he wanted to kiss her full, red lips. So badly.
But he jerked himself back at the last second and eased her into a spin. When they faced each other again, he held himself stiffly apart from her. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t seduce her. What had compelled him to nearly kiss her had nothing to do with his plans to earn her trust, but the end result would be the same. He couldn’t use her that way.
“Yes, rapport-building,” he continued as though there hadn’t been a sizable lapse in their conversation. “This is definitely more effective than a company retreat.”
“I trust you’re as discreet as you are professional.” Her determined expression was replaced by a hint of mortification. Damn it. He hated making her feel rejected, but it was the honorable thing to do. “Jumping around and dancing like a crazy woman doesn’t meld with my business image. Neither does dancing in the arms of my partner. I don’t intend to repeat either of these activities.”
“I’m not the gossiping sort if that’s what you’re asking,” he said, hoping to ease her concern. “But this is hardly a matter that requires discretion. We’re two adults sharing a dance. Not exactly top gossip material. Besides, I don’t think anyone here recognizes you, and my presence here is expected.”
“So you’re a regular here?” She leaned back in his arms to look at him. “Should I assume you’re something of a party animal by night and a businessman by day?”
“I’m a businessman day and night.” He allowed himself a small smile, anticipating her surprise. “I own Pendulum.”
She didn’t disappoint. She gasped sharply, her eyes becoming wide saucers. Nightclub Jihae was the perfect amalgam of sexy and adorable. “What do you mean you own Pendulum? Wait, forget I just said that. That was a silly question. Of course I understand what you’re saying.”
“You’re right to be surprised. Not everyone runs nightclubs on the side while growing a production company. It’s not a well-known fact, especially in the film industry. I’m just known as the new kid on the block.”
“Did you say ‘nightclubs’?”
“Yes, I own three others, but I started with Pendulum.” To his regret, the song came to an end, and he let his arms drop to his sides, sadly bereft of her warmth. “She’s something special.”
“Well, then.” Curiosity saturated her face, as they arrived at her table to find June’s rapt attention on them. “It was nice running in to you, Colin.”
“Yes. It was very nice,” he said, extending his hand to her. The jolt of electricity made his body hum again. His body was even more aware of her after having held her in his arms. He quickly withdrew his hand, breaking contact. He had to walk away this minute because he was barely holding it together. “Good seeing you, June.”
“Mmm-hmm.” June didn’t exactly roll her eyes, but he sensed her attitude nonetheless. He must have looked like an eager pup, panting after Jihae. He had to stop being so obvious, so he furrowed his brow to look more serious. Because, well, he was an idiot. He probably looked like a ridiculous caricature.
“Well, then. I hope you ladies enjoy the rest of the night, and your drinks are on the house.”
“You don’t need to—”
“Thank you, Colin,” June said cheerily, cutting off her friend’s protest.
He smiled his approval at her, then inclined his head to both of them. “Good night.”
Jihae bit her bottom lip as though she wanted to say something but simply said, “Good night.”
Colin sighed in relief. He didn’t think he could handle her company much longer without doing things that could jeopardize their partnership as well as his personal objective. The woman was sinfully alluring and he was no saint.
He went back to the bar, walked behind it and grabbed himself a half-empty bottle of cognac and a glass. Tim acknowledged Colin’s little indulgence with a wave of his hand and shooed him out of his space. After throwing a smirk over his shoulder, Colin went inside his office and closed the door.
He intended to drown his lust in liquor so it wouldn’t be able to resurface too soon. Yes, it would resurface. Colin was never one to deny the inevitable. He just wanted to delay it.
(C) Jayci Lee, Harlequin Desire, 2020. Used with permission from the publisher.
The Heirs of Hansol #3
Mixing business with pleasure changes the entire script. . .
But that’s no reason to stop. . .
Jihae Park’s icy heiress facade is quickly melting–all because of Colin Song. A fling with the sexy film producer could jeopardize her one shot at achieving her own success–and the movie they’re making together. But resistance to her searing attraction–and Colin’s breathtaking bedroom skills–proves futile. Even as Colin’s ulterior motives threaten to destroy their chance at a picture-perfect ending. . .
From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire–welcome to the lives of the American elite.
The Heirs of Hansol
Book 1: Temporary Wife Temptation
Book 2: Secret Crush Seduction
Book 3: Off Limits Attraction
About Jayci Lee
Jayci Lee writes poignant, sexy, and laugh-out-loud romance every free second she can scavenge. She lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. At times, she cannot accommodate real life because her brain is full of drool worthy heroes and badass heroines clamoring to come to life.
Because of all the books demanding to be written, Jayci writes full-time now, and is semi-retired from her fifteen-year career as a defense litigator. She loves food, wine, and travelling, and incidentally so do her characters. Books have always helped her grow, dream, and heal, and she hopes her books will do the same for you.