Dating and Other Dangers
by Natalie Anderson
Nadia Keenan’s first date Do’s and Don’ts:
1. Do boost your confidence by looking hot
2. Don’t put out until at lease date two
3. If the man is trouble (however sexy!) do report all on www.WomanBWarned.com
After being trashed on Nadia’s website, serial dater-and-dumper Ethan Rush is about to put Nadia’s rules to the test. He’s determined to change her mind about him. She’s determined to prove him for the cad he is.
Let the battle of the dates begin…
A ripple skittered down Nadia's spine and her brain sharpened. She blinked away the blinding effect of his beauty. He didn't look as if he hoped to score a job at the most prestigious insurance firm in the city. He looked as if he had the world and its riches at his feet already, and could take or leave anything at his leisure. But that edge was there—simmering—and something raw was a scant centimetre below his incredibly smooth surface. Something she wasn't sure she wanted to identify.
He paused another moment just inside the doorway, then carefully closed the door behind him. All the while he stared as hard at her as she belatedly realised she was staring at him. Finally he spoke. 'You're Nadia Keenan?'
She swallowed. 'That surprises you?' she asked, with a coolness that surprised her. She gestured to the seat across the table, because she was going to get a crick in her neck if she had to look that far up for another moment. Yeah, she should have stood, but her legs were as supportive as soggy tissue paper, and somehow she knew revealing weakness in front of this guy wouldn't be a smart idea.
He took the seat, moving his all-muscle, no-fat frame in a too controlled kind of way that made the ripples run even faster across her skin. Apprehension…and something else she definitely didn't want to identify. Instead her brain tracked down another avenue. Exactly how had he known to ask for her specifically? Because she was sure now he had—it wasn't Steffi fobbing anyone off. This guy was here for some very precise reason. But she was merely an HR assistant. It wasn't as if her name was listed on the company website. So why her?
Silence sharpened another second. She glanced past him, relieving her strained wide eyes and trying to regulate her pulse back to normal. Two of the walls were windows—the lower half frosted, but the upper part clear. Her clenched muscles eased a smidge. Anyone walking past could see in. There was no reason to feel isolated—no reason to feel as if the room had been sucked of all its oxygen. There was no reason for those ripples to relentlessly slither back and forth across her skin. And it wasn't exactly fear…it was that something else.
She swallowed again and drew another cooling breath. 'How can I help—?'
'What's the policy on internet use here at Hammond?' he interrupted.
Pressing her lips together, she nudged the recruitment pack on the table between them, avoiding looking at him as she pulled her scattered thoughts together.
'I should imagine it's pretty conservative,' he continued, before she'd collated her answer. 'Pretty conservative establishment all round, is Hammond.'
'Do you have a point, Mr.?' She paused deliberately, still not looking him in the eyes.
'Rush. Ethan Rush,' he said, as smoothly and unselfconsciously as if he were James Bond himself. 'Do you recognise my name?'
'Yes, I think you should.'
She blinked and pushed the pack again, to buy another moment of thinking time. Except she couldn't really think—she could barely breathe—and her pulse was pounding. 'Well, I'm sorry, Mr Rush, you'll have to explain.'
'But you've been warned about me.'
'I have?' Startled, she looked up—and found herself snared in the reddish tint of his brown eyes—the hardness of those eyes.
'Yes, on WomanBWarned. Do you know that website, Nadia?'
In less than the micro-second it took for her to gasp, shock had covered her body in goosebumps. Every inch of her skin screamed with sensitivity; every cell was shot with adrenalin. She let another second slide, and as it did she decided to avoid—then feign ignorance. And if that failed she'd deny, deny, deny.
'Was there something you needed today, Mr Rush?'
'Yes, I wanted to be sure about the internet policy here at Hammond, and apparently you're the HR expert on it.' He didn't seem to move, but he was somehow even bigger, filling the room with ferocious energy. 'Tell me,' he said drily, 'does your employer know you run one of the bitchiest, most defamatory sites on the internet?'
Nadia's throat tightened as if a hangman's noose had just been jerked, rendering speech impossible.
'It wouldn't do your little HR role much good if your bosses found out about your hobby, would it? Not when you're sending out these little edicts to all their employees about online protocol. Not in a great position to give advice, are you?'
Nadia firmed her jaw—she resented the "hobby" description.
He pulled a paper from his pocket and unfolded it, placing it in the table. She glanced at the heading, and then back up to his simmering countenance. She didn't need to read more because she'd written most of it. The internal memo on internet access and computer use, explicitly detailing that social networking sites, forums and such, were forbidden. She'd drafted the updated policy before getting it approved by Legal and her supervisors.
'Where did you get that?' And how on earth had he tracked her down?
'I find it so ironic that you deliver seminars to the other employees about protecting their online presence and reputation when you're so vicious in cyberspace yourself.'
'Do you have a point, Mr Rush?' She curled her toes and tensed her muscles. She wanted to escape but refused to run away. Because she really needed to know what his point was. Despite her hammering heart, she told herself to keep calm. She was safe. She'd never used Hammond computers for her forums and she never would—her job mattered too much.
'What do you think, Nadia? Why am I here?'
She shrugged her shoulders slightly. 'No reason I can think of. Unless you wish to discuss possible employment at Hammond, I don't think we have anything to say to each other.'
He smiled as he surveyed her. Sitting back in his seat, he was now completely at ease, as if he was the one who worked here, and not total stranger who'd just come in off the street. And he was completely gorgeous, in an all-male, all-arrogant way.
Oh, yes—woman be warned. She knew his type—too good-looking for his own good. A spoilt playboy who'd been outed as a two/three/four or more timer for sure. And he wasn't happy about it?
Dating and Other Dangers is available now from:
If you’re in the UK, it’s also just been rereleased in
digital form and you can grab it from Amazon UK
Natalie Anderson writes fun, frisky, feels-good contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Entangled. With over twenty books published, she’s also been a Romantic Times Award nominee & a finalist for the R*BY ( Romantic Book of the Year ). She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her husband, four children and what feels like a million ducks. Find out more at her website http://www.natalie-anderson.com and be sure to sign up for her newsletter there as she often has subscriber only eTreats.
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