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Lexi tapped her pink fingernails on the desk with impatience. The clinic was in complete darkness. All caused by a little 'phoof' when she'd tried to switch on the lights in one of the consulting rooms. If only she knew where the main trip switch was.
She squinted at her watch, using the light from her phone. Just after eleven o'clock at night. Where was he? He had to be here somewhere-his car was parked just down the road. She'd already phoned the few members of staff that were currently in Drake's wine bar and he wasn't with them.
She spun on her heel, a new determination causing her stomach to clench.
'Iain McKenzie, you can run but you can't hide.'
He'd been avoiding her all day. She knew that. And he knew that.
But two could play at that game. No one escaped Lexi Robbins, Head of PR at the Hunter Clinic. She'd got tired of dodging his lame excuses via his devoted and sergeant-majorish secretary. She'd looked at his theatre lists today and knew exactly when he'd be available.
Except he'd been in a meeting, then taking a conference call, then out buying a sandwich. The final straw had been when his secretary had said he'd left to pick up his dry-cleaning!
So she'd waited. Lexi Robbins could be very patient. She was also very persistent. So far she'd been through the three operating theatres, the recovery room and the anaesthetic room-even though there were no patients in the building-all in her search for Iain.
She'd checked his room four times today. She'd checked the waiting room, the kitchen, the changing rooms and the treatment rooms. She'd been down to the gym and private swimming pool too-the thought of catching Iain McKenzie in a state of undress wasn't exactly unappealing. Now she'd started checking the other consultants' rooms in the hope she'd catch him hiding somewhere.
As a kid she'd been the best at hide and seek and she'd no intention of being beaten now.
Iain McKenzie had met his match.
It was infuriating. He was infuriating. She was only trying to do her job and help raise the profile of the clinic to try and attract some more overseas clients. So far, she'd managed to persuade several celebrity friends, a few TV film stars, an international politician and the sheikh of Amal to use the services of the Hunter Clinic. Interviewing and filming some of the staff members would help her publicity drive to even bigger audiences.
And with his shaggy hair, muscular build and Scottish accent Iain McKenzie was to die for. Women would love him and flock to this clinic from miles around if only she could get him on screen and online.
She'd worked hard for this job and had no intention of failing. Leo Hunter had just let her know that they were linking with a charity, so raising the profile and income of the Hunter Clinic would be even more crucial than before. She was determined not to let him down, not when he'd given her an opportunity that others hadn't.
Being the daughter of a family constantly in the media meant she had her own cross to bear. If she had a pound for every time someone had said the words 'You're Penelope Crosby's daughter?', usually with an expression of disbelief in their eyes, she would never need to work again. Being the daughter of a former famous model with one of the world's top-selling range of beauty products was tough-having a father who interviewed all the top celebrities in the world, along with his billionaire status, was even tougher.
No one in her family had respected her decision to go to university and get her degree. No one in the family respected the work she did at the Hunter Clinic. The only time her parents had ever been happy with her choices was when she'd spent a few summers doing charity work because it had given them more good publicity than they would ever need.
That's why she was so determined not to let Leo down.
No matter how hard Iain McKenzie tried to hide from her.
She could see it in her head right now. The publicity shot she wanted to use-Iain McKenzie in that dark grey suit he wore, with a white shirt and red tie, arms folded across his chest in front of the Hunter Clinic sign. He would look fabulous.
Or maybe she should put him in a set of navy scrubs-all his athletic muscles would be clearly on show. Or maybe she could persuade him to wear a kilt.
No. Scratch that. Old prickly guts would never agree to wear a kilt for her.
She pushed open the door to Mitchell Cooper's room. Even though the lights were out there was plenty of light from the outside streetlights in Harley Street. She could see around the room easily. Empty. Just like all the others.
There was only one place left. Leo Hunter's office. The boss.
She felt a flutter of excitement. Leo's office was the most gorgeous in the building. Spectacular views over Harley Street, hand-picked opulent furniture and gorgeous soft furnishings.
She turned the handle carefully. It almost felt wrong, creeping into the boss's office while he wasn't around. But she was determined to check every inch of this clinic.
But something was wrong. There were no gentle lights from the street bathing the office in a partly orange glow.
The curtains were pulled tightly, leaving the office in complete darkness. She fumbled with her phone, trying to pull it from her pocket and use the torch to see her way around.
A flicker of nerves danced across her skin. What was that faint noise? She held her breath, leaning forward a little and straining to hear. But after more than sixteen hours in stiletto heels her balance had deserted her. She tripped on the large Turkish rug Leo kept in the middle of his floor. She fell forward and let out a gasp, reaching out towards the blackness in front of her and hitting the edge of the chesterfield lounge-and a whole lot more.
There was movement. Sudden, powerful movement and none of it was hers. Lexi felt the breath leave her body as she found herself spun around and pushed flat on her back onto the chesterfield lounge.
Her heart pounded in her chest, the thudding reverberating in her ears. She tried to reach out and fight her attacker as an adrenaline surge hit her body. Fight or flight had never seemed more apt. But the arms holding her down were fierce. Fierce and strong, very strong.
Her breath seemed caught in her throat, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Her attacker's weight was pressing down on her chest, affecting her ability to take a deep breath.
She still couldn't see. It was just darkness, pure and utter darkness. Like your worst nightmare and most hated horror movie all rolled into one.
She heard a grunt. And it gave her the faintest glimmer of hope.
It was a grunt she thought she recognised. Usually when she was trying to persuade him to acknowledge her existence.
She fought to push the word from her throat. 'Iain?' she croaked.
Iain had finally managed to grab a few minutes' precious sleep. There was no point in going home. No matter how exhausted he was-or how many hours he'd spent in theatre, making the world look 'more beautiful'-sleep evaded him the second he stepped through his doorway.
Too much quiet. Too much time to let his brain spin around and around, going over all aspects of his past. Every decision made, every conversation, every cross word, every pleaded case. If only he'd taken the road less travelled.
It didn't matter that he'd moved from Edinburgh to London. His house had too many memories and too many familiar knickknacks that he couldn't face putting away. That would be like a betrayal.
So he'd spent half the day playing cat and mouse with Lexi Robbins. The woman wouldn't give him a moment's peace. Boy, was she tenacious-his gran would have loved her. All over an interview that he'd cancelled at the last minute and publicity that he couldn't really care less about.
And just when the muscles in his body had finally started to relax-just when the last remnants of tension had finally managed to exit his body-this.
Noise. In the Hunter Clinic in the middle of the night.
Noise. In a place where he was supposed to be alone.
The assailant was smaller than he expected. Lighter than he expected too. Probably in search of drugs or the elusive cosmetic fillers that Harley Street was so famous for.
Then it hit him. That smell.
The smell that had been haunting him around the clinic for the last few days.
Strike that. Actually, for the last few months. Ever since Lexi Robbins had started working there.
Sensual woody amber distinctive notes with gentle floral notes of jasmine. Along with the feel of some very distinctive soft curves that only a plastic surgeon could recognise merely by touch.
He could feel the assailant's soft breath beneath him, along with the strangled voice. 'Iain?'
'Lexi?' He sprang backwards, moving swiftly to the door and trying to flick on the light. Nothing. Still darkness.
'I think I blew the lights,' came the whisper from the couch. She was still breathless. He'd obviously winded her.
After a few seconds she fumbled for her phone and pressed the button to light up the room. She held it towards him. 'Do you know where the master switch is?'
Rage was circulating in his belly. What on earth was she doing? He snatched the phone from her hand and strode down the corridor towards the electricity box, opening it quickly and flicking the master switch, allowing instant illumination in parts of the clinic.
Bright. White. Everywhere.
Sometimes he could groan out loud about the décor in the clinic. Leo Hunter had wanted brilliant white and clean lines everywhere- thank goodness he'd been allowed to decorate his office to his own taste.
But now that he could actually see what he was doing he was furious.
'What were you thinking of, Lexi?' He stormed back into the room.
But Lexi hadn't moved. Even though the room was now flooded with light she was still lying on the couch, her hands pressed to her chest, her face as white as a sheet. One shoe was twisted on the floor , the other dangling from the end of her foot. Her usually pristine suit was a little askew and it looked as if the top button had popped from her shirt.
Yikes! He'd thought he was tackling a burglar. Maybe he'd been a little more forceful than he thought.
'Lexi? Are you okay?' He stood over her, giving her a few seconds to collect herself.
After what seemed like an age she finally blinked. Colour flooded into her face and she pushed herself up. 'Wow. Talk about sweeping the legs from under a girl.'
Iain felt colour come to his own cheeks. He was trying hard not to stare at Lexi's cleavage. He was a plastic surgeon. He spent his days with his hands on women's breasts. But he'd never clocked Lexi Robbins as a boob job kind of girl. She'd surprised him.
In all the time she'd been around him in the last few months, wearing her designer suits, he'd never noticed her additions. But then again, he'd never seen her undressed.
He pushed the thoughts that sprang to mind aside instantly. He sat down on one of the leather armchairs and put his head in his hands. 'What on earth are you doing here at this time of night, Lexi?' He was tired. And he was definitely feeling crabbit.
She straightened on the couch, looking down at her shirt and frowning at the missing button. 'I could ask you the same thing.'
She was obviously feeling a bit better. Lexi Robbins could give as good as she got. He raised his eyebrows at her and gave her a cheeky smile. 'Avoiding you?'
She shot him a glare.
He held up his hands. 'Seriously, Lexi. I thought you were a burglar. You're lucky I didn't do you some permanent damage.'
'Who says you didn't?'
She was adjusting herself on the couch and he felt instantly uncomfortable. What did she mean? He hadn't done anything more than push her onto the couch and hold her down. There was no way he could have damaged her implants.
Her blonde tousled hair fell over her face as she shuffled on the edge of the couch. Iain was torn between panic and embarrassment. It didn't help that his curiosity was naturally piqued.