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I'll Be Watching You
By Kane, Andrea
William Morrow & CompanyISBN: 0060741309
Saturday, September 14
West Seventy-Second Street, New York City
It had been a day from hell.
Four hours in Dellinger Academy's conference room. Two five-minute bathroom breaks. Three sets of hostile parents in total denial. And another one of Taylor's precious Saturdays wasted by an elite private school administration that didn't want to rock the boat.
All the parties involved were so caught up in their own agendas, they seemed to forget that at the center of this storm were three seventeen-year- old kids about to implode.
As a counselor, Taylor had tried desperately to speak for the teens. She knew their fears -- fear of failure, of inadequacy, of letting down their parents.
Fear of growing up.
Didn't anyone remember how traumatic that transition was? Apparently not. Because today's scenario had been as maddening and familiar as always.
After doing her tactful, psychological dance for half a day and getting nowhere fast, Taylor left the boardroom at the close of the meeting frustrated, worried, and with a splitting headache.
By the time she got home and blew through the lobby of her apartment building, she was counting her blessings that her roommate, her cousin Stephanie, was en route to the Hamptons. Taylor had the place to herself. All she wanted was a hot bath, two extra-strength Excedrin,and a long nap.
The last thing she expected, or needed, was to find Gordon Mallory in her living room, as comfortable as if he owned the place.
She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him, wishing she wasn't already halfway to her bedroom and in full view. If she'd just realized he and Steph were still at the apartment, she would have retraced her steps, waited until they'd taken off, then returned when she could have her peace and solitude.
But it was too late. She was directly across from the living room, and from Gordon. Steph was nowhere to be found, but knowing her cousin, Taylor assumed she was in her bedroom, throwing together some lastminute surprises for her nightlong bash on Gordon's yacht -- a bash she'd be enjoying with about twenty other partygoers. After all, it wasn't every day that a bunch of lucky young Turk investors made a windfall off an investment partnership like the one Gordon had orchestrated. Kudos for the fast crowd.
"Taylor." Gordon tipped his lean, dark head in her direction, raising his old-fashioned in greeting. He'd been strolling from the sideboard to the sofa, sipping his Scotch while he reorganized the contents of Steph's overnight bag. The picture of self-assurance. Right at home.
Then again, Steph had made sure he felt that way from day one. Gordon fit her boyfriend checklist to a tee and then some; rich and successful, good-looking, grand of gesture, glib of tongue. Really smooth. He knew all the right people, went to all the right clubs. On top of that, he was older, sexy, experienced, ambitious -- fast-track all the way. Definitely the kind Steph fell for.
Except that this one had a dangerous edge to him that worried the hell out of Taylor. It was there in his hard brown eyes -- a kind of detached ruthlessness. Taylor just didn't trust the guy.
Unfortunately, Steph did.
"Hello, Gordon." Taylor's tone was cordial but aloof.
He was dressed casually, in khakis, a golf shirt, and dock-siders, but there was nothing casual about the way he carried himself, or about his expression as he eyeballed Taylor. He was scrutinizing her, as one would assess a fine piece of art.
"What a beautiful interruption," he said. "I didn't hear you come in."
"So I gathered." Taylor was used to his I-want-you signals. It was all part of his MO. But this time he was blatant. His intensity was palpable. And the bottle of Scotch was sitting open on the sideboard, ready for him to pour his next refill. How many drinks had he had?
Taylor tossed down her purse and folded her arms across her breasts, her eyes narrowing on his tumbler. "How many Scotches does that make?"
"Two." He set down the glass. "Don't worry. I'm chilling out. But I'm sober."
Yeah, right, she thought. Chilling out. More like revving up. "Good. Because you and Steph have a big weekend planned. Get drunk during the party, not before."
"Sage advice. I'll keep it in mind."
Her headache was getting worse. Taylor didn't want to spar with Gordon; she wanted him to go away. "I didn't realize you and Steph would still be here," she said pointedly. "It's almost three o'clock. Doesn't your charter leave for Montauk soon? I wouldn't want you to miss it."
Gordon's sculpted features tightened. "That's why it's called a private charter. The helicopter will wait until we get there. As for your subtle shove out the door, why the rush? Are you expecting someone?"
"Just my privacy. Look, I didn't mean to be rude. But my day was a killer. I've got a miserable headache. I was hoping for some downtime -- a hot bath and a long nap."
"Poor baby." The hostility vanished. Gordon closed the gap between them and planted his hands on her shoulders, gently kneading them. "Tension has no right ruining such a perfect package. How about a back rub to ease the stress?"
His words creeped her out. His gesture wasn't friendly. It was intimate. So was his proximity. And where he'd positioned himself was like a roadblock.
Taylor's instincts took over. She took an exaggerated step backward, breaking all contact. "No, thanks." She threw a quick glance at her cousin's bedroom, wondering when Steph would emerge. Now that she considered it, the apartment seemed strangely silent. No banging of closets, no thudding of drawers, no cheerful chatter emanating from Steph's neck of the woods. That was weird. Steph was animated and exuberant; you always knew when she was around ... Continues...
Excerpted from I'll Be Watching You by Kane, Andrea Excerpted by permission.
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