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Two years later
Trevor Grant knew the exact moment Corinthians Avery entered the huge conference room. A tremor of heated desire shot through his entire body. It hadn't taken the alluring scent of her perfume to alert him of her presence. The primitive, male part of him had immediately set off his internal radar, warning him that she was within close range.
He shifted uneasily in his seat. The sensation he felt was not a new one, just an unwelcomed one. He'd been attuned to her since that night two years ago when they had met. The woman he held within his sight looked as she always did in his dreams, only today she was wearing more clothing.
A lot more clothing.
Last night, in the deep recesses of his sleep-induced mind, she was dressed in the outfit she had worn the first time he had laid eyes on her. It had been a skimpy black negligee that had barely covered her body. Even now, he could still envision her in it. Another slow tremor began in his stomach and spread down his body at the steamy memory. He shifted in his seat again.
It didn't take much to envision her as he had seen her that night. And it didn't take much to recall the shocked look on her face when he had been the one to walk out of the shower instead of the man she had planned to seduce.
Trevor allowed himself a small grin when he thought of her fainting at his feet after he'd informed her Dex Madaris was married. It had been his supreme pleasure to pick her up off the floor and place her on the bed, then watchher expression when she had come to and realized her carefully laid plans of seduction had backfired. Unfortunately the embarrassment of her folly had not curtailed her biting tongue or her fiery spirit. She had lashed out at him as if it had been his fault she had made a complete fool of herself.
Now here they were two years later, still bitter adversaries. She disliked him because he knew too much about that night, and he disliked her equally as much because he had seen too much that night. Way too much. And he hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep since without her and that skimpy black outfit invading his dreams.
Since she was head geologist for Remington Oil, and he was head foreman for Madaris Explorations, their paths had crossed a few times since that night. A little over a year ago, their companies had worked together on a major project, and she had gone out of her way to avoid him. At the time, her actions had suited him just fine because each time he had seen her, he had been reminded of a night he could not forget.
He watched her move around the conference room, greeting various business associates. She had not seen him yet so he continued to just sit and watch her, patiently waiting for the moment she would become aware of him.
Trevor leaned back in his chair and appreciated how her body moved with an unconscious gracefulness that he couldn't help finding seductive. The conservative navy blue suit she wore should have downplayed her beauty. Instead it fueled the fire within him because he knew just how sexy the body was underneath the tailored skirt and jacket.
His gaze continued its survey of her trim, five-foot eight-inch curvy figure before zeroing in on her face, a perfect oval shape. It was the color of rich, creamy chocolate, and was a face any man would take a second look at. Her hair was a rich glossy black, and was a lot longer than it had been that night. The stylish cut framed her face and made her features more profound and even more radiant. He wondered how one woman could convey such an aura of total professionalism in a boardroom and be such a sensuous temptress in a hotel room.
"Ladies and gentlemen, if you'll take your seats, we can get our meeting underway," Adam Flynn, senior exploration manager for Remington Oil, was saying.
Trevor watched as Corinthians glanced around the room, looking for an available place at the huge table. The smiling glint in her dark eyes immediately disappeared when she saw him. Flashing her a dimpled smile, he nodded. She frowned. Just as he had known, the gesture had teed her off. He enjoyed getting a rise out of her.
He saw sparks of anger leap into her eyes. His smile widened when he noticed the only available chair was the one across from him, and he knew she had realized that fact. His gaze held hers as she took her seat. With satisfied amusement in his eyes and without missing a beat, he said, "Good morning, Miss Avery. It's so good seeing you again."
Knowing she was in earshot of others, he watched as she pasted a phony smile on her face and replied, "Likewise, Mr. Grant."
He let out a deep, throaty chuckle. She could lie so well. He was the last person she would have wanted to see. The last time their paths had crossed had been at a wedding last month when his friend Clayton Madaris had married Syntel Remington's daughter, Syneda. Even then, the daggered looks Corinthians had given him would have sent most men running. But not him. He had accepted it as a challenge.
By the time the meeting was underway, Trevor relaxed in his chair. It was business as usual.
The look in Trevor Grant's eyes was hot, nearly burning her with its intensity, Corinthians thought. Each and every time he looked at her, his gaze was like a fire that heated her in some places and torched her to flames in others. She sat stiffly rigid in her chair as she tried to control the fiery emotions that flowed through her. How could the one man she despised arouse such feelings within her?
She tried getting comfortable in her seat, knowing his gaze was still on her. Her frown deepened. She would ignore him. At least she would try. She knew it would not be easy putting him out of her mind. She hadn't had any success in doing that since meeting him.
Corinthians had to grudgingly admit there was something totally sexy about the ruggedly built man with dark, piercing eyes. There was no way she could deny he was handsome. His black, curly, close-cropped hair was trimmed neat on his head. And his dark, coffee-colored face encompassed high cheekbones, a straight nose, full lips and a strong jawline that made any expression he wore serious, almost lethal. She knew he stood well over six-feet four-inches tall, and her memory of him that night with only a towel wrapped around his waist reminded her of wide shoulders, a broad hairy chest and long muscular legs. That image of him was still vivid in her mind.
Every time she saw him, his presence reminded her of the night she had made a total fool of herself. For years, she had thought herself in love with Dex Madaris and had finally made up her mind to do something about it. She had put her carefully laid plans of seduction into action, going so far as to get connecting hotel rooms and then sneaking into his room when she had heard him in the shower. But it had not been Dex who had emerged from the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. It hadn't been Dex whose virile, near-naked body had rendered her speechless ... at least almost speechless. Nor was it Dex who now continuously haunted her endless sleepless nights. To her utter misfortune, the man responsible for her nightly tortures was sitting across from her. His full attention was centered on her, and she knew he was doing it to deliberately rattle her.
And it was working.
"Corinthians, are you still available to fly to South America to represent Remington Oil at the oil research summit?"
Corinthians gave Adam Flynn her full attention and replied with a smile. "Yes, I'm available to go and looking forward to the trip."
"Good. And we'll look forward to hearing your report at our next meeting," Adam Flynn replied. He then turned his attention to Trevor. "Do you know if Dex Madaris is still going?"
Trevor smiled at Corinthians before turning his attention to Adam. "Due to family obligations, Dex has relinquished all travel plans abroad for a while. I'll be the one representing Madaris Explorations at the meeting in South America."
He turned and met Corinthians' shocked gaze. His smile deepened. "And I'm looking forward to the trip as well."
When the meeting ended, Corinthians tossed Trevor a chilling glare before quickly leaving the conference room. A smile of satisfaction curved his lips. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the battle lines were officially drawn. The bout was on and it would be a fight to the finish; a fray he didn't intend to lose. He wouldn't accept anything but Corinthians Avery's complete, unconditional surrender.
Her days of avoiding him would be over.