The Change in Di Navarra's Plan

By: Lynn Raye Harris

“You must excuse me,” he said, picking up the phone. “This is important.”

“Of course,” she replied, but he’d already answered the call. She sat with her hands in her lap and waited for him to finish.

Holly gazed at the silk wallpaper and the gilt fixtures, and felt as if she’d landed on another planet. What was she doing here? How had she ended up in the company of a billionaire, having dinner with him as if it were a daily occurrence?

Everything about her trip to New York thus far was so different from her usual experience that she could hardly get her bearings.

Why couldn’t she seem to say what she needed to say? She’d feel better if she had her samples. With those, she could find her way through this strange landscape. But her samples were in her case, which was stowed in his car. That had given her pause, but he’d convinced her that her belongings would be fine while they ate dinner.

If only she had her case, she could open it up and pull out her samples. She could explain her concepts, sell him on the beauty of Colette, the last perfume she and her grandmother had worked on together. It was the best one, though her ideas for others were infinite. She got a tingle of excitement just thinking about the blend of smooth essences, water and alcohol that produced the final product.

Drago finished his call and apologized for the interruption. “Forgive me, bella mia,” he said. “But the beauty industry never sleeps.”

“It’s fine,” she told him, smiling. Her heart was beating fast again, but she’d finally settled on a plan of action. Once she was reunited with her case, she would explain to this man why she was really here. She was certain he couldn’t say no once she’d given him a whiff of Colette.

Their dinner came then, and Holly found herself relaxing in Drago’s company. He was completely charming. He was attentive, sending most of his calls to voice mail, and interested in what she had to say.

She told him about Louisiana, about her grandmother—without mentioning perfume, since that had to wait for her samples—and about the trip to New York on the bus.

He blinked. “You came all this way on a bus?”

Holly dropped her gaze to her plate as heat seared her cheeks. “I couldn’t afford to fly,” she said. But she had spent nearly everything she had scraping together the money for this brief trip. Just to talk to this man, for pity’s sake.

Which she was doing, but not in the way she needed to. Not yet. She took a sip of her white wine and let it sit on her tongue for a moment while she sorted the flavors—the base notes were of wood and smoke while the top notes were floral. Delicious. Her nose was far better than her taste buds, but she could still sort flavors fairly well by taste.

“You really are fresh off the family farm,” he said.

But it wasn’t an insult, not this time, and she didn’t take it as such. He seemed rather...wondering, truthfully. “I suppose I am,” she replied.

“With big New York dreams.” His tone was a bit less friendly this time, but she didn’t let it bother her. Or maybe it was the wine that didn’t let it bother her.

She shrugged. “Doesn’t everyone have dreams?”

His gaze slipped over her face, and she felt heat curling in her belly, her toes. Oh, how she never wanted this night to end. She wanted to drink champagne under the stars, and she wanted to dance in his arms until dawn.

His hand settled over hers, and a shiver prickled down her spine. A delicious shiver. Her entire body seemed to cant toward him, like a flower turning to the sun. His fingers skimmed along her bare arm. Fire danced in their wake, and Holly wasn’t certain she could pull in her next breath.

“I have a dream,” he said softly, his body so close to hers now, his beautiful mouth within reach if only she leaned a bit farther forward. His fingers slid along her cheek, into her hair, and she felt as if she were melting. She ached and wanted and didn’t care what tomorrow brought so long as this man kissed her now. Tonight.

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