Liam opened the envelope and pulled out two sheets of paper. "I had thought to send this contract to your laptop but changed my mind because, as you’ll see, I’ve written notes all over it. It’s still readable."

He handed the first sheet of paper to Allison and sat back while she read through it.

"What it boils down to-," he began.

"He’d like to own me for six months, and he has the option to add another month or two or three, should he feel I’m needed."

"That’s about right."

"I’m not signing this."

She’d sounded so outraged he couldn’t help smiling. "I’m not suggesting that you do. Let’s go through it line by line and change what you want changed. I’ll have the new one typed up tomorrow and you can sign it."

"Do I need a lawyer?" she asked, and before he could answer her question, she said, "I probably need a lawyer."

"I’m a lawyer. I’ll look out for you."

"You’re a lawyer?" She sounded suspicious.

"Yes."

He didn’t give her any more information. Frowning, she said, "Okay, you’re a lawyer. But you work for him."

"Him?"

"Phillips."

"No, I don’t work for him. Alec and I brought you in, and we won’t let him take advantage of you. Do you trust me?"

"Yes."

He pulled her chair closer, handed her a pen, and said, "Let’s get started."

Allison held the pages close to the candle as she pored over the document, crossing out a phrase here, changing a word there. The candlelight cast a beautiful glow on her perfect features, and Liam was finding it difficult to focus. He tried not to be distracted, but damn, it was difficult. Her scent, a blend of flowers and sunshine, was messing with his concentration.

"What did you say?" His voice was gruff.

She looked up at him. "I didn’t say anything."

Liam’s mouth was just inches from hers, and he thought it might be a good idea to kiss her.

She had the same idea. Her gaze never left his mouth as she inched closer and closed her eyes. She could feel his breath on her lips, and she parted her own in anticipation. Her heart pounded in her chest, just as- 

"A Diet Coke and a club soda."

Allison’s eyes snapped open to see the waiter set the tall glasses on cocktail napkins. His eyes were downcast as though he had just witnessed something he shouldn’t have. She gave him a weak smile before he pivoted and hurried back to the bar. Feeling the blood rush to her face, she picked up her glass and downed every bit of her drink.

"You’re kind of flustered, aren’t you?" Liam asked with an impish grin. He was obviously enjoying her mortification.

"No, I’m not. Not at all."

"You just drank my club soda."

She looked at the empty glass in front of her. She didn’t think her face could have felt any hotter, and she put her hand to her cheek to see if it was burning. Liam’s smile wasn’t helping any. After a deep breath, she said, "Shall we get back to this?"

She finished making changes to the first page and, after setting it aside, began on the second. Liam’s arm was on the back of her chair, and as he examined the contract with her, he stroked her neck. She couldn’t tell if it was a sign of affection or an absentminded gesture. All she was sure of was that he was making her task extremely difficult, but it felt too good to make him stop.

She finally handed him the pen and the pages. "Did Phillips really think I would sign this?"

"I’m sure he knew it was a long shot." He put the contract back in the envelope. "I’ll have this retyped and you can sign it when you start Monday."

"No, that would give Phillips time to sneak in a few surprises I might not notice. It will only take a few minutes to revise it on my laptop and print it out. I’d like you to give him a signed contract so it’s a done deal before I start."

"Are we interrupting?"

Allison jumped when she heard her sister’s voice and then immediately felt guilty. She hadn’t done anything wrong, and she was being foolish acting as though she had. She was simply sitting in a bar with a man, a very attractive man. Okay, she had had sex with him the night before . . . lots of sex . . . but Charlotte didn’t know that. Allison hugged her sister and kissed Oliver on his cheek, then quickly introduced Liam.

When he stood to shake Oliver’s hand, he towered over him. Oliver was stocky but solid in build, and his sturdy handshake was accompanied by a genuine smile. Behind his wire-rimmed glasses were eyes that revealed a keen intelligence and an affable nature.

"They’ll come get us when our table is ready," Oliver said. "We’re early." He pulled out a chair for his wife.