He'd saved her life. Now it was payback time. Newbie at the famous Redstone Incorporated she might be. But Liana Kiley knew an innocent man when she saw one. Especially when he was the lawman who'd once saved her life, then captured her heart. Detective Logan Beck would do anything to keep Liana away from the corruption charges that dirtied his record and now endangered his life. But the stubborn redhead wouldn't take "Go away" for an answer. And now he didn't know which was more threatening--the hero-worship he saw in her beautiful eyes, or the primal urge to protect this woman who could never be his...
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November 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Deadly Temptation by Justine Davis
Liana Kiley stared at the photograph in the newspaper on her desk. Read the caption again, then the headline, just to be sure. In some part of her mind she knew that when the initial shock wore off she'd be swamped by a mass of emotions and memories, but for now the buffer was there.
The drawled greeting from her office doorway--a doorway still half-blocked with two as yet untouched moving boxes--made her jump, and she smothered a gasp.
"Thought I'd see how you're settling in."
She stared at the tall, rangy man leaning against the doorjamb. So it was true. The great, the brilliant, the incredible Joshua Redstone really did make a tour of his own Southern California headquarters every morning when he was in the building. They'd told her--warned her?--but she hadn't quite believed it until now, with her new boss standing there in front of her. He'd actually stopped to see her, the newest, lowliest face on the huge Redstone totem pole.
"I--" She swallowed, tried again. It wasn't every day you talked to one of the richest, most successful entrepreneurs in the world. "I'm getting there, Mr. Redstone."
He gave her a lazy smile that eased her nerves. "To anyone who works in this building I'm not Mr. Redstone. I'm Josh."
"Josh," she said, although even at his request it felt presumptuous.
They'd told her about that, too, that if you indeed did need something, job-related or not, these morning tours were the time to ask.
I should ask him to save Logan, she thought, flicking a glance at the newspaper she'd dropped on the desk.
Her gaze shot back to her boss's face. He was as quick as she'd thought he must be. This might be her first day on the job, but even she could see that something...alert had come into those cool-gray eyes.
She'd never been, as some were, fooled by the lazy drawl into thinking he was slow or stupid; she'd researched him and the empire he'd built too well before she'd applied for the rare opening. No fool could ever have accomplished what he had--taken a single design for a small jet and built it into one of the biggest privately held multinational operations in the world.
When she didn't immediately answer his question, he straightened from the doorjamb and came toward her.
"What is it?"
"I...just some disturbing news," she said, gesturing at the paper.
Josh Redstone grimaced. "That's the template these days.
Even if it's good news, make it sound disturbing." He glanced at the page she'd been looking at. His expression changed again. "But that really is disturbing."
"He didn't do it!"
The words burst from her, and she wanted to grab them back the instant they were spoken. This was not how she wanted her first day on her precious new job to go.
"I'm sorry," she said hastily. "I--"
She stopped as he waved a hand at her, clearly requesting silence, and continued to read the headline story. After a moment he looked up at her.
"You know him?"
She nodded, keeping her mouth shut, afraid of what else might come pouring out.
"No," she said, startled. "Actually I haven't seen him in a few years."
Josh looked thoughtful, and Liana had the sudden feeling that this, of all she'd seen from him this morning, was the expression to be wary of if you were on the other side of a bargaining table from this man.
"But you don't believe he did what they're saying? That he's a crooked cop?"
"I know he isn't," she said fervently. "He would no more take money from drug dealers than he would..." Her words trailed off as she was unable to think of an analogy bizarre enough.
"Sometimes," Josh said slowly, "people hide facets of themselves."
"Yes," she said, conscious of the fact that she was debating with her new boss before she'd even sat down once in her new office chair. "But when you're in a...life-threatening, life-changing situation, facades tend to fall away."
She held her breath, waiting, wondering if it was going to turn out to be a good thing that she hadn't completely unpacked yet, because that would make it easier to repack and get out of here after he fired her for insubordination.
"He's the one?"
She blinked in puzzlement at the quiet question. Then she realized she was the one being stupid; did she really think Joshua Redstone hired just anybody off the street without researching them even more thoroughly than she had researched his company? He'd probably turned his much-vaunted security team loose on her history; she'd read how their checks were on par with any government agency's. She just hadn't realized that applied to everybody, even lowly assistants to department heads. But you didn't build the kind of family Redstone, Incorporated was without thoroughly vetting the people you let in.
She felt a bit foolish. Of course they had checked her out completely, which meant Josh knew exactly who the man in the photograph was.
"Yes," she said.