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I knock at the double doors that lead to Mr. Matthews’ office. I can’t believe Mr. Jacobson asked me to come up here – he said Mr. Matthews would want to thank me in person for figuring out that the company was being ripped off. I’m so nervous – even though I know I did good I feel like I’ve been called to the principal’s office. The doors open to reveal Mr. Jacobson on the other side.

“Come in, Ms. Carson-Robertson. Hayes Matthews, this is Sophia Carson-Robertson – the brilliant brain that solved the riddle for us,” he says, praising me. I manage to walk into the office without falling and reach out to shake the hand of the most devilishly handsome man I have ever seen in my life. I say that because his wavy dark brown hair looks fresh tousled, with one errant curl falling onto his forehead yet I’m sure there isn’t actually a single hair out of place. He has sparkling green eyes, something I’m not used to seeing much of and I’d swear they eat me alive. He’s a beautiful man but also trouble, I predict – too bad I’ll never know.

This man is also the boss.

“I owe you a debt of gratitude, Ms. Carson-Robertson,” he says as she shakes my hand. His voice matches the hair – dark and silky. Another time… another place… I would let this man ravage me.

I blush bright red at the thought and I’m mortified Mr. Matthews knows what I’m thinking. He is an extremely good-looking man – women must hit on him all of the time. His smile widens – yep, he knows where my mind went.

“You’re welcome, sir. I was just in the right place at the right time is all,” I shrug off as casually as possible. He chuckles as does Mr. Jacobson. He releases my hand.

“Don’t undersell yourself, Ms. Carson-Robertson – you did exceptional work and I for one am extremely grateful,” I blush again, unable to resist under his glowing praise. Not sure if I should stay or go, I turn to Mr. Jacobson only to discover he’s no longer even in the room. When did he leave? And why?

“Thank you, sir. Coming from you that means a lot,” I tell him honestly. Hayes Matthews has a strong reputation in the business world for treating people fairly so long as you treat him in kind – cross him and look out. I’d hate to be the one who screwed him over this time – they’re going to seriously regret it before he’s done, I’m sure.

“Drink, Ms. Carson-Robertson?” Stunned by the offer, I accept, nonetheless.

“Please call me Sophia, I know what a mouthful my last name is,” I joke and get a polite laugh in response. He offers me a seat which I take and he joins me in the seating area of his office.

“Sophia is a beautiful name,” he tells me softly, his eyes on mine. Is it warm in here?

“Thank you, Mr. Matthews,” I blush outrageously before looking away, unable to hold his gaze.

“Call me Hayes, Sophia,” my eyes dart back to his, no longer able to resist. He is looking at me with that intense look again – it makes me squirm in my seat, in a good way.

“Alright… Hayes….” My voice is scarcely a whisper but I know he hears me fine. Pleased, Mr. Matthews- uh, Hayes leans back in his chair.

“What are you doing right now, Sophia?” He asks as he stands. I stand as well, not knowing what is going on.

“Heading home, sir – uh, Hayes. Why?” He takes the glass from my hand and puts it with his on the table in front of us.

“I’d like to take you to dinner, if you’re available?” Dumbfounded, I stand with my mouth gaping open like a fish. Thankfully, he has his back to me as he turns off his desk lamp and closes down his office.

“Uh, sure, yes! That sounds great,” I finally manage to stutter. I follow him to the door and he urges me to lead out. Following me to the elevator, we walk in silence.

“Do you have a car?” He inquires as we board and he pushes ‘P’ for the parking level.

“No, I use the bus,” I tell him matter-of-factly. He looks at me as if I’ve grown a second head for a minute before nodding.

“I’ll drive us both and then take you home, if that’s alright with you?” Of course it is alright with me – like I’m going to argue and insist on taking the bus and meeting him at the restaurant. Instead of being a sarcastic bitch, I smile and agree.

We ride the elevator to the parkade and disembark. He guides me to a two-seater sports car and opens the passenger door for me, holding my hand as I get in. Once I’m seated, he walks around and gets himself behind the steering wheel.

“Do you like seafood?” I nod with an eager smile – I grew up with bear shifters, fish was a staple in our house but of course I don’t tell Hayes that. “Terrific, I know a little mom and pop place – it doesn’t look like much but the food and service are outstanding – you game?” I nod again with even more enthusiasm and he gives me another chuckle as he starts the engine. It roars to life and in seconds we’re zipping down the street, heading to our destination.

“Tell me something about Sophia Carson-Robertson,” he says as he drives, glancing at me intermittently when it is safe to do so. Smiling, I answer him back.

“Only if you tell me something about Hayes Matthews in return,” I tease, earning myself a blindingly bright smile from him. He agrees with me but insists I go first.

This should prove to be an interesting evening.

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