She sat at her desk and looked at the flowers. She noticed the white envelope sitting in the middle of the beautiful arrangement. The scent from the roses washed over her like a soft spring breeze.
Gemma reached out to pluck the envelope from the plastic holder. Her hand stilled when a face popped over the top of the petition dividing her from the person opposite her.
“Sending flowers to yourself, are you?”
She rolled her eyes at Derek’s sarcastic tone. “Is that the best you can come up with?” Gemma cocked her head to the side. “Do you hear that?”
“That would be your right hand calling you, it’s lonely.”
She pulled the card out of the holder and swiveled her chair so her back faced Derek. The guy had tried to hit on her the moment she’d started working at the paper. He’d finally got the message when she’d dumped her glass of wine over his head at some after-work drinks. Now he just pestered her with his stupid inane comments.
“Whoever is sending you flowers mustn’t realize you’re a bitch.”
“Bite me, Derek,” she muttered as she slid a finger under the flap of the envelope. She didn’t care at all what Derek thought of her. She didn’t care if she had a reputation of being a cold bitch in the office. She didn’t care about anything at the moment, except getting the answers she wanted.
Gemma looked over her shoulder and saw Derek had disappeared behind the petition again. She went to pull out the small thin card out, but stopped. Did she really want to know who sent her the flowers? For some stupid reason, her first thought of who the possible sender was had gone to Dominic. But why would he send her flowers? He disliked her as much as she disliked him.
Annoyed with her pathetic thoughts, she yanked the card out of the envelope and read it.
We need to talk. Dinner tonight. Meet me at Julia’s at 8pm.
You know you want to.
Gemma crumpled the card before opening it again to read it. Sure she’d imagined the words the first time she looked at it.
The words were still the same. Dominic Cacciari wanted to have dinner with her. And he wanted to talk. Did that mean he was going to admit what she suspected all along about Lodge Drysor? How they were responsible for her father’s death?
Her desk phone rang. She reached out and picked it up.
“Did you get my flowers?”
Gemma closed her eyes as Dominic’s sultry voice floated through the phone. The man had an even sexier voice over the phone than he did in person. Although he’d only spoken to her in anger, so maybe this is what he sounded like when he made love to a woman.
“Hello to you too,” she snapped back. Annoyed with herself for thinking about the sounds he’d make when he made love.
“Hello Gemma.” He chuckled. If she thought his voice sounded sexy on the phone, his chuckle would have the coldest woman melting.
She gripped the receiver tighter. “Why are you sending me flowers? What do you want?”
“I thought it was pretty clear with my message on the card. I was inviting you to dinner.”
“If you call that an invitation then you live in a fool’s paradise.”
“I thought a lovely bouquet of flowers and an attached card was a nice way to ask someone to dinner.”
This time she laughed. “Well, you didn’t ask, you demanded I meet you there. If you’re asking a girl out on a date, the least you can do is offer to pick them up.”
“Do you want me to pick you up, Gemma?”
The thought of Dominic Cacciari knowing where she lived sent chills cascading down her spine. The man was dangerous.
“Actually, I’m surprised you want to spend time with me at all. You didn’t seem to want to last night. In fact, you couldn’t wait to get rid of me.”
“Maybe I’ve reconsidered.”
“And maybe my grandmother is the Queen of England. Try again, GP. And this time say something to convince me that you really do want to take me to dinner.”
The more the idea of dinner with Dominic fermented in her mind the more she grew to think it was the best idea ever. Spending time with him would enable her to get closer to him and find out all his little secrets. Find out exactly what went on behind those closed doors at Lodge Drysor meetings.
“Gemma, mio tesoro, would you like to have dinner with me this evening?”
Gemma pulled the phone away from her ear and fanned herself with the receiver. When he turned on the charm, he turned it fully on.
“Fine, but you don’t have to worry about picking me up. I’ll meet you there, as you so eloquently requested.”
“Now what sort of date would I be if I didn’t pick you? I’ll be at your place at seven-thirty.”
“You can’t if I don’t give you my address.”
“You don’t need to give it to me. I already know. Until this evening. Ciao, mio tesoro.”
The phone disconnected before Gemma could process the fact Dominic knew where she lived. How did he know? She laughed at herself. Of course he knew where she lived. He probably knew her weight and what her favorite blend of coffee was. It wasn’t like she hadn’t scoured the internet to find out everything she could about him. No doubt Dominic used his resources and hired an investigator to look into her background the moment he opened that first email from her. She would be stupid to think otherwise.
Whatever she did tonight, she would have to make sure she kept the focus off her and her background and completely on Dominic and his business dealings.
Her desk phone jangled loudly again. On autopilot she reached out and picked up the receiver. “Gemma Hugh—”
“My office, now. I’ve got a job for you.” Pilar demanded.
“Be right there.” But she was talking to no one. Pilar had already hung up. She rolled her eyes and pushed her chair away from her desk. At least going another round with Pilar will keep her mind off Dominic and the evening ahead.