“Ma’am, I said you can’t go in there. I’m calling security!”
Raven could almost feel the secretary spit the words as she grasped the double doors with both hands and opened them. Remember to breathe.
Yards away, Liam stood at a full window, back to her, talking on the phone. When he turned around, she stopped. He was taller than she remembered. Intimidating.
The business magazine hadn’t done him justice. She’d stared at it for hours, hoping to find a flaw. Now, as she stood just inside the doorway, she didn’t know what to do or say. She watched him round the corner of his desk. The bridge of his nose complemented a face of perfect symmetry. Gold skin due to Creole linage he’d inherited from his father’s side. Biceps bulged under his shirtsleeves—powerful, like he could pick her up and toss her out. Hell, out of the universe!
And then he glanced her way.
Fuck, I looked into his eyes. Liam’s amber gaze held Raven captive. How long have I been standing here? Their eyes magnetized; his leaving her speechless and lost. Stop, Raven. Take a breath and stop looking into his eyes! Damn you.
Two suited men stood at either side of her, tugging her arms. The connection she had with Liam snapped as she was tugged away.
“Get your hands off me!”
“Raven?” Head cocked to the side, Liam stepped closer.
“You don’t remember me?” Raven asked. The men stopped; all three looked at Liam, brows raised. She wondered if she was just that forgetful.
“Let her go,” Liam said, coming to his senses.
“Mr. Lemaître, allow me to just pat her down,” one of the guards said.
“Just let her go. Despite her size, she’ll hurt both of you if you don’t,”
His demeanor was serious, commanding even as he rounded the desk to his chair. “Lil’ Raven, always so feisty.”
She watched the guards close the door behind them. Turning back to Liam, she disregarded his request for her to sit, needing the height factor to make five foot two feel … bold. Jutting her chin, her commanding tone made her feel five five. “You’re going to help me with my—our daughter!”
“Daughter?” Liam sank into his seat.
“Yes, our daughter. I want you to help me with her.” Raven stepped past the white couches. “Financially.”
“Financially?” He rubbed a hand over blond hair.
“All that education, yet you don’t understand, Liam? I want help with Royael.” His inquisitive face made her lose momentum. Five two again.
“Royal, what? You’re crazier than I remember.”
“Our child’s name is Royael. You wouldn’t know that, though.” She let her fingertips rest on his desk, leaning forward as spirals of hair framed an icy gaze. “I’ve been paying for dance classes, clothes, food, everything! I guess I gotta get crazy with you,” she warned, noticing her words didn’t seem to penetrate.
“You look pretty crazy standing there.” Liam looked at her balled fists, eyes twinkling. “Should I call security back?”
“That’s how it gotta be?” She took a seat on top of the sleek desk, crossing her legs. She felt five ten and had seen the stance in a movie. Keeping up calm appearances, she pulled back a silver ball from the swinging pendulum, watched it clink back and forth. She breathed through her mouth. His scent already embraced her. Calming. Teasing. Angering. Envying.
He placed a hand on the phone, eyebrow cocked.
“We can go there if you want, Liam. Before you dial security, I should warn that I am great friends with one of the editors of Scandalous magazine.” Voice soft as satin, Raven peered into Liam’s eyes. It was safe, now that she had all his attention. She breathed in the scent of fear. Inside, she was well over six feet and had the upper-hand!
He took his hand off the receiver.
She smirked. “Thought so. I’m sure you don’t want anyone to know our little secret.”
“Hmmm …” Liam laced his hands behind his head and leaned back for a second, taking in that pout of hers. Then his hazel eyes narrowed. “I do not like threats, Raven Shaw.”
“Oh, yeah. Well, I didn’t like your letter saying our baby is a freak of nature. You’re an asshole. You thought I would abort my child because you didn’t want her.” She hopped off the desk, putting her hand on full hips with all of the confidence of a giant. “Royael is the most beautiful, fun, loving, energetic … She’s everything that any father would want in a child. Except for you.”
Raven fed off his guilty-as-sin façade. He no longer had that cocky allure. He had that little-fat-Liam-from-the-seventh-grade look about him. Uncertain, out of control.
“Royael deserves a better life.” Looking around the marble flooring, she remembered leaving her briefcase outside. Instead of losing momentum, she snatched a sticky note off his desk. She scribbled on it, flicking it in his general direction. “Put some money in that account for Royael.”