She must have been up before dawn, Jon decided as he entered the kitchen. She’d cleared away all evidence of her bed in the sitting room, and by the aroma coming from the compact wall oven, she’d already grilled bacon and made scrambled eggs for breakfast. His favorite.
Something warm and familiar flooded his veins, something he’d ruthlessly quashed when she’d broken off their relationship to take up her role as Bradley’s right hand.
What was she up to? Playing house? Trying to recapture the closeness they’d once shared—perhaps even with a view to rekindling the love he’d thought she’d reciprocated? Instantly he eschewed the idea, as much as he wished it could be true. If he knew Robyn at all anymore, it was more likely that she was trying to soften him up to get him to sign that blasted proxy. He smiled, a wry curl of his lips totally lacking in humor. Well, she could try.
He poured himself a coffee and leaned back against the kitchen counter, sipping the fragrant brew. A glance outside showed the weather had deteriorated. A leftover of spring’s inclement chill caught in the air and a steady drizzle had begun to fall. Well, it wouldn’t matter to him what the weather did, he’d be in his waders enjoying the river. Robyn could amuse herself for the day—no doubt by working through those papers in her case.
Jon grimaced. The coffee suddenly soured on his tongue. He could have borne her ambition had it not been so heavily laced with disloyalty at the same time.
A movement at the door made him look up. Robyn stood there, looking uneasy. Guilty conscience perhaps? She must have taken the shortest shower on record, he thought. His coffee hadn’t even begun to cool in his cup. Her hair, usually straightened and sleek, had begun to curl in a cloud around her face, making her appear softer, more vulnerable. As if he could give in to impulse—forget the chasm of suspicion that yawned between them, and simply step forward, tangle his fingers in those soft brown curls and drag her to him before slanting his lips against hers to plunder her unadorned mouth.
Something of his thoughts must have reflected on his face because he heard the skip in her breathing as she made eye contact with him and he saw the sudden widening of her eyes and the faint flush of color that spread across her cheeks.
Jon slammed the shutters down on his wayward thoughts. He needed to stay in control, especially if he was going to expose Bradley and his crooked assistant for exactly what they were.
“You haven’t started breakfast,” Robyn commented unsteadily as she moved to the oven, sliding out the dishes that had been warming and placing them onto the table.
“I thought I’d wait for you seeing as how you’d gone to so much bother.”
“It was no bother.” Robyn dished up a generous portion of bacon and egg onto his plate and slid a dish with buttered toast on it toward him. “Toast?”
The civility with which they had breakfast stood in stark contrast to the dinner they’d shared the night before. As with last night, Robyn got up straight after eating to clear the table.
“So,” Jon leaned back in his chair, determined to provoke something from her that wasn’t this guarded form of homemaking. “Are you this domesticated with Bradley?”
“What? No. Of course not.” Indignation painted a flush of pink across her cheeks and throat.
“He does the cooking then? Strange, he never struck me as much of a chef.”
“No, he doesn’t. And I don’t. I told you. Bradley and I aren’t that way together. I’m his Executive Assistant. That’s all.”
Did she protest too much? Jon wondered. He wished he could savor the hot flare of satisfaction that bloomed inside him at her denial of a relationship with Bradley. But how could he believe her when his ears had been poisoned by Bradley’s insinuations—by the not-so-veiled hints at how much he enjoyed “working” with Robyn?
“You were my secretary before that, though, weren’t you? And yet you were so much more.”