So, yeah, petrified.
And when Farica turned to look at him over her shoulder, her wide-eyed expression told Slade that she had come to the same conclusion as he did.
The girl was petrified, just that.
And for both of them, that changed everything.
Farica quickly pasted a smile on her lips just as Slade got rid of his scowl, and throughout this they had also swiftly made their way to the newcomer, both of them intent on not letting this heaven-sent opportunity slip past their fingers.
OMG, finally, Farica was thinking. A girl who wasn't bowled over by Slade's looks!
"I'm so sorry you had to see us at each other's throats like that," Farica said ever so sweetly even as she determinedly took hold of the other girl's arm, just to make sure the latter wouldn't have any chance of escaping.
"It's mostly my business partner's fault, of course," Slade inserted smoothly as he pulled a chair for the girl he was determined to have working for him.
"Yeah right," Farica muttered.
Ignoring this, Slade flashed a wicked smile at the other girl's way, just to see how she'd react. "You believe me, don't you?" The simple banter would've made most women titter and come on to him, but instead the girl was fighting against a visible urge to shrink away.
Farica tried not to roll her eyes at the way her billionaire friend was practically purring in a mixture of satisfaction and fiendish amusement as he continued to question the girl, who was now seated between her and Slade.
What's your name, sweetheart?
Do you have your résumé with you?
Please call me Slade.
This had the girl throwing Farica a look of relief, and Slade, seeing this, said silkily, "I won't like it, though."
Kady looked like she was about to cry again, and Farica was torn between exasperation and irritation. Dammit, Slade. She shot him a look that silently demanded for an explanation. Couldn't he see how out of sorts Kady was around him?
But when Slade's massive shoulders only moved in a lazy shrug, Farica knew it would be no use arguing the point. The man could be annoyingly mercurial when he wanted to, and for whatever reason, it seemed as if he had developed a sudden but rather sadistic fondness for their future employee.
Turning back to Kady, Farica explained the rest of the specifications of the job and was surprised when the girl actually accepted her offer for free board and lodging. "Are you sure about that?" she couldn't help asking. "I'm not always here, you know, so there'll be times when it's just going to be you and Slade---"
"Making me sound like some sex-starved maniac won't benefit anyone here." The billionaire shot his business partner a warning look. Do you want this girl to start working for us or not? Because the way Steel's woman was painting him to look like some monstrous perv, the still adorably jittery Kady Abrams might just end up bolting out of their sight and never return.
Shit, Farica thought with a mental wince. Slade was right. If she wanted Kady to work for them, she had to focus on making the girl feel at ease rather than giving her more reasons to run away. She turned to face Kady, intending to apologize but was instead taken aback when the other girl seemed even more horrified. "I w-would n-never..." While the other girl's face had completely been without color a minute ago, her tomato-red cheeks now seemed fit to burst in what seemed like shock and mortification.
"I'm...me...and Mr. W-Wyndham...never...never..."
Farica could feel her confusion growing as she saw the way her friend's blue eyes gleam at how the girl was fidgeting under his lazy gaze. While Kady's words absolutely made no sense to her, it was as if Slade had not only understood her but whatever those words meant had also caused the billionaire to take immense pleasure from the girl's obvious discomfort.
The man was enjoying himself a little too much, Farica observed uneasily. Hopefully, though, this was just a momentary diversion, and his interest in Kady would eventually wane.
He was Slade Wyndham, after all, and while he played the role of small cafe owner to perfection, it didn't mean anything about him had fundamentally changed. Outside Hartland, Slade was still the cynical, womanizing billionaire that he had always been.
And as far as Farica knew, a girl like Kady had never appealed to him.
Farica tried not to be too conspicuous as she studied Slade, who was now (torturing) talking to Kady again, which of course had the other girl back to squirming. The whole thing almost seemed like a prelude to flirting but...
I'm probably just imagining things, Farica told herself. Right?
Hope you're looking forward to this!