Oh, good Lord. It was Matt.
Bewilderment clamoured at her brain. Her head went fuzzy, her blood zoomed to her feet and her vision blurred. Laura flung her arm out and grabbed on to the nearest thing to stop herself swooning.
The nearest thing happened to be Matt. For a second she clutched at his arm. But the feel of his muscles brought the memory of that afternoon careering back and she went dizzy all over again.
Jerking back, Laura dragged in a breath and willed the room to right itself.
No need to panic. There was bound to be some rational explanation for Matt being here. At this particular moment she couldn’t imagine what it could possibly be, but she’d figure it out somehow.
Just as soon as her heart rate slowed and her breathing returned to normal. Which would happen a lot quicker if he didn’t look quite so gorgeous. Wearing a pale blue shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows and light brown chinos, he looked rumpled, incredibly sexy and oddly at home. His face was more tanned than when she’d last seen him and the lines around his mouth and eyes a little sharper, but if anything they just made him even more attractive.
Heat pooled in the pit of her stomach and began to spread through her body. Extinguishing it with a determination she hadn’t known she possessed, Laura ran her palms down her skirt and fixed a neutral smile to her face. ‘Matt,’ she said as coolly as she could, as if she weren’t completely clueless as to how to proceed. ‘How lovely to see you again.’
‘Quite.’ He didn’t look like he agreed. ‘How’s the bump?’
Laura blinked and tried not to think about the circumstances that had brought about the bang to her head or the consequences. ‘Fine. How was the rest of your weekend?’
Oh. So he clearly hadn’t spent any time drifting around in a daze. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I live here.’
Right. Laura’s mouth opened and then closed. She couldn’t begin to work out where to start. Was he here for a job, too? ‘Village mansions a little on the small side?’
The ghost of a smile played at his lips and Laura had the uncomfortable feeling that he knew everything while she knew nothing.
‘It comes with my job.’
‘What do you do?’
How many jobs did he have? ‘Yes.’
‘I buy ailing businesses, turn them around and sell them for a profit.’
That didn’t make things any clearer. ‘Is that why you’re here?’
‘In a way.’
Laura frowned. ‘But you were the “sir” on the other end of the line.’
Matt nodded. ‘I was. Would you like to sit down?’
‘No, I’m fine.’
‘I think you should sit. You look a little pale.’
Was it any wonder? Laura thought, sinking into a leather library chair before her legs gave way. Baffled didn’t begin to describe the way she was feeling. ‘How did you know I was here?’
‘I saw you from the window.’
So that would account for the weird tingling that she’d experienced while she’d been walking across the patio. The twitchy feeling that had made her stop and ask the security guard about mosquitoes.
‘I don’t get it,’ she said, her eyebrows drawing together a fraction. ‘I’ve just been contracted to restore the palace. Why does it have anything to do with you?’
Matt moved round to sit on the edge of the huge partners’ desk. ‘It’s my palace.’