Alex watched in grim amusement as Sophia turned to stare at him. He had to give her credit. Not by one bat of an eyelash did she show any sense of feeling threatened.
But that would change. Very soon.
She straightened. To her full height of…nothing. It had amused him when he first met her. The way she marched into every room as if she were an Amazon, instead of a small, inconsequential woman.
“What clause?” she said in a calm, reasonable voice. They might have been discussing the weather or the Yankees’ inevitable win over the Mets.
She did it to provoke him. As always.
He understood that.
What this woman didn’t understand, though, was there was now danger in poking him over and over again as she had from the moment she’d met him. He wasn’t engaged to her best friend any longer. He wasn’t interested in winning Sophia over anymore.
He was interested in making her pay.
The rage he’d fed inside himself during this last month roared at him. Yelled at him. He didn’t want to merely take this woman in hand; he wanted to shake her. Hard. “A clause concerning your zoning.”
She closed her eyes. And opened them. Something everyone did a thousand times a day. Then why did he notice the slight movement? Notice she wore no mascara and yet her lashes were long and dark. Why did he suddenly notice how those lashes contrasted dramatically with her very white skin?
He shook himself. This was not the time to fall into one of what his partner, Henry, laughingly called his artistic trances. He had a lesson he needed to teach this woman. “Your permit to bake is dependent on the zoning.”
“Correct.” She swept a hand across her cheek, pushing a strand of dark hair back behind her ear. The bright lights above made her hair appear almost black, yet his artist’s eye had noticed the red highlights the first moment he’d met her. Natural, he’d bet at the time. “I had my lawyer check into this before I signed the contract.”
Her words yanked him out of staring at her hair. Henry would be laughing at him if he were here. “Not deep enough.”
For the thousandth time in their acquaintance, Sophia Feuer gave him a look of annoyance. “Plenty deep. The zoning here hasn’t changed in twenty-eight years.”
“Anything can change.” He straightened from the wall and paced to the edge of the steel table, coming within two feet of his soon-to-be fiancée. “Quite quickly, too. But you know that, don’t you?”
She caught his meaning, he could tell by the defensive tilt of her chin. She understood his unspoken acknowledgment of how swiftly his perfect engagement to the perfect woman for him had been destroyed.
Quick. Sharp. Keen.
That was Sophia.
Much to his regret, he hadn’t realized these skills were being used to undermine him. Not before it was too late. Too late to stop her from destroying something he’d badly wanted.