Frayed Page 31

’’You\ e doing it again.’’

’’Is this better?’’ This time his voice is deeper, richer, but it still sounds velvety smooth to me and full of promise promises I\ve taken off the table.

’’Yes,’’ I agree because I think that even if he sounded drunk, exhausted, or disoriented, I\d still feel the dampness spread between my legs from his voice alone.

’’Good. Okay, then.’’ A soft chuckle escapes his throat. ’’Tomorrow night I\ll pick you up at seven.’’

’’I\ll meet you,’’ I insist.

’’Red, that\s ridiculous.’’

’’Ben, I\ll meet you or I\ll pass.’’

’’Fine, I\ll let you know where.’’

’’Okay. I have to go before I\m late for work.’’

’’See ya, Red,’’ he says, and hangs up.

’’Bye, Ben,’’ I breathe over the empty line.

I find a spot a little farther away from the office than I\d like and park. Grabbing the tray of coffees, I walk fast and pull open the showroom door. I look around in shock. It\s a complete mess. Walls are down, drop cloths are everywhere, and Tate is leaning against my desk with his arms crossed. His face is unreadable. Tall, dark hair, suave, and always put together, he\s a man of style and confidence, but he\s also very self-absorbed and, as Xander says, a bit of an ass**le.

I stop quickly to drop a coffee off to Josie. ’’Good morning.’’

Her back is to Tate, so she mouths, ’’Thank you. Piss-ass mood,’’ while she rolls her eyes. I pass her desk and approach Tate with apprehension. I want to look at my watch, but it stopped a long time ago and pulling my phone out would be way too obvious.

I raise the tray. ’’Coffee.’’ I offer it to him with a smile.

He straightens and his suit hangs perfectly, tailor-made, I\m sure. He looks at his watch before taking the coffee and then smiles. ’’How\d you know I needed this?’’

’’Intuition.’’

’’Or ass-kissing.’’

I shrug and let that pass without commenting on it. ’’What\s going on in here?’’

’’Time for some renovations. The place needed a pick-me-up. I\m thinking of trading the Harrods look for something more Vera Wang.’’

’’So you\ e trading the black-and-white toile for platinum modernism?’’

’’Exactly.’’ He grins and raises his cup. ’’I knew I hired you for a reason.’’

I toss my purse in my desk drawer and take a seat.

He walks toward his office and then turns. ’’I\ll be out of town until Friday. We have a new client coming in on Thursday that I\d like you to take care of, so be on time.’’

’’Sure, who is it?’’

’’Romeo Fairchild, the governor\s son. His fiancée is a wreck and he wants us to handle the entire wedding.’’

’’That shouldn\ be a problem.’’

’’He wants the event to take place the day after Thanksgiving,’’ he says, and his grin is lascivious.

Yeah, he can be a bit of an ass**le.

I watch him slam his door and catch Josie\s glare. She averts her eyes to the break room and stands, heading that way. I nod and wait a few minutes before taking my coffee and joining her. The break room doubles as a meeting spot when the conference room is taken, so it\s decorated to the nines bright orange focal wall, dark wooden table, white leather armchairs, and a large vase filled with artificial birds-of-paradise adorning the corner. I close the glass door behind me and take a seat, sipping my coffee while Josie stares at me.

’’What?’’ I ask.

’’There\s something different about you.’’ Her eyes flicker over me.

I roll my eyes. ’’You\ e so dramatic.’’

’’Oh, that\s the pot calling the kettle black.’’

I laugh. She\s right. I usually am up and down with Tate\s moods, but today I didn\ let him bother me and it paid off. ’’So, what spurred the décor change?’’

’’Don\ change the subject. Now spill it. Who were you talking to that got you all hot and bothered the other day?’’

’’I was not hot and bothered.’’

’’Oh yes, you were.’’

I smile. ’’Well, there\s this guy I\ve known for a while. The thing is, we have a sordid history and I didn\ think getting involved with him was a good idea.’’

’’Did you f**k him?’’

’’Josie!’’

She twirls a piece of blue hair around her finger. ’’Well, did you?’’

I don\ answer and let my silence speak for itself.

’’Hey, if he\s good in bed and gives you that glow, I say screw the rest.’’

I laugh. She makes it sound so easy if only she knew.

•••

Acabár isn\ that far from my apartment. In fact, it\s even on Sunset, so I decide to walk. The two days since I\ve seen him have felt more like two weeks and I can\ wait to see him again. The sign is in my sights when I see him walking my way and smile broadly. White button-down shirt, slightly faded jeans, black boots, and that smile that makes the apex of my legs pulse. His mop of shaggy blond hair is disheveled and my guess is he rode his motorcycle as if he\s not hot enough, visions of him riding his bike only send my body into overdrive.

’’Hi,’’ I say, trying to keep my voice even.

His eyes sweep me from my open-toed pumps, up my tight leather pants, right through my sheer silver top, to my straight hair with a few carefully placed waves. ’’Hi there,’’ he says, and a slight growl follows his greeting.


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