Has the old man lost his freaking mind? Would I ask him to share something he’s worked his ass off for? Would he let someone else drive his 1962 cherry Mustang convertible? Would he open his bedroom door and let some other guy screw his wife?
Okay, that was too far. I take it back—considering his wife is my mother. Forget I ever referred to my mother and screwing in the same sentence. That’s just…wrong. On so many levels.
But for the love of God, tell me you see my point.
My father must have finally looked at our faces, because he asks, “That’s not a problem, is it?”
I open my mouth to tell him what a major goddamn problem it is. But Kate beats me to the punch.
“No, Mr. Evans, of course not. No problem at all.”
“Wonderful!” He claps his hands together and stands. “I’ve got tee off in an hour, so I’ll leave you two to it. You’ve got until tomorrow night to coordinate your proposals. Anderson will be at La Fontana at seven.”
And then he looks me dead in the face. “I know you won’t let me down, Andrew.”
I don’t care if you’re sixty, when a parent uses your full name, it pretty much sucks all the argument right out of you.
“No, sir, I won’t.”
And with that, he’s out the door. Leaving Kate and I sitting on the couch, our expressions dazed, like survivors of a nuclear blast.
“‘No, Mr. Evans, of course not,’” I whine. “Could you be any more of a kiss-ass?”
She hisses, “Shut up, Andrew.” Then she sighs. “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”
“Well, you could do the noble thing and bow out.” Yeah—like that’ll happen.
“In your dreams.”
I smirk. “Actually my dreams involve you bending over something…not bowing.”
She makes a disgusted sound. “Could you be any more of a pig?”
“I was kidding. Why do you have to be so fucking serious all the time? You should learn how to take a joke.”
“I can take a joke,” she tells me, sounding insulted.
“When it’s not being delivered by a childish jackass who thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”
“I am not childish.”
God’s gift on the other hand? My record speaks for itself.
“Oh, bite me.”
“Nice comeback, Kate. Very mature.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“You’re a…an Alexandra.”
She pauses a second and looks at me blankly. “What the hell does that even mean?”
Think about it. It will come to you.
I rub my hand down my face. “Okay, look, this is getting us nowhere fast. We’re screwed. We both still want Anderson, and the only way we’re going to get him is if we somehow get our shit together. We’ve got…thirty hours to do that. Are you in or not?”
Her lips come together in flat-out determination.
“You’re right. I’m in.”
“Meet me in my office in twenty minutes, and we’ll get to work.”
I expect her to argue with me. I expect her to ask why we have to meet in my office—why we can’t work in her office—like a nagging housewife. But she doesn’t.
She just says, “Okay.” And leaves the room to get the rest of her things.
Maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought.
“That is the stupidest fucking idea I have ever heard!”
Nope, it’s much worse.
“I’ve researched Anderson. He’s the old-fashioned type. He’s not going to want to go blind staring at your laptop all night. He’s going to want something concrete, tangible. Something he can take home. That’s what I’ll give him!”
“This is a multibillion-dollar business meeting—not a fifth grade science fair. I’m not walking in there with frigging poster board!”
It’s after midnight. We’ve been in my office for a little over twelve hours. Except for these few minute details, every aspect of our presentation has been banged out, negotiated, compromised.
I feel like I just bartered a goddamn peace treaty.
By now, Kate has released her hair and lost her shoes. My tie is off, the top two buttons of my shirt open. Our appearance could make things feel friendly—intimate—like an all-night study session in college.
If we weren’t trying to rip each other’s throats open, of course.
“I don’t give a shit if you agree or not. I’m right about this. I’m bringing the poster board.”
I give in. I’m too tired to fight about paper. “Fine. Just—shrink it down.”
We ordered food a few hours ago and worked through dinner. I had pasta with chicken, while Kate preferred a turkey club with fries on the side. Much as I hate to admit it, I’m impressed. Obviously, she doesn’t subscribe to the “I can only eat salads in front of the opposite sex” rule of thumb a lot of chicks swear by. Who gave women that idea? Like a guy’s going to say to his friend, “Dude, she was one fugly chick, but once I saw her chomping that romaine, I just had to nail her.”
No man wants to fuck a skeleton—and nibbling crackers and water like a prisoner of war at dinner isn’t attractive. It just makes us think about what a cranky bitch you’re going to be later on because you’re starving. If a guy’s into you? A cheeseburger deluxe is not going to scare him away. And if he’s not? Ingesting all the greens on Peter Cottontail’s farm isn’t going to change that, trust me.
Now back to the battle royal.
“I’m doing the talking,” I tell her firmly.
“No, no way!”
“These are my ideas, and I’m presenting them!”
She’s purposely trying to make me nuts. She’s deliberately trying to drive me off the deep end. She’s probably hoping I’ll throw myself out the window, just to get away from the annoyance that is her. Then she’ll have Anderson all to herself.
Well, her evil little scheme isn’t going to work. I’m going to stay calm. I’m going to count to ten. I won’t let Kate get to me.
“Saul Anderson,” I say, “is an old-fashioned businessman—you just said it yourself. He’s going to want to talk to another business man, not someone he sees as a glorified secretary.”
“That is the most sexist comment I’ve ever heard. You’re disgusting!”
Calm goes straight out the window and down about forty stories.
“I didn’t say I thought that way—I said he thinks that way! Fucking Christ Almighty!”
And it’s true. I don’t care what you’re packing in your pants or which way you roll. A pecker, a cooch, or both—it’s all the same to me. As long as you get the job done right, that’s all that matters. But Kate seems determined to think the worst of me.
I push my hands through my hair in an effort to vent some of the frustration that makes me want to shake the shit out of her.
“Look, this is the way it is. Trying to pretend certain biases don’t exist won’t make them go away. We have a better shot at signing Anderson if I do the talking.”
“I said no! I don’t care what you think. Absolutely not.”
“God, you’re so fucking stubborn. You’re like a menopausal pissed-off mule!”
“I’m stubborn! I’m stubborn? Well, maybe I wouldn’t have to be if you weren’t King of the Control Freaks!”
She’s right about the control thing. But what can I say? I like things done the right way—my way. I won’t apologize for that. Especially not to Ms. Stick Up Her Ass.
“At least I know when to back off—unlike you. You walk around like an uptight overachiever on crystal meth!”
By this time, we’re both on our feet, less than a foot apart facing each other. Without her heels, I have a major height advantage, but Kate doesn’t seem intimidated.
She pokes me in the chest as she argues, “You don’t even know me. I am not uptight.”
“Oh, please. I’ve never seen someone who needs to get laid as badly as you do. I don’t know what the hell your fiancé is doing with you. But whatever it is? He’s not doing it right.”
Her mouth opens, forming a big ole O at my little dig against her betrothed. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her hand come up, ready to slap me across the face.
This is not the first time a woman has tried to slap me. You’re not surprised, are you?
Like a pro, I catch her wrist before she makes contact with my cheek and hold her arm down at her side. “Gee, Kate, for a woman who claims she doesn’t want to screw me, you’re certainly eager to make this physical.”
Her other hand comes up to try and slap me from the other side, but I block her again and am now securely holding both her hands at her hips. I smirk. “Gotta do better than that, baby, if you want a piece of me.”
“I hate you!” she yells in my face.
“I hate you more!” I shout.
Admittedly, not my wittiest comeback—but it was the best I could manage under the circumstances.
It’s the last word she gets out.
Before my mouth descends on hers.
And our lips crash together.
I’VE KISSED HUNDREDS OF GIRLS. No—make that thousands. I only really remember a handful of them. But this kiss? This is one I won’t forget any time soon.
She tastes…Jesus, I’ve never done drugs, but I imagine this is what that first snort of cocaine feels like, that first shot of heroine. Goddamn addictive.
Our lips clash and move over one another, angry and wet.
I can’t stop touching her. My hands are everywhere: her face, her hair, down her back, grasping at her hips. Pulling her closer, desperate to feel more of her—wanting her to feel exactly what she’s doing to me.
Needing air, I rip my mouth from hers and attack her neck. I feast on her, like a starving man. And that’s exactly what I am—ravenous—for her. I inhale as I lick, suck, and nibble my way from her jaw to her ear.
She’s whimpering incoherently, but I get the idea. The sound of her voice, wild and sexy, makes me groan. And her scent. Sweet Christ, she smells like…flowers and sugar. Like one of those decorative confectionary roses on the top of a cake.
And her hands aren’t idle either. She grasps my biceps, and the heat of her hands seeps through my dress shirt. She scrapes her nails down my back and dips her fingers below the waist of my slacks, first grazing then cupping my ass.
I’m dying. I’m burning. My blood is liquid fucking fire, and I feel like we’re going to go up in smoke before we ever make it to the couch. Kate gasps as I draw her earlobe into my mouth and dance across the flesh below it with my tongue.
“Drew? Drew, what are we doing?”
“I don’t know,” I moan in a rough voice. “Just…don’t stop touching me.”
And I’m back at her mouth. Plunging my tongue into her, sliding it against hers in the same way I’m dying to slide my cock into her wet, welcoming body. I feel her hips push forward against mine. And any blood left in my body descends, making me harder than I’ve ever been in my life.
Weeks of want and frustration are coursing through me. I’ve brushed with Colgate for far too long—and it’s tasted like shit.
“Do you know how much I want this? Want you? God, Kate…I’ve fucking dreamed about this…begged for it. You make me…ah, I can’t get…enough of you.”
Her hands are on my chest now, rubbing, scratching, moving down my abs, until one brushes against the front of my pants and I hiss in pure agonizing pleasure. Before I can inhale, she’s stroking my dick through my pants, and I thrust forward. Any semblance of control or finesse is gone.
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