Beneath These Scars (Page 41)

What was it about that woman?

My office door banged open and Colson walked in.

“Come on in, why don’t you?” I snapped.

His head jerked up. “What’s got your panties in a wad? Need to get some? I’ve got this chick, she’d probably take us both on. If you’re into that kind of thing.” He looked at the floor. “Not saying I want to see your dick or anything, but—”

“No. And never bring that up again.”

He shrugged. “Just trying to be helpful.”

“Then how about you be helpful by finding me a group of senators who have backbones?”

“I’m working on it. But what you said about Hendricks and Shuman is holding true with everyone else I’ve contacted. Doesn’t matter where their district is in the damn state, it seems that Haines put the word out to steer clear of you and the bill.”

“That prick.”

“He have some kind of grudge you don’t realize?”

“You’re the one who did the investigation on him,” I snapped. “You tell me.”

Colson shook his head. “No connection to you or Titan Industries on any level. Doesn’t make any sense other than he wants your favor in his back pocket. He wouldn’t be the first or the last. Occam’s Razor, right? Simplest answer is usually the right one.”

My phone buzzed in my drawer.

“Sure. Whatever. Get out.”

“What?”

I pulled the drawer open and grabbed my phone. There was a text alert from an unknown number.

“I said get out.” I jerked my head toward the door.

“Fine. I’ll go round up more senators.”

I waved him off and tapped in my code to unlock the screen. The text popped up when I clicked on the app.

Tonight. Midnight. Dirty Dog. Don’t wear a suit.

I didn’t take orders, hadn’t for years. But this one I would make an exception for.

“What’s that smirk for? Normally I recognize them all, but that one’s new and different.”

I glanced up, the smirk Colson had called out immediately falling away. “I told you to get out.”

“And I wanted to know what the hell has you grinning like a little kid.”

Scowling at him, I said, “Get the fuck out. If I want you to know something, I’ll tell you.”

He grabbed the door handle. “I’m watching out for you, whether you want me to or not. So deal with it.” He didn’t slam the door behind him like I would have, but then again, I was the boss. It shut with a decisive click.

When I looked back down at my phone, my smirk came back again. Don’t wear a suit.

Did she think I always wore a suit?

Oh, Yve.

This was going to be fun.

I pulled up at the back door of Dirty Dog, the one the delivery guy had used, and parked. Midnight in the Quarter wasn’t the safest for my car, but I was willing to take the risk. Yve Santos was a hell of an incentive. I rang the buzzer and waited.

Only moments later, the door swung open and Yve stood inside. I’d expected her in one of her retro-looking dresses since those were all I’d ever seen her wear. I was wrong.

Yve Santos might have looked gorgeous in a dress, but in cut-off shorts and a tight tank top, her hair up on her head in a sexy, messy knot, she looked . . . less polished. More real. Like a woman who was up for a night of hard fucking.

My thoughts made no sense. I liked my women perfectly coiffed and well manicured. I got the feeling that this was Yve’s way of telling me she didn’t give a shit what I thought about how she looked, and if we were going to do this, then I could take her however I could get her.

If she’d thought to turn me off or frustrate me, she’d made a tactical error.

“Strip,” I told her as soon as I pushed inside the store.

“Fuck you.”

My brows lifted and I smiled. This was going to be too much fun. “That was the plan, wasn’t it, Yve?”

She turned her back on me and headed down the hallway. I caught up with her, wrapped an arm around her waist, and pulled her against my body. Hell, she was a sexy armful, even when she wiggled loose and spun on me.

“I’m calling the shots here,” she said.

“No, you call the time and place, and I decide everything else. And I want you naked.”

Yve’s husky laugh filled the small store. “And I want you to help me move this armoire to the other side of the room so I can put together a new display tomorrow.” She waved her hand from one side of the room to the other.

“What?”

“You think I’d really pick my store for a one-night stand? Come on, Titan. I’m a businesswoman, not an idiot.”

I jammed a hand into my hair, wondering how I’d gotten this so wrong. “It’s midnight.”

She smiled. “Just wanted to see if you’d really come.” She tilted her head with a mischievous smile.

“So this was . . .” I didn’t even have words. I’d been played. Lucas Titan doesn’t get played.

“A whim,” she said with a wink. “Now come on and help me move this.”

“You’ve got to be joking.” I stared at the huge piece of furniture. It looked antique—and heavy.

Yve propped her hands on her hips. “What? Don’t think you’re strong and manly enough to do it? At least you can follow orders. By the way, you don’t look too bad out of a suit. I think you look better in one, though.”

I looked down at my cargo shorts and Stanford T-shirt. “You’re hell on a man’s ego, aren’t you?”