Fixed on You (Page 4)

Fixed on You (Fixed #1)(4)
Author: Laurelin Paige

I leaned against the back counter and checked my watch. Fifteen minutes until opening. That meant fifteen more minutes before the lights went down and into club mode. The club with all the lights on made me vulnerable and bare and out-of-place. Even Liesl’s sassy gossipy personality was muted as if someone had turned down her volume. We’d never have this conversation in club mode.

My eyes traveled across the bar, lingering on the spot the suit had sat in the last time I’d worked. It wasn’t the first time I’d thought of him since that night. He’d known my name. Had he overheard it? Not my last name. He must have asked someone, although I hadn’t seen him talking to anyone else. But maybe before I’d taken his order…I hadn’t been paying attention to him. Maybe someone had told him then.

“Whatcha thinking?” Liesl cut through my thoughts, mimicking my lean against the counter.

I shrugged. She’d freak if I told her some random guy knew my name, assume that my safety was at risk. I, on the other hand, had distinct empathy for people who had the need to gather more information than they should. And I didn’t want a lecture on would-be stalkers. I knew all about stalking.

But I could tell her other things about the mysterious stranger. “Last time I worked, this guy—” I paused, remembering how magnetically attractive the suit had been. “This incredibly hot guy, actually—gave me a hundred dollars for three fingers of Macallan. Told me to keep the change.”

“And did he expect you to blow him after your shift?”

“No. I thought that was what he was about, but…” What had he wanted? He’d seemed so into me, or had I imagined that, swayed by my own intense desire for him? “I don’t know. He left without trying anything.” I’d meant to scare him off, but that hadn’t seemed to be the reason he left. “It was…odd.”

“Midnight mast***ation material?”

“I’ll never tell.”

“Your face says it all.”

Over the past week, he had entered my thoughts, wearing decidedly less than he had when I’d seen him at the bar. And while sexual fantasies were innocent enough for most people, thinking too much about any guy was never good for me and Liesl knew it. But I didn’t need her lecture. As long as I didn’t see him again—and chances were slim that I would—I’d be fine.

I moved to straightening things on the counter that didn’t need to be straightened and changed the subject. “So the new owner…you’ve met him? What’s he like?”

Liesl shrugged. “He’s all right. Younger than you’d imagine. Like, twenty-seven or twenty-eight. Fucking rich. He’s insane about clean-up, though. We’ve been calling him the Bar Nazi. He inspects everything, wiping his finger on the counters to make sure they’re clean, like he’s got OCD or something. Oh, and talk about mast***ation material, he’s psychotically hot.”

Liesl thought any guy with a fat wallet who still had his hair was hot, so her statement didn’t say much. But the Bar Nazi remark made me smile. The staff had been lax on cleaning standards for some time and could do with some tough love. At least, that’s what I’d say if I were a manager. It gave me hope that the new owner and I might get along just fine.

I wondered about the man who finally ponied up the unreasonable asking price for the club. Not that The Sky Launch couldn’t be worth it, but it needed some serious overhaul to stand out in the sea of New York City clubs. Would the new owner see the place’s potential? How hands-on would he be? Would he leave the business under David’s control?

“You’ll meet him tonight.” Liesl ran her barbell across her lower lip. “I guess he’s a big deal in the business world. You’ve probably heard of him—Houston Piers or something like that.”

My jaw dropped. “Do you mean Hudson Pierce?” I waited while she nodded. “Liesl, Hudson Pierce is only the most successful business man under thirty in America. He’s like a god in that world.” Hudson had been born into wealth with modern day Rockefellers for parents. The eldest son, he’d expanded the Pierce wealth tenfold. As a business student I’d been intrigued with a number of his dealings.

“You know I’m not into all that Who’s Who bullshit.” Liesl straightened to her full five-foot-ten plus three-inch heels height. “Though I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on the Top Ten of, like, every Hottest-slash-Sexiest-slash-Most-Beautiful list in the world.”

I bit my lip trying to conjure up an image of him in my head. I’d probably seen a picture of him somewhere, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what he looked like. I generally didn’t pay attention to those things. But something tugged at the edges of my brain, something I couldn’t quite grasp. A connection my mind was failing to make.

“Anyway,” Liesl said, leaning back against the counter, “I think he’s around. I saw him go into the offices earlier when you were grabbing napkins from storage.”

I nodded, not sure if I was thrilled to meet Hudson Pierce or not. Part of me wanted to fan girl all over one or two of his more famous corporate decisions. And bouncing ideas off of him could be thrilling.

Or terrifying. What if I had nothing to suggest that he hadn’t already thought of? Hudson Pierce didn’t need my lame ideas to help him make the club thrive.

Unless he wasn’t planning to be involved with the business.

But why would he buy the club if he didn’t intend on being involved? In which case…

Crap. Before my visions of the future I desired went poof in my overactive imagination, I needed to meet Pierce and feel him out, whether I was intimidated or not.

I took several inconspicuous calming breaths then returned my focus to stocking the bar. Concentrating on my task, I pulsed absentmindedly to the techno strains that streamed over the sound system and let go of all my worries.

The music wasn’t on normal business volume—we could talk comfortably without raising our voices—but it was loud enough that I didn’t hear the office door open to the left of the bar. That’s why I didn’t notice Hudson at first. My back was to him and my gaze fixed above me as I reached for the Tequila Gold on the upper bar shelf. Even after I’d retrieved the bottle and turned around, my eyes first found David’s. He scanned me from head to toe and I smiled, pleased that my tightly fitted corset hadn’t gone unnoticed. He was the reason I’d worn the damn thing. I could barely breathe under its vice-like grip. But for the searing look he gave me, it was worth it, heating me to low simmer in the arousal department.