Tangled Page 11

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So, you see what I was saying about life?

Just like that, Kate Brooks has changed from a woman I couldn’t wait to do the nasty dance with to someone I can’t wait to crush under my boot. My adversary. My competition. My enemy.

It’s not her fault. I know. Now ask me if I care.

Nope—not even a little.

In full-out combat mode, I return to headquarters—otherwise known as my office. I give Erin a few orders and work the rest of the afternoon. Around six o’clock, I have Erin call Kate into my office.

Always keep the home-field advantage. Play on your own turf. Remember that.

She comes in and sits down, her expression unreadable.

“What’s up, Drew?”

Her hair is down, framing her face in a long glossy curtain. For a second, I imagine what it would feel like tickling my chest, draping across my thighs.

I shake my head. Focus, Evans, focus.

She’s wearing a dark burgundy suit with matching heels. Kate is into the high heels. I think because she’s naturally petite, the height advantage they give makes her feel more confident at the office.

Guys love heels. We associate them with all kinds of fantastic sexual positions. If you want a man to notice you, you cannot go wrong with a pair of shiny four-inch stilettos, I swear.

As my eyes continue to roam over her from head to toe, a problem, shall we say, arises. Although my mind recognizes that Kate Brooks is now my rival, apparently my c**k hasn’t gotten the memo.

And he, judging from his reaction, still wants to make friends.

So I picture Miss Gurgle, my fifth grade science teacher, in my mind. She was a beast of a woman. A retired female wrestler—not the bikini kind. She had a mole on her right cheek that was so big, we were sure it was the head of a twin that hadn’t separated in the womb. It was disgusting but strangely hypnotic at the same time—you couldn’t help but stare at it. It jiggled when she spoke, like a bowl full of Jell-O.

I shudder slightly, but it does the trick. All’s clear down below.

“Saul Anderson is coming to the city next month,” I say at last.

Her brows rise. “Saul Anderson? Really?”

“Really,” I tell her, all business. No more pleasure for her. “My father would like you to put together a mock presentation. A run-through, as if you were really going to pitch a client. He thinks it would be good practice for you.”

I know, I know…you think I’m a scumbag. I’m not even giving her a fair chance. Well, get over it. This is business. And in business—like war—all is fair.

I expect her to be excited. I expect her to be grateful. She isn’t either of these.

Her lips press together in a tight line, and her expression turns serious. “Practice, huh?”

“That’s right. It’s not a big deal; don’t put yourself out. Just throw something together for him. A hypothetical.”

She folds her arms in front of her chest and tilts her head to the side. “That’s interesting, Drew. Considering your father just told me he hasn’t decided who’s getting Anderson yet. That it would come down to you or me, whoever put together the more impressive strategy. The way he explained it, it sounds like a very big deal.”

Uh oh.

When I was twelve, Matthew and I snagged a Hustler magazine from a convenience store. My father caught me with it in my room before I’d had the chance to hide it under my mattress. The look on my face at this moment is very similar to the one I wore then.

Busted.

“Playing a little dirty, are we?” she asks, her eyes narrow with suspicion.

I shrug. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, sweetheart. Anderson’s coming to me. My father’s just throwing you a bone.”

“A bone?”

“Yeah. You’ve had your lips attached to his ass since you started. I’m surprised he can still stand up straight. He figures this will get you off his back for a little while.”

Always strike first—remember that too. The team who scores first? They’re almost always the team who wins. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

Yes, I’m trying to shake her confidence. Yes, I’m trying to throw her off her game.

Sue me.

I told you my history. I told you how I grew up. I never had to share my toys; I don’t plan on sharing my clients.

Ask any four-year-old—sharing sucks.

When she speaks, her tone is lethal, sharp as a f**king machete. “If we’re going to work together, Drew, I think we should get a few things straight. I’m not your sweetheart. My name is Kate—Katherine. Use it. And I’m not a kiss-ass. I don’t have to be. My work speaks for itself. My intelligence, my determination—that’s what got your father to notice me. And obviously he thinks you’re a bit lacking in those departments since he’s considering me for Anderson.”

Ouch. Certainly goes right for the jugular, doesn’t she?

“And I know women probably fall all over themselves to get your attention and one of your charming smiles,” she continues, “but that’s not going to happen with me. I don’t plan on being one of your groupies or a notch on your bedpost, so you can save your lines, your smile, and your bullshit for someone else.”

She rises to her feet and rests her hands on the edge of my desk, leaning over.

Hey, you know if I just sit up a little bit more, I could see right down her blouse. I love that spot on a woman. That valley just between her—

Stop it!

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