There’s nothing sexier than a successful man except maybe the passionate beast living inside him.
New this week at eXtasy Books
“Naturally, you’d assume that I’m no threat to you. Being at the top of the food chain, it’s so easy to forget the route taken to get there, to claim that spot and keep it. Leon, darling, let me give you a couple of lessons in power. When you recognize the power in another, you don’t ignore it or you risk diminishing some of your own. And two? Power isn’t handed to you on a silver platter all neatly set up to service one. It’s typically found in the dirtiest of places, and often discovered behind closed doors.
“Those who stumble across such an extraordinary find play their hand as carefully as they can, realizing their one shot may be just that, and taking the keys to the kingdom is never easy, but it’s often just.”
“What the bloody hell are you rambling about?” Ariela asked, stepping closer to the phone that Leon now turned her way.
“I didn’t expect to find you and Leon fucking today. I overheard some of the most extraordinary tidbits of information, Ariela, the kind of information destined to destroy a man and his work. I’d hate to see that happen. Wouldn’t you?”
Ariela leaned forward, crossing her arms over her T-shirt-clad chest. “Shall I presume you’ve thought about the terms? The real ones, I mean.”
Leon shook his head behind the phone. He evidently thought there was another way, and perhaps they’d discuss their options later, particularly if Leon could find a way to get them out of this mess. For now, the ball was in Melinda’s court.Ariela wanted to see if she could dribble and shoot or just run up and down the court mouthing off about the three-pointer she planned to make as soon as everyone moved the hell out of her way.
“It’s like this,” Melinda went on. “I want a title. VP of Hotel Operations will suffice—the position is open. Tomorrow at eight o’clock, it will be mine.” She released a sigh and turned to face Jagger, who stood at the window behind his desk. He didn’t turn and face the phone, yet he must’ve been aware of the camera at his back.
Ariela’s heart broke for her mate then. He’d endured so much over the last few days, and now he faced the possibility of bedding a woman he knew Ariela hated.
Jagger despised her just as much.
Her gaze bounced between Melinda and Jagger. On second thought, he didn’t look nearly as disgusted as Ariela felt and that alone enraged her. Was Jagger actually attracted to Melinda? Was that why he wouldn’t look at them? Was he infatuated by his employee after all? Did he admire this power play she was making, regardless of what it might cost them?
“Don’t worry, Ariela. I’m too busy for an ongoing affair,” Melinda snapped. “Unlike you, I’m not interested in waiting at home for a dutiful lover to come to bed and stroke me a few licks before rolling over and staring at the wall.”
“What are you talking about?”
Jagger still didn’t turn around. He crossed his arms over his chest, acting more interested in the Las Vegas skyline than the pending conversation with the potential to damage their futures.
“See Ariela, I believe there’s nothing sexier than a successful man, except maybe that passionate beast that lives inside him—the one that drives him forward and makes him crave the success that he alone believes he deserves.”
“I get that you want to be affiliated with Jagger,” Ariela growled, “But he won’t go to bed with you. Unlike women, men have a problem sleeping with women when they aren’t turned on and aroused.”
“I can turn him on, Ariela. I promise you that.”
“What. Do. You. Want?”
“I’ve told you. Perhaps your defense mechanism is shutting out what you don’t want to hear, but listen closely, dear. Jagger will be in my bed twice a year. With the new expansion, I realize he has his head somewhere else, so I’ll give him a few months to wrap his mind around the idea. Besides, I like foreplay. Anticipation is everything, darling.”
Leon hit the mute button. “The woman is a terrorist! She wants you to dread the act. That’s a power play right there. She’s proving to you she is in control.”
So Melinda had taken her shot and made it count. Her three points were on the board—the position of power as VP of Marketing, and two nights a year with Jagger. Now it was Ariela’s turn. And by damn, Ariela knew what to do when the ball was in her court. She’d draw the foul.