Home > Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)(5)

Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)(5)
Sylvia Day

I sighed. “Bummer.”

She gave me a wicked smile. “How about I promise the swing in return for the party?”

“Ah, now we’re talking.” I settled back, enjoying her immensely. “Tell me what you have in mind.”

“Booze and friends, yours and mine.”

“All right.” I considered the possibilities. “I’ll see you your booze and friends, and raise you a quickie in a dark corner somewhere during.”

Her throat worked on a quick swallow and I smiled inwardly. I knew my angel well. Indulging her closet exhibitionism was a complete 360 turnaround for me, and though it still amazed me when I thought about it, I didn’t mind in the least. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for those moments when the only thing that mattered to her was being filled with my cock.

“You drive a hard bargain,” she said.

“Exactly my intention.”

“Okay, then.” She licked her lips. “I’ll see you your quickie and raise you a hand job under the table.”

My brows rose. “Clothed,” I countered.

Something that sounded like a purr rumbled in the air between us. “I think you need to revisit and revise, Mr. Cross.”

“I think you’ll need to work harder to convince me, Mrs. Cross.”

She was, as always, the most invigorating negotiation of my day.

WE separated on the twentieth floor, where she exited the elevator into the Waters Field & Leaman foyer. I was determined to get her on my team and working for me. It was an objective I strategized every day.

When I reached my office, my assistant was already at his desk.

“Good morning,” Scott greeted me, standing as I approached. “PR called a few minutes ago. They’re fielding an unusual amount of inquiries about a rumored engagement between you and Miss Tramell. They’d like to know how to respond.”

“They should confirm.” I passed him and went to the coatrack in the corner behind my desk.

He followed. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” I shrugged out of my jacket and slung it on a hook. When I glanced at him again, he was grinning.

Scott Reid handled myriad tasks for me with quiet care, which led others to often underestimate him and allow him to go unnoticed. On more than one occasion, his detailed observations of individuals had proven extremely insightful, and so I overpaid him for his position to keep him from going anywhere else.

“Miss Tramell and I will marry before the end of the year,” I told him. “All interview and photo requests for either of us should be routed through Cross Industries. And tell security downstairs the same. No one should get to her without going through me first.”

“I’ll let them know. Also, Mr. Madani wanted to be notified when you got in. He’d like a few minutes with you before the meeting this morning.”

“I’m ready when he is.”

“Great,” Arash Madani said, walking in. “There used to be days when you were here before seven. You’re slacking off, Cross.”

I shot the lawyer a warning look that carried no heat. Arash lived to work and was damned good at it, which is why I hired him away from his former employer. He’d been the toughest counsel I had ever run across, and in the years since, that hadn’t changed.

Gesturing at one of the two chairs in front of my desk, I took my seat and watched him take his. His dark blue suit was simple but bespoke, his wavy black hair tamed by a precision cut. Sharp intelligence marked his dark brown eyes, extending to a smile that was more warning than greeting. He was a friend as well as an employee, and I valued his lack of bullshit.

“We’ve received a respectable bid on the property on Thirty-sixth,” he said.

“Oh?” A tangle of emotions held my reply for a moment. The hotel Eva hated remained a problem as long as I owned it. “That’s good.”

“That’s curious,” he shot back, setting one ankle on the opposite knee, “considering how slowly the market’s recovering. I had to dig through several layers, but the bidder is a subsidiary of LanCorp.”

“Interesting.”

“Cocky. Landon knows the next highest bid is a ways off—about ten million ways. I recommend we pull the property off the market and revisit in a year or two.”

“No.” Sitting back, I waved away the suggestion. “Let him have it.”

Arash blinked. “Are you shitting me? Why are you in such a hurry to get rid of that hotel?”

Because I can’t keep it in my holdings without hurting my wife. “I have my reasons.”

“That’s what you said when I advised you to sell it a few years ago and you chose to sink millions in renovations into it instead. An expense that you’re just finally breaking even on, and now you want to offload it in a still-shaky market to a guy who wants your head?”

“It’s never a bad time to sell real estate in Manhattan.” And certainly, never a bad time to dump something Eva called my “fuck pad.”

“There are better times, and you know it. Landon knows it. You sell to him, you’ll only be encouraging him.”

“Good. Maybe he’ll up his game.”

Ryan Landon had an ax to grind; I didn’t hold it against him. My father had decimated the Landon fortune and Ryan wanted a Cross to pay for that. He wasn’t the first or last businessman to come after me because of my father, but he was the most tenacious. And he was young enough to have plenty of time to dedicate to the task.

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