Burn Me Once - Page 73

Brett nodded without much interest.

Alex didn’t miss it. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. I’m just tired, I guess. I haven’t slept much this week. This messing around with Daniels International is starting to get to me.” It all started a few months ago when the other company had outmaneuvered Brett and Alex in scooping up and securing a huge deal out from under them, costing Collins/Fischer a small fortune. Brett and Alex had responded by buying out one of Daniels’s key suppliers and raising the prices. He could only imagine the scrambling that had gone on at DI that day. But then Rebecca had countered by poaching one of their VPs and giving him a place at Daniels International. Escalation had been quick, vicious, and he’d racked his brain trying to figure out his next step. But it had to be big. Nobody screwed with Collins/Fischer. Brett had to end the feud, and quick.

“You have to put it aside,” Alex told him. “We shouldn’t let this escalate too much. We need to focus on our own work and not worry about Rebecca Daniels or Daniels International.” Brett opened his mouth to speak, but Alex plowed over him. “I know you guys have history. But focus. What’s important now is our own success, not revenge.”

“Whatever history I may or may not have with Rebecca Daniels has nothing to do with the business.”

“You’ve been working day and night for the past couple of months. Why don’t you go on home? Get some sleep, go to the club and get laid, watch TV, whatever. I can handle things here. I’ll talk to the permits guy.”

Sex and sleep—hell, even crashing in front of the television—definitely sounded better than smooth talking anyone in attendance at the party, but he couldn’t make himself leave and take a night off. If he wasn’t working, or thinking about work, it felt like he was wasting his time. Work provided the necessary distraction from his thoughts and darker urges. “I know you can handle it. But you know me. I don’t do well with downtime,” Brett returned, grimacing. Downtime led to boredom, and boredom led to cravings. He sipped his water again.

“Yeah, but it isn’t healthy to spend every waking moment thinking about the business.”

“Are you really giving me this lecture? You’re just like me.”

Alex laughed, and Brett followed his friend’s gaze across the room, until it landed on a gorgeous blonde wearing a tight black dress. “Yeah, but I know how to take the night off to allow time for the finer things.” The blonde looked back and smiled, waving to Alex. “And that’s my cue,” he muttered and sauntered away to focus on the finer things, leaving Brett alone.

Brett knocked back the rest of his water and put his glass on the bar. Maybe he should leave, see what he could get up to at Di Terrestres. He scanned the crowd one more time, hoping to find inspiration for the next big project, the one that would make him and his friends, The Sin City Brotherhood, legends of Las Vegas. He watched the door to the ballroom open, and a beautiful, glamorous woman entered the party. And his eyes connected with the one face that made his blood boil with anger and lust—the blast from the past who was currently working tirelessly to ruin his life. The woman who plucked his memories, tore at his chest and stiffened his posture, not to mention his dick—Rebecca Daniels.

* * *

Rebecca smoothed a hand down the front of her black silk dress and straightened the hem that hit several inches above her knees. She accepted a glass of champagne from a server balancing a tray on his fingertips, and she sipped from it. She’d been attending events like Mayor Thompson’s party for years, and they were like second nature to her. She felt at ease, able to mingle her way through the crowds, shift in and out of conversations. But that night, she wanted no more than to go home and crash in her bed. She’d had a long few weeks—an even longer few months since her father had passed away six months ago and she’d taken the helm of Daniels International. She’d had time for little else than work lately.

Her father had excelled at functions like this; he’d made time for everyone and had had the ability to make everyone he interacted with feel like the most important person in the room, even when he was exhausted and overworked. And so could she. It was something he’d passed on to Rebecca, but though she was good at networking, her father had been legendary.

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