Burn Me Once - Page 76

He nodded. “It has been.”

“That hasn’t stopped us from doing business, though.”

“Doing business?” he asked with a snide smile. “Is that what you call what we’ve been doing? Poaching one of my executives? I’ll have you know that the minute I get word he’s violated his nondisclosure agreement, you’ll be hearing from our lawyers.”

“I’ll have you know that none of us want to know your illicit secrets. We aren’t interested. But while we’re on the topic, what about our lumber supplier for our latest development? I believe it now falls under the umbrella of Collins/Fischer. Charging outrageous prices. How many contractors did you leave scrambling with those changes you made?”

Brett snorted. They’d changed the terms only on the DI contract. “I assure you, that was a coincidence,” he lied.

She rolled her eyes, rightfully not believing him. “You just did it because you were pissed that we outbid you on the sale of that factory in Reno. Am I right?”

“I guess we’ll never know.” Brett shrugged. That was the exact event that had started the series of events that had led them to this conversation. He and Alex had been working to acquire an abandoned factory and warehouse in Reno to turn it into a high-end condo development. But at the eleventh hour, Daniels International had swooped in and taken it.

He looked over her shoulder and quickly saw his friends in the middle of their own conversations, but all their eyes were trained on him and his interaction with Rebecca. Ignoring them, Brett gave Rebecca all his attention. He plucked a champagne flute from the tray of a passing waiter and handed it to her. “We can rehash this all night, but let’s talk. How does it feel to be back in town?”

Rebecca sipped from the glass and eyed him suspiciously over the rim. “It was a little strange at first. It was a challenge, but the transition to CEO has been smooth.”

“Seriously, though, I was sorry to hear about your father. He was a good man.”

“Thank you.” She sipped her champagne again, her eyes not breaking contact with his. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had so fully captured his attention. His eyes dropped to her mouth and the drop of champagne that clung to her top lip when she lowered her glass, and he somehow resisted the urge to lean in and sweep it up with his tongue.

Distracted by his desire, Brett barely heard the words she was saying as he looked her up and down. He could see the near-imperceptible changes in her demeanor, like the way she straightened under his scrutiny, the way her pupils dilated slightly as she spoke to him and the way her lips parted as she swiped her tongue over them. He grinned at her. Brett knew women, and Rebecca didn’t have to say the words out loud. Her body language told him everything that he needed to know—she wanted him, too. Maybe as much as he wanted her—to once again bury himself deep inside her, momentarily revisiting the heat and passion they’d experienced before.

He stepped closer to her, touching his fingertips to the swell of her hip before spreading his hand over her, cupping her waist. “You know, I don’t want to talk business. Why don’t we go outside?” he asked, his voice lowered. He tilted his head in the direction of the door leading to the terrace. “We can really catch up.”

She paused for a moment, hesitating, and he thought she would refuse—because, really, what could they possibly have to catch up on? But instead, she nodded. “Sure.”

He slid his hand to her lower back, just above the rise of her ass, and escorted her through the double doors that led to the terrace, and he was pleased and surprised to find that they were alone out there. They walked to a far corner, and she leaned on the concrete railing, looking out at the view afforded by the mayor’s mansion. He stood next to her and leaned on the railing, as well. He turned his head and watched her. Whatever was going on in Rebecca’s mind made her eyebrows furrow. Maybe it matched his own turmoil, but he was confident that he could move past it. But can she?

She was quiet for a moment before she spoke. “I really missed it here.” Her whisper was wistful and vulnerable. And the moment felt more real than any he ever remembered them sharing. Well, most of them. There had been the one or two nights in college when they’d almost hit on something more... He watched her as she looked across the desert to the lights of the city. They both knew the mountains were just on the horizon, completely obscured by the darkness. “New York was nice, bustling, and winter was kind of fun for the first few years. But for a city that claims to never sleep, it doesn’t have quite the same insomnia as Vegas.”

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