He spoke, allowing his words to come out as a grumble, the threat in them causing the scrawny man to widen his eyes. “I need to speak to Julia if you are both done here.”

There was an awkward goodbye, and then the man was gone, and Brad and Julia were alone in the office. She crossed her arms and stared at him with a look that was meant to be intimidating. “What, pray tell, did you need to speak to me about that just couldn’t wait?”

He ignored her question, tilting his head in the direction of the exit, guessing at the answer to his question before he finished speaking. “Who is he?”

“Bob. He is a—”

“I know who he is. I meant who is he to you?”

Her eyes narrowed. “He is nothing to me.”

“Are you dating?”

“Is that any of your business?”

“It is if he’s visiting you at work.”

She threw up her hands, turning to her desk. “Oh, please! Don’t even pull that card.”

He repeated the question, intent on finding the answer. “Are you dating?”

“No.”

Her conviction and attitude satisfied him, and he leaned against the doorway, letting his eyes roam, traveling from perfect feet upward, past long legs, a navy dress that hugged the firm outline of her body, before settling on devourable lips, perfect features, flushed cheeks, and eyes that challenged him to make an inappropriate comment. He had the sudden desire to push her back on her desk and claim her body right now. His mouth moved without provocation, words coming out before he could harness them. “Come to Vegas with me this weekend.”

“What?” She looked at him like he had three heads. He wanted to ask himself the same question. This was a horrible idea, one that would certainly bite him in the ass.

He rephrased the question, cursing his psyche with every word flowing smoothly off of his traitorous lips. “I’m going to Vegas this weekend. Why don’t you come?” He tried for a welcoming tone, but the words came off more as an order.

“Are you serious?”

“Dead serious.” And suddenly he was, the desire to rip off that dress and have her naked in his hands too tempting to resist.

She smiled demurely. “I appreciate the offer, but I’ll have to pass.”

He smiled. “Think it over. I’ll have you back safe and sound by Monday.”

Those damn arms crossed again, the motion pressing her br**sts together and offering them up to him. “I appreciate the offer, but no.”

He raised his eyebrows and looked at her, noting the steel in her gaze, the challenge only making her more appealing. “No boyfriend?”

“No.”

“Think it over.” He flashed a smile at her, the smile that normally weakened women’s resolve and had them ready and willing to do whatever he proposed. He turned on one heel, his brain begging for one final look at her, and left, heading back to his domain.

She would come. Now that his brash mouth had issued the invitation, there was no alternative but to make sure she came. Brad De Luca didn’t get rejected. Especially not by a twenty-something intern who had probably never been properly f**ked in her life.

It was a horrible idea, flying an intern to Vegas. Kent Broward’s intern especially. If this came to light, when this came to light, there would be hell to pay. But that woman back there, her feisty attitude and tight body … one night with her could very well be worth the downfall.

The aftermath, when she would turn needy and want more than sex … the constant calls, persistent emails, those would not be worth it. That would be a headache that his schedule wouldn’t have time for. He swallowed, pushing open the double doors to the East Wing, regretting the invitation with every step he took away from her.

the city of sin

52 hours later: Vegas

2:45 AM. Too damn late. He collected a stack of chips and let them fall through his hand, watching them bounce and drop on the green felt.

“Your luck has turned,” the heavyset man before him said, gathering the cards. “You should stop for the night.”

Brad looked up, shaking his head and sliding a single black chip forward. “Another hand.”

He reached for the glass, downing the remaining bit of bitter liquor. It was out of his norm—continuing to play when his luck had turned. But he needed to be down here and out of the suite. In the suite was she … and he didn’t know how to handle her.

A waitress materialized at his side, setting another cold glass before him. He nodded, passing her a tip, and tapped on the table, asking for another card. He stared at his hand, trying for the hundredth time to rid his mind of her image.

They had checked in late, heading up to the room first, the bellman putting away their bags. He had expected them to go out, for dinner or drinks, when she had come to pieces, standing in the middle of the suite, her eyes welling with tears, her mouth basically accusing him of bringing her here for sex. It was like she expected him to bend her over the sofa as soon as the door closed behind the bellman.

He swallowed another mouthful of whisky. Her concerns were well-founded. He had assumed they would f**k, but he was in no rush. It wasn’t something that needed to happen on this trip. This trip had been intended more for … hell … he didn’t know why he had brought her here. The whole damn thing didn’t make any sense. All he knew was that look in her eyes—that fragile, terrified expression—told him he needed to be careful. Keep his distance, keep her clothed, untouched. She was not one of the women who lay on his desk and begged for a f**king. She was, apparently, fairly inexperienced. And she would take the sex as more than it was.

Stay away. Keep his distance. An easy decision to make when he sat thirty-two floors below her, alcohol and hours of distraction between them. It might be a different story when he was in her presence again.

He pushed the remaining chips towards the line. “All in. Last hand.”

“Good luck,” the dealer said with a somber look.

“Thanks. I need it.”

His new resolution lasted long enough for him to stumble upstairs, his pockets heavy with winnings, and collapse on the bed in the extra bedroom. He woke five hours later with a headache and sheet imprints on his face. He rolled over, rubbing his face, and sat up, wincing at bright light that poured through the windows.

Jacking off helped, his hand stroking his c**k under the hot spray of the shower. He directed his thoughts to Bethany, his latest f**k, thinking about her soft br**sts against his body, the slap of them when she rode him to completion. He avoided any thought of the brunette one room over, gritting his teeth as he came, the evidence of his satisfaction washed down the stone walls with the spray of water.

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