I liked Janine. She was businesslike to the point of being unfriendly, skipping over any fun facts on the tour and rattling off figures, percentages, and problems, a mix of pride and concern in her words. We ended the tour in an upper-level VIP room, seated at a private alcove that looked down upon the club. Janine killed power to a small video camera that looked into the space, and we sat down around a cocktail table.

“When will the changeover take place?” she asked, leaning forward and meeting both of our eyes.

“I’ve already transferred the stock certificates. Scott Burge, an attorney from my firm, will send over an operating agreement for you to sign. You should receive that this week. Once that is complete, I will be completely out.”

She glanced at me guardedly, hesitating before speaking. “Julia, I’ve never been very good with tact, so I’ll come right out with this. Brad and Evelyn have left me alone, occasionally visiting the club and having monthly conference calls to discuss finances. I’m not used to having a boss, and that isn’t something I am particularly interested in.”

Brad started to speak, and I silenced him, touching his arm lightly. “I plan on having the same level of involvement as Brad. I am not familiar with Saffire and have little to no experience in the business world. Brad says you are an excellent operator, and I trust his judgment. Assuming we continue or improve the current level of revenue, I see no reason to get involved in your business.”

Her features relaxed noticeably. “I would appreciate that. Do you have any other questions I can answer while you are here?”

I couldn’t think of anything she had missed during the last hour. I shook my head and glanced at Brad to see if he had any thoughts.

He leaned forward, speaking, “I think we’re good, Janine. I’ll join in on the call next week with Julia, so we can touch base then. Look for that package from our firm.”

She nodded, moving quickly to her feet, her eyes already roaming the club. “If that’s all, I’d like to get back downstairs.”

“We’ll stay here and chat for a bit,” Brad said, throwing an arm over the back of my chair.

“Just turn back on the security cam when you’re done.” She gave us both smiles and left, moving at a quick pace, speaking into a mouthpiece as she moved.

I let out a breath, turning to Brad with a smile. “She’s nice.”

He scoffed. “Did you expect her to be a bitch to her new boss?”

My mouth turned up slightly. “I thought we just clarified that I’m not her boss.”

“I never treated her like an employee, despite the majority ownership I held. I’m sure you will follow suit.”

“You know I will.”

Then his eyes changed, from friendly to dark, and I knew, before he even lifted a hand, what was coming.

Chapter 24

I felt the tug on my chair as Brad pulled me close to him. He captured my face in his hands, his eyes examining my features. “I love you so much,” he murmured, his eyes moving over and focusing on my lips before he tugged me to him, taking ownership of my mouth with a few soft swipes of his tongue. I opened my lips further, deepening the contact, my hands stealing into his hair. I broke the kiss, pushing my chair back and standing, moving closer to him and spreading his knees with my legs. He slid deeper in the chair, reclining back against the soft leather, gazing up at me with a latent dominance of the nothing-but-trouble variety. I grinned playfully down at him, and slid one strap, then the other, of my dress down, dragging the fabric until my bare br**sts were exposed, lit softly by the blue-gray lights of the room.

He groaned softly, a guttural sound, and stared into my eyes, tightening his knees against my legs. “Come here.”

I shook my head and knelt, running my hands softly up his dress pants, past his muscular thighs, until I reached his belt. He watched me, his eyes darkening and he leaned forward suddenly, snagging my chin and pulling it up, his eyes grabbing me possessively before kissing me hard, a deep kiss that reclaimed his power before he released me, leaning back and watching me.

“Do you always have to be in control, Mr. De Luca?” I purred the words, unbuckling his belt with one motion, then rubbed my hand over the zipper line, feeling the outline of his c**k underneath the fabric, the shape of him hardening under my fingers. He didn’t answer, his eyes locked on mine, dark orbs of sexuality. I suddenly needed to see him, needed to have his bare skin in my hand, to feel the throb of what was mine. I looked away from his eyes, focusing, and unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. Then, he was in my hand, an impossibly thick, hard shaft, the skin hot beneath my palm. I stroked it, the firm grip eliciting an intake of Brad’s breath.

“Put it in your mouth.” The order came through in a drugged tone, desire glowing at me from under heavy eyelids.

I shook my head, increasing the speed of my stroke as I watched him. He frowned slightly, lifting his hips a bit, bringing the nine inches of insanity closer to my face. I spoke, my tone a mixture of dominance and bite. “What is your plan with the girl?”

He sat up slightly, his eyes opening more, and watching me carefully. “What girl?”

“The stripper. The one you f**ked last time you were here.”

“I thought that didn’t bother you.”

I hissed. “It didn’t bother me last time. Things are different now. Are you going to talk to her?”

“I feel like this is a test of some sort ...” he mumbled. His breath hitched a bit as I squeezed his cock, loving the feel of complete stiffness in my hands. “What is you want, Julia?”

I ran my tongue lightly, teasingly, over the top of his head, taking it into my mouth for one brief moment before I pulled off, my hands never pausing in their movement, a quick pace that traveled his entire length with every stroke. “I want you to handle it,” I said firmly. “I want her to understand that you will never have sex with her again.”

“Never?” I released him, the sudden departure causing his eyes to open and a frown to settle over his features. “I’m joking. Don’t stop.”

I resumed my movement, my free hand gathering his heavy balls in my hand, squeezing him softly as I stroked his length with a firm hand.

“Come here,” he said, sitting up and pulling on my arms.

“No.” I fixed him with my sternest look, my hand increasing in speed.

“Julia, come here. I want to talk to you about this without being tongue-tied by your hands on my cock.” He pulled harder, his strong arms lifting me easily onto his lap, despite my best attempt at resistance.

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