“We just signed the contracts, Tanner,” Costas said as Tanner pulled up the chair next to him and plopped down in it. “They’ll start work on Monday.”
“Excellent!” Tanner said with a serious expression that was clearly for show. He blew out a long breath and squeezed the ball in his right hand as his eyes went down the table.
He briefly eyed Stan and Juliette, then Bob, then Irving. When his eyes met mine, his eyebrows slowly rose as if he had just spied an old friend. He leaned across the table and extended the hand he wouldn’t let Stan shake.
He said, “You must be Candice Carlson.”
I blinked at him for a moment. I glanced down the table at my compatriots. Their eyes were glued to Tanner’s hand dangling in the air between us. He wiggled his fingers. I reached out to shake his hand. When our fingers touched, the pop of static electricity caused both of us to jerk our hands back.
“Whoa!” Tanner fell back in his chair with a grin on his face.
I put my hands in my lap and bit my tongue. Did he do that on purpose? Did he drag his feet across the carpet to build up static electricity in his body just so he could make me look like an idiot?
Who would do something like that?
Oh yeah, a douchebag…
“Shocking to meet you, Miss Carlson,” he said with a smirk.
I forced a polite smile for the sake of the ten-million-dollar contract in Stan’s briefcase.
“Yes, nice to meet you, Mr. Wright.”
“Am I?” he asked.
I blinked at him. “Are you what?”
I stared at him with my mouth hanging open, unsure what to say.
“Okay then, let’s wrap this up,” Costas said suddenly, clapping his hands together like he was breaking a huddle. He pushed himself up from the table and set a hand on Tanner’s shoulder to keep him in the chair. It was the move of a parent trying to control an unruly toddler.
Tanner’s eyes remained on mine. He gave me a little smile, like it was all a joke that only he and I were in on.
Costas directed his attention to Stan and put on a serious face. “I assume you’ll be flying to Tucson on Monday to meet with Anderson’s accounting team?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Stan said, getting to his feet. His eyes darted between the two men across from him. Costas was looking back at him. Tanner was still looking at me. Stan turned to gesture at his team. “The four of us will be in Tucson on Monday afternoon. The itinerary was already set in anticipation of signing the contract.”
“We’ll meet you there,” Tanner said. He was still looking at me. Still smiling. It was starting to creep me out. It was also starting to turn me on.
Was he playing some kind of weird Fifty Shades of Grey game with me?
Was this his idea of foreplay?
Was I supposed to rip off my clothes and lay on the table and spread my legs and beg him to fuck me?
I put on a blank face as I filed that thought away for later use.
“We’ll meet them there?” Costas asked, looking down at Tanner.
“We will,” Tanner said, finally taking his eyes off mine and directing them toward Stan. “We have meetings scheduled with Anderson’s executive team later in the week. We might as well get an early start.”
He got out of the chair and gave Costas a nod.
“Call Anderson and tell them we’ll all be there on Monday instead of Wednesday.”
“What if they can’t meet on Monday?” Costas asked. His forehead lined as he held up arm and checked his watch. “It’s nearly five o’clock on Friday. That’s awfully short notice.”
“Then we’ll have to find something to occupy our time until Wednesday, won’t we,” Tanner said, glancing at me yet again. Everyone turned to look at me. I felt myself literally shrinking before their eyes.
“Okay, I’ll make the arrangements,” Costas said, narrowing his eyes, bouncing them between Tanner and me.
I didn’t have to be a mind reader to know what Costas was thinking.
He was going to kick me off the team because Tanner was acting like a fucking teenage boy. I was the innocent bystander at this train wreck, but I would be the one held responsible for running the Tanner train off the track.
Tanner Wright’s sexploits were legendary, thanks to gossip sites like TMZ and Gawker.
He had the well-earned reputation of being the billionaire bad boy who had torpedoed billion-dollar business deals because he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. And now his childish antics were about to cost me my spot on the team.
Son of a bitch.
What a DOUCHEBAG!!
Well, if they expected me to take this lying down, they were messing with the wrong girl. I set my hands on the table and laced my fingers together and stared at them.