Tyler’s eyes narrowed. “Frida said you were at a vineyard near San Diego.”
Frida was Ace’s executive assistant, named after the talented, outspoken Mexican artist, and she was equally unreserved.
“But working, obviously, instead of taking our advice to do anything but that. Thanks for the email on Lucien, though. He’s definitely our guy.”
“You’re welcome. But I actually met her while doing exactly what you guys suggested.”
“London was at the vineyard?”
“Her family owns it.”
“Get the hell out of here. Are we talking about the same London, the gorgeous international supermodel and the darling of Europe?” Ace nodded. “Her family lives in… What’s the name of the town?”
“Her family lives there?”
“Her first cousins do.”
“And London just happened to be there visiting them. Why don’t I believe this?”
“If the tables were turned, I wouldn’t, either. But she was there. Our meeting was coincidental.”
Ace told Tyler about London’s relative Papa Dee and why the family had been there last weekend. “The moment I saw her,” he finished, “I knew she was the one to bring this line to life, to make it the hit we want it to be and so much more. Get her on our runway and we’ll be all everyone is talking about from New York to Paris and from London to Milan.”
“What did she say about booking her?”
“I didn’t ask.”
This elicited the famous Dent scowl Tyler’s family was known for. “Have you forgotten that fashion week is a month away? She’s probably already booked up. Breaking up with Max Tata has made her even more popular than when she was dating him. We’ll be lucky if we can get her.”
“We’ll do everything it takes to make that happen. I want to pull out all the stops.”
“Why didn’t you just ask her yourself?”
“I did, indirectly. Not about working our runway but about whether or not she was totally booked. She isn’t. But there were other reasons. I didn’t want to make a decision based off a gut—or loin—reaction to seeing her so unexpectedly. London is one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Period. But everyone in the industry knows she can be temperamental and scandalous. Plus, she commands a hefty fee. We need to weigh the pros against the cons.”
“When it comes to cons, I don’t see any. The world loves controversy. If London makes headlines, let’s just hope she does so while wearing OTB.”
“I hate to agree with that callous observation.”
“But you know it’s true.”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Ace had unwittingly caused a scandal or two himself. Like dating a thirty-three-year-old top model when he was just nineteen. Or getting trapped inside an Atlanta hotel room after someone leaked his room number and dozens of women showed up outside his door—some in their underwear. Hotel security had been overwhelmed. Police had to be called. One woman was arrested for indecent exposure. The media had eaten it up.
“Booking London is a no-brainer. What were your other reasons?”
Ace hesitated. He’d told no one about the weekend he’d spent with London years ago. No one but the two of them knew they’d shared those lascivious forty-eight hours. Only Ace knew that the torch he’d once carried for her had burned very brightly. He planned to keep it that way. And he intended to keep his distance from her. His heart was still raw from betrayal. He was older now. Established and thinking of settling down. If that fire got stoked again, making her his exclusively was just about the only way he could see putting it out. This past weekend she’d made it clear that marriage was not on her mind.
“Booking her is a matter for Mira to handle, not me. I want London’s agent contacted the moment Mira arrives.”
Mira Jacobs was the company’s tough-as-nails attorney who handled OTB’s legal matters and also oversaw the company’s brand.
Tyler pulled out his phone. “I’ll text her now, find out when she’s planning to come in.”