“Because as the person overseeing marketing and branding, a romantic liaison happening between an owner and a celebrity model repping the line is something I’d rather learn from you instead of a tabloid.”
“There’s nothing going on, Mira.”
“Has there ever been? I’m asking that not as the company rep but as a nosy peer.”
Ace smiled. “London and I traveled in the same circles, and our paths crossed a time or two—parties, shows, stuff like that. But we were both so busy then—she was the star of Incomparable and I was the face of Noire Underwear. Before our chance meeting in Temecula, I hadn’t seen her in years.”
“If I have my way, you’ll be seeing her a lot more. We all will.”
“You’ve got my attention.”
“I think we should make London more than just our star model for fashion week. I think we should make her the face of OTB Her.”
Ace’s response was immediate. “Okay, whoa. Having her star in our shows is one thing. But an ongoing relationship? I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.”
“It’s a great idea. A fantastic one! We’ll be lucky to get her, and if we do, she’d make an amazing spokesperson for OTB Her. She’s young, gorgeous, successful and popular. The paparazzi are always trying to get a shot of her. The tabloids and celebrity websites adore her. We should be so lucky that she’d agree to represent us. Now—” Mira leaned forward and looked Ace straight in the eye “—give me one reason why I’m wrong.”
“Okay. You’ve got me. I can’t think of any.”
None that he could voice, anyway. All he knew was that his life had just gotten complicated. Because there was no way he and London could be around each other on a regular basis and ignore the sexual energy between them. She’d made her intentions clear. He’d held back, but wanted her just as much. The attraction was too strong, the physical compatibility undeniable. The question wasn’t if, but when. And how to involve his body while protecting his heart.
“I’ve scheduled a meeting for this Thursday. Her agent and publicist will be joining us. I also think it would be a good idea for us to have some of the clothes ready, even if only the muslin mock-ups.”
“Agreed. I’ll have Lucien get on the final piece right away, to see if what we’ve envisioned can actually work.”
“It’s not an original idea, but I haven’t seen it done quite the way you’ve planned. If we can pull that off… Wow!”
“Hey, what’s all the excitement about in here?” Tyler walked in wearing a suede OTB suit, looking like a model himself.
“We got London,” Mira answered.
“And she’s going to be the face of the line.”
“Slow down, you two. She’s said yes to walking the shows, nothing more.”
“Don’t worry about that,” Tyler replied smugly. “Just pour on the charm, Ace, do what you do. She’ll say yes to it all.”
Ace simply nodded and looked away. Her saying yes to everything both frightened and excited him at the same time.
Had anyone pointed it out, he would have disagreed, but as Ace arose on Thursday morning he took special pains with his appearance. Since he’d gotten a facial and a manicure the day before, his clean-shaven cocoa skin was smooth to the touch and blemish free. The black silk OTB suit with leather embellishments showed off his six-foot frame to perfection. The open-collar tan shirt he wore beneath it both complemented his skin and highlighted the signature color of the OTB Her line. The gold jewelry was a perfect finish, along with his Burberry wing tips. Someone on the outside looking in might have thought it was Ace going for a position and not the other way around.
His extra sharp appearance didn’t go without notice. Mira was in the break room when he entered for coffee. She took a step back, and then another. “Dressed to impress, I see. Very nice, Mr. CEO.”
Tyler passed him in the executive hallways and offered a knowing smile. “I see you’re pulling out all the stops to win over our client. My man!”