“We’re not passive men, as I’m sure you’ve noticed,” Ryland picked up. “It was a touch of a conundrum we’d found ourselves in, and conundrums require solutions, and we’ve identified one.”
I watched Ryland carefully. He was sitting on the couch in Carson’s office with one leg crossed over the other. He had the sexy-sophisticated thing down pat. “What’s that?”
“We’d each like to take you out on a date,” Ian said. “Three dates, one with each of us, and after they’re over, you can pick who you’d like to continue with, or you can choose none of us, and we’ll respect your decision.”
“This won’t affect your job,” Carson said. “Frankly, we’d be moronic to get rid of an assistant as good as you. This will simply require the utmost privacy.” His blue eyes bore into me. “Do you agree?”
It was a shockingly efficient solution. They were all gorgeous, intelligent, mature men, and I was sure I would enjoy a relationship with any one of them. If my job was truly safe and I was going to get a great guy out of the deal, what did I have to lose?
I sat in silence for a while. They watched me, hanging on to even the smallest breaths I took. They were all attracted to me. That was a bit of a confidence boost. “Okay,” I said finally. “I’m in, but on one condition.” They each sat forward a bit, waiting. “I reserve the right to call this courtship off at anytime, for any reason.”
The men exchanged looks and then looked back at me. Ian smiled. “We agree. So, who will you date first?”
I put on a sly smile of my own. “Well, it only seems fair to honor the one who made the first move.” I stared into Ian’s crystal blue eyes. “So, what time are you picking me up?”
I’d been thinking of my first date with Sascha for a long time, so when I learned I’d be the first to get to take her out, there was no guessing as to what I’d do. I wanted her to get to know me, as more than just the HR manager at her job and the guy who surprise kissed her in a restaurant. There was a beautiful, authentic Russian restaurant up in the mountains that would be perfect for intimacy and telling her a little bit about myself.
She was a glorious crystal among dull desert rocks. She was wearing a strapless, black dress that hugged her shapely form. If she was stunning when she was in her professional garb around the office, her evening appearance was criminal. I kept a safe distance as we walked into the restaurant, not just because I had jumped her already once before, but because if I got too close to her the risk that I would do it again, was high.
The restaurant, called ???????, was decorated in lights hanging from trees and raining down over tables arranged in a way that looked like they were outside despite being inside. A fountain with a hammer and sickle statue at the middle sent gentle streams of water into a basin below. Sascha’s eyes lit up as we entered; I could see my brownie points climbing.
She looked up at the sign with the name on it. “Do you read Russian?” she asked.
“I do,” I responded. “That says ‘pitaniye.’ It literally means ‘food.’”
Her eyes flared with excitement at the sound of my accented voice speaking in its native tongue. “Pitaniye,” she repeated and a smile grew on my face. She nailed the pronunciation and sounded sexy doing it.
“Ah, Mr. Holder, welcome back,” the maitre’d greeted. I’d seen him many times before on my trips to the restaurant. He offered a shallow bow of his head to Sascha. “I see your guest is different this evening.”
Sascha immediately scowled, but I grabbed her hand gently and lifted it to my lips, pecking it to pull her attention to me. “I normally bring my mother. It reminds her of my father.”
Sascha relaxed, a warm smile returning to her face. “Oh. Sorry to jump to conclusions.”
“I believe that misunderstanding was my fault,” the maitre’d cut in. “It is normally Mrs. Holder at his side, I can attest.” He pointed in towards the restaurant. “Your regular table, sir?”
“Please,” I replied.
We followed him to a table in the back corner of the restaurant, with windows that overlooked Las Vegas in the valley below, but also had a perfect view of the fountain. We slid into the corner booth; Sascha slid particularly close, for which I was delighted, and the maitre’d left us a couple of menus and left.
“This place is beautiful,” Sascha commented.
“I think so,” I replied. “My father would bring my mother and I here all the time, up until he passed a few years ago. I promised her that I would always bring her so that his memory could live on.”