“Your brother has yet to burn me.” His eyes sharpen. “I don’t plan to give him the chance.”

Relief washes over me hard and fast. My brother doesn’t share my father’s reputation. Thank you, Lord, and my mind starts to work. “What if we call a truce? What if we, in fact, found a way to make money together?”

“How exactly would competing hotels make money together?”

“A rewards program.”

“We have one and so do you.”

“Yes, but there’s always ways to improve on all existing programs. I’m creative. I’ll put together a proposal as to how we make a reward program work for us both beyond what’s in place for both brands.” I hold up a finger with an idea. “We aren’t as developed as you in Europe. What if we partnered with you to send people to you, and we get a small percentage of your sales?”

“They’ll find us on their own.”

“Until we open our brand there and compete. What if we just don’t do that? What if you’re our partner in specific locations?”

“You think your brother and your board are going to agree to that?”

“If you do the same for us in locations you’re not presently. We can’t stop each other from growing, but we could come up with target markets that work.”

He considers me a moment. “There might be a pebble of something good there,” he says. “I’ll agree that it might, and I mean might, be worthy of a conversation. If you’re involved.”

“I will be,” I assure him. “I propose a truce. Even a short one. Six months to see how we might be friends, who are also competitors, making money together instead of enemies trying to destroy the other. Because in war, there is destruction on both sides. I don’t want war with you.”

He laughs. “But you just told me you’ll fight hard if we go to war.”

“Would you want to partner with me if I didn’t have that in me?”

“You make a point, my dear. You make a point.”

“What am I missing?” Jax says, stepping to my side and glancing down at me.

“A truce.”

He arches a brow. “A truce?”

“Yes, North,” Kent confirms. “Your woman here just apologized for her asshole father and then convinced me there might be a way for us to profit together. She’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met.” He downs his drink. “She’s a keeper.” He eyes me. “Call me next week.” He shifts his attention back to me. “Send me an order form. Your whiskey’s too damn good to be in her brand and not mine.”

I rotate and face Jax, whose hands come down on my arms. “I can’t believe you just made that happen.”

I beam with my success. “I can’t either. I suggested we partner in locations where he has hotels and we don’t and vice versa, and I apologized and—”

Jax kisses me. “You did good, baby. Really damn good.”

“Should you be kissing me with your customers around.”

“Whiskey and kissing go together.”

I laugh, and he catches a piece of hair stuck on my lip and pulls it back. “You just sold my whiskey into Sawyer’s hotels for me. I’m giving you a piece of the profits.”

“You are too generous, Jax North, which is one of the reasons I like you so much.”

“We’re back to that? You like me?”

“Liking the man you’re with is important. People love people they don’t like. But back to the whiskey. I don’t want a commission. I just want all the bad to become good. Can we trust him?”

“We’ll know soon enough, but your brother might push back in all kinds of ways we need to talk about after my meeting, which I have to go into now, but we have a problem. Brody is here somewhere. I’m worried about leaving you out here alone.”

“You want me to live here, but you’re going to hide me from your brother for the rest of our lives?”

His eyes warm. “The rest of our lives?”

My eyes go wide. “Oh. I wasn’t suggesting—I was just—”

“The rest of our lives works for me.” He strokes my cheek. “Stay away from my brother. If you can’t, you know where to kick him.”

I laugh and watch him walk away, tall and confident, his stride graceful yet powerful. He is truly the king of this castle. And we’re talking about the rest of our lives here together. Feeling lighter than I have since my father’s passing, I rotate and scan the food, only to find Brody, standing in an archway, staring at me.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

Jax

Emma did what I damn sure didn’t do. She tamed the beast that is Kent Sawyer. One problem solved. Now it’s up to me to solve another. And that problem is her brother.

I work my way through the castle, stopped here and there on the way to my meeting, by a good half dozen customers. Finally, I break free and head to the library where I find Savage waiting for me just outside the door. “Grayson and Eric are already present and enjoying your fine whiskey,” he says. “Brody is also in the castle. We’ve got eyes on him and Emma, but I don’t know how the fuck he got in here. He’s not showing up on the cameras and no one saw him come in.”


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Naked Trilogy Erotic
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