He has it on speaker, and I recognize the voice of a young woman I’ve heard him converse with before. It’s one of his employees in the executive office.

Just great.

I’m at the point I’m ready to vacuum the living room floors, but I clearly can’t do that while he’s talking on speakerphone. With a sigh, I move my cart back into the living room, unhooking the vacuum from its slot on the side. Because I have other duties to attend to after his suite, I hope my display makes him realize he’s preventing me from doing my duties. Blackwood doesn’t spare me a glance, though.


Like a dolt, I hover, wondering if I should interrupt him. I’m hesitant to do so because, well… I need this job.

Blackwood issues orders so quickly I feel bad for the woman if she’s taking handwritten notes.

When he finishes, he says, “Is there anything else we need to discuss before my next call?”

After a slight hesitation, the woman finally says, “Um… there is, actually.”

“Make it quick,” Blackwood orders.

“The fundraiser for the Canterbury Art Center this weekend,” she starts. I’m not sure if he hears it in her voice, but I do. She’s terrified to say what she needs to.

Obviously, he has no empathy because he snaps, “Well… what about it?”

“The venue is too small to accommodate all the people who have RSVP’d,” she mumbles.

I’m surprised Blackwood actually allows emotion on his face, but surprise and fury emanate from him. “Let me get this straight… The venue I had you book over two months ago—for a specific number of people—is too small to handle the guests? Why in the hell are you just now telling me this, three days before the event?”

“I’m so sorry, sir,” she says. While I can’t see the woman, I guarantee she’s quivering. I can hear it in her voice. “But you specifically requested this venue. And, um, well, I didn’t want to go against you.”

“Fucking great,” Blackwood snaps. “My goddamn assistant can’t manage to think for herself or have an original idea in her air-filled head. Once you realized the problem, did it ever occur to you to bring it to my attention in enough fucking time for me to handle it, since you clearly couldn’t be bothered to do so?”

Ouch. I feel sorry for the woman. She did fuck up, but I suspect Dicklan is such a dick to work for that she was afraid to say anything. Still, she should have pointed it out well before now. He would be pissed, but he’d have had the time to do something about it. Cringing, I wait, already suspecting what he’ll say next.

Declan Blackwood doesn’t disappoint. “Your services are no longer needed at Blackwood Hotels and Resorts. Pack up immediately.”

Without another word, he disconnects the phone. He taps it against his chin, apparently deep in thought. Aloud, he murmurs, “Just where in the hell am I supposed to find a venue in Vegas for a hundred and fifty people with only three days’ notice?”

I have no clue what this fundraiser is for. What I do know is I like Declan Blackwood even less now than I did before that phone call. That was extremely harsh, even if the woman had clearly screwed up.

To my great surprise, I start to speak, though I don’t know why I’m helping this jerk. “The Desert Rose Country Club has more than enough space in their ballroom. They were supposed to have a big legal convention in it this weekend, but it just got canceled.”

Slowly, Blackwood slides his gaze over, pinning it on me. “And you know this how?”

“A couple of nights a week and on the weekend, I’m a blackjack dealer there. At my table last night, a few attorneys who were scheduled to attend were griping about how the event was canceled because the convention’s sponsor had just gotten arrested for tax evasion.”

His eyebrows shoot up. It annoys me how my mind immediately decides they’re great eyebrows. Thick but arched to perfection. On the one hand, they make him look sly. But on the other, they make him appear ridiculously intelligent. It only adds to his overall allure. “They were griping about a boring legal convention getting canceled?”

I shake my head. “They were griping about how the sponsor wouldn’t refund any registration fees, so they were essentially robbed.”

Blackwood surveys me, his bluish-silver eyes seeming to know stuff that I don’t even know about me. It’s like he can see directly into my thoughts, which is ridiculous.

He rises from the couch, managing to do so in an elegant fashion without disturbing the towel around his waist.

Thank God!

He takes a few steps closer to me, crossing his arms as he contemplates before finally saying, “Get on the phone with whoever runs that place. Find out if it’s available. If it’s not, offer to pay double their normal fee. We’ll have to notify the attendees of the venue change, then coordinate with all the suppliers.”

Tags: Sawyer Bennett The Wicked Horse Vegas Billionaire Romance
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