Tonight. Nana Malone

Tonight - Nana Malone

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the two of you know, we’ve been working with Bliss Hotel Group for years. They want a full competitive research and branding package for their new hotel in Las Vegas.”

      A spike of adrenaline lit her blood, and her inner competitive nature stretched. She leaned forward and Tristan followed suit. God, the man was infuriating. He was always there. Always encroaching on her space. Syn kept her voice cool. “How soon do you want the research package?” As a senior market analyst for Stellar Reach, she excelled in market research for her clients. Identifying how to leverage what competitors were doing was one of her key strengths.

      Bryan continued. “As you know, Bella’s team will be breaking ground in eighteen months. They’re looking for a full report on their lead competitors, the Decadence Hotel.”

      Bella chimed in. “In every city there’s a Decadence, there’s also a Bliss. Over the years, we’ve been neck and neck for AAA Five Diamond Hotel ratings. With this new hotel, I want to blow them out of the water. So while you’re at Decadence, you’ll be posing as wealthy VIPs. We’ll provide you with everything that a VIP package entails. When we purchased the package, we left room for play but made use of their concierge services to book tickets and dinners and clubbing experiences. You’ll get to experience all that Decadence has to offer the elite crowd and you’ll report back. What we’re aiming for is information on their VIP experience that the average guest wouldn’t even know to ask for.”

      Syn turned her attention to Bella, “I assume you still want the basics, the official room rates, the concierge, the facilities, the bottom line, their return on investment?”

      She nodded. “Yes, of course. The bottom line is what it boils down to in the end. You’ll be provided with the preliminary report we have on Decadence.”

      Tristan piped in, “While the bottom line is important, let’s not forget the customer experience. Those who like to work hard like to play even harder. So I’ll put that aspect into the report I compile.”

      Bella beamed. “I’m sure you will.”

      Syn chewed her lip. She’d worked on a Bliss Hotel campaign when she first started at the company. She wanted a real chance to prove herself now.

      “Okay. If we get a team out there ASAP, we should be able to do some recon on the hotel and—”

      Bryan held up a hand. “No team.”

      She frowned. “What do you mean no team? We need to get to work as soon as possible. In an ideal world we would have done this months ago.”

      Bryan smiled. “As usual, I appreciate your enthusiasm, Synthia, but you’re the team. We’re keeping it small this time.”

      She frowned. What? She was expected to work with Tristan? The management at Stellar Reach fostered an environment of competition. They believed that it brought the best out in their people. It forced teams to strive for great results for their clients, as well as work hard to keep them happy lest they lose the account to someone else. And it did force everyone to bring their A-game.

      Tristan finally spoke and Synthia steeled herself against the raspy, hypnotic tone in his voice. “So, what do you need Syn and me for? Our approaches are completely different.”

      Bryan smiled. “I’m so glad you pointed that out, Tristan. Because the two of you complement each other.”

      Synthia’s stomach rolled as she licked her lips. “I want to make sure I understand this right. You’re sending the two of us to Las Vegas...together.”

      Her boss nodded. His ruddy cheeks going redder. “Yes. I believe the two of you bring some unique perspectives. You’ll head out for the three-day weekend and then present your findings to Bella at the end of the month.”

      No. This couldn’t be happening. She couldn’t work with Tristan. He was disorganized. Hot. Brash. Sexy. A playboy. It was clear he knew his way around a woman’s body. The bane of her existence. The object of every fantasy she’d ever had over the past two years since he’d come to work at Stellar Reach.

      Synthia cleared her throat. “All due respect, Bryan, but Tristan and I have different methods. Perhaps in the interest of time, it would be best for Bliss to send just one of us. I have more experience with the account, but the choice, of course, is up to Bella.” There was no way she was going to survive a weekend in Vegas with him. She would spontaneously combust before they even got off the plane. Either that or kill him.

      Bryan shook his head. “Normally, Synthia, you’d be right. Your styles are very different. But given our timeline and given that we need to see how the competition is doing, we need you both. Your skill sets will be a good match on this. Synthia, you’ll focus on the bottom line. Check out pricing on rooms, activities and the like. You know the drill. See if you can find out their base costs. Tristan, I want you to focus on the services they provide. They are elegant but provide a fantasy element. And a very elite experience like what Bliss is trying to do. Both of you bring back your findings. From there, Bella will determine who will run the marketing and branding team.”

      Heading the marketing and branding team for a hotel like Bliss? That would be a huge career coup.

      A client like that would be a shining star on her résumé. And if she did well, she could leverage it for a promotion in her next review. Plus, with the bonus, she could cover the entire last year of her sister’s college tuition. As it stood, the payment for this semester was looming in a month, and thanks to footing the bill for last year’s semester abroad, she was low. All she had to do was suffer Tristan Dawson for a weekend? Done.

      She would just stay away from him. Wouldn’t be difficult. Staying late and grinding wasn’t his methodology. He said he worked better in the morning. They would just work separate schedules. It never ceased to amaze her how he’d risen though the ranks so quickly. He was haphazard and never took anything too seriously. His office looked like a war zone and he lacked finesse. But somehow the clients adored him. But he wasn’t her problem. She knew what it took to succeed. And she had the drive to get there. All Tristan had to do was stay out of her way. She squared her shoulders. “When do we leave?”

       Chapter 2

      Three days with the ice princess. Tristan Dawson wondered who he’d pissed off to get that sentence. Fun wasn’t in her repertoire. It would be like carrying an anchor around Vegas. Talk about a buzzkill. A beautiful buzzkill. But a downer nonetheless. It was a real shame too, because she might actually be fun if she ever loosened up a little.

      From his first day at Stellar Reach, she’d fascinated him. Her reputation preceded her. She was tough and smart and got the best clients. Simply put, she’d been the one to beat. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t take his eyes off her. If he wanted to be considered on his merits and not his name, he had to give her a run for her money.

      In the early days it had been difficult. She was always overprepared and came to win every time. It also didn’t help that he’d spent the first two months struck stupid by her beauty. Her skin resembled melting chocolate and looked so soft he itched to touch her. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes dominated her face, complemented by high cheekbones and a beguiling smile. Granted, she’d never turned that soul-stunning smile in his direction, but he’d seen it before.

      It hadn’t taken long to learn that her nickname was synonymous with aloof and cold. Which was a real shame because her real name suggested otherwise.

      Tristan closed his laptop. “If Synthia doesn’t have a problem working with me, then I don’t have one either.” Except he’d be pretty much attached at the hip with her through the whole trip. Normally being partnered with a woman all weekend wasn’t a hardship. He loved women. All women. But this one made him insane. Made him feel certifiable. He’d never met anyone more uptight. From day one, all he’d ever wanted to do was muss her up. Just once, he’d love to see her hair out of that bun and wild. The instant heat pooling in his gut made his skin flush. Easy does it. Thinking

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