Tonight. Nana Malone

Tonight - Nana Malone

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senior, so if any questions arise, just defer to her opinion. But I think you both can be our secret weapon on this contract, looking at both sides of the equation.”

      Once they were dismissed, Tristan followed Synthia out of the office. The moment they were out of earshot, he whispered, “I won’t hold it against you that you just tried to toss me from the project.”

      She halted and turned her glacial, indifferent smile on him. “I’m sorry you see it that way. I was merely trying to save you from having to do any heavy lifting. I know how averse you are to that.”

      A spike of adrenaline hit him. There was no one he’d rather argue with. “Now, don’t be mad just because I get to have some actual fun and you’re stuck looking at the numbers.”

      She veered toward her office and despite his better judgment he followed. “Well, my idea of fun isn’t to troll the Vegas strip clubs.”

      He let his mouth drop open and clutched his chest when they reached her office. “I’m wounded, Synthia. You think that I would stoop so low? I’m a classy guy. And I want only the best. I’d hire a private service to bring the girls to me.” He winked at her.

      “You’re disgusting.”

      He grinned. He liked naked women as much as the next guy, but the whole strip club thing didn’t do anything for him. If he was going to see a naked woman, there had better be touching involved. He mostly just liked to ruffle Syn’s too neat, too perfect feathers. “You know, one of these days, you’re going to have to tell me why you don’t like me.”

      She directed her dark gaze on him. “It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s that I’m indifferent. I do my best not to think about you ever.”

      God, she was impossible. “If you say so, sweetheart. You just keep telling yourself that. In the meantime, this trip to Vegas will be really fun.”

      She shrugged as if she couldn’t give a damn. “As long as you stay out of my way, we’ll be fine.”

      His hackles rose. “Honey, I have no intention of seeing you the whole time we’re there.” Liar. What he wanted to do was see sexy, mussed-up Synthia in Vegas.

      She crossed delicate arms over her chest and drew in a deep breath. He almost high-fived himself for managing not to sneak a peek at her gentle curves. He didn’t need that kind of torture through the rest of the day. “That will work fine with me.” Her tight, brittle scowl morphed into that brilliant smile of hers and Tristan’s brain shorted. Then she added. “Now, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Junior Warbucks.”

      She turned and walked to her desk as if she didn’t give a damn whether or not he still stood there. Grinding his teeth, he left her office and didn’t bother giving her the satisfaction of slamming it.

      Back in his office, Drake Murphy, the head of Stellar Reach’s legal team, was waiting for him with his feet kicked up on the coffee table.

      “Make yourself at home why don’t you, Drake?” Tristan mumbled.

      His friend grinned. “Thank you, don’t mind if I do.” He inclined his head toward Synthia’s office. “You and your girlfriend at it again? I could hear you from here.”

      “She’s not my girlfriend.” Tristan deposited his laptop onto his desk and sank into his chair.

      Drake tossed a Nerf basketball at his head and laughed. “Oh, but you want her to be. It’s like you’re pulling her pigtails, man.”

      Tristan cracked his neck and tossed the basketball smoothly into the hoop mounted on the wall. “I don’t want her.” He impressed himself with how smoothly the lie flowed off his tongue. He was ready to claw his skin off, he wanted her so bad.

      Drake laughed. “I swear, the two of you bicker like crazy people. I honestly wish you two would just hit the sack and get it over with already. It’s hard to watch.”

      “Never going to happen.” Tristan narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me, aren’t you legal? Should we even be discussing this?”

      “I left my legal hat at the door. Do I need it?” Drake studied his friend.

      “Not that I know, but she might glare me to death. No matter what I do, she’s not warming up to me.”

      Drake nodded. “Well, that’s because you’re an idiot.”

      Tristan laughed. “Only sometimes.”

      “You ever planning on doing anything about that?”

      “Like what?” Kissing her until she melts in my arms?

      Drake tossed another Nerf ball at his head and Tristan caught it one-handed. “You know, asking her out like a grown-up. Since that’s what you really want to do. This whole acting-like-a-jerk thing isn’t going to get you anywhere.”

      “It’s not like I’m doing it on purpose. She’s immune to my charm. The woman hates me.”

      Drake shrugged. “Well, maybe if you stopped poaching her clients she might like you better. I don’t know about you rich boys, but for us common men, when we hit puberty we got the lesson that girls like it when you’re nice to them.”

      Tristan shook his head. “I’ll try to remember that when I’m stuck with the she-devil in Vegas.”

      Drake blinked at him. Then blinked again. “You’re going to Vegas with her?”

      “Yeah, to do recon for Bliss.”

      A low roar of laughter spilled out of Drake. “Oh, man, this is going to be good.”

      “Yeah, good for you. One of us is going to need a lawyer after we declare war on each other. It’s going to get crazy.”

      “Maybe you try being nice to her.” Drake winked as he stood. “Might even throw her off her game. She’s been on the Bliss account before. She’s going to fight you hard for this one. You’ll need every advantage you can get.”

      The one thing Drake didn’t know about Synthia was that she always fought to win, Bliss account or not. “Yeah, I’ll give it some thought.”

      Tristan’s desk phone rang as his friend meandered out of his office. He answered with a brusque “Dawson.”

      There was a brief pause and the hairs on the back of his neck stood. “Tristan, it’s your father.”

      His stomach pitched. As if he couldn’t recognize the old man’s voice. “Dad...everything okay?” How long had it been since they’d seen each other? Six months maybe? Since his sister Tawny’s last birthday. And even then, they’d avoided each other and said as little as possible.

      The old man cleared his throat. “Yes, everything is fine. I’m calling about Taylor’s congratulatory dinner for his promotion. It’s this weekend.”

      Hell. Yet another reason to be a disappointment. “Sorry, Dad. Can’t make it. I’ll be out of town.”

      “This is important, Tristan. Your brother just became a vice president. You can put off whatever vacation plans you have.”

      Tristan gritted his teeth. “It’s for work, Dad.”

      His father harrumphed. “Work? That place you go every day hardly qualifies as work.”

      And there it was. It had taken less than a minute for his father to tell him that he wasn’t living up to his potential. “If this conversation is veering toward you telling me to come back and help run Dawson Incorporated, then we don’t have anything else to talk about. I have no desire to be an investment banker.”

      “Why do you insist on being so stubborn? This is your legacy.”

      “I would rather have something I earned. You taught me that all that money comes with strings I’d rather not have attached, so if this is you asking nicely, then I’m going to have to politely decline.”

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