Filthy Boss(7)

By: Amy Brent

Tanner tossed the ball between his hands and said, “I took as much time as I could getting here. I hope I’m too late for the meeting.”

“You’re not late at all,” Stan said, totally missing the joke. He shot to his feet and stuck out his hand. “Stan Robbins, Mr. Wright,” he said. “Goldman & Stern.”

“Whoa, I don’t shake hands, Stan,” Tanner said quickly, taking a step back. He held up his hands as if Stan were brandishing a gun and demanding his wallet. He wrinkled his nose at Stan’s hand like it was covered in dog poop.

He said, “Too many germs in the world, Stan. Plus, I have no idea where that hand has been.”

Stan’s hand dangled in the air for a moment, then he let it drop to his side and lowered himself into the chair. He had a look on his face like a puppy that had just been kicked by an abusive owner. Or a balloon that someone had just seen fit to pop. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

“We just signed the contracts, Tanner,” Costas said as Tanner pulled up the chair next to him and plopped down in it. “They’ll start work on Monday.”

“Excellent!” Tanner said with a serious expression that was clearly for show. He blew out a long breath and squeezed the ball in his right hand as his eyes went down the table.

He briefly eyed Stan and Juliette, then Bob, then Irving. When his eyes met mine, his eyebrows slowly rose as if he had just spied an old friend. He leaned across the table and extended the hand he wouldn’t let Stan shake.

He said, “You must be Candice Carlson.”

I blinked at him for a moment. I glanced down the table at my compatriots. Their eyes were glued to Tanner’s hand dangling in the air between us. He wiggled his fingers. I reached out to shake his hand. When our fingers touched, the pop of static electricity caused both of us to jerk our hands back.

“Whoa!” Tanner fell back in his chair with a grin on his face.

I put my hands in my lap and bit my tongue. Did he do that on purpose? Did he drag his feet across the carpet to build up static electricity in his body just so he could make me look like an idiot?

Who would do something like that?

Oh yeah, a douchebag…

“Shocking to meet you, Miss Carlson,” he said with a smirk.

I forced a polite smile for the sake of the ten-million-dollar contract in Stan’s briefcase.

“Yes, nice to meet you, Mr. Wright.”

“Am I?” he asked.

I blinked at him. “Are you what?”

“Mister Right?”

I stared at him with my mouth hanging open, unsure what to say.

“Okay then, let’s wrap this up,” Costas said suddenly, clapping his hands together like he was breaking a huddle. He pushed himself up from the table and set a hand on Tanner’s shoulder to keep him in the chair. It was the move of a parent trying to control an unruly toddler.

Tanner’s eyes remained on mine. He gave me a little smile, like it was all a joke that only he and I were in on.

Costas directed his attention to Stan and put on a serious face. “I assume you’ll be flying to Tucson on Monday to meet with Anderson’s accounting team?”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Stan said, getting to his feet. His eyes darted between the two men across from him. Costas was looking back at him. Tanner was still looking at me. Stan turned to gesture at his team. “The four of us will be in Tucson on Monday afternoon. The itinerary was already set in anticipation of signing the contract.”

“We’ll meet you there,” Tanner said. He was still looking at me. Still smiling. It was starting to creep me out. It was also starting to turn me on.

Was he playing some kind of weird Fifty Shades of Grey game with me?

Was this his idea of foreplay?

Was I supposed to rip off my clothes and lay on the table and spread my legs and beg him to fuck me?


I put on a blank face as I filed that thought away for later use.

“We’ll meet them there?” Costas asked, looking down at Tanner.

“We will,” Tanner said, finally taking his eyes off mine and directing them toward Stan. “We have meetings scheduled with Anderson’s executive team later in the week. We might as well get an early start.”

He got out of the chair and gave Costas a nod.

“Call Anderson and tell them we’ll all be there on Monday instead of Wednesday.”

“What if they can’t meet on Monday?” Costas asked. His forehead lined as he held up arm and checked his watch. “It’s nearly five o’clock on Friday. That’s awfully short notice.”

“Then we’ll have to find something to occupy our time until Wednesday, won’t we,” Tanner said, glancing at me yet again. Everyone turned to look at me. I felt myself literally shrinking before their eyes.