Dangerous Love(6)

By: Penny Wylder

He lets go of my wrist with an exasperated sigh and snatches up his third glass to swirl it. “I’ve asked Gunther to arrange your next meeting. More private this time. If all else fails, I want you to use your assets to secure the information.”

I can’t help it. The scotch bottle slips from my grip and thuds against the table surface. I catch it just in time to avoid it toppling over and spilling, then glare at my father across the table. “You want me to whore myself out?”

“No, Ashley, I want you to negotiate like a proper businesswoman, and secure the deal. But, failing that, there are some advantages to you having been born a woman. Such as the fact that you are exactly Damon Tell’s type. In this world, you use every advantage you can get, no matter how unsavory.” His gaze searches mine, searing. “If you don’t want to sink to that level, then I suggest you perform better at the task I already set you.”

With that, he takes his final glass of whiskey and storms from the private study in which we’ve been talking. I stand there at the table, staring after him for a solid minute before I suck in a deep, infuriated breath and pour myself a glass, too.

“Jasper, I need you to arrange another meeting for me.” I cross my arms and lean back against the Ferrari that Jasper is currently repairing—fresh back in Dad’s garage after a late night job that left it dented and banged up in ways I don’t want to think about. Especially the deep indent on the hood, which Jasper has already repainted and begun to pull back into its usual shape. Before he started to fix it, though, I caught a long enough glimpse to notice that the indent was suspiciously deep and broad. Almost… person-shaped?

But I dismiss that thought. Dad is strictly anti-killing except in extreme cases—cases like when one of his men goes nuts and tries to kill innocent bystanders, or when enemy gang members start taking shots at us. If Jasper ran someone down in this car last night, then whoever it was must have had it coming. They must have thrown the first punch. That’s our rule.

So I hope, anyway.

“Another meeting?” Jasper asks, taking his time to slide out from under the front of the Ferrari and push himself to his feet. Jasper has been working for Dad for over two years now, and while the tall, heavy-set, hard-faced man has always made my skin crawl, I’ve gotten used to having him around. He might be a creep who takes one too many long leering glances at my chest or legs anytime I’m in the room, but he gets jobs done, and never asks too many questions. There’s value in a man like that, even a sleazy one. “Thought you were supposed to get all the details outta Tell today.”

“Yes, well. Turns out he’s not as much of a talker as we hoped.” I huff out a hard sigh.

Jasper’s gaze, as usual, drifts toward my face, but sticks on my chest. He licks his lips, a long, slow motion that turns my stomach. “Your fiancé want a little more than you’re willing to give, that it?” he asks, sneering.

I grit my teeth, not just at Jasper’s insinuation, but at the sudden flash of memory. Damon’s hot gaze boring into mine. The haughty smirk on his lips when he told me to take off my panties. The way the heat radiated off his strong, muscular body when he stood an inch away from me. There’s no doubt about it—Damon Tell could eat me alive.

And damn, do I want him to.

Unfortunately, just thinking about that has made my cheeks flush, and Jasper takes a break from ogling my chest long enough to notice. “Well I’ll be damned,” he says, laughing. “Miss Prude herself has a weak spot after all. Thought you were the resident Ice Queen, Ashley. Lusting for a bad boy after all?” Jasper takes a step closer to me. I step back at the same time, mirroring him.

“The only lust I have for Damon Tell is a lust for revenge,” I snap.

That makes Jasper’s eyebrows rise, though his smirk only deepens. “You know you’re only hotter when you talk dirty like that, little Miss Marrón.”

“Don’t make me sic my father on you,” I reply in a carefully even voice, as though bored. In reality, I’m suddenly very aware of the room we’re in—the back garage, the one Dad keeps on lockdown. The one with soundproof walls for a very specific, very unpleasant reason. The one that most of his henchmen aren’t allowed inside—only guys like Jasper who have been working for him long enough that Dad has plenty of leverage over them. Enough of their own dark secrets for Dad to trust them with his.

We’re alone in here, and I know it all too well. So does Jasper.

“Daddy isn’t here right now, little girl. It’s just you and me.” He steps closer again.