Authors: Angela Claire
Virginia Beckett had always known she’d run the family business. Ivy League degrees and a flawless pedigree prepared her for it. So when businessman Aaron Winston buys a stake in her company and threatens to launch a takeover, she plans to fight him off with every Wall Street lawyer she can buy. Fight his
advances, that is. His personal ones, she’s not so sure about.
Aaron Winston plays hardball. How else could an orphan from the Bronx end up with a successful business and boast-worthy bank account? He doesn’t plan on letting one corporate princess’s disdain for his methods get in the way of the deal, no matter how sexy she is. Although he wouldn’t mind removing that silver spoon and putting her luscious mouth to better use.
When a dead body ups the ante in their corporate war, Aaron and Virginia join forces in a trek that leads the unlikely lovers from fast-paced Manhattan to bucolic Connecticut to an isolated island off the coast of Oregon. Through it all, they learn nothing is more deadly than desire.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Executive Perks Copyright © 2012 Angela Claire
Edited by April Chapman
Cover design by Caitlin Fry
Photography: Daniel Nagy, Yun Acurs, Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com
Electronic book publication January 2012
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status and trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentioned in this book.
The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume any responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their content.
“Have you ever heard the expression ‘I want her tit in a wringer’ or words to that effect?”
Phillip Carstairs cast an annoyed look at the disembodied voice behind the theatrically embossed silk screen, wondering if this could get any weirder. First the guy, whoever the hell he was, insisted on meeting him in this hole in the wall in Chinatown and then he hid behind a screen with a voice distorter and quoted Richard Nixon. Really. It was almost beyond what a respectable investment banker would do for fifty thousand dollars for an hour of his time. And Phillip would do just about anything for fifty thousand dollars for an hour of his time—unless it was illegal, of course. That cost more.
“Yes, I believe I have heard that expression.”
“Good. That’s the amount of pressure I need exerted in this situation.”
“I’m still a little foggy as to what you think I can do. I don’t really have a relationship with either of the parties you mentioned in your email.”
The email in question had magically disappeared from Phillip’s screen scant seconds after he had opened it. But it was there long enough for him to see the names of the two rather well-known business persons, the time and date of this meeting and, most importantly, the reference number for the fifty-thousand-dollar deposit into his account.
“For now, I simply need you to arrange a deal, Mr. Carstairs.”
“That’s what I do.”
“You’re to approach the gentleman I mentioned with an offer he can’t refuse.”
Great. Now the guy was quoting
“There will be made available to this gentleman a block of the privately owned stock of a certain company owned by the other aforementioned party.”
Whoever this guy was, he had to be a lawyer.
“The name and other particulars of the seller are in an encrypted email on your BlackBerry. Please read it as soon as you leave here and commit it to memory. These details will not be accessible by any other means.”
“I’m game on approaching Winston, but why would he bite? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing it, though frankly I wouldn’t sic him on my worst enemy.”
“Which is of course the point.”
“Oh yeah, the tit-wringer thing. But what does Winston get out of it? He’s a shark, all right, but there has to be a little blood to get him in the water. Or else the fish has to come to him and I don’t see that happening. This little fish is pretty self-sustaining.” He dropped the metaphor. “BFD is locked up tight. As private a company as there could be.”
“You let me worry about the details. This is all I need from you right now. I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labors. And rest assured there will be additional compensation.”
The waiter who had initially showed him in to the back room of this Chinese restaurant mysteriously reappeared, ready to show him out again. Phillip nodded. Additional compensation—that’s all a businessman like him needed to hear. What did it really matter who this disembodied voice was? He did wonder, though, what the hell Virginia Beckett had done to piss him off.
for more free ebooks uploaded by our generous members
Aaron Winston scanned the room dispassionately. The same old cast of characters. Many of them he knew by name, but the rest he knew by type—the preppie investment bankers; the anxious lawyers; the monotone accountants. Most were men, he noted absently. But the few women present fit their mold just as neatly as their professional brothers. Aaron’s attorney, Rye Kinsey, pushed his perpetually slipping glasses back up on his nose and ran one hand through his riot of light brown curls. The plush mahogany conference room in the offices of Rye’s firm, fifty-eight floors above the Manhattan skyline, buzzed quietly with the low level of activity that preceded the commencement of a business meeting. “And so I said to Tammy, what the hell do we need a slate roof for, for God’s sake? What am I, made of money?”
Aaron listened with half an ear. For all the fees he paid Rye, the guy could afford a slate roof for twenty houses. Perpetually claiming a rich man’s version of poverty was annoying. Aaron had known what it was like to be poor, really poor, in a way that nobody else in this room likely did. It made him distinctly unsympathetic to Rye’s discourse on married bliss with his wife Tammy, the errant spendthrift.
He stood up abruptly. “Is there a vending machine around here somewhere?’
“Why? I can have whatever you want brought in.”
“Just point me in the right direction. I want to exercise my legs before we get started.”
* * * * *
Virginia Beckett stretched, crossing her arms in an arc above her head, her long blonde hair swirling from side to side as she began to roll her neck from shoulder to shoulder. It was a futile attempt to rid herself of the tension that had lodged at the base of her neck from the moment Aaron Winston had come into her life.
For as long as she could remember, Virginia had assumed that she would take over Beckett Family Delicacies when her father retired and run it until she was ready to retire. Her father’s unexpected death had tragically sped up the process, but she certainly was not going to let Aaron Winston prematurely end it by swallowing her company. It wasn’t about wealth or security or even pride—it was about identity. She was the head of BFD first and anything else—even a woman—second.
Which might explain why she hadn’t had a date in God knew how long.
Virginia scanned the soda offerings in the cafeteria vending machine. Diet Coke being her particular poison, she slipped two dollars into the slot and made the selection.
She had agreed to meet Winston and his troop of lawyers ostensibly to get some indication of his intentions, not that she didn’t already know them. Nobody paid that kind of premium for a minority stake in an essentially private company. She fully expected to be screwed, Wall Street style, by one of the best corporate raiders in the business—unless she could figure a way to get him to back off. Making a pit-stop in the cafeteria while the rest of her entourage went directly to the conference room was just putting off the inevitable. She reached for the can of Diet Coke.
“I know we can come to an agreement.”
The deep voice behind her startled her and she dropped the can. When she turned around, she recognized Aaron Winston. From his words, he clearly recognized her as well.
He picked the can up from the polished linoleum floor. “I’d advise you not to open that for a while,” he said as he handed it to her. She noticed that his eyes were a very dark blue, an interesting contrast to his black hair. Although she had seen him at a function or two, across a crowded room, she had certainly never been this close to him and was momentarily distracted by the blue eyes, the long lashes.
She looked away. “You’re full of suggestions for me, aren’t you?”
His mouth slanted up, head cocking to one side, and he leaned a little toward her and smiled, teeth white against his faint tan. “You don’t know the half of them.”