Sweet Sinful Nights(8)

By: Lauren Blakely



As his plane dipped closer to the runway in Vegas, the emails poured onto his phone. He scanned quickly for James’s name, since his right-hand man was tasked with keeping him apprised of the latest deals, problems, and opportunities. Brent was the front man in their 70/30 partnership, but James was vital in helping guide the business and find the right opportunities for Edge.

Fortunately, the email that awaited him was of the opportunity variety.

“Meeting tonight with Shay Productions. Should be able to sign that deal.”

Excellent news.

That deal had come together in record time—less than one week. Brent had been traveling to Ibiza earlier that month to check out the club scene there, and see what best practices he could adopt for his business. One of the clubs he’d visited had featured background dancers on pedestal stages throughout the club, dancing seductively all through the night. Some had circulated on the dance floor too, and the club owner had dropped the name Shay Productions. Brent had passed it on to James, who’d assembled the pieces quickly while Brent had traveled to Saint Bart’s for the launch of his club there.

Brent hadn’t slept in his own bed in ten days. He was damn tired, and ready to crash.

The Saint Bart’s club opening had gone so smoothly that he’d returned one day earlier than planned. Hearing that the next deal was falling into place was music to his ears, especially since Edge’s expansion into New York had been hitting roadblock after roadblock. He had a meeting in Manhattan later that week to deal with the latest challenges in that city.

He yawned as he began to reply good luck.

But then he covered his mouth, stifled the yawn and reminded himself that businesses didn’t grow if the CEO made sure he got a good night’s sleep. Edge had thrived when Brent had burned the midnight oil and kept his laser focus on the company. That included meeting all their business partners when he was in town and making sure everyone was on the up and up.

The second the wheels touched down in the city he called home, he dialed James.

“Hey, where’s the meeting?” he asked, as they taxied. He’d flown commercial and had enjoyed the first-class seat. His brother Clay had taught him that early days were not the time for frills like a private jet; those would come with growth. Or better yet, make nice with people and they might loan you their jets. That was how his brother had flown the friendly skies in style.

“Mandarin Bar at the Oriental,” James said. “You gonna join us?”

Brent nodded. “Yeah. I want to meet them before we sign off.”

“Excellent. See you at eight then. Oh, and this deal kicks ass. Their dancers are fuck-hot,” he said.

Brent laughed. “That’s what we want, my man. That’s what we want. I’ll see you in two hours.”

Soon he made his way off the plane, shouldering his bag from the overhead and heading down the escalator toward the terminal exit, where his regular driver waited for him. The black town car zipped along the highway as the sun fell below the horizon, and twenty minutes later he’d reached his home.

After a quick shower that both perked him up and washed off the remnants of cross-country travel, he pulled on jeans and a button-down. He tucked it in and considered a tie. There were plenty of times when he needed to go full suit, and that had been one of the biggest transitions for him in his new job. How the hell his brother wore a suit every day and liked it, he had no clue. Give him jeans and a T-shirt any day of the week. But this gig required a classier touch, so he added a tie, leaving the jacket behind.

He grabbed his helmet, locked the door, and hopped on his Indian Dark Horse, the new bike he’d bought last year to celebrate Edge’s growing success. As the engine purred to life, he fast-forwarded to the meeting tonight with the entertainment services firm that choreographed dance shows around the world. Naturally he thought of Shannon, and couldn’t help but wonder what she was up to these days. Was she still in choreography? Had she moved beyond West Side Story? Had she found a boyfriend? A husband? The thought curdled his stomach and made him gun the engine and ride faster, the cool evening air whipping past him as he drove to the hotel.

He’d tried to keep her in the past, where she belonged, because there was no room for her in the present. Especially since she didn’t seem to exist anymore. He hadn’t gone to the extreme and called a private detective to dig up a phone number. But he’d done enough when he’d Facebook stalked her nearly a year ago.

He’d learned nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Shannon was one of the rare breeds who’d managed to live most of her life off the Internet. That wasn’t surprising. Given what had happened to her family when she was younger, it was no surprise that she’d learned to navigate the world under the radar.

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