No one trades in twists and turns quite like author Aly Martinez, and her newest trilogy is the kind of mind-blowing roller coaster of emotions that will have you gasping for the next page. The second book in the series is out this week, and I have an excerpt for you, as well as a chance to win a signed print copy of the first book in the trilogy and a $50 Amazon gift card. I promise, the scene we’ve chosen is completely spoiler free.
With the door securely locked, I caught my reflection in the glass as I strutted toward Bowen’s office. I unbuttoned the top of my shirt down to a point where it could only be described as NSFW. What did I care though? I didn’t work there. I was merely a paying—well, almost a paying—customer. Which gave me an idea.
“Oh, Mr. Michaels,” I crooned as I propped my hip against his doorframe, finding him slipping a manila folder into his file cabinet. “I’m here to settle up my tab.”
The tip of his tongue swiped across his bottom lip as he appraised me from the other side of his office. As he walked around his desk, he opened his suit coat. Then he sat down in the very luxurious, very Bowen leather chair.
“Ah, yes. Quite an outstanding balance.”
Sauntering farther into the room, I ate up the playfulness of the hyped-up scene we were both committing to. I nearly lost it though when he swirled his finger in the air in front of his face. I gave him a twirl as I approached his desk.
“I’m so sorry, sir, for not taking care of my bill sooner. Will there be any additional interest?” I asked.
He leaned in, propped his elbow on the polished surface between us, and rubbed his chin. His fierce, dark eyes undressed me from where he sat. “So much interest, Ms. Grey. Gratuitous, I’m afraid.”
“Well, since your clock is so very wrong and Emily left not a minute before five, leaving us all alone in this great big office of yours, we better discuss my payment options.” I took a seat in the club chair directly in front of him and then made a meal out of crossing my legs, fully aware of how I had let my skirt ride up my thigh.
The side of his mouth hiked. “You’re welcome to pay your balance in full, but I also want you to be aware of some very flexible installment options.”
I relaxed into the cushy back of the chair and bit the tip of my freshly painted fingernail. “Flexible options, you say? That sounds promising.”
“That it does. I mean, only if you are completely satisfied with my services. Delivering a quality job is my number-two priority.”
He had me right where he wanted me, but damn if I wasn’t dying to know what he considered the top of his list. So I slowly uncrossed and recrossed my bare legs and dangled the high heel off the end of my foot. I could fight fire with fire.
His chest rose and fell as he studied me, his jaw flexing under his closely trimmed beard. With a lazy grin, his head fell to the side, but his eyes lit with so much challenge that I wondered if I even wanted to win this game anymore.
Knowing my weakness all too well, Bowen shrugged his jacket off and began to roll up the sleeves of his perfectly fitted navy dress shirt. Then he stretched and linked his hands together behind his head.
He was good.
He was really good.
I cleared my throat to gather what remained of my thin composure. “May I ask what is number one on your priority list?”
Half smiling, he tsked. “I’m more of a hands-on accountant. I like to get in there deep and pay close attention to those spots the other guys around town tend to skip over.”
Don’t laugh, Remi. Hold it together.
Mr. Tall, Dark, and Nerdy was sexiest when he was carefree and up to no good.
I batted my lashes. “Do all your clients receive such personal attention?”
Slowly, he answered with a cocked eyebrow. “Nope.”
“That’s a relief,” I deadpanned, all along having known better. “It would be a shame if I had to pray for an untimely bankruptcy for all the clients who stiffed you on their invoices.”
“That would be an awful shame. I might have to come to you for a loan.” Upon rising from his throne, he prowled my way, but I didn’t budge.
“I don’t loan money to friends. It always goes…” I paused and glanced down to my lap. “South.”
He took a knee in front of my chair and ran a warm hand up my thigh. “Baby, I was born and raised in the South, and I’ll gladly die there.” Inching forward, he opened my legs so that his hips fit between them when he pulled me to the edge of the chair. “I can’t imagine a better way to go than”—he stretched forward, placing an ever-so-faint kiss to my neck—“broke.” Another kiss, this time closer to my ear. “Unemployed.” He sucked my earlobe into his mouth and raked his teeth over it before releasing it. “Indebted to you for the rest of my days. Working off every last penny with this very tongue.” He licked the shell of my ear. “And if it helps, I don’t have to be friendly at all about it.”
I panted, “Friendships are dumb.”