Executive Perks(5)

By: Angela Claire

“Why? What’d you say to her?”

“I offered to fuck her while she thought about my offer to take over her company.”

Rye pushed his glasses back up, then shrugged. “Wow. That bachelor-of-the-year thing really went to your head.”

* * * * *

Only when Virginia was safely back in the plush blue comfort of her office, the noon autumn sun streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows, could she permit herself to think about what had just happened. Losing her legendary cool was putting it mildly. She was livid. Ever since Aaron Winston had entered her life a few days ago, she’d felt off-balance. Conservative and careful herself, she was baffled by Winston’s erratic behavior. First, threatening to try to take control of BFD and now, this. Insulting her with the oldest way to make a woman feel inferior—implying she was put to best use on her back.

Maybe Winston hadn’t gone quite that far, but he’d been inching up to it. Unbidden, the memory of how he had looked as he casually propositioned her came to mind. She had to admit he was handsome. His ruffled black hair, deep blue eyes and tall, lean frame had undoubtedly earned him a good deal of female admiration. But he could not possibly be arrogant enough to believe she would just fall into bed with him while she was fighting to save her company.

Even though he was rather hot.

A tousled blond head that would have looked more at home on a beach poked itself shyly around the half open door of her office suite. “I have it on the highest authority from several sources that you stormed in here and are prepared to eat alive anybody who has the audacity to disturb you.” Her brother Brendan hung dramatically on her door as if fearful to enter farther and deadpanned, “So I thought I’d come over and say hi.”

“Come on in, you idiot.” Virginia laughed in spite of herself. She rose to get them both a soda from her office refrigerator, handing her brother a can and then joining him on the overstuffed leather sofa.

Brendan whipped a cellophane-wrapped packet out of his shirt pocket and offered it to Virginia. At her blank look, he clarified, placing it in her hand, “Marketing sent this up. It’s a new cracker BFD is going to carry. Go on. Try it.”

“No thanks.” Virginia reached over to put the cracker back in his pocket. “Meeting Aaron Winston this morning made me lose my appetite.”

“So I take it that the big bad wolf, Mr. Winston, is not just going to go away?” Brendan asked, taking a swig of the soda and crossing his long legs in their perfectly pleated gray pinstripe onto the low glass coffee table.

Virginia took a drink of her own soda, buying time before she had to answer, finally saying, “I don’t know, Brendan, I think this guy is definitely on some kind of a power trip.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know. But what’d he do today?”

If it had been any one of her sisters sitting across from her, Virginia might have been tempted to give an honest accounting of Winston’s completely unexpected, unsolicited and unwelcome pass at her. But since it was her little brother, such full disclosure was out of the question. The impetuous Brendan would probably charge out to beat Winston up and end up with his surfer-boy good looks spoiled by a broken nose. Virginia didn’t stop to analyze why she assumed that Winston would win any such imagined fight. There was a toughness in him that she may have sensed or just automatically attributed to him in view of his rags-to-riches background in contrast to her brother’s privileged upbringing.

From what she’d been reading about Winston in the last few days to educate herself on her adversary, he was an orphan who had built his lucrative and predatory company from the ground up, as he’d more than hinted at with his sneer about types that inherited their fortunes.

She hedged Brendan’s inquiry as to the specifics of the meeting. “He seems completely unpredictable. Our meeting accomplished nothing. I finally just walked out.”

Brendan seemed poised to pump Virginia for details when her secretary buzzed on the intercom.

“It’s your attorney on line one. He says it’s urgent.”

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