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Authors: Janna Shay

Fair Play (5 page)

BOOK: Fair Play
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Dani knew he was right but couldn’t stop her angry words. “You egotistical, insufferable bastard. If that’s what you really think, then why didn’t you?”

Jace’s jaw clenched as he glared at her. “Because unlike you, I have principles. But if you’re trying to goad me into giving you what you really want, just keep it up sweetheart and I’ll gladly forget my principles and oblige you.”

“I’m not interested in anything you have to offer, so take your raging hormones and go screw someone else,” she said.

Provoked to the point of breaking, Jace wanted to ravage her where she stood to prove her wrong. He couldn’t act like a sane person when he was around her, and it was worse when he wasn’t. Thoughts of her plagued him day and night. He couldn’t concentrate on work, and he couldn’t get her out of his head. He had to find a way to convince her that this attraction between them wasn’t ordinary and was definitely worth pursuing. They had to end this agony. But how?

Coming up with an idea, Jace seized Dani and crushed his lips against her mouth, then softened the kiss until he felt her response. When she leaned her body into his, he felt the desire coursing through her blood. He waited until she capitulated, then picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. He carried her inside the elevator, and hit the button to close the doors.

Dani punched Jace, and was rewarded when he put her down. “You ... you ... Neanderthal. What do you think you’re doing manhandling me like that?”

He embraced her and kissed her until she responded to him, then released her again. Dani watched in disbelief as he leaned against the wall, crossed his arms, then smiled at her.

“Have you lost your mind? You’re an oversexed jackass who won’t take no for an answer.”

Jace straightened, crossed the short distance between them, then kissed her again until she responded to him, before once again releasing her. He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms, a shit-eating grin spreading across his face.

Dani stomped her foot and sputtered at him. “You’re a detestable bastard. If you treat all your women the way you treat me, it’s no wonder you’re so needy.”

He raised his right eyebrow, then inched forward to give her another kiss. Dani pushed her arms against his chest. “No, you’re not doing that to me again.”

Jace relaxed against the wall with a smirk. They didn’t speak again until the elevator reached Dani's floor. When the doors opened, Jace stood up, gathered her body close to his, then gave her a searing kiss, incinerating her bones and making her body go limp in his arms. Lifting his head, he took a step back, then held her until she regained her composure. He turned her to face the door, then lightly swatted her butt as he nudged her out. “That’s going to have to hold you until we see each other again.” The elevator door closed.

Furious with Jace's cavalier treatment, Dani whirled around to punch the elevator button and give him a piece of her mind. She stopped, then turned to stalk to her suite. He really was a bastard. But God help her, he was one fine bastard. Rubbing her lips, she could still feel his touch. Boy could that man kiss!

Chapter 6

Dani sat on a chair in the main lounge resting her feet. She’d been busy for the last two days, both day and night, due to the weeklong poker tournament being held at the casino. Today was the worst one yet. She was juggling ten whales at the same time. She still hadn’t found the time to eat breakfast. The good thing was she hadn’t run into Jace even once. But was it good? She missed his handsome face.

She sighed, then put her heels back on. Time to get back to work. She still had a job to do. Brad Felix, an oil millionaire from Texas, was proving to be a real challenge. He’d made a request she had no idea how to fill. Time to face it head-on.

Seeing Dani leaning against the cashier’s desk, Jace decided to remind her of her attraction for him. He silently stepped up behind her, circled her waist, then spun her around quickly. He molded his lips to hers and devoured her mouth. He kissed her until he felt her wind her arms around his neck and her body go limp. Lifting his head, he kissed her ear and whispered, “That’s so you won’t forget me,” then he walked away.

Dani stood in complete shock, totally astonished that Jace could give her a searing kiss, then leave. Each time he kissed her she found it harder and harder to say no. She felt herself weakening, saying the hell with it, then losing herself in his arms. This gnawing hunger was driving her insane. It was inevitable they’d be sleeping together. Maybe then this madness would end. More than likely it would only make her want him more. A luxury she couldn’t afford to indulge in.

Julie was standing at the counter waiting for Dani. “Whew, I need a cold shower after watching that kiss.” She fanned herself with her hand.

Still dazed from the kiss, Dani turned and looked at her. “You’re not the only one. I need a really cold, icy shower.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were banging the boss? You knew I’d have to know all the juicy details. Damn girl, he’s one hot topic. Keeping him all to yourself?”

Dani leaned over the desk and talked softly so no one would hear. “First of all, we haven’t been sleeping together. And second of all, even if I was, which I'm not, I wouldn’t be able to give you the juicy details because you’re always too busy boning Steve for me to find you.”

Julie started laughing. “You got me. But what do you mean you’re not sleeping with him? Honey, unless you’re a blind lesbian, you have to admit that man is scalding hot. What are you waiting for, Armageddon? Go get some of that. If I weren’t involved with Steve, I’d go for him. Hell, even though I am with Steve, I’d still go for him if he ever looked at me. Besides after seeing him kiss you just now, I know he’s as good as he looks.”

Dani noticed some of the other employees standing around. “We’ll talk about this later. Everyone’s trying to listen in. Besides, I didn’t come here for advice on my love life. I came for help. Do you happen to know where I can get a stripper pole?”

Julie scratched her head. “No, not really. Haven’t ever had the need for one, although I hear they’re fun. Don’t tell me Mr. tie-me-up has a fetish?”

Dani laughed. “Someone’s got a fetish, but it isn’t Jace ... I don’t think. One of my whales wants me to find him a male escort who dances on a stripper pole.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?”

“No, I wish I were. But you know how it is. He’s rich and he wants what he wants.”

“Ask Kathy. She might be able to help you.”

“Thanks. We’ll talk later about the other thing. See ya.”

Dani couldn’t forget the kiss Jace had given her, and in the middle of the casino. What was he thinking? Shaking her head, she walked into Kathy’s office.

“Why are you shaking your head? Is something confusing you?”

“No, but I seem to have a problem. I’m hoping you can help me.”

“I’ll try. What’s the problem?”

“Brad Felix is my problem. He wants me to find him a male escort that dances on a stripper pole. I haven’t the foggiest idea where to look for one. Have any thoughts?”

Kathy chuckled. “No, but I know someone who can help. Go ask Jace. He’ll know.”

She couldn’t face Jace yet. That last kiss had knocked her into the stratosphere. But she didn’t have a choice. It figured he’d know where to find a stripper pole. But a male escort? Maybe there were things she needed to find out about him?

Dani stopped outside Jace’s office, then took a calming breath.
Here comes Round Two
. Holding her head up, she entered his outer office. Maria, his secretary, informed him that Dani was here to see him.

Dani’s heart raced when she heard Jace’s voice over the intercom. He instructed Maria to tell her to go right in. Hesitating a few seconds to bolster her courage, Dani opened the door to Jace’s office.

He smiled, although, the way his lips curled and eyes sparkled it almost looked like a leer. “Come in.”

Said the spider to the fly
. Dani almost started laughing at her thought. It took all her concentration to keep a straight face.

“Sit down and tell me what I can do for you.”

She had a better chance at escape if she stood, so she shook her head. “It’s all right. This will only take a second.”

Jace wasn’t fooled by her refusal. Thinking to feed her fright a little, he suggested, “If you’d prefer, we can sit on the couch to talk?”

Dani immediately plopped down in the chair. He couldn’t help himself and started laughing. She glared at him, which only made him laugh harder. “Do I frighten you that much that you’re ready to run at a moment’s notice?”

Her fear existed on so many levels. The biggest being, how she felt when she was around him. She experienced things with him she had no right to feel. If she let her emotions have free rein, she’d be giving him a weapon that could completely destroy her.

There was no more denying it. She wanted him, and wouldn’t want to let him go. But the decision wasn’t hers. It was fate’s. She yearned for what he offered, but couldn’t take the chance.

She admitted her fright to herself, but never would she admit it to him. With a weapon like that, he’d be deadly. “I’m not afraid of you. I don’t like being alone with you because you have a one-track mind. But that’s beside the point. I came here to ask you a question that’s work related.”

“Okay, have it your way. We’ll take care of business first.”

Dani dreaded asking him for help. She knew the minute she mentioned the stripper pole, he would think about sex. What the hell? His mind was on sex all the time anyway. She might as well blurt it out.

“I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about what I have to ask, so I’d really like you to answer in a purely professional capacity if that’s possible. It’s for a whale, not for me.”

He steepled his fingers and nodded.

“I need to know where I can find a stripper pole.” Despite his promise, Jace’s eyebrows rose. Before he could comment, she decided to plow through with the second question. “And do you know where I can find an escort? A male escort?”

He leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on the desk. “To answer your first question, yes, I do know where to get a stripper pole. I’m relieved you told me from the start this was for a whale since I told you I’m available if you need a man.”

Dani giggled as an image of Jace dancing around a pole burst into her mind. “You know, you just don’t seem the type to like pole dancing.”

He frowned. “I meant I’m available for

“Don’t get all pushed out of shape. I wasn’t asking you to do it. You were the one who offered. Anyway, my whale wants a male escort who can dance on a stripper pole. Do you know where I can find what I need, or are you offering to step in?” She couldn’t hold in her laughter.

He wrote a name and phone number on a piece of paper and handed it to her. “You’re hilarious. Call this lady and tell her what you need and that I sent you, and she’ll get it for you.”

Her eyebrow lifted as she reached for the paper. Jace placed the note in her palm, then folded his fingers around hers. “Jealous?”

Dani yanked her hand away from his. “Not in the least. Thank you for your help. I appreciate it.” She stood, then turned to walk out. His words stopped her.

“Prove it.”

She rotated her body around. “Excuse me?”

He crossed to where she stood. “Prove that you appreciate my help. Have dinner with me tonight?”

“I really do appreciate your help, but you know why I won’t have dinner with you. You have to stop this.”

She wasn’t ready to give in to her desires. She still had to figure out exactly what she wanted.

He gazed deep into her eyes. “You don’t really expect me to believe that do you? I can see the truth in your eyes. You’re as attracted to me as I am to you. Have dinner with me.”

Dani could feel herself weakening. She changed her tactic. “You’re my boss. It’s not a good idea.”

“Fine, you leave me no choice. You’re fired. Now there’s nothing stopping you from having dinner with me.”

She laughed. “You’re incorrigible. You don’t play fair.”

He moved closer. “I don’t play fair. I play to win.”

“I guess I have no choice but to have dinner with you. Without a job, I can’t afford to eat. Seriously, you really need to stop this.”

“Why? We’re both healthy, single adults. Why can’t we get together and see what this attraction is all about?”

Tired of fighting a losing battle, the time had come to take a leap of faith.

“Okay I’ll have dinner with you ... but, we take it slow. I have no intention of jumping into bed with you until I’m ready. Agreed?”

He chuckled. “Agreed. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

As she studied his handsome features, she finally admitted to herself what she wanted. She wanted him.

After two full hours of following up on leads, Dani was relieved when she was able to fulfill Brad Felix’s request. She saved the phone number Jace gave her in her cell phone, sure it would become an invaluable aid in the future. She had a feeling that Jace knew exactly what this lady was able to provide, first-hand.

For the rest of the day, her upcoming dinner with Jace was all she could think about. Had she been foolish when she’d agreed to go out with him? What was she thinking when she’d said yes? Extremely leery of his motives for wanting to take her out, she was nonetheless looking forward to the opportunity to see what made him tick. Dani knew if Jace decided to rush things, she wouldn’t have the fortitude to say no. He had the ability to break down her defenses. She was playing with fire, and that fire was named Jace.

She dressed carefully for dinner. Dressing too provocatively would definitely prove fatal. Even considering the consequences, she was woman enough to want to look sexy and feminine. She studied herself in the mirror, and was happy with the green silk dress with the scoop neckline. Not wanting to look easy, she applied her makeup subtly. Nor was she leaving anything to chance, so she left her hair down, making sure her neck wouldn’t be a temptation since Jace seemed to like nibbling on the side near her pulse. Even the mere thought sent a wave of heat through her.

By the time she was done getting ready, she was exhausted. Making sure Jace wasn’t tempted was a lot of work, but necessary. She wanted to enjoy the evening and not have to worry about giving him more ideas than he already had. Happy with the results, she went into the living room to wait.

Jace knocked on her door promptly at seven. The minute the door opened, he scanned her body from top to bottom, checking her out in penetrating detail. When his eyes returned to her face, he saw her look of displeasure. Lifting his hands up in defense, he said, “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself. But you don’t play fair. You made me agree to just dinner and you look like dessert.”

“Shall I change?”

“If you do, I can guarantee we won’t make it to the restaurant,” he joked, although quite serious. “You look fantastic.”

“Thank you. You clean up nicely yourself,” she commented as she took the arm he held out for her.

Jace walked her to a black BMW and opened the door for her. As he walked around to the other side, Dani studied the inside and saw that it was loaded with gadgets. She should’ve known he’d have great taste in cars. His casino was one of the classiest in Vegas. She wouldn’t be surprised if his good taste reached all areas of his life.

The restaurant they went to was upscale with crystal chandeliers and plush carpeting. Candlelit tables were scattered around the dining room, giving it a romantic ambience, as soft music played through speakers strategically located throughout the restaurant. The maître d' greeted Jace by name and seated them at a secluded table in the corner. Dani raised an eyebrow at him. He shrugged his shoulders, then ordered champagne.

Feeling a little edgy, she clasped her hands in her lap. “This is a really nice place, but I figured we’d be going to a restaurant in the casino.”

He took a sip of champagne. “I wanted to bring you someplace special. Thank you for agreeing to have dinner with me.” He gazed at her. “Candlelight suits you.”

“You’re welcome. But did you ask me out because you think I’d be an easy conquest, or because you want to get to know me?”

“I asked you out because I’m very attracted to you. I’ve made no secret of how I feel. I’d also like to get to know you better.”

Dani studied him before speaking. “You’re an extremely handsome guy who happens to be rich and has a great body. I’ve been in Vegas long enough to know that this city is oozing with beautiful women, both famous and not so famous. You can get any one of them you want, so why me? I’m nothing special. I’ve pushed you away every time I’ve been with you, yet you keep coming back. I’m not trying to be flippant. I really am perplexed as to why you’re so adamant in pursuing me.”

BOOK: Fair Play
12.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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