Sleeping With the Opposition (Bad Boy Bosses)

BOOK: Sleeping With the Opposition (Bad Boy Bosses)
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Winning her back will be his greatest challenge.

Leo Markham has everything a man could want. Money. Power. Respect. But there’s only one thing he
needs
—Bria. The trouble is, she’s determined to move on, despite the breathtaking passion still between them. Sure, he’s made mistakes, but he’ll make her forgive him. He has to.

Shocked to find herself facing her devastatingly gorgeous ex as opposing counsel in the courtroom, Bria knows she can’t let Leo hurt her again. He’s the only man she’ll ever love, but he wasn’t there when she needed him most. She’s just going to have to learn to resist the pull of his lethal magnetism.

Leo is determined to win Bria back no matter what it takes. He isn’t about to lose the only woman who’s ever had his heart.

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2016 by Kristina Coi. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Indulgence is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Tracy Montoya

Cover design by Tamara Jarvis

Cover art from Shutterstock

ISBN 978-1-63375-616-8

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition May 2016

For Carlo, always.

Chapter One

Leo walked into the reception area and made his way to the only woman waiting there. A man sat next to her, dressed in faded jeans and a slim-fitting leather jacket. Three suits sat across from them, not-so-subtly drooling as the woman gently swung a crossed leg back and forth. She was all long legs and blond hair, with an impressive display of cleavage showing out the top of her low-cut blouse.

He approached the woman directly and held out his hand. “Mrs. Cordeiro,” he said warmly. “My apologies for having kept you waiting.”

One of the men’s gazes sharpened with recognition as he registered the name, but she didn’t notice. She looked up at Leo and got to her feet, smoothing the tight material of her skirt over her hips before shaking his hand. “Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Markham.” The man with her stood up and stuck his hand out as well. “This is my brother, Gavin Fleming,” she said by way of introduction. Her voice rose and fell with a soft Irish accent, like water gently lapping against the senses.

Leo escorted Josephine Cordeiro and her brother through the office to a meeting room and motioned for them to sit at the large boardroom table.

“Would you like some coffee? Water?” he asked.

“No, thank you,” she answered.

Leo folded his fist on the table and leaned back in the chair, looking her up and down with a critical eye. The brother frowned, but to her credit, Mrs. Cordeiro didn’t squirm in her seat or fidget with her hands. They lay still, one on top of the other in her lap as she waited for him to be finished. She was composed and serious. She understood then. Good—emotion could sometimes be useful in front of the jury, but he had no time for it.

“What brings you to New York, Mrs. Cordeiro?” he asked. It wasn’t small talk, even though he already knew the answer. He needed to hear
her
explain it.

Her mouth tightened before she replied. “You might know that my husband accepted a contract to play American soccer in New York,” she said. “He’s been here for a few months negotiating with the agents and the league and getting everything in order, and I came just last week to join him.”

The brother sneered. “He can stay here and rot, too,” he snapped angrily. “After we’re getting my sister what she’s owed, she’ll be coming back to Dublin with her family once and fer all, and she won’t be needing to see that dirty fuckin’ scum—”

Leo raised a hand. “Mr. Fleming, if you don’t mind, could I continue this meeting with your sister alone, please? There are just a few things we’ll need to discuss, and it might go a little easier if—”

He sputtered. “I’m here for the moral support,” he protested. “There’s nothing that needs being said that I can’t hear. All of America knows what a shite that asshole’s been to my sister.”

Bria would have handled this guy ten times better than Leo just did. His wife had a knack for getting what she needed from clients, and even opposing parties, while making them feel good about it at the same time. But Bria wasn’t here. She didn’t want to work with him anymore…didn’t want anything from him anymore.

Mrs. Cordeiro looked at Fleming and shook her head. “No, the barrister’s probably right,” she said to her brother. “I should probably explain everything on my own. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Scowling, the man got to his feet, still uncertain. “Are you positive, sis?”

She nodded. “Just wait for me in the front, yeah?”

Leo got up and walked him to the door. When he returned and sat back down, she gave him a sad smile and said, “Thanks for that. He means well, but sometimes he can get pretty hot under the collar, especially when it comes to my cheating husband.” Her voice thinned again, just a hint of emotion bleeding through her composure. That small hitch of her breathing did more to convince him of her credibility than any amount of crocodile tears or angry posturing from her brother.

“Understood.” He paused. “So, you want a divorce.”

She simply nodded, her gaze shuttered once more.

He’d done his homework as soon as he got the call yesterday afternoon that she wanted to meet with him. “Your husband is a celebrated European football player with rabid fans, and you’re a former team groupie who signed a prenup before you married him.”

To her further credit, Mrs. Cordeiro didn’t jump to her feet in mock offended outrage at his bluntness. When she met his gaze, she was all business. “I suppose that’s how the media will see it,” she simply said.

He was impressed that she understood what he was getting at. If this case got as far as the courtroom, she was going to have to be prepared for everything, including how her husband’s lawyer would try to paint her to the jury.

“So, does that mean you’re not going to take my case?” she asked.

He leaned forward. “It means I’m going to
win
your case.”


Leo looked up from the papers spread across every available inch of his desk and squinted at the clock on the wall before cursing. It was late, and he knew that already. Checking the time every ten seconds wasn’t going to do anything to change that…and it apparently wouldn’t improve his temper, either.

He clenched his fist around the shaft of his pen and gritted his teeth. He should have gone out and released his frustrations on a punching bag…or two. Maybe then he wouldn’t be sitting here alone, wondering where the fuck his wife was.

Boxing had become his only source of release in the last four months when the tension and frustration became so unbearable, so much a part of him, that he barely recognized himself anymore. He’d been boxing since he was a teenager, but it hadn’t been about releasing the anger and pain for a long time. That may have been how it started, but by the time he got to college, he was fighting just to pay for tuition. He’d signed on for the kind of matches that took place in makeshift rings with plywood walls, at midnight in abandoned warehouses without real refs, or even real rules, because they’d paid decent enough…if you won.

He’d quit all that once he started the firm with Ron Ashton and Bob Granger, though. It wouldn’t have gone over very well for their clients to learn that he was beating the crap out of people in his free time. So now he limited his boxing activities to sparring at the club and taking on the speed bag a couple times a week.

He should have gone to the club tonight. His temper was high, and his frustration levels even higher. But tonight he’d decided to catch up on some work instead, and it had been a great idea, right up until the moment he sat down behind his desk and listened to the silence of the house closing in on him.

Car lights pulled into the driveway. He let out a long breath, and a moment later the house alarm beeped, happily celebrating another correct input of the security code.

At least she’s come home every night. So far.

Only because she was as stubborn as he was. And that was actually something in his favor. Maybe the only thing at this point.

She would never abandon this house—an actual house in New York. It was a tall and narrow row house, with a yard the size of a postage stamp, but it had good bones and lots of character. Both of them had fallen in love with it the moment they saw it just under a year ago, and they’d paid through the nose to get it, closing the deal the day after their wedding anniversary.

A glutton for punishment, he got out of his chair and went to the door of his study just in time to watch her heading right up the stairs like the devil was on her heels—or like she wanted to avoid Leo. She had her briefcase in one hand and a paper bag from the Chinese restaurant in the other. Egg rolls, Singapore noodles, and sweet and sour pork was Bria’s favorite go-to dinner after a trying but productive day—meaning she was too tired to consider cooking but feeling pleased enough to ditch the diet—so she must have kicked ass on her first day at the new job.

She was dressed in her best suit with the black stiletto heels that he’d once made her wear to bed—with nothing else. Her chestnut hair was twisted in that messy way on top of her head that looked half sexy librarian and half distracted pixie. A No. 2 pencil was still stuck in the middle of the knot. He used to find her No. 2 pencils all over the house because she took them out of her hair or from behind her ear and dropped them wherever she happened to be, then forgot all about them until she went to grab one from her hair again and realized it wasn’t there.

But now he didn’t find them anymore. When she was here, she spent all her time in the bedroom, and he’d been banned from joining her there.

He gritted his teeth, berating himself for allowing this estrangement to go on as long as it had. “Celebrating the new job?” he asked.

The words came off as irritated and provoking, but he couldn’t help it. That’s exactly how he
felt
. He wanted to irritate the hell out of her, to provoke a fucking response. He couldn’t handle another day of this freeze-out. She’d demanded “time,” and he’d given it to her without question, but the longer this went on, the more he was starting to believe that time was
not
what either of them needed. The longer this went on, the more he wanted his wife back.

It’s your own damn fault.

That voice inside his head telling him he’d failed Bria when she needed him most was getting louder every day, but he refused to listen. That wouldn’t help. He never looked back. He
couldn’t
look back, could only do what he always did: fight his way forward, fight for his future…
their
future.

She didn’t answer him, but her posture was as stiff and forbidding as it had been every day for the last four months. He noticed a run in her stocking. That was nothing new. In fact, he was surprised she was still wearing stockings. She’d usually stripped them off by lunchtime, having either snagged them on something or gotten annoyed with them. The clerical staff used to place bets every morning on what time the stockings would hit the trash can.

“Bria.”

She stopped on the stairs with a heavy sigh but didn’t turn around to face him. She’d stopped turning to him for anything, but he was determined that was going to end.

“There’s nothing to celebrate,” she said to the shadows of the stairwell in an icy voice. She wanted him to think she was frozen solid, completely out of his reach, that she felt nothing anymore.

She was a good actress; every lawyer had to be part actor or actress if they were going to be successful. But not good enough, or maybe he just knew her too well. He picked up on the hitch in her breath and noticed the hand gripping the stairwell too tightly. “It’s the same job I’ve always done, just in a different office.”

“I never disagreed with your decision to leave the firm,” he said. She’d been talking about going somewhere else for several months before all this had happened. His name was on the letterhead, for God’s sake. She hadn’t wanted to make partner at Ashton Granger Markham then always wonder if her success had been linked to his. “In fact, I’m proud of you for doing what you needed to do to—”

She did turn to him then, brown eyes flashing golden.
Hey look at that, an emotion.

God, she was so beautiful, even with her back up. It hurt to see her and not touch her the way he’d always touched her. He ached with the need to go to her, take her into his arms, show her how much he loved her. But she didn’t want that, and he didn’t understand what she
did
want…but it was obviously something he was failing to give.

“I don’t need
you
to be proud of me,” she snapped. Then, as if remembering that she’d ordered herself not to feel anything, she squared her shoulders and cleared her expression. “Don’t you have a competitor to go beat into a bloody pulp or something?”

She could have been talking about boxing
or
lawyering. He prided himself on being ruthless, no matter the arena. “Bria—”

She shook her head, already dismissing him. “It was a busy day, and I’m going upstairs to take a bath and go to bed.”

Jesus, she baited the beast, conjuring images like that. Maybe he
should
go out and hit something. It was bound to be the only thing that could take the edge off the snarling, pacing monster living inside him. He’d been walking a tightrope for the last four months, teetering between guilt, sorrow, frustration, and an ever-mounting desire. She was his wife, and he couldn’t have her. His body didn’t understand. Hell, his mind barely understood. This couldn’t go on.

He’d already determined that if he was going to put an end to this stalemate, he had to attack the problem the same way he would a particularly tough case, or even the way he would have approached a rough boxing match: with precision and planning.

“This is going to end, Bria,” he warned, watching her start back up the stairs. “One way or another.”

“Don’t you understand yet, Leo?” She didn’t stop this time, and each one of her words was a slug to his heart that she slammed home with every clicking step up the stairs. “The ending is the easy part. You just have to get out of my house.”

BOOK: Sleeping With the Opposition (Bad Boy Bosses)
3.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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