The last sneak peek before the book comes out! *insert internal screams because oh my goodness* The first two sneak peeks were from Chapter One in the book, but this third one is from the second chapter. To see how it ends, you’ll just have to buy the book when it comes out.
“Liz?” Daniel Hayes asks.
When I turn around, I offer my hand. “I prefer Elizabeth,” I say. “You must be Will.”
“I am,” he says. “Do you mind if I sit here?”
“Please, join me,” I say. I almost try batting my eyelashes, or I would try if I thought I could get away with it. However, I’m pretty sure that’s a talent you’re born with, not one you learn.
He climbs into the bar stool next to me, and waits for the bartender to appear again. “I’ll take whatever she has,” he says when he orders.
“Date night?” the bartender asks, pointing at the two of us. He has a name tag on his shirt, but it’s entirely too dark to read the tiny print.
“Something like that,” Hayes says.
“How did you two meet?”
“Online,” I say.
The bartender nods, almost like he doesn’t believe that the two of us would meet online. However, he takes the answer at face value, and leaves us to help someone else down at the end of the bar.
“Nice place to meet someone for the first time,” I say to Hayes once we’re alone. I turn my body so I’m almost leaning into him and graze my knee with his, so he can feel me right next to him.
“It’s a classy institution,” he says. Taking a sip of his wine, he watches me over the rim of his glass. We’re both taking a look at each other, sizing each other up. “When you make your life out of nothing and into something, you want things to be nice and classy.”
I hear a snort in my ear, and I just know it’s Mason that’s snorting. He’s probably eating all of this up, knowing that I’m stuck with this dude.
“Well, Liz, maybe we can work together and you can afford a life like this, too, soon. I take care of the people I do business with.”
“If you do, you’ll knock it off with ‘Liz.’ I’m Elizabeth,” I say.
I can even hear Mason’s unspoken comments in my head, or maybe Savannah, they both tend to be peas in a pod. Even undercover, Cassie’s a snob.
It’s not true, I’m not a snob, but as a woman undercover, who is running a sex trafficking ring, I’d think Elizabeth would expect for people to call her Elizabeth. No cute nicknames, her full name, said with respect.
Then again, I’ve been carrying Cassie since I was a kid, even if it doesn’t always feel like it fits me in life now.
“Noted, Elizabeth,” Hayes says, “a woman who stands her ground. It’s refreshing in my line of work.”
Read that as: “I prey on girls who can’t stand up for themselves, so this is new.” I just hope it’s not exciting for him, we don’t need that.
“A woman who knows what she wants and refuses to accept anything less? That’s refreshing to you?”
Hayes smiles. “I have money, and money brings you power. People who don’t have those are willing to do a lot of things to get on my good side in hopes of getting a little of that money and power. ‘No’ is a word people don’t really use around me.”
Such an asshole right here. “I’m capable of making my own money. Enough to live comfortably. If you can’t respect that, I can take my business elsewhere.”
Clearly the whole “let’s get flirty” idea is falling apart. I’m not a flirt, I’m a fighter. Even as a kid, I felt a fist got the point across better than my words could.
“Noted, I can respect that.” As he says that, he lets his hand linger down to my thigh, his finger dancing around the edge of the skirt.
I had planned to wear pants tonight but was talked into a skirt by Rachel and right now, it seems to be paying off. It’s riding a little higher than I wanted it to be, but it’s working.
Instead though, I decide to go off instinct and grab his wrist. “You have to earn the respect before you go climbing up the legs,” I say. That’s when I notice he is starting to get excited. What is up with men where two seconds of “sex” as a thought and they’re ready to go?
“Fine,” he says, leaning back.
I realize I may have pushed too far, and if he gets up and leaves, we might ruin this operation. At least catching him without making a scene. The team is outside, he’s not getting out of this hotel alone.
“Well, maybe we can revisit that later on, after we get to the business proposals. You said you know people.”
“I do. I have my own resources for people. Tell me though, why should I trust you with my business?” Why should my imaginary little girls go to you? That’s the question I really want to ask but can’t.
“I’m discreet when it comes to the women I associate myself with. There are rumors about what I enjoy, but I’m careful. They have no proof and anyone in my company will have access to whatever they want – food, clothes, money, as long as they stay with me.”
As long as you can use them all day and night.
Men like him get away with shit like this because no one pays attention to them in a criminal light. Tonight, we’ll fix that for him though. As soon as we walk out the hotel, it’s all over for him.
“Exchanging a cushy life for desires?” I ask.
“A man has needs,” he says, shrugging, like we’re not talking about a predatory fetish.
Just the thought of that is enough to make me want to gag, but I don’t. Instead, I nod back, trying to get him to think I agree.
“Women do, too. Men think they’re unique in having needs, when they aren’t. You just like to talk about it more.”
Not what I want to be talking about tonight, our “needs”. Seriously, gag me again so I pass out and don’t have to listen to this anymore.
Dude might be rich, but he’s boring and unoriginal. He can’t flirt and his moves are a turn off. I say that as the woman who turns to insults as a flirting mechanism, so what do I actually know? This is all just his lame attempt to use his money to get into my pants and then my imaginary girls’ pants.
“Hey, there are two men in black suits, looking awfully suspicious, standing outside of the bar,” Isaiah says.
“How do they look suspicious?” Savannah asks.
“They look like they’re bouncers,” Isaiah says. “They weren’t there before Hayes showed up.”
Well, that does seem a little suspicious and I find myself struggling for a moment to focus on the voices in my head instead of Hayes’ hand in the wrong place.
That also means I need to get him out of here without his people spotting him. Makes it all a little bit harder.
“This is less about needs and more about wants,” I say. I lean over to take another sip of my wine, realizing I’m getting closer to the end of the second glass of wine. Don’t go for another one, I tell myself.
“Wants, needs, when it comes to these things, they’re all the same. You have things I want, and I’m willing to make an agreement for them.”
The way he refers to them as “things” is just….. really fucking disturbing.
“What kind of agreement did you have in mind?” I ask.
Even without asking, just knowing, I just want to go home and shower, scrub this conversation away.