A Wildly Seductive Night(5)

By: Lauren Blakely



“I’ll see your Gin Fiesta, and I’ll raise you one better than the Purple Snow Globe. In fact, how about we put this to the test at the end of next week?”

JT’s jaw dropped, looking thoroughly shocked she’d taken on his dare. She grinned at him, and the other judges cheered while the director, behind the cameramen, punched the air.

When they finished shooting the day’s scenes, she tugged at Byron’s plaid shirt. “Did you plan that?”

He shrugged impishly.

“You did.” She shot Byron a knowing stare. “You told JT to challenge me, right?” He nodded. “Why didn’t you warn me?”

“It’s better theater with you surprised,” he said, dropping a hand to her shoulder. “Besides, I know you can represent the old guard. You go show that whippersnapper who makes the best drinks in Manhattan.”

A grin tugged at her lips. “Flattery will get you everywhere. But did you just say whippersnapper for real?”

He nodded, his gray eyes glinting. “I sure did, and it felt damn good. And listen, this is going to make for great ratings.”

Julia inhaled deeply and nodded. This was going to be a fine storyline, indeed. JT didn’t know who he was dealing with.

Julia was fearless.





4





As Clay landed a punishing right hook on the punching bag, he couldn’t help but think Tyler was taking too big a chance.

He slammed a left next, breathing out hard, then delivered a final combination as he finished his workout alongside his cousin in their boxing gym.

With his breath coming fast, he headed for the nearby water fountain, creaky from years of use, and downed a gulp of cold water. The gym was old and weatherworn from years of use, just the way Clay liked it. He had no need for fancy gyms or equipment when a good hard run and an even harder round of punches and footwork kept him in fighting shape.

As he straightened, he wiped a hand across his mouth. He met Tyler’s gaze and returned to the topic they’d been debating all day. “You sure you want to go after this?”

Tyler nodded, his brown eyes resolute, his gaze certain.

Tyler was bold and confident, and that was why he made a damn good sparring partner and a fine junior partner at the law firm.

Clay shook his head and leaned against the concrete wall. “Man, you don’t make things easy on me.”

Tyler grinned, gripping both ends of the towel around his neck. “Not my job to make it easy.”

“But it’d be nice every now and then if you did,” Clay said, clapping him on the arm.

“If you wanted easy, you wouldn’t have hired me,” Tyler said, all that bravado rising up once more.

The man was still in his late twenties, brash and full of confidence. Clay was certainly confident, too, but with nearly a decade on Tyler, Clay was wiser. He knew some deals you just didn’t want to touch. Pursuing a thorny opportunity like the one Tyler coveted—trying to lure the creator of the hit cable show Powder, a mega-popular high-stakes drama, to another network—was not going to be easy. That road was fraught with potholes, and Tyler ran the risk of failing and failing big. The network that carried the show had its claws in it, not to mention the fact that the contract was stuffed with odd provisions. But Tyler had made a pitch. He had a plan. He’d outlined a strategy to reel in the big fish.

“You sure you don’t want to look elsewhere to find a new client?”

Tyler shook his head and ran a hand through his thick brown hair, sweaty from their workout. “This is the kind of deal that made me want to get into this business. Something to sink my teeth into,” he said, miming taking a big juicy bite.

Clay laughed. “You’re a fearless bastard.”

“That’s why you named the firm Nichols & Nichols.”

Clay held up a finger, his expression turning serious. “Hey now. We might share the same last name, but don’t ever forget the Nichols before the ampersand belongs to me.”

Tyler chuckled, a deep and hearty laugh that underscored the man’s smile-and-take-no-prisoners attitude. “That’s why you’ll be there for me if things get dicey.”

“If you think I’m going to bail you out of trouble, you are sorely mistaken,” Clay said as they headed to the locker room. But the truth was, he would be there for Tyler. Clay’s job wasn’t just to run the firm; it was to make sure everyone who worked with him could operate at the top of the game. Tyler possessed a stellar track record. His client list was damn impressive, and he’d just nailed a stunning new deal for one of the firm’s top clients, Nick Hammer, creator of the popular dirty cartoon The Adventures of Mister Orgasm.

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