Big Shot(2)

By: Carly Phillips

Wes’s mother had been devastated by the loss, and because Wes had been so pissed at his father for being such an asshole, the entire situation was contentious at best. There was no repairing the damage Ethan had inflicted on his wife and son and no bridging the gap between two angry families. There was no way that Wes wanted to risk that kind of division in a working environment with his best friends.

In the end, Wes’s argument had prevailed, which was a damn good thing because he didn’t think Connor would appreciate the other reason he didn’t want Natalie around. Hey, I know we’re best friends and all, but I want to fuck your sister, and watching her strut around the office in her tight-ass skirts and fuck-me heels will have me sporting a permanent hard-on and spending the day fantasizing about bending her over my desk for a slow, hard, afternoon screw. Umm, no. The only thing a filthy confession like that would get Wes was a black eye, or worse, and he wasn’t about to risk being castrated by Natalie’s protective older brother. He liked that part of his male anatomy way too much.

Bottom line, gorgeous, feisty Natalie Prescott was too much of a distraction to his dick, and having her in his space every day would drive him crazy. It was as simple, and as difficult, as that.

Wes exhaled a harsh breath and rerouted his thoughts back to his conversation with Connor. “Every partner in this company knows the reasons I said no to your sister, and you all agreed to them.” Okay, so he’d coerced and pressured the guys a bit to save his own sanity, but in the end, they had agreed. “I didn’t realize it would cause a fucking vendetta between Natalie and me.” Because that’s exactly what it felt like.

Connor rubbed his hands down his jean-clad thighs, that small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth again. “It’s not about a vendetta or revenge. You know that Natalie just likes a little competition, and she’s damn good at selling real estate.”

“I’m better,” Wes replied, and immediately realized just how juvenile the words sounded after they’d left his mouth. What was he, in high school?

“Not lately you aren’t,” Connor said meaningfully, the smartass tone of his voice indicating he was thoroughly enjoying the fact that his sister was giving Wes a run for the money in the real estate market. “In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you aren’t careful, Natalie is going to surpass your 132 million in sales last year and knock you off your prestigious pedestal for one of Chicago’s best of the best brokers.”

And she’d no doubt take great fucking delight in taking him down. Being Connor’s best friend and growing up around little Natalie Prescott, he’d witnessed just how competitive she could be and how much she liked to win. Especially when it came to him. Whether it had been a game of cards or Monopoly with Wes and Connor or racing on their bikes to see who got to the Circle K down the street first, she’d always strived to beat the boys. And when she did, she always made sure to rub Wes’s nose in the fact that she’d trumped him.

Now, as adults, the business friction between them was like a tangible thing—oh, and did he forget to mention the sexual tension they’d both been deliberately skirting for the past few years only added fuel to their rivalry?—and he needed to figure out a way to diffuse the situation before his stress levels shot through the roof.

“Natalie knocking me off any pedestal isn’t going to happen,” he said confidently.

“Then you’d better step up your game,” Connor said, humor lacing his voice. “It would be kind of embarrassing if my sister, who you refused to let work here, kicked your ass and surpassed your sales record.”

Wes rolled his shoulders, trying to replace his frustration with a semblance of calm. He glanced at the clock on the wall, relieved to see it was nearly five. God, he needed a drink. A strong one to wash away the sting of defeat of losing his big deal today to Natalie Prescott.

“Want to head out to the Popped Cherry with me and Max for a drink?” Wes asked, inviting Connor to the trendy bar in downtown Chicago that they all liked to frequent.

“Not tonight,” he replied with a shake of his head as he stood up. “I’ve got a dinner meeting at six thirty with the city inspector who’s been assigned to the Amber Glen project, and I need to head home to shower and change before I go.”