Big Shot(8)

By: Carly Phillips

“Okay,” he agreed, and bit back a laugh at the noticeable shock that chased across her beautiful features.

“You’re that sure of yourself, huh?”

He nodded. “I’m one hundred percent sure that I’m going to win, so it doesn’t matter what you’re wagering.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Yeah, you keep telling yourself that. What do you want if you win? And you and I both know that’s a big if.”

He steepled his hands in front of him as he thought about his request. There wasn’t really anything he wanted, at least not in the ambitious sense of what Natalie had just wagered. So, instead, he conjured up something that would be fun for him but not so much for her. Something that would put her at the mercy of his demands—not sexually, of course—but in a way that would humble her a bit, antagonize her a whole lot, and remind her who was in charge.

After a few silent moments, she narrowed her gaze at him. “What’s with that devious look in your eyes, Wes?” she asked suspiciously. “It reminds me of when we were kids and you were planning some kind of let’s-torture-Natalie scheme, which never turned out well for me.”

He chuckled. “Because that’s exactly what I have in mind. When I win, I want you at my beck and call for two weeks. Whatever I want or need, no matter when I ask, you’ll do it without complaint.”

Chapter Three

Natalie sat back in her chair, unable to believe the words that had just come out of Wes’s mouth. Somehow, she managed to keep her face carefully composed, but her chest rose and fell a little faster as she tried to process what he’d just anted up for their bet.

Whatever I want or need, no matter when I ask, you’ll do it without complaint.

Wow. Her mind conjured up some pretty steamy scenarios, which wasn’t difficult to do considering she’d spent most of her youth, and even a few years into her twenties, imagining what it would be like to have all that sexual energy and confidence turned her way. Oh, who was she kidding? She still fantasized about how it would feel to have his hands sliding across her breasts and between her thighs, followed by his full, sensual lips traveling that same path. She’d dreamed about his soft tongue pleasuring her until she moaned and writhed in pleasure, and envisioned him pinning her to the bed while filling her full in one deliciously hard thrust.

Jesus. Now was not the time or place to conjure up those arousing thoughts. Heat suffused her entire body, and she shifted in her chair, hoping that Wes mistook her squirming for unease because of his wager.

Then again, it wasn’t as if he’d ever touch her the way she’d imagined too many times to count. For as much as they’d flirted and teased over the years—except for that year and a half she’d wasted on her ex, Mitch—Wes had long ago drawn an invisible line that he’d never crossed, then had gone on to build an impenetrable stone wall between them that fateful day when she’d stopped by the Premier Realty office to talk to her brother, and instead she’d overheard Wes’s unmistakable voice saying to Connor, Hell, no. We’re not hiring your Goddamn sister.

She hadn’t quite reached Connor’s office at that point, and she didn’t bother to stick around and hear what else might have been said because it didn’t matter. She’d been devastated since she knew she’d be a good fit for the firm and wanted to be a part of its growth, and she’d tried not to wince when Connor called her a few hours later to tell her that it was best if the company didn’t mix business with family.

She’d played it off as if she didn’t care, but that rejection, coming on the heels of her humiliating breakup with Mitch, had lit a fire under her feet. That had been almost six months ago, and she might have been just starting out as a real estate agent, but since that day, she’d hustled her ass off. She’d been dedicated to building her career and proving to Wes what a big, fat, huge mistake he’d made by discounting her ability to be an asset to Premier Realty.

She’d known Wes for much too long, and he’d been best friends with her brother, Connor, for too many years for her to hold a grudge or allow her resentment to make things awkward between them. Instead, she’d put her big-girl panties on and she’d channeled her hurt feelings in a much more positive direction. She wasn’t the kind of woman who got mad. But she was the type to get even.