All Bets Are off
Jaynie Reynolds believes in her team. She promises them top jobs and wants to deliver on her word. The man she fantasizes about blocks her path. Being ambitious comes at a price, locked away behind years of study and hard work a sensual woman lurks wanting to break free. With the company Halloween Party coming up, her main competitor is in for the surprise of his life.
Brendon Marshall enjoys his job. Strategy and tactical surveillance keep his mind alert and his skillset one of the best. One woman crawls under his skin and he burns to give it to her good. Setting an easy trap he sits back and waits for his plan to come to fruition.
Militant bastards! Why did Brendon’s team get the good bids and her team the crap ones? The way the cards fall my ass. Jaynie closed her office door and popped her Bluetooth in her ear, contemplating how to tell her team they were stuck babysitting a team of professional hockey players at a Halloween party. Hockey wasn’t even in season. If she went to her boss and screamed sexual discrimination, it’d only put her team deeper in the crapper. Yes, technically they were still the newbies, but how could her team prove competency without being thrust into the chaos of all things fucked?
Uniformity was the key. She looked around her plain office, sucked her teeth and dialed Afrika’s number to break the news. “We didn’t get our bid, again.”
“You’re the only one who expected a complicated assignment. Damn, girl, you should rest easy. I mean what could be worse than babysitting a team of smoking hot hockey players?”
Afrika made sense but still it rankled. “It’s just—”
“Hot bodies, terrible tempers, and we get to calm them down if things turn to shit. What is wrong with your brain? Foreign dignitaries? Politicians? Boring. Going overseas now that would be fun but we just returned from field training. Why would you want to saddle us with that?”
“Status, to prove we can handle real shit. Ya know. To show when it comes down to it we’re just as prepared, just as good as Bren’s team.” She fiddled with her phone.
“But we’re not. Deep down you know we’re not as experienced as his team. They’ve been together for years. You’ve watched them, they don’t anticipate a thing, it’s like they read each other without thinking, just doing. Those jobs you want, we’re not ready for and why should we ask for those bids knowing we’re not on their level—yet? Give us another year together. We’ll get there, let the men be men. Our job isn’t bad. We’re with the number one personal security company worldwide. Others would salivate to be able to work any gig here, so quit pissing and moaning already.”
“I. Grr. Whose team are you on exactly?”
“Remind me you said that when we practice takedowns on the mats. I got your back always chica, and right now you’ve got that tunnel vision that blocks common sense.”
Without knocking, a body moved into her line of vision and sat on the edge of her desk. God, he smelled good. “Afrika, I’ll call you back.” She punched her Bluetooth, disconnecting the call, sucked in a breath and when she looked up, hoped he didn’t notice her noticing him, not on the level she was at least. Dressed in a tight fitting shirt and black slacks he screamed sheer masculinity. While her brain told her to avoid all contact, she couldn’t help the gravitational pull that happened in close proximity. “Do you ever knock?”
“When a door is closed.” Brendon reached over and plucked the device out of her ear, tossing it onto the desk.
“Hey! What was that for?”
“So our little chat doesn’t get interrupted.”
“We’re not having a chat. You can leave just as you entered.”
“No sweets, not ‘til you tell me what your fuckin’ problem with me is.”
“You’re a sneak and an asshole.” Jaynie pushed her chair from her desk, desperate for some distance between them.
“You know damn well I wanted the last two jobs your team got.”
“Your team has to go through every step my team had to go through. There are no shortcuts sweets and if you can’t deal you and your team can leave. The boss, for damn sure, isn’t going to jeopardize the lives of his employees or the targets we’re assigned to because an overzealous member feels slighted.”
“Scared of being beat by a girl?”
“Don’t push too hard, sweets, you might not like what you provoke.”
“Scared of a man like you? You may tower over me, and flash those brown eyes at me, but you don’t scare me. “She edged closer, ready to pull the tiger by the tail. “Let’s bet. The Halloween Party that’s here this weekend. Winner of best costume gets the gig.”
“You’re on, sweet cheeks, but when you lose, and you will, don’t bitch over the shit jobs I’ll sling your way.”
Brendon shoved off the desk and moved into her personal space. He narrowed his eyes and rasped into her ear. “Never put your ambitions over the lives of your team. That’s why you haven’t received what you want. See you at the party.” He turned and strode out of her office.