“This is a fast-paced business, doll. You of all people should know that. Look at how fast your friend Rory shot to fame.” He snaps his fingers. “That’s how quick Reece Jones can find another act. Don’t think you’re not replaceable, kid.”
I’ve followed my sister’s career enough to know she just finished a sell-out tour across Europe. So I’m not falling for Lou’s bullshit.
I give him a don’t make me laugh smile, which only pisses him off more. I almost laugh. It’s fun to watch him think he can throw his bluster around, but it doesn’t faze me. I can’t stand a man who tries to control me.
He shoves to his feet and paces a few steps, then grabs the unlit cigar from his mouth and jabs it at me. “Don’t blow this deal, Charlotte. I worked hard to get it for you.”
I roll my eyes. “I’m the one working hard, Lou.”
His eyes blaze. The chime of the hotel suite’s doorbell interrupts us. Yes, it has a doorbell. How freaking cool is that?
Quincy moves to answer it as Lou and I swivel our heads to see who it is.
My bodyguard peers through the peephole, then turns back and murmurs, “It’s the CEO of the hotel.”
My brows slash down as my eyes flick to Lou.
“Lane Grantham. He’s worth billions, so fucking be nice.”
I take offense to his comment. “I’m always nice.”
Quincy opens the door. “Mr. Grantham.”
“Good evening. Is Miss Justice available?”
“Yes, sir. Come in.” Quincy steps back and in strolls the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on.
He’s tall and blond, with a distinct Nordic look about him. If the role wasn’t already taken, he’d make a great Thor, except his hair is shorter in a cut that probably cost more than my bar made last week. My eyes slide down over his body in the magnificent suit that fits him exquisitely.
I stand, and our eyes connect. Good God, this man is beautiful.
He extends his hand, and I notice the Tag Heuer watch on his right wrist. So he’s a leftie. Interesting. I extend mine, and the moment we touch, something zings through my body, and I don’t want him to let go.
“Miss Justice, a pleasure to finally meet you. Lane Grantham of Grantham Hotels. I hope you’re enjoying your stay with us.”
He’s got a British accent! Could he get any better? I smile. “Yes, very much so. The hotel is lovely.”
“The staff has been taking care of you?” He still has a hold of my hand as I stare dreamily into his crystal blue eyes.
“Yes, they’ve been wonderful.”
“Excellent.” He finally lets go, and Lou extends his hand.
“Lou Crawford, Miss Justice’s manager.”
“How do you do.” They shake.
Lane Grantham shoves his hands in his pockets, and the gesture pulls the fabric of the expensive suit, showing off his muscled physique even more.
“I wondered if I might have a moment of your time, Miss Justice.”
“Please, call me Charlotte. And yes, of course.” I look to Lou and Quincy. “If you’ll excuse us, gentlemen.”
“I’ll be right outside if you need me, Miss Justice.” Quincy gestures to the door.
Lou looks a little put out at being asked to leave, so I give him a nudge. “Lou, I’ll speak to you later. We’ll discuss the contract then.”
“Nice meeting you, Grantham,” he finally says.
Lane Grantham just smiles and lifts his chin in acknowledgement. “Crawford.”
Lou turns to me with a penetrating stare. “Don’t forget you have rehearsals with the band tomorrow at eight a.m. sharp.”
“Ah, yes,” Grantham says. “That’ll be in our Retro Lounge. We’ve done an excellent job, I think, on the sound buffering. I hope it’s up to your standards, Miss Justice.”
“I’m sure it will be fine.” I turn to my manager. “Goodnight, Lou.”
He grunts. “Don’t be late.”
After they exit, I gesture toward the small bar. “Can I get you anything?”
“Allow me.” He moves to it and puts ice in a glass. “What would you like?”
“I’ll have what you’re having,” I say, watching him fill the glass with bourbon. I sit back on the pretty white sofa, tucking one leg under me and crossing the other one over, bouncing my pretty Jimmy Choo shoe, it’s rhinestones sparkling in the lamplight. Outside the floor to ceiling windows, the lights of the Las Vegas Strip glitter as night falls.
Lane Grantham carries my drink to me and holds it out.
I take it. “Thank you.”
He clinks his glass to mine. “Cheers.”
I smile and take a sip as he sits next to me, throwing an arm over the back of the sofa.
“I was wondering if you’d do me the honor of having dinner with me in my suite tonight.”
I’m taken aback by his offer, excitement charging through me, but then I remember I’m playing the part of my sister, a woman who probably has men lining up to date her, so I play it cool. I take a sip of my drink and smile. “I’m not sure that’s wise. I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression.”
“And what impression is that?”
“That I’m available.”
“Ah. So you’re in a relationship, then?”
“No. It’s not that.”
He cocks his head, the corner of his incredibly sexy mouth pulling up. “Then is this just you playing hard to get?”
I chuckle. “I’m not playing hard to get; I’m impossible to get, believe me. Don’t waste your time.”
“Well, it is my time. Guess I’ll do what I want with it, if you don’t mind.”
I arch a brow. “I’m not that girl, you know.”
“And what girl is that?”
“The kind that is super impressed by money and all its trappings.”
He sips his own drink. “Really? Those Jimmy Choo’s say otherwise.”
I look down at my foot, admiring the gorgeous shoe. “I like pretty shoes. Sue me.”
He grins. “And I like fast cars, good bourbon, and women in pretty shoes. See, we’re made for each other.”
His eyes move over me. “You are not what I expected.”
“And what did you expect?”
“Someone easier to impress, I suppose.”
“Oh, I’m impressed. You’re a very attractive man, obviously successful, and the British accent is to die for.”
“The accent does work on most of you American women. I’m feeling there’s a but in there somewhere.”
“But I really won’t be in town long. I just don’t see the point in starting up anything.”
“Starting up anything? My, how you yanks talk. I was just offering dinner,” he says with a killer grin.
“Oh, and here I thought you were offering much more.”
He laughs, almost embarrassed.
“Have I made you blush, Mr. Grantham?”
“Not at all. And please, call me Lane.”
“Say that again.”
“What? Your name?”
“Yes. It sounds nice when you say it.”
“Must be my crass American accent.”
He laughs again. “Hardly. More the melodic soft quality of your voice.”
“Have you heard me sing, Lane?”
“I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure.”
“Really? And yet you booked me as your premiere act.”
“That would be my sister. I believe she saw you in London.”
“Is that home? London.”
“Have dinner with me, and I’ll tell you all about myself.”
“You Brits are persistent.”
“And you Yanks are stubborn.”
I chuckle. “True, that.”
He sips his drink and stares out the window, putting aside pressuring me for a moment to take in the lights of the Strip. “It really is a garish amount of flashing lights and neon, isn’t it?”
“Definitely. The desert and mountains outside of town hold the real beauty around here.”
That draws his eyes to me. “You sound like you know it.”
“Perhaps you’ll show it to me. I must admit I haven’t gotten outside the Strip since I’ve been here working toward opening the hotel.”
“Perhaps I will.”
“So, you’ll have dinner with me tonight then? We could discuss this tour of the mountains and desert further.”
Try as I may, I can’t resist him. “I suppose since I do have to eat, it might as well be with an attractive dinner companion.”
His grin gets bigger, and he clinks his glass to mine. “To attractive dinner companions then.”
He downs his drink and stands. “Penthouse suite.” He glances at his watch. “Say in an hour?”
I stand to walk him to the door. “Perfect. Shall I dress up?”
“Please do. Though you’re beautiful just as you are.”
“Nice meeting you, Lane.”
“The pleasure is all mine, Charlotte.”
After he leaves, I close the door, put my back to it, and practically melt down the smooth wood. I’m giddy inside, and I dash to the bedroom to see what amazing dress I can find in my sister’s wardrobe.