“That’s Emma’s space,” he says, his voice the low rumble of thunder on a clear
“It should be mine.” I turn to him, and notice he isn’t alone. The bodyguard who
helped Emma up the grand stairs earlier is standing nearby—removed from the
situation, but close enough to intervene on Joshua’s directive. “Ah, so Emma’s got you
by the balls so tightly that you can’t handle me on your own?”
He smiles, and as charming as it might be to someone who doesn’t despise his ass,
it looks unnatural on him. He wasn’t made to smile. “Emma grabs me by the balls when
I tell her to. Ask her—she’ll tell you. We can go find her right now.”
“No!” Fuck, too overeager. “Not yet. Give me back my gun. It’s for protection.”
“You need someone to protect you from yourself.” Joshua empties the gun of its
bullets and hands it to the goliath, who observes me with indifference.
Indifference I can work with. Perhaps once I’m done speaking with Joshua I’ll . . .
convince . . . this bodyguard to relinquish my weapon.
Joshua shakes the bullets around in his palm, taunting me. “What were you going to
do—commit suicide in Emma’s office?”
“It’s my office!”
His gray stare penetrates me more deeply than the bastard who touched me earlier.
“Were you going to eat your gun?”
He wants to embarrass me, inflict shame, but even three drinks in I’m not inebriated
enough to allow it.
“What would give you that impression?” I ask casually, challenging him with a smile
of my own. It’s restricted to my lips only. My eyes can reflect nothing but disdain and
disappointment when I look at him.
“Hold Delilah steady.” It’s not a request—it’s the crack of a demand from a man used
to issuing orders. In this way he’s different from the colleague I remember.
The bodyguard cuffs my wrists with callused hands, fastening them behind my back.
I tell Joshua to go fuck himself, but he reveals no reaction and I wonder if he heard me.
“Hey—” I object when Joshua yanks down the zipper on my dress several inches.
“No dinner first?”
“Shut up.” The tattoos under his cuff come out of hiding as he pries one side of the
dress over my shoulder, exposing my scar. “This says more about you than anything
else.” He orders the bodyguard to release me and take a walk, and now he and I are
alone with the assault of rap music around us.
“That was eleven years ago,” I remind him. Before I met you. “I’m not that way
anymore. Life’s sweet. I’m rich, hot, and free to fuck anyone I please.”
“But you don’t have Devil’s Music.”
The truth can be unforgivably hurtful. I feel the impact as if Joshua’s slapped me as
hard as Daddy did when I questioned him about striking one of his employees with the
butt of his gun. “Dick.”
“And you can’t do a damn thing about it.”
He gets in close, and I can see the symmetry of his facial features and almost feel
the prickle of his beard. “If I put you through a window, no one in this city or industry
would give a shit.”
Another slice of truth, this one sharper that the one before it. It smarts, and I blink
against it. “Maybe Chelsea quakes under your authority and Emma lets herself be
dazzled by what’s swinging between your legs, but you can’t control me, Joshua.”
He has no immediate response, and I consider this victory. I zip my dress, return to
the frosted doors. “Unlock these. I want to see all the ways she erased me from my
company. I already know y’all took my picture from the foyer.”
“You say you’re about risk and innovation and getting ahead of the curve, but you
can’t adapt, Delilah,” he says. “That’s why this business isn’t made for you.”
He adapts well. I know this. He was in my MBA cohort, understands finance as
masterfully as I understand men’s naked bodies. But a random man with wild
determination in his eyes, who’s tattooed from shoulder to wrist and down half his torso,
isn’t welcome into elite boardrooms at first sight. He knows how to conceal his beast
and when to cover his inner hellion.
I know how to bait the beast and call the hellion.
“I was born into this business, Joshua. What were you born into again? Oh, right . . .
Beast baited. Hellion called.
Joshua stabs a code into the security panel, escorts me to the CEO’s door, and
rams a shoulder to it, throwing it open.
My office. No . . . Emma’s office.
Traces of me are gone. The walls have been painted a calming lavender. An
overstuffed sofa rests adjacent to the windows that overlook a night-shaded courtyard.
An L-shaped workstation breaks up the space, and decorating the polished surface are
photographs of those who matter to her. Family. Loved ones. People she respects.
I’m in none of the images. Erased.
Joshua approaches, and I can hear the rattle of my bullets in his pocket.
They’ve taken so much from me. Emma’s taken so much.
I whirl on Emma’s husband and slap him hard. “This window,” I growl, pointing. “Put
me through it. You said you would.”
“I said I could, not that I’m fucking stupid enough to do it.”
Ah, and here it is. A fissure in his steel exterior. A flicker of humanity in his savagery.
I’ll use it, and won’t step away from his office until I’ve taken from both Joshua and
“Then fix this. Get me back in as CEO. I heard about the lawsuit—”
“What the fuck? That’s not public.”
“I have eyes and ears in studios all over America. There are still people who see the
benefit in keeping me informed. That’s beside the point. I’m Delilah Bishop. Give me an
inch and I’ll conquer the motherfucking world. I can control the lawsuit. I’ll do everything
—anything—to keep Devil’s Music on top.”
“The board would piss on the suggestion, Delilah.”
“Fuck the board. Think about me. Y’all fucked me in the ass, voting me out. Lo Grizz
will do the same to the company with this lawsuit. Cut a deal with me.”
The words aren’t enough to provoke an answer, so I grab his hand and start to pull
off his wedding band. “Need your wife’s permission first? Tell me something. Did your
balls shrink when she put this band on your finger?”
His jaw has reddened where I struck him, and still he hasn’t retaliated.
“Do something,” I insist, tugging the ring off his finger. I glance toward the windows,
can see myself opening them and throwing the band into the night.
Joshua intercepts, prying it from me and setting it on Emma’s desk. “Stop, Delilah.”
“No. You took my gun and I’m going to take from you. I won’t leave here until I do.”
He barks an obscenity that should offend me all the way through, but there’s no
impact as it reverberates in my ears. I feel nothing until his hands mold to my neck and
he walks me backward to the window.
He doesn’t put me through the glass—but instead against it.
“Want to take from me? Take, then. Take this.” His tongue sweeps across my lips
before his mouth opens me.
Thought shatters and reality tilts. His hands remain fastened to my neck, pressing,
constricting—yet he coaxes me to draw my air from his mouth. Pressure fills my
temples, compromises my carotids. I should be concerned, at least somewhat, that he’s
moments from choking me out, but I can’t focus on that.
The night’s so warm, tight with heat, yet his lips are cool against mine. And then his
tongue is hot, wet, insistent inside my mouth, and I shiver.
He responds with a groan that penetrates me.
I have it now, a weapon to draw Joshua and Emma apart. At an opportune moment
I’ll tell her about this night, this kiss, and it’ll cause a ripple, the same as a skipping
pebble disturbs calm water.
Except . . . he has to know I’ll use this information—that it’ll get back to his wife. Why
is he kissing me if he suspects I’ll tell?
I’ll tell your wife and blow your marriage apart. I can release the threat in the sweet
fragranced air of Emma Toledo’s office, and in moments I might be flat on the courtyard
haloed in my own blood and framed by fragments of glass.
It’s not that I’m especially attached to the mortal world. I’ve traveled widely in my
twenty-nine years, and no, I don’t have children to carry on my legacy, but I have no
legacy to carry on anyway. The taste of success has faded on my tongue, and all I know
now is the flavor of Joshua Drake’s brutal lust.
I’ve unfinished business here: in the land of the living, in the hip-hop world, in
Atlanta . . . in the home of Devil’s Music.
And it’s only in the name of business that I peer past the mist in my eyes to Joshua.
He’s taken his mouth from mine and is breathing raggedly as he debates where he
might put his hands next if he were to remove them from my neck.
Splitting the difference, he keeps one vised around me and uses the other to pull
down my zipper. Not just some inches to call attention to my self-inflicted wound. All the
way, until my dress is nothing but two flaps of useless silk.
I can knock his hand away or high-kick his balls up to his throat, but I don’t free
myself. I roll my shoulders, shrugging out of the dress. The glass is cool against my
bare back now.
“Now you,” I whisper, as it’s all I can manage. Even after he releases me to tear
away his tie and strip off his Armani, I can hardly breathe. I want to cough and gulp in
air, but I’m almost afraid to move.
Friendship was our barrier, years before. I never asked for his kiss or wrapped my
hand around his cock—never imagined I would—but now that the friendship has been
executed as callously as he can murder me with a hard shove, sending me out the
window, we see each other for who we are.
He’s only a man.
I’m only a woman.
And, suddenly, we’re both naked and what’s going to happen here is plain and
Joshua’s muscles leap under the work of art that is his skin. Ink dresses him from
shoulder to hip on one side. The other is bare tanned skin. I start there, stroking with my
fingertips before fastening my lips to his nipple. Tonguing him, I let my hands slide until
one curves against his ass and the other circles the root of his hard cock.
Hop on over to Alpha Book Club tomorrow to read more on Sin for Me!!
For Dante Bishop, music died the night he found his father’s body next to a syringe of lithium. Ditching Atlanta, Dante jumped on his Harley and left the family business to his sister. She became the heart and soul of Devil’s Music—until the board, including Dante’s ex, masterminded a takeover. Years later, Dante’s doing something he never thought he’d do: returning to Georgia to put his songwriting skills to good use. Reuniting with Chelsea Coin only sweetens the deal.
As the perfectionist COO of Devil’s Music, Chelsea doesn’t dwell on the past. If she did, she’d never forgive herself for betraying the Bishops in a corporate power grab. Now Chelsea needs help to save the company, and Dante’s a nonnegotiable part of the arrangement. Still brooding and hot as hell, Dante wastes no time stirring up unfinished business—and carnal memories Chelsea would rather keep buried. She’s come too far to risk everything on a man. But for desire this intense, she might just enjoy the sexiest mistake of her life.
On Sale February 21st | Ballantine/Loveswept
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | GooglePlay
Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes deep, sizzling fiction featuring flawed heroes brought to their knees by the love of complicated women. Perry lives in America’s heartland, drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace, and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.
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