“Sure,” I said absently. “Sounds like a plan.”
I waited until he’d gone back into the attached apartment, then went to find my phone.
I rounded the front of the Benz and stepped onto the curb in front of Brett Kline. My fingers twitched, the habit of extending my hand in greeting ruthlessly suppressed. The singer’s hands had touched my wife intimately in the past . . . and recently. I didn’t want to shake them. I wanted to break them.
“At our home,” I answered, gesturing at the entrance to the Crossfire Building. “Let’s go up to my office.”
Kline smiled coldly. “You can’t keep me from her.”
“You did that all by yourself.” I noted the worn Pete’s T-shirt he was wearing with black jeans and leather boots. Without a doubt, his choice of attire wasn’t a coincidence. He wanted to remind Eva of their history together. Maybe even remind me, too. Had Yimara given him the idea? I wouldn’t be surprised.
It was the wrong move for both men to have made.
He walked through the revolving doors ahead of me. Security took his information and printed out a temporary ID, then we headed through the turnstiles to the elevators.
“You can’t intimidate me with your money,” he said tightly.
I entered the car and hit the button for the top floor. “There are eyes and ears all over the city. At least in my office, I know we won’t be putting on a show.”
His lip curled in disgust. “Is that all you care about? Public perception?”
“An ironic question, considering who you are and what you want.”
“Don’t act like you know me,” he growled. “You know shit.”
In the confined space of the elevator car, Kline’s aggression and frustration permeated the space between us. His hands gripped the handrail behind him, his stance hostile and expectant. From the platinum tips of his spiked hair to the black-and-gray tattoos covering his arms, the front man of Six-Ninths couldn’t be more different from me in appearance. I used to feel threatened by that and his history with Eva, but no longer.
Not after San Diego. And certainly not after last night.
I could still feel the marks of Eva’s nails in my back and ass. She’d pushed me to my limits all night and into the early hours of the morning. The insatiable hunger she felt for me left no room for anyone else. And the catch in her voice when she told me she loved me, the sheen of tears in her eyes when I yielded to what she did to me . . .
I leaned back against the opposite wall and tucked my hands into the pockets of my sweats, knowing my nonchalance would goad him.
“Does she know we’re meeting like this?” he asked harshly.
“I figured I’d leave it up to you to decide whether to mention it.”
“Oh, I’m mentioning it all right.”
“I hope you do.”
We exited into the Cross Industries foyer and I led him through the security doors and back to my office. There were a few people at their desks and I took note of them. Those who worked on their days off weren’t always better employees than those who didn’t, but I respected ambition and rewarded it.
When we got to my office, I shut the doors behind us and frosted the glass. A folder sat on my desk, as I’d instructed before leaving the penthouse. I set my hand atop it and gestured for Kline to take a seat.
He remained standing. “What the f**k is this about? I come into town to see Eva and your goon brings me here instead.”
The “goon” was security provided by Vidal Records, but he wasn’t wrong in thinking the man worked for me. “I’m prepared to offer you a great deal of money—along with other incentives—for the exclusive rights to the Yimara footage of you and Eva.”
He gave me a hard smile. “Sam told me you were going to try this. That tape is none of your business. It’s between me and Eva.”
“And the entire world if it leaks, and that would destroy her. Does that matter to you at all, how she feels about it?”
“It’s not going to leak, and of course I give a shit about how she feels. It’s one of the reasons we need to talk.”
I nodded. “You want to ask her what you can use. You think you can talk her into letting you exploit some of it.”
He rocked back on his feet, a restless move that signaled a direct hit.
“You’re not going to get the answer you hope for,” I told him. “The very existence of that tape horrifies her. You’re an idiot if you think otherwise.”
“It’s not all sex. There’s some good stuff of us hanging out. Her and I, we had something. She wasn’t just a lay to me.”
Piece of shit. I had to control the impulse to deck him.
He smirked. “Not that you’d understand. You had no problem banging away at that brunette until I came back into the picture, then you changed up your game. Eva’s a toy you got bored with. Until someone else wanted her.”
His mention of Corinne hit a harsh chord. The charade of dating my ex had nearly cost me Eva, a close call that still haunted me.
That didn’t prevent me from noticing how good he was at shifting the blame. “Eva knows what she means to me.”
He stepped closer to my desk. “She’s too blinded by your billions to realize there’s something really wrong with you hiding that bogus wedding in a foreign country. Is it even legal?”
It was a question I’d anticipated. “Absolutely legal.”