“If she has half as much fun with it as Steven,” he said, “she’ll have the time of her life.”
“Let’s hope she doesn’t have too much fun,” I drawled, remaining on my feet. “I’d like to get past the planning and into the actual wedding.”
“Can I get you something to drink?” I asked.
“I’m good, thanks.”
“Okay. I’ll make this quick.” I took a seat. “I asked you to meet me after work, because it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to offer you a position with Cross Industries while you’re on Waters Field and Leaman’s time.”
His brows shot up.
I let that sink in for a second or two. “Cross Industries has a number of diverse international holdings, with a concentration on real estate, entertainment, and premium brands—or assets we believe we can elevate to that status.”
“Like Kingsman Vodka.”
“Precisely. For the most part, advertising and marketing campaigns are managed on the ground level, but brand overhauls or adjustments to messaging are approved here. Due to the diversity I mentioned, we’re always reviewing new strategies for rebranding or strengthening an established brand. We could use you.”
“Wow.” Mark rubbed his palms over his knees. “I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this has caught me off guard.”
“I’ll pay you twice what you’re making, to start.”
“That’s a hell of an offer.”
“I’m not a man who likes the word no.”
His grin flashed. “I doubt you hear it very often. I guess this means Eva is leaving Waters Field and Leaman?”
“She hasn’t made that decision yet.”
“No?” His brows shot up again. “If I leave, she’ll lose her job.”
“And gain another one here, of course.” I kept my replies as brief and unrevealing as possible. I wanted his cooperation, not questions he might not like the answers to.
“Is she waiting for me to agree before she takes any steps?”
“Your decision will be a catalyst.”
Mark ran a hand over his tie. “I’m both flattered and excited, but—”
“I understand it’s not a move you were planning on making,” I interjected smoothly. “You’re happy where you’re at, and feel a measure of job security. So I’m prepared to guarantee you the position—and reasonable bonuses and annual raises—for the next three years, barring any misconduct on your part.”
Leaning forward, I set my fingers on the folder that Scott had left atop the table. I pushed it toward Mark. “All the information is laid out in detail in this. Take it home with you, discuss it with Steven, and let me know your decision on Monday.”
I stood. “I expect you’ll want to give Waters Field and Leaman ample notice and I don’t have a problem with that, but I’ll need to have your commitment as soon as possible.”
He picked up the folder and rose to his feet. “What if I have questions?”
“Call me. My card is in the folder.” I glanced at the watch on my wrist. “I’m sorry. I have another appointment.”
“Oh, yes, of course.” Mark accepted my extended hand. “I’m sorry. This happened so fast I feel like I haven’t quite processed it all yet. I understand you’ve offered me a fantastic opportunity, though, and I appreciate that.”
“You’re good at what you do,” I told him honestly. “I wouldn’t make the offer if you weren’t worth it. Think about it, then say yes.”
He laughed. “I’ll give it some serious thought and you’ll hear from me on Monday.”
As he left, my head turned toward the building that housed LanCorp’s headquarters. Landon wouldn’t find me with my back turned again.
“SHE started crying the minute you walked out.”
I looked at Arnoldo over the rim of my tumbler, which held two fingers of scotch. I swallowed, then asked, “Do you want me to feel guilty about that?”
“No. I wouldn’t feel sorry for her, either. But I thought you should know that Corinne isn’t completely heartless.”
“I never thought she was. I just thought she’d given that heart to her husband.”
Arnoldo lifted one shoulder in a shrug. Dressed in well-worn jeans and a tucked-in white dress shirt that was open at the collar and rolled up at the cuffs, he was drawing a lot of female attention.
The bar was packed, but our section of the VIP balcony was guarded well, keeping the rest of the patrons at bay. Arnoldo sat on the crescent-shaped sofa where Cary had sat the first night I’d met with Eva outside the Crossfire. The place would always hold strong memories because of her. It was that night when I realized she was changing everything.
“You look tired,” Arnoldo said.
“It’s been one of those weeks.” I caught his look. “No, it’s not Eva.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Nothing to say, really. I should’ve been smarter. I let the world see how much she means to me.”
“Passionate kisses on the street, even more passionate fights in the park.” He smiled ruefully. “What is it they say? Wearing your heart on your sleeve?”
“I opened the door, now everyone wants to walk through it. She’s the most direct way to f**k with my head, and everyone knows it.”