Tall, Dark & Irresistible

By: Erika Wilde

Chapter One

When a woman used desperate and proposition in the same sentence, it was a good indication that he was potentially dealing with someone a little unhinged or he was about to get lucky. Either way, Leo Stone was intrigued.

Leo looked up from reading the phone message that Heather, their receptionist at Prestige Car Services, had thrust at him the moment he’d walked into the office. “Did she really say she was desperate that I’m the one who picked her up from the airport, and that she had a proposition for me? Or was that your creative interpretation of the conversation you had with”—he glanced back at the paper for the woman’s name—“Peyton Bishop?”

Heather laughed. “I swear that message was written word for word, and she even sounded a little . . .well—”

“Crazy?” Eric—his good friend and business partner—supplied as he stepped out of his nearby office and leaned against the doorframe, an amused smile quirking his lips as he added his two cents to the discussion. “Or maybe a little mentally unbalanced? Or psycho?”

Heather rolled her eyes at Eric’s exaggerated descriptions. “No, she sounded a little awkward and uncomfortable on the phone. Like she wasn’t happy about the fact that she was being so pushy, but it was very important to her that Leo was her driver.”

“Did you mention that I no longer pick up or drive clients around?” At one time, he and Eric were the only two drivers, but over the years, their company had grown exponentially and they now employed enough full- and part-time chauffeurs to cover their fleet of vehicles, which gave them more time to focus on building their corporate clientele base.

“Yes, I told her all that, but it didn’t matter,” Heather said, tucking her dark brown hair behind her left ear, which also flashed the new engagement ring her boyfriend had recently put on her finger. “She was very persistent.”

“And did you also tell her that it would be far cheaper for her to use Uber or Lyft for a ride from the airport instead of using our car service?” he asked, wanting to make sure this woman, Peyton, knew what she was getting herself into cost-wise. Their cars were high-end in order to cater to wealthy businessmen and customers who preferred a more luxurious ride, and they paid the price for that comfort and indulgence.

“Yes,” she said again, this time with exasperation for his excessive interrogating when she knew her job. “I gave her a quote of what it was going to cost. I’m telling you, she was adamant that Leo Stone be the one to pick her up, but if it’s something you really don’t want to do, then I can always get one of our other drivers to stand in for you and he can tell her that you weren’t available.”

Leo shook his head. “No, I’m free tonight, so I’ll do it.” To appease his curiosity about this determined woman more than anything.

“Stalker alert,” Eric said, coughing out the two words.

Leo smirked at his good friend since college, goading him right back. “Well, she clearly has great taste, since she asked for me over you.”

An abrupt gust of laughter spilled out of Eric as he clutched his stomach. “Okay, yeah, you might want to take a can of mace with you. You have no idea what a desperate woman is capable of, though I have to admit that I’m dying to know how she’s going to proposition you. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll finally get to end your six-month-long dry spell.”

In deference to their secretary, Leo resisted the urge to flip off his friend for his crass comment. Unlike Eric, Leo had standards and didn’t stick his dick just anywhere. “I’m sure it’s not a sexual proposition, so get your mind out of the fucking gutter and mind your own business, asshole.”

“Hey, this is my business,” he retorted with a grin.

“Whatever,” Leo said, turning back to Heather. “Do you have her itinerary?”

“Yep.” Heather produced a printout with the woman’s information on it. “She’s arriving at San Diego Airport from New York at 5:40 this evening, United flight 2837. I’ll text you the details so you have it on your phone and can easily access it. Oh, and I already printed up a placard for you with her name on it.”