Thalia Lake - Choosey Lovers, страница 1
Copyright @2015 by Thalia Lake. Publisher: Jessica Watkins Presents. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except by reviewer, who may quote brief passages to be printed online, in a newspaper or magazine.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be assumed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
I can’t help but get teary eyed while I sit here thinking about my brothers and sisters. My siblings have encouraged me to write ever since I was very young. I would write funny, goofy stories just to make them laugh, and they encouraged me to keep writing. They saw something in me before I did, and it is because of their love and encouragement that I continue to write. I love you so very much!
I’d also like to thank my 4th grade teacher who gave my class the project of starting a diary. That one assignment changed my life. It was then that I realized that I expressed myself better in writing than speaking. I pour out my heart in my diaries, and it became a lifesaving outlet during some very difficult and traumatic times in my childhood. I’ve kept a diary ever since.
I must thank my gorgeous, loving, best friend in the whole wide world husband. He’s been my biggest cheerleader and supporter since we’ve been together, and he has encouraged me since day one to write a book because he believed in me that much. Twenty years married to this man and it still feels like it was just yesterday. It doesn’t get any better than that. I love you sweetie, forever and always.
It is a must that I thank my four beautiful children, the reason that I live and breathe, the reason that I write. Thank you for being so patient and understanding and giving mama her space when she was hard at work writing, thinking, and brainstorming. I wasted a lot of years self-doubting and not believing in my talents. I hope that if you’ve learned nothing else from me (besides good manners), that you learn to never let fear or shyness keep you from your dreams. You’ll never know what you’re capable of accomplishing if you never try. Be courageous, take that leap of faith and follow your dreams. I love you guys so much my heart is overflowing.
Lastly to all of my friends and family who have given me encouragement, kind words, or a swift kick in the butt when I needed it, thank you. I love you all.
Jessica Watkins Presents
“Satra, I need a huge favor from you. I know its very last minute, but a family emergency has come up. I have to be on the next flight to Phoenix to see about my parents. They were in a car accident. Everyone is fine, but I think it’s time for me to take away their driving privileges before they kill themselves. I can’t believe this is the third accident they’ve had in less than two months.”
Grayson Lucas was at his wits end. His elderly parents were in more accidents as of late than ever; not to mention forgetting to take their medications. He’s hired many nurses to check in on them, only to have his father fire them or scare them off. Now he has to make a special trip to Arizona and be the strict parent to his rebelling elderly parents who insist on being independent.
Satra Sinclair sat in her office on this warm, June day in Manhattan on her phone listening sympathetically as her stressed out boss rattled on about his parents.
“I’m so sorry to hear this, Grayson. I’d be more than happy to help with whatever you need. Just tell me what it is, and I’ll take care of it,” Satra said.
He blew out a long sigh before he continued. “I was supposed to have that very important dinner meeting with Frank Di Amato and his business associate, Shane Evans, regarding the Vandalay buyout and partnership. I don’t have to tell you how big this meeting is. You know how long I've worked to get this deal this far. You know as much about this account as I do.... That’s why I only trust you to seal the deal.”
Wait, what? Why can’t Mr. Daniels, one of the firm’s founding partners, close this deal?
Regardless of why she was chosen to take on this daunting task, Satra’s stomach was full of dread. However, the worry and stress she could hear in her bosses’ voice made her push her selfish feelings to the side and take one for the team.
While she was more than capable of handling deals of any kind, she preferred to work behind the scenes, and let her boss and others have the bulk of the client contact. She’d jump in on a pitch from time to time, but it didn’t happen often. She preferred to keep it that way. Grayson Lucas was one boss she rarely, if ever, said no to.
Having to meet with one of the most powerful businessmen in New York - hell, in the Midwest and east coast-was a bit intimidating, but she knew she could handle it. She wasn’t too familiar with Shane Evans, but she had heard of him. From what she’s heard, he’s a very smart man, has a law degree and was very sought after by many for his expertise in business acquisitions until Frank Di Amato snatched him up. Together they have been buying out fledgling businesses and turning them into multi-million dollar corporations. Grayson Lucas, president and co-founder of Lucas and Daniels Advertising, has been trying to partner with Mr. Di Amato for the last three years in various business ventures. He wants to expand his advertising firm by buying out another one: Vandalay. In order to do that, he needed to partner with someone with the money and expertise like Frank Di Amato. His goal was to ultimately merge Vandalay with Lucas and Daniels and eventually buy out Di Amato. Frank was a very shrewd businessman, but a smart one. Grayson would make sure that Di Amato walked away a very happy man when it was all said and done. He just hoped it would be enough.
Vandalay is a very smart and forward thinking advertising firm full of young talent, but it’s also a small firm that has suffered major hits during the economic downfall. Its owner, Davis Gordon, was too stubborn to accept any merger or buyout offers until Grayson and Di Amato came along and made him a multi-million dollar deal that even a fool couldn’t refuse.
“The dinner is at 7:30 at La Crechia Restaurant inside of the Metro hotel downtown. I’ve submitted everything he needs to know, all the contracts, financials, etc. All he needs is some extra selling to seal the deal. With your corporate law background, I know you can answer any questions Di Amato or Shane Evans may bring up. Besides, you’re one of the smartest people in the firm, so I know if anyone can pull this off it’s you, Satra.”
Satra had to smile at the extra buttering up her boss gave her. She had a degree in corporate law and was often called upon to confer with Lucas and Daniel’s legal team when legal issues arose. She enjoyed it because it kept her on her toes, and she didn’t want to let her law degree go to waste. Her first career choice was to be an attorney, but by accident, the advertising world stole her interest. She’s been with Lucas and Daniels ever since.
“Thanks for the added pressure, Grayson,” Satra moaned.
“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it.”
“I know, and I appreciate the compliment,” Satra said in a more appreciative tone.
Satra glanced at her desk clock. It was already 4:45pm. Instead of going home and relaxing in a nice hot bubble bath, she’d have to go home, freshen up and change clothes while reviewing contracts and notes at the same time.
“I’m coming to your office now to get the files.”
Satra hung up her phone, got up and walked a few doors down to her bosses’ huge corner office. It was more like a luxury hotel suite, but he deserved it.
“I really appreciate you doing this for me,” he told Satra as soon as she walked in. “I should h
Satra could see the worry in his face, and she knew it was more about his parents than this meeting with Di Amato.
“Yup, everything is in here,” he said as he closed the file and handed it to her.
“If you have any questions ... and I mean any questions at all before, during, or after the meeting … I want you to call me on my cell,” he said firmly, looking at Satra with his own ocean blue eyes that pinned her with a father-figure stare.
He always made her feel like she was seventeen years old again when he gave her that look. He was old enough to be her dad, but he didn’t look a day over forty-five. He was actually sixty-two years old and kept himself in great shape. Standing at 6’4” with broad shoulders and an athletic build, Grayson Lucas was a very handsome man with a head full of thick salt and pepper hair. It gave him a very distinguished look.
“I will, I promise. Now get out of here before Maggie sends the FBI over here to get you.”
Satra walked around his desk, took his suit jacket from behind his chair and helped him put it on. She knew if he lingered in the office any longer, someone else would come to him with a problem, and he’d never get out of there.
“Thank you,” he said as he put his arms through the arms of his jacket. She then picked up his briefcase and handed it to him while he was still searching for something on his desk.
“Keys, keys… Where are my keys?” he asked as panic started to hit him.
“Well, if you didn’t have a board room table as a desk, maybe you’d be able to find them,” Satra said teasingly.
Grayson shot her a look that said, “Don’t start,” and Satra stifled a giggle. She always gave Grayson grief over his ridiculously large desk that looked as though it could seat twenty people.
“Found them,” Satra said, lifting his keys from underneath some papers.
“Thank God.” Grayson sighed as he took them from her and strolled quickly to his door to leave. She followed behind him to run interference in case someone tried to stop him. He needed to get out of that office.
“You and Melanie know how to get into contact with me. I don’t want any phone calls unless they are emergencies,” Grayson hurriedly told her. “Even then, I only want to hear from you, Daniels or Melanie.”
Melanie is his executive secretary.
“Understood,” Satra said as she struggled to keep up with his long strides to the elevator. He pushed the button and rubbed his forehead.
“Everything is going to work out, Grayson. I know your parents can be stubborn, but now they have no choice but to do things your way,” Satra said as she gently touched his arm.
“I know, but you don’t know my dad. He can be beyond stubborn, and I know he’s going to put up a fight. I don’t know if I have the energy to fight with the old man right now, with everything that’s going on.”
“It’s going to work out. You’ll see,” Satra said reassuringly.
Grayson gave her a weary but grateful smile.
“Thank you. I needed to hear that. You always know how to put a positive spin on a stressful situation.”
Satra smiled. “It’s a gift.”
The elevator finally came. Before he stepped on, Grayson turned serious and said, “Knock ‘em dead tonight. Call me as soon as the meeting is over. I want to hear all about it.”
“Thanks, and I will. I promise! Try not to worry!” Satra yelled as the elevator doors closed.
Her shoulders drooped, and she hung her head low as she made her way back to the office, looking at the Vandalay file he had given her. Mitchell Daniels, the other co-founder of the firm was coming in the opposite direction and met her.
“So Grayson gave you the task of sealing the deal tonight, huh?”
Satra looked up and said, “Yes sir.”
“You’ll do fine. He wouldn’t have asked you if he didn’t have faith in you. You’re very good at what you do, Satra. Its people like you that we need to lead this company when we’re gone.”
“Thank you, Mr. Daniels. I really appreciate that.”
Satra felt that was very odd coming from Mr. Daniels, but she appreciated the extra boost to her confidence. It took a lot to get a compliment from Mr. Daniels, but Satra worked her butt off for that firm. Grayson and Mr. Daniels not only took note, but also made sure her accomplishments were acknowledged and rewarded. Mitchell Daniels is an older man in his late sixties. No one in the firm called him Mitchell. He didn’t allow it. The only one who could call him Mitchell was his partner Grayson Lucas, and he rarely did so himself. He was a kind, soft-spoken man who quietly demanded respect.
Mr. Daniels smiled at Satra and continued walking down the aisle.
I can’t believe he smiled at me. There must be a glitch in the Matrix for me to get a compliment and a smile out of that man, Satra thought to herself.
Satra finally reached her office and sat back down at her desk, strategizing in her head what she’d say and how she’d start the conversation. She didn’t like that it would be two against one, but she knew she could handle them. The paperwork and the numbers spoke for themselves. This would be a battle of wits and who gives in first. That’s how Di Amato worked. He liked to play mind games and test to see how smart you were first.
It was now 5:20 pm. Satra quickly gathered her things and flew out of the office to go home, change and get to the meeting early so that she could go over every last detail in the file that Grayson gave her.
She wore a black Donna Karen pants suit to the office with a soft cream silk blouse underneath and a single strand pearl necklace with pearl stud earrings. Her hair was down in loose curls falling around her shoulders. For this meeting, she needed to wear a power suit. She decided to wear a dark blue jacket and skirt suit with a v-cut white blouse. She decided to keep on her pearl accessories but couldn’t decide what to do with her hair.
“Should I pin it up or let it hang?” she kept asking herself.
Finally, she decided it would be easier to just leave it down and just freshen up her curls with the curling iron.
After showering, she reapplied her makeup, making sure to play up her big almond shaped eyes, which she felt were her best feature. She kept her lipstick simple. When it came to makeup, she didn’t like to wear a lot. She had beautiful, smooth brown sugar skin that didn’t require much, if any, makeup.
After getting dressed, she put on her favorite patent leather stilettos and sprayed her neck and wrists lightly with her favorite perfume. It was light and very feminine.
You look good girl, she thought as she stood in the full-length mirror in her bedroom.
She lived only ten minutes away, but with rush hour traffic, it could take a half hour or more at times. She learned about quick shortcuts from cab drivers, which cut her time in traffic even more. Therefore, she was able to get downtown with no problem, allowed the valet to take her car and walked inside the upscale hotel to the hostess. She felt confident and had good vibes about this meeting.
“I have a 7:30 reservation under the name Lucas.”
“Yes, right this way, ma’am.” The hostess smiled as she directed Satra to the back of the restaurant in a small banquet room to the left. Inside there was a table set up for a party of three, complete with their own personal waiter. As soon as Satra was seated and situated, she began to review Grayson’s notes and looked through the file to make sure she didn’t miss anything. The aromatic smells of fine Italian cuisine didn’t escape her nose, and her stomach gave a low rumble in response.
Now is not the time to think about food. Ignoring her stomach, she continued to read the files over and over with a keen eye.
After ten minutes, Satra was so engrossed in the file that she didn’t notice the two gentlemen in very expensive Italian suits standing before her. The older gentleman was smiling, while the other one was looking intently at her, anxiously wait
Mr. Di Amato was the first to speak. “Ms. Sinclair, I presume? Mr. Lucas called me to tell me about his family emergency and that you would be meeting with us instead. It’s nice to finally meet you in person.”
“It’s very nice to meet you too, Mr. Di Amato. Yes, I’m Satra Sinclair,” Satra said as she stood up to shake both of their hands.
“This is my business partner, Shane Evans.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Evans.” As she shook his huge warm hand, Satra looked him in his eyes and gave him her warm, deep dimpled smile. She did her best not to show that she was taken aback by how handsome he was. Sexiness seemed to ooze from his pores.
Shane did a quick, full sweep of her body and liked what he saw… a lot. She had curves in all the places he liked, and definitely enough curves for a big man like him to handle. But it wasn’t Satra’s curves that took his breath away. He couldn’t decide if it was her big beautiful eyes or that gorgeous dimpled smile that brightened the room even more. She was simply stunning. Perhaps it was the electricity that radiated between the two of them the minute their skin touched.
She had to feel it too, he thought to himself.
Satra did feel it, so much so that she felt a bit off balanced for a brief moment. His handshake was firm, and he held onto her soft hand just a millisecond too long. Their eyes locked as they both silently acknowledged that something transpired between the two of them. Finally, Shane released her soft hand. Satra didn’t have time to think about what just happened, nor did she want to. There was no room in her life for romance.