Now that she was finally three feet away, I didn’t know where to begin. I’d pushed hard to get on this deal as soon as I’d seen her name on the list as representing the company looking to buy a share in George’s venture.
Who was I kidding? I’d been following every step of her career through information picked up from her family. I’d become a real stealth fact gatherer, trying to find things out without letting anyone know I was dying for more information. Her family knew the two of us had gotten in a fight and she was avoiding me, but they’d never found out the cause. That was a conversation I had no intention of having.
Her brother would kill me if he knew I’d slept with his little sister.
From the limited bits I’d been able to glean, I’d learned what company she was working for, but I hadn’t known she would be the one assigned to this deal before I’d seen the contact list, though. Butler, D. Printed in the same bold black font as everything else as if it wasn’t the most vitally important information on the chart.
I needed her to forgive me. I had no idea what to say to make that happen. I really should’ve figured this out ahead of time. But I was at my best when I was thinking on my feet. I’d figure it out. This gulf between us wouldn’t be allowed to stand.
Dylan took her seat across from me and tossed her briefcase onto the table with a solid thump. “Our offer is for a controlling stake. No less than fifty-one percent. I think you’ll find the numbers satisfactory.” She pulled a page out of her briefcase and slid it over to me.
I could barely focus on the number. I knew this deal was important to my client and making the client happy was vitally important to the firm, but the only thing important to me at this moment was Dylan. Besides, I couldn’t advise my client to take the first offer she made, no matter what it was.
“No deal,” I said.
She hummed and nodded, looking through her briefcase for something else.
She was still rattled. For a second there when she’d walked through the door, I’d been afraid she was going to walk right back out. She’d been avoiding me for ten years, after all. I had no evidence that she’d be willing to sit in the same room with me long enough to negotiate a contract.
What I did know was that Dylan was the kind of woman who wanted everything. She’d always been that way. Ever since I’d known her she’d been trying to conquer the world, so I’d bet that if I met her in this setting she both wouldn’t want to back down from the challenge and would value her job too much to walk away.
I’d bet right. Her position in her company was important enough for her to set aside differences long enough to talk to me.
“I have a proposal here I’m not supposed to show you.” She pulled a slip of paper out of her briefcase and looked up at me through her lashes. What was this tactic? Was she trying to seduce me into a deal?? Actually, that might work. Dylan didn’t have to work hard to seduce me, but I doubted she’d be unprofessional enough to try it here. Dylan valued straight shooting. I was going to give her exactly what she wanted.
“Bullshit,” I said. “If you weren’t supposed to show it to me, it wouldn’t exist, and it definitely wouldn’t be in your briefcase.”
Dylan blinked and set the paper down. I’d just broken the rule of polite negotiation and called out her posturing. I’d never put any stock in politeness for its own sake. When I negotiated, I went straight for what really mattered. It was a tactic that had gotten me to the level of partner in record-breaking time.
I tapped the table in front of me for emphasis. “You want a majority share in my client’s company and you want it as cheap as you can get it. My client isn’t willing to give up that much. He is willing to go to forty percent, and he knows exactly what that’s worth. So make me a real offer.”
Dylan made a sound deep in her throat and broke eye contact. She tapped her fingers on the table. I could tell she was recalculating. Or maybe trying to get her head together. Her cheeks were flushed. Had I turned her on? I leaned forward.
She pushed her chair back. “The offer I’ve made you is real. What I will not do is walk out of this room with less than fifty-one percent. Yes, I know what that’s worth, and I also know your client has a track record of needing to be held accountable for his actions. This deal is already a risk. We won’t make it without a controlling stake.”
George hadn’t told me he had a reputation for having a bad track record. I was going to strangle him when I got out of here. He’d sent me into this negotiation unprepared and now I was getting blindsided. It was even worse because I was being humiliated in front of Dylan, by Dylan.