“You’re bluffing,” I said. I had no idea if she was, but it was worth pretending to be a mind reader on the off chance I got it right. “You want this too bad. You’ll take forty-nine.”
I gave her a concession to sweeten the pot and smooth ruffled feathers. I wanted her to take it for my client’s sake, but for myself I’d rather she turned it down. Once this was over she’d leave this room and go right back to avoiding me. I still hadn’t figured out what to say to make what I’d done to her right.
Her use of my first name sent me into a state of shock. I wanted her to say it over and over again. At least she hadn’t forgotten me.
She lifted an eyebrow. “We don’t want it that bad. And fifty-one percent is the offer on the table.”
She was taunting me. Sonuvabitch.
“Dylan.” If I could just make her melt for me like she’d melted that night, I’d have her.
Her mocha eyes were flinty and cold. She was shutting me out.
I knew I’d hurt her. She wouldn’t have spent ten years avoiding me if my leaving hadn’t caused any damage. I hated how much I’d hurt her.
What if I couldn’t fix this? What if she would never stop hating me? I could have lost something that couldn’t be replaced—a shot with an amazing woman. I wanted to kick the kid I was ten years ago in the balls. Moron. Getting one fantastic night with this woman then screwing the whole thing up.
“Did you have a counter offer?” Dylan asked. Her lip curled up. She was winning and she knew it.
Her lips were right there. I could kiss her. That would change the expression on her face fast enough.
Would she kiss me back or punch me in the face? I had no idea. No matter what I wanted, this wasn’t the appropriate time. I couldn’t throw my client under the bus to get her back. That would probably qualify as a little thing called malpractice.
Of course, I just might be tempted if it would get her back, but I was at least trying not to do anything too stupid in this crazy scheme to convince Dylan how sorry I was.
“Fifty,” I said. I knew George wanted this deal bad enough to sell fifty, and he hadn’t told me about his track record. Dylan had made it clear she wouldn’t take less than fifty, and I believed her.
“Now we can negotiate.” She gave me a tight smile. I savored that small sign of her approval, the way her face lit up when she felt triumphant.
I wished I was negotiating for myself instead of my client. I would have given her everything I owned to see that smile again.
She pulled a value estimation out of her briefcase and began going over numbers.
Dylan was good at her job. My admiration for her grew.
Focus. My client was more important than my cock right now.
I looked over the numbers she handed me. It looked remarkably similar to the evaluations I’d had done. She was playing straight with me and being honest.
If I had to walk back to my client with fifty, though, I’d need a bigger than expected number to make him take the deal.
I flipped the evaluation paper over so neither of us could see it. “These are just numbers. Let’s talk gut. You want this company. You know what a good bet it is. These,” I waved at the paper, “are preliminary. It’ll be worth more than that in a year. You know it. I know it. Now give me a big enough price to make this worth my time before I start lining up better offers.”
I wasn’t bluffing. I could easily line up more offers for George, but he really wanted this one. Besides, I wasn’t convinced there would be anything better than what Dylan could give me. The company she worked for was flush with cash, and they had connections that George wanted.
Most importantly for me, if Dylan agreed to the deal she’d have to spend more time with me to paper the deal and sign it up.
Dylan wrote down a number and passed it to me. I looked. Perfect.
“Miss Butler, I believe we have an agreement on value.”
Dylan opened her mouth and tilted her head. She looked like she wanted to say something but wasn’t sure.
It couldn’t be that she needed to correct my calling her ‘miss.’ I would have heard from her brother if she’d gotten married. Hell, her parents would have invited me to the wedding.
Unless she’d asked them not to. My insides went cold. A quick glance at her left finger told me it was blessedly naked. Thank God.
“Don’t you have to check with your client first?” Dylan asked, her nose scrunching up in the most adorable way
My shoulders relaxed. “I have authority to a certain point, but yes, I’ll run it by George. Given what we’ve discussed, I don’t see a scenario where he says no, though. All he’ll need is a line to sign on.”