Home > Tycoon(3)

Author: Katy Evans

“It’ll be worth more than a million, trust me,” I bluff.

“Good for you. Except…” he leans back with a rustle of clothes, every athletic inch of his black-clad body flowing sinuously like a feline with the move, “considering that has yet to happen and I’ll need to trust you on that, my trust needs to be earned.”

This version of Christos is even more intimidating than the old one, unfortunately.

I try to hide it, keeping my voice as level as possible. “How does one earn your trust?”

“I’d tell you if I were interested, but I’m not exactly sure that I am.” He eyes me as if debating in silence.

This guy is the only guy in the world that unnerves me in this way, and I can’t seem to slow the fast pounding of my heart in my chest as I try to remember what I came here to say.

“I have a full presentation for you. I’m not taking no for an answer.” I reach into my briefcase.

“Darling. Are you ready?”

I start at the female voice and glance at a gorgeous woman striding into the study. Christos continues looking at me as he stands and reaches for the cell phone the woman extends out.

“We’re done here,” he answers her as he pockets the phone, his gaze remaining on me.

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” She leans up and kisses his jaw, her hands proprietary on his chest, then sends me a woman-to-woman claiming look, before she swishes away, all glittering jewels and lean body.

There’s a silence as he approaches, and for a second all I can hear is the sound of a toilet flushing, taking my only opportunity with a possible investor away.

“I’ll think about it,” he says.


“I said I’ll think about it,” he says from the door.

“Please do,” I say as he exits the room. I cup the sides of my mouth, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Same time?” I say jokingly.

I’m surprised when I hear footsteps returning. He pauses when our eyes meet. “I’ll make contact,” he says, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, “If I’m interested in hearing more.” He nods. “Nice to see you, Bryn.”

“Nice to see you. Christos.”

Well, that went sort of awful.

No, it went beyond awful. I head out of his brownstone and am so stressed about how bad it went that, rather than head straight to my flat, I walk along the Upper East Side because…well, it’s something I do. Walking. It helps me think.

But I’m so mind-fucked right now I can’t really think at all.

There’s a heavy feeling in my chest, a tight little knot in my stomach, and I can’t seem to get past the moment Christos walked into the room and…was there. In the same space. After all these years wondering… just wondering. Endlessly. About him.

He was a little aloof, a little playful, and a little too…

Sexy, a little voice whispers.

And he still has that pull on you, girl.

I push that scary little thought aside, but I can’t stop thinking about Aaric.

Aaric freaking Christos.

It’s like Erick, pronounced similarly, but with an A at the beginning. The first letter of the alphabet, double in dose. You could say that describes the man perfectly. We met in high school, and he was always more than anyone could handle.

Considering how difficult it’s been to get an appointment with him, that seems to continue to be the case.

He was always…more. More than the norm, always the first. The first you’d see in a room. The first who’d dare the dares in the parties that no one else would. The first to offer help when you needed it, but also the first to sneer when you fucked up.

He called me Lips. And “little bit”.

And he wanted me.

I wasn’t interested (at least, I never admitted to myself that I was). He left the city with his brother a few years after we met. And that was that.

So this meeting was a bit of a wildcard. I didn’t know if he’d remember me, if he’d ever thought about me after he left.

Twelve years is a long time, after all.

I’ve heard rumors about him from old school friends, Jensen included (who kept in touch with him when he left). I’ve heard of how much he has changed, how merciless and cold and threatening he has become—no longer the easygoing guy he used to be. It’s not like he’s involved in shady business—but he’s definitely a name that seems to inspire chills in other men.

Even then, everyone wants him to consider investing in their startups. He only considers risky ventures, ventures the banks won’t touch. To be denied by Christos means your options are gone—and you’re basically fucked.

I really don’t want to be fucked.

But seeing him tonight, all-powerful and larger-than-life, I’m thinking I may be in way over my head here. Playing with the big boys in a business-game that I’m not sure I know how to play.

Christos has clearly gone on with his life. He’s filthy rich, has a gorgeous girlfriend who calls him darling, and is some Manhattan hotshot. Me? My life is worse than it was when I was seventeen and in high school. After his mother died and he left my life, it’s like the sun left with him. One tragedy after another. I’ve been grappling to find my footing ever since.

I’ve been sad, trying to figure out how and what could fill the hole and give my life meaning.

It means something to me. My startup. It’s what I’m good at and what keeps me connected to my mom and dad. It’s also what I’ve grown to love.

I’m thirty years old and this December, I’ll be thirty-one. I thought I’d be married and successful by this age. I’m neither. I’ve made peace with the things that don’t pan out as planned, but I’ve also still got dreams and moving to New York was my first step to prove how serious I am about them. The first step needed to make them come true.

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