Home > Tycoon(5)

Author: Katy Evans

I lift my racket in consent as I walk away, grab the ball, and smash it against the wall so hard the glass enclosure rattles.


It’s Saturday evening, and I found a dog-walking stint to help pay my rent while I get my startup going. From noon to evening, I have a great time walking a group of small dogs, and three large dogs, separately. I end up soaked in sweat and distracted from my business worries, thankfully.

Once I take the last dog home, a retriever named Milly, I get a gym coupon along with my payment from Mrs. Ford. May as well give it a shot, so I check out the new gym and get some stretching in before I take a shower and head out to hunt something to eat before I head home.

I’m craving a salad from one of my favorite Tribeca markets. It has the most delicious balsamic dressing and lettuce that always has a perfect fresh crunch. The combination of berries with goat cheese always gets me. I’m easy like that.

I call Jensen, but get his voicemail.

“Hey. I need another appointment and I need it to be more than five seconds long. Stop ignoring my calls. I’m not backing out now!”

Frustration eats at me. I hang up and sigh.

I walk a couple more blocks into Tribeca and notice a sleek black car slow to a stop at the end of the block. A young couple exits the car, while another couple waiting on the sidewalk steps up to greet them. They’re all dressed to the nines—the women in skirts and silk tops, the men in slacks and button shirts.

It takes me less than a second to recognize the tallest among the men.


The broad-shouldered


Utterly dark



Extremely hot


I slow down my pace.

Swallowing back my disbelief, I pull out my earbuds and tuck my phone into my bag, my hand trembling slightly. I can’t believe it’s him. Is the universe finally getting in on my plan? What do I do now, walk and talk business?

There’s no way I can do that.

But it’s not like I can cross the street and avoid them, that would be infantile and obvious. I continue walking, my head canted down.

I peek up and see the four of them are on the sidewalk under a restaurant awning, talking.

The beat of my heart accelerates the closer I get. Aaric the boy would have made me feel safe, but Aaric the man makes me feel like a fish on a hook.

Well, fuck that, if we’re going to be in business I can’t pay attention to my heart. I inhale and prepare to walk past when I hear—

“Long time no see.”

It’s Christos’s low, deep voice. My heart stops, then restarts with a pounding racket in my head.

I turn my head, smiling as I do.

“Well, if it isn’t my future business partner. I was just thinking of you,” I say.

He leans over to greet me with a brush of his lips on my cheek. “I’m sure all your thoughts of me color your face pink like that.”

The touch makes me tingly and uncomfortable and hot. Hot all over.

I widen my eyes.

Is he seriously flirting with me in front of his girlfriend?

What’s the deal with him?

“Bryn? Is that you? It’s been forever since I’ve seen you. Come here!” Aaric’s brother, Cole, says as he pulls me into a hug.

“Cole!” I say, hugging my old high school friend back. “Are you living here with your brother?”

“Not with him—but I’m definitely a resident,” he concedes.

After greeting the women—Miranda, Aaric’s blonde, who greets me coolly and looks down her nose at me, and Gwen, Cole’s blonde, who doesn’t bother to look me in the eye—I search for something to say as all four pairs of eyes examine me with interest.

“I never expected to see you again.” I look at Aaric as I speak. Silently asking—are you willing to see me again or what, you stubborn man?

He stares down at me, taking in my face, his expression unreadable but his eyes intense as he drinks me in.

“We’re getting drinks, do you want to accompany us, Bryn?” Cole asks.

Hesitation grips me. “Oh, I’d hate to be a fifth wheel,” I hedge.

The women don’t look pleased about Cole’s invitation.

Especially Christos’s blonde.

“That term doesn’t exist between old friends. Come on. I’m sure my brother here would love to catch up with his Lips.”

Aaric shoots his brother an icy look that makes my heart skip a beat, and the women purse their lips in jealousy.

Christos meets my gaze and motions toward the restaurant door. I follow him. He towers over me as I step through the door he holds open for me. I can smell him. He smells different. More…dangerous.

Familiar but new.

We shuffle inside, and the maître d' appears. “Mr. Christos, a pleasure as always. Your table is ready.”

“We’ll be five tonight, David,” he requests.

“Oh, of course! One minute.” The man hustles to accommodate him.

“Are you certain?” I ask out loud.

“Completely,” Cole answers.

But when my face still shows doubt, Christos turns and says, “I insist.” His eyes meet mine, and as they do, a subtle electric current passes through me.

“So are you two friends?” Christos’s date asks a bit snottily.

“High school,” Christos says as we wait to be led to our table.

I edge closer to Cole and push onto my tiptoes. “She’s beautiful. Is that why he likes her? She’s like model beautiful,” I say, trying to keep my voice low.

He leans over, laughter in his voice as he nods with mock somberness. “She swears that while God took seven days in creating the world, Aaric would’ve taken six.” He winks as he straightens.

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