With exactly one month to go until pub date (July 10, 2012), a snippet.
“Hello, Miss Amorini. What can I do for you?” The call came slightly after six p.m. on his private number, the one he’d written on the card.
“Mr. Stone. I’d like to—we need to meet.” She sounded abrupt.
A slight pause. “Yes. That would be fine.”
“Do you know Insatiable?”
“D’you mean the restaurant?”
“Yes. Why don’t you meet me there at eight thirty for dinner?”
“The immensely hip restaurant of the moment. You can get a table there tonight, at this late hour?”
“I can. Will you come?”
“What am I saying, of course you can. You’re the Big Noise of Colony Bank, aren’t you? Or do you already have a reservation?”
“I don’t, as a matter of fact. But I can get one, even at this late hour.”
“Will it be just you?”
He grinned. “I’m sure Gabriel can join us.”
His grin widened. “I’ll let him know you asked for him specifically.”
Another pause. “Fine. Eight thirty.” She hung up suddenly.
His grin widened. Her bad temper and sarcasm charmed him somehow. Probably because everyone in the world seemed to go out of their way to treat him like some kind of royalty. Everyone except Gabriel, of course. And possibly his sister Irene.
Ethan dialed Gabriel’s private line. When his friend picked up, he said, “We’re on. Eight thirty at Insatiable, tonight.”
“Did she say anything?”
“Other than something sarcastic about me being the Big Noise, no. I sense she’s saving it for an in-person response. When did she get to Crave with the envelope?”
“About three thirty. Tosh said she was cute.” Gabriel snorted, then sighed. “What if we’re wrong? What if she likes the money?”
“Then you and I are wrong, simultaneously and for the first time, about a woman. Do you think we’re wrong?”
Gabe was silent for a moment, but when he spoke, his tone was confident. “No. Let’s play the hand out. She’ll be damn mad before we’re done, y’know.”
“I do know. But I think we can convince her to forgive us, don’t you?”
Gabriel’s voice deepened. “Oh, yeah, brother. I look forward to it. I’ll make the arrangements.” He rang off, just as abrupt as she was.
Ethan laid his cell on his desk and turned his mind to clearing his desk, a task much more mundane than that of seducing Miss Mariella Amorini.