Wicked KnightBy: Sawyer Bennett
(The Wicked Horse Vegas Series)
“I don’t care what it takes to get those permits pushed through,” I snarl into the phone, sitting up straighter in my chair. “If you don’t have them by the close of business today, consider yourself fired.”
My voice carries through the doorway of my home office, causing the chatter of the two maids cleaning the living room to go abruptly silent.
“I’ll handle it,” Jay Maher, my residential development manager, replies tersely. My threats aren’t idle, and he knows it—just like he knows he fucked up on this deal big time.
“Yes, you will,” I acknowledge quietly before disconnecting the call. I fully expect the permits to be obtained, even if Jay has to sell his soul to the devil to get it done. But that’s not my problem.
Glancing at the clock on my wall, I note there’s plenty of time to make my meeting across town. Punctuality is important to me. My father always says, “Respect of time will pay you back tenfold.” Not sure what he means by that, but he loves to drop little pearls of wisdom on me whenever he can. When Carlton Knight retired from Knight Investment Group two years ago, our yearly gross revenues exceeded just over fifty million. When he passed on the helm to his son—and that would be me, Asher Knight—he did so with expectations I would increase that figure substantially every year.
I had no desire to disappoint him, but more than that, I wasn’t about to disappoint myself. My one major failure in life rewired my internal makeup. It made success and winning the only options. So far, they have served me well.
Reaching my hand out, I brush my thumb over the framed photo on my desk. Looking at Michelle’s sunny California beauty—golden-blonde hair, summer-blue eyes, and wide smile—makes me sad.
I tear my eyes away because her expression sometimes mocks me. At other times, she seems to pity me.
It’s rare to see her photo and feel peace or happiness, or even remember fond memories. I’ve realized I’m not entitled to those feelings.
She took that all away from me.
Pushing up from my desk, I grab my briefcase and exit my office. It sits just off the living area of my downtown penthouse apartment. Five years ago, I moved here after I became a widower at the age of twenty-seven.
The maids are talking again. As I enter the living room, I see one of them running a feather duster over a Chihuly vase that sits on a pedestal in the foyer. My eyes drop to her ass, which is amazing despite the wretched black polyester dress she’s wearing. She’s definitely new, and I know this just by looking at her ass and nothing more.
When I head into the kitchen, I find the other maid scrubbing out my refrigerator. She’s been cleaning my apartment for a few years through the cleaning service I use. Her name is Gerda. She’s a stout German woman who is short on words, which is fine by me.
“Good morning, Mr. Knight,” she says as I head over to the coffee pot.
“Morning,” I reply with a nod of my head. She sticks her head back in the open refrigerator, and I pull a travel thermos out of a cabinet to make a to-go cup of java.
Just as I’m reaching for the carafe, the explosive sound of glass breaking fills the air.
“Fuck,” a woman, most likely the maid with the fine ass, screams. When I look over my shoulder, I see my Chihuly vase in a million pieces on the floor. Bits of cobalt blue, cream, and sunflower-yellow covers every inch of the marble foyer.
My eyes travel up shapely legs, polyester-covered thighs, an amazing set of tits under a ruffled white apron, and the face of a fucking goddess. A combination of high cheekbones, full lips, and golden eyes that are slanted like a cat’s. They are sly and sexy. Her hair is pulled into a long ponytail the color of dark wood and cherries. My body instantly reacts to her.
“Oh my God,” Gerda exclaims in distress as she bustles over to the shattered remains of my one-of-a-kind Chihuly. “Hannah… you stupid cow.”
“Fuck,” the beauty—Hannah—says again as she stares aghast at the expensive mistake she just made.
Her fretful gaze slides to me. She bites down on her lower lip, fear filling her eyes. Not sure what it says, but it’s sexy as hell to me. I want to fuck her more than I want to chastise her.
“I am so fucking sorry,” she tells me. Her language incenses Gerda, galvanizing her into action.
“Hannah,” she snaps to gain her attention. “How could you be so stupid and careless? I trusted you with this job and—”
“Gerda,” I interrupt quietly, but I’ve never needed to raise my voice to command attention. Both women turn to me, Gerda appearing slightly green. I’m sure she thinks she’s going to be fired for this. “Please return to your duties. I’d like to talk to Hannah privately.”
“But—” Gerda says in confusion.
“Hannah,” I say, turning my back on the women. “In my office, please.”
My body is tight and hyper aware as she walks in behind me. I ignore the chair behind my desk, wanting a bit less formality between us. When I pivot to face her, she doesn’t have an ounce of fear on her face. She does, however, look almost as sick as Gerda did a minute ago.