Determined: To Win (Determined Trilogy Book 3)

 

Determined: To Win

 

Elizabeth Brown

Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Brown

All Rights Reserved.

Edited by Chelsea Kuhel (
www.madisonseidler.com
)

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

WARNING: The following story contains mature themes, strong language and sexual situations. It is intended for adult readers.

Table of Contents

Prologue

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Prologue

David

I think I’m going to need a new set of panties.

I sat back in my desk chair, trying to suppress my growing erection. I glanced out the window and then back at my phone, the picturesque skyline of San Francisco no match for the distracting words coming off my screen. Samantha was supposed to be at her work with her new employer, not texting me. Not that I minded.

Please tell me Gina can’t see you texting.

Relax, she’s in the restroom.

Although I might need to join her.

And take care of myself in one of the stalls.

Fuck. I pictured her staring at me, defiant, her pouty pink lips curled into a mischievous grin. I put the phone down and ran my hands through my hair before responding. This woman was going to be the end of me. The thought of her stroking her tight little cunt -
fuck
. She knew exactly what she was doing to me. And I wasn’t going to allow her to get away with it.

Don’t you dare. Your orgasms belong to me.

So bossy.

Are you complaining?

What would you do if I was?

Jesus, Samantha.

What?

You drive me insane.

It was true. Before Samantha, it was like my life was on mute. Each day was about the business— the next deal, the newest venture. I didn’t even know what I was missing. But now, with Samantha, life was like high-end 3-D surround sound, with extra subwoofers. Everything was louder, more intense. And so much better.

Insane good or insane bad?

Insane better-than-good.

:)

What are you doing right now?

I checked my watch and sighed.

I’m actually about to go into a meeting.

I should get off the phone.

Are you sure?

Yes. You are very distracting Samantha, and I need to prepare.

There better not be any attractive women in that meeting.

Don’t be silly.

You didn’t say no.

Samantha, trust me. You’ve pushed my standards too high.

Mindless boning just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

You did not just say boning.

There was a knock on the door and my assistant poked her head in. “Mr. Keith, your next meeting is here.”

I looked up from my phone. “Thank you, Dana. I’ll just be a moment. Please have them wait outside.”

I have to go now. Are you being safe?

I’m at a museum, David.

The place isn’t exactly teaming with a criminal element.

Elliot is twenty feet away.

#overprotective

I smiled inwardly. Normally I rarely gave much credence to the resources I had amassed, but now I couldn’t deny it— being able to protect what was important to me was a nice perk.

I’m always going to be overprotective with you, Samantha.

It’s what I do.

I know. Never stop.

I won’t. I love you, baby.

Love you too, Chief.

See you tonight.

I paused for a moment, trying to gather myself. The primitive part of my brain was working overtime, and it took some concentrating to reign myself back.
Baseball. Baseball, Baseball
, I thought, trying to crowd my mind with the un-sexiest thoughts I could.

Finally, after a few minutes, my mind was clear and I was refocused on the task at hand. I stood up, slipped the phone into my suit pocket, and opened the door to greet the FBI.

1

They say revenge can make people crazy. I was starting to suspect that this was the case with my new employer. Then again, who was I to judge? The very nature of my new job depended entirely on my boss’s unrelenting desire to inflict pain upon another.

“Ok, final question. Do you want any outdoor sculpture?”

I was seated in the Café of the de Young museum and gestured toward the windows. The enormous glass panels looked out to a lawn that was host to a set of contemporary bronze sculptures. I glanced back at the well-coifed woman sitting across from me. It was my first day on the job with my new boss, Gina Moretti. I’d recently been hired as an art buyer for her new home. A home that she wanted to fill with expensive art. Not out of love for the subject, but rather because it would inflict financial detriment on her cheating ex-husband. To be honest, Gina didn’t know the first thing about art. That’s where I came in. I had suggested our first meeting be at the museum so that I could get a sense of her taste, but so far it had been like pulling teeth to get her to express interest in one style of art over another. She always asked the same question.

“Outdoor sculpture? I don’t know, are they expensive?”

Yep. There it was.

“They can be,” I ventured, knowing where this was going.

“Then yes. Let’s get lots of them,” she said with a wry smile. It was a look I had come to recognize as satisfaction. After her husband had cheated on her with his secretary, she had fled New York, too embarrassed to show her face, landing here in the Bay Area. She had already purchased a lavish home in Tiburon, a wealthy hamlet north of San Francisco, but despite what had to be a multi-million dollar charge to her ex-husband account, it didn’t seem to be enough.

A mass of gold bracelets jingled as Gina pushed a lock of hair out of her face. Gina was several years older than me, probably about thirty, but was very well-dressed and reeked of new money. She continued, “You know, Samantha, I think we are going to be an excellent team,” as she took a sip of her latte.

“Me too, Gina.” I smiled inwardly, relieved. I had left my last job as a gallery assistant for this one. I knew it was a risk, working for an individual rather than a company or business, but I had a feeling that branching out and getting new experience would be good for my long-term career. And that was what I had always been focused on—but having a boss I got along with was proving to be a nice bonus.

“So, Samantha, do you think you have enough information? Do you think we can get started?”

I paused and glanced over the notes I’d been taking throughout the day. “Yes, I think we’re almost there. It might be good if I came over and made some measurements. You know, of the walls and stuff. I don’t want to suggest a piece of art that won’t fit in your space.”

“Ah, good idea.” Gina glanced at her watch. “It’s almost four now. Let’s call it a day, and how about tomorrow you come over at nine. Does that work? I was planning on being home all day anyway.”

I opened the calendar on my phone and double-checked my schedule. Gina was letting me work part-time with her while I transitioned out of my old job at the Kinsler Gallery. It looked like I wasn’t scheduled to work at the gallery until the weekend. “Sounds good,” I said, putting away the phone.

“Great!” she exclaimed, seeming genuinely pleased. “Shall we head out?”

“If it’s alright with you, I’m going to stay here for a bit and tidy up my notes.” I gestured down to the neat pencils marks I’d made. It was a white lie. I actually wanted to go back into the galleries and see a contemporary video installation upstairs. Gina hadn’t wanted to waste time viewing it once she learned it would be hard to put something like it in her house.

“Sure Sam, sounds good. See you tomorrow, then?”

“Definitely. See you at nine.”

She smiled and left. I listened to the clip of her high-heeled boots on the polished floor as she walked away.

I turned back to the table, picked up my pencil, and stared down at my notes, pretending to work for a few minutes, just in case she came back. I still couldn’t believe my luck. This job was like a dream— I congratulated myself silently once more for making the right decision.

I was still lost in my revelry when a male voice cut in.

“What did you think of the show?”

I looked up. The voice belonged to a man at the next table, seated opposite me. He was attractive and well-dressed in a dark suit with a pink pocket square.

I must have looked confused because he asked again, “The Hockney exhibit. Did you see it?”

“Oh, um, only briefly. I actually came to see the permanent collection.” Upon learning that room after room was filled by a single artist who was hard to collect, Gina had sped me through the special exhibition, favoring, instead, the variety of art featured on the other floors.

He continued. “Are you from out of town?”

I frowned. “Me? No, why?” My phone buzzed with a text message. “Would you excuse me for just a moment?”

It was a message from David. I smiled widely as I slid the screen to read the message. I couldn’t help it, I loved that man. Some might question that statement, knowing we’d been dating for less than two months, but I knew the truth. I was beyond smitten. I glanced down.

If that’s Gina Moretti, then we are going to have some problems.

My heart skipped, and I immediately looked up and scanned the enormous café.
Was he here?
The only face I recognized was Elliot—my driver and security detail—who was seated on the far side of the café. He nodded at me as I caught his gaze.

I had this security detail because of David in the first place. David, my David, was David Keith, the president and CEO of Keith Ventures, a global venture capital firm. We met during an opening at the Kinsler Gallery. What I thought had been an innocent accident at the time had later been revealed to be a carefully orchestrated start to our relationship. David had proven to me time and again that he was someone who got what he wanted, and in this case, it was me.

My phone buzzed again.

Tell him you are taken.

I sat up a little taller. I knew David was the jealous type, but I had just barely started talking to this guy. He seemed harmless enough. I texted him back.

Gina just left. We were just talking about the show. Calm down.

He wrote back almost instantaneously.

I seriously doubt he is interested in anything other than you and those fuck-me heels, Samantha.

I glanced down at my black heels and then glanced around the room one more time. David had already left by the time I had gotten dressed for work. I felt a wave of electricity pulse through me.

Are you here? Or is Elliot reporting all this to you?

I put the phone down on the table and turned back to my conversation partner. “Sorry about that. Work stuff.”

“What do you do? I’m Charles, by the way.” He stood up slightly and offered his hand. I reached to meet it.

“Nice to meet you, Charles. I’m Sam. I’m an art buyer,” I said, trying out my new title. It felt stilted and un-natural. But I knew the feeling would pass the more I used it. We chatted a bit more, and my phone continued to buzz incessantly on the table-top. I chose to ignore it.

“Are you sure you don’t need to get that?” Charles asked, nodding to the phone.

“No, it’s okay. It can wait.” The truth was, I adored David with every fiber of my being. He was powerful and sexy, and when we were together I could feel every part of my body scream his name. Trying to stay focused on my career, and even simple café conversations, required my best concentration skills when there was a distraction as powerful as David Keith around.

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