Secrets in My Scowl
Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.
“Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”
Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”
From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.
Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.
Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.
Wylde was nose deep in his computer, sucking on a green lollipop while he noted the few changes he wanted Dennis to make on the website, when he heard a ruckus on the other side of the wall. It sounded like someone moving items in the hall. He looked at his watch, noticing it was already after seven. Shit. The time went by so fast. Still not really registering the commotion, Wylde went back to his computer. Not five seconds later he heard the door to the front room burst open and a strong, masculine voice reached his ears.
“I thought I was pretty clear earlier when I asked you not to leave your damn trash in the hallway. I almost broke my neck. Not only is the same crap still out there but you had the audacity to double it.”
Wylde quickly got up and opened his office door and took in the large man standing in front of Mikki, glaring down at her. All Wylde could see was the man’s broad back and wide shoulders beneath a very expensive-looking black trench coat. His voice was getting deeper as he spoke, like he was just a breath from yelling.
“If I have to tell you one more time, my next call will be to the property manager. Do you got it?” the man barked at his best friend. Wylde had heard enough.
“Is that the way you always speak to a female?” Wylde asked calmly, his own voice just as deep as the man a few feet from him. But when the man turned around Wylde’s composure slipped for a split second when he realized exactly what’d had Mikki gushing earlier. The lawyer was maybe an inch taller than Wylde’s own six feet, but he was wider and a lot more muscular. His jaw was locked tight and his forehead was creased in an angry frown. His lips were light peach and the bottom one was fuller than the top, but the lawyer was so angry those plush lips were pulled into a taut, thin line. Wylde didn’t miss the surprised look as the lawyer cast his dark eyes down Wylde’s body then back up to his face. He smirked and gave the lawyer a slight curl of his lips.
“I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to your boss,” the lawyer snapped at him before spinning back around on Mikki.
Wylde said his next words slowly, “Then turn back around, because she’s not the boss.”
“Excuse me?” the lawyer asked, his temper still revved up.
Wylde came to stand in front of Mikki, blocking her from any further angry comments, in turn putting himself very close to the handsome man. Wylde was quick to pick up on how much body heat was wafting off the tall lawyer and also the extremely masculine smell that worked its way up Wylde’s nose and down to his balls. “I’m Wylde Sterling. The woman behind me is my office manager. If you have any problems, you’ll need to address them to me from here on.” Then Wylde threw the man’s words back at him. “Do you got it?”
The stare-off was intense and Wylde didn’t back down. He was not easily intimidated and he needed to set the man straight about bullying his staff, whether Mikki got off on it or not. “I apologize about the trash. But there seem to be some kinks in the sanitation department, because I’ve called several times for a pick-up.”
“I don’t give a fat fucker’s ass how many times you called.” The man snarled. His voice getting as dark as his inked glare. “Move it out the hallway.”
Wylde couldn’t help but wonder if the lawyer’s bite was as hot as his bark. Damn, this man was something else. He was really trying to rile him, but Wylde rarely lost his temper, and for good reason. Wylde clasped his hands behind his back and cast his eyes up, lowering his tone even further. “I’ll get right on top of that, counselor.”
The lawyer looked caught off guard and his mouth parted like he wanted to say something else but forgot what it was. He blinked and barked one last time. “I better not see that same trash in the morning.”
Wylde’s voice was almost a whisper now. “Of course. Anything else?” The lawyer’s head jerked back before he stormed off, leaving Wylde feeling some type of way, but he wasn’t sure what that way was.
Jacob walked down the sidewalk feeling like someone had just kicked his ass and he didn’t mean the blistering cold weather. He didn’t like being played with, he was too old for games. That well-dressed man was just sticking up for his girl or something, because there was no way in hell that guy was a goddamn wedding planner. He looked like an athlete, a swimmer, or maybe a diver. With that long, slim body and those thin fingers. His face was narrow, his strong jaw highlighted by a perfectly groomed goatee. Shit. The same light hair that framed his tender-looking lips. Jacob groaned as he yanked his car door open. He hated that he got caught staring, wondering how the man looked with that man bun undone and the sandy-brown hair framing his face.
He’d never heard of anyone named wild, well that wasn’t how it was spelled, but it was still an interesting name. Jacob sped down E. Broad and slung a hard left onto S. Belvedere. He needed to get home and work off the heat that’d been building in the pit of his stomach… and a little lower as well. That goddamn wedding planner smelled like the best bar of soap ever invented. He’d never been hit so hard by a fragrance. Jacob’s dick rose a little higher, making him groan since he refused to touch it. He was not going to let that smooth criminal steal his own self-control. He made a quick left onto W. Main, overshooting the speed limit by at least twenty miles per hour. That was a reckless driving ticket if he was stopped. There were a lot of restaurants on this street and Jacob thought of pulling into one, but quickly decided against it. Finally turning onto N. Plum, he entered his condo’s parking lot and hurriedly took the elevator to his apartment.
His stomach growled, reminding him he’d skipped lunch and now dinner, while he changed into his workout clothes. He’d run until there were no more thoughts of Wylde. Damnit, Jacob even liked the way that name sounded on his tongue. His cock protruded from the thin, nylon shorts as he set the treadmill to the most difficult setting and pressed start. Jacob was barely able to finish, but he did it, making him feel more victorious and more in control. He showered quickly, washing his groin too fast for it to feel good. While he ate takeout in his dark living room, he picked up his cell and called Patrick again… no fucking answer. Goddamn him.