Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

Previous: Chapter Six
Next: Chapter Eight

Chapter Seven


Her father wasn’t happy about the idea of her going to Malia’s birthday party.

“It’s going to be at some crowded nightclub,” Donel Duke said disapprovingly on the phone. “There’ll be lots of unsavory characters. I don’t like it.”

Alexandra was glad her father couldn’t see her exasperated eye roll. “Dad, you got me this fancy bodyguard just for occasions like this one. I’ll be in public; I’ll be safe. Even Vincent or his goons wouldn’t be so dumb as to make a move on me there.”

“I still wish you wouldn’t go,” her father said with an angry sigh. “Just yesterday I was in another round of negotiations with him regarding the company we’re both bidding after. He had the gall to ask how my family was doing.”

“Maybe he was just being courteous,” Alexandra said drily.

“No, baby, he was yanking my chain,” Donel Duke said angrily. “If and when I find out he was behind that intruder of three weeks ago, I’m going to...”

“Dad, please,” Alexandra cut into her father’s furious words. “We have to figure out a safe and sane way to handle whatever threat I may be under. In the meantime, I want to still be able to feel like I’m living a normal life. Meaning there’s no way I’m missing my best girl’s birthday party, okay?”

It took several minutes of emotionally wrangling, but she did remind him once again that he’d hired the ‘top man’ to handle her personal safety, which made him sigh in defeat as he finally told her to have a good time.

Oh, I intend to, though Alexandra with a devious smile on her lips as she tossed her cell phone aside. She had just a few hours to prepare and she felt filled with bubbling excitement which had nothing to do with the upcoming festivity.

After the most luxurious of soaks in her bathtub, she headed for her closet and tossed open the walk-in doors. She’d never felt so good about going to a party in a long while. Apart from the fact that she’d helped Malia organize it, she felt like for once she could really let her hair down. She’d been so wrapped up in her classes and of course, this whole new agenda with having a bodyguard and being in danger. Well, she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of her fun tonight.

It was a week since that night in the kitchen when Cane had given just a glimpse of what went on inside his head. So, the guy was a workaholic who didn’t care much for hanging loose. I don’t believe in fun, she mimicked to herself as she made fun of his comment. He was stiff-necked, infuriating, and detestably sexy.

All this while she’d been determined to put him in his place the first chance she got, only to be taken down a peg herself when he told her they could never be lovers. Not like she’d even made him an offer, fumed Alexandra as she plucked her designer dress from its hanger and tossed it on the bed. She stared critically over the lines of shoes in her closet. She’d spent a long time considering what to wear tonight to get the desired effect.

In the past several days, Alexandra knew she’d gone out of her way to look her alluring best. Just to let Mr. Self-controlled know exactly what he was missing.

Needless to say, the past week had been hell. Not that they’d ever been the type to chatter, but besides giving orders, Cane said little else to her. Spending so much time around him, especially when she was at home was putting more of a strain on her than she expected. Why was she so obsessed with him anyway? He never seemed interested in breaking the ice wall he’d placed between them. It would have been nice if they could have been able to talk – if not about fashion which was her favorite topic, then about literature or politics or whatever he liked to talk about. Couldn’t they at least be civil with each other?

Apparently not, Alexandra thought with a smirk as she pulled on her panties over her garter belt hooked to sheer black tights. The last time they happened to be in the same room – the living room – there’d been a silly sitcom on TV and she’d tried to draw him into at least having a laugh with her. But he seemed to have no wish for any ‘bonding’. The moment she started up a conversation, he decided he had something he needed to see to in some other part of the house and excused himself.

Alexandra thought he was taking his professional stance too far. What did he think she was going to do if he just got a little bit closer to her? Ravish him? Or maybe he didn’t want to risk her falling for him. Like she’d ever be dumb enough to do that. He might be the most desirable man she’d ever met, and he might be the reason she was having the hottest fantasies on a nightly basis, but there was no chance of her growing any real feelings for him. Heck, she didn’t even know him. And just as quickly as he’d surfaced into her life, he could vanish from it without a trace.

Maybe it was best to keep him at arm’s length the way he did her, thought Alexandra. That way, he could focus on his job and she could pretend she didn’t care either way.

Shoving him firmly from her mind, Alexandra stared at her reflection in the bedroom mirror, the product of more than an hour of primping. Yep, now she looked and felt ready for some after-dark excitement. She’d had to tone down her social activities ever since that mess with the intruder whom they still hadn’t caught or identified. But tonight was Malia’s night and it was happening in the trendiest nightclub in the city, Club Déjà vu. She’d been there a few times and it was definitely an A-lister late-night playground with state-of-the-art everything.

Malia’s fantastic boyfriend Carl, who worked in the entertainment industry as some kind of talent agent, had been great about fixing a few live performances with some major hip-hop star to go with the club’s cutting-edge DJ who’d be providing all the R & B, rock, hip hop, house and mash up music they’d need to really get down.

Alexandra for one was looking forward to the flowing cocktails as well as the chance to soak in the exhilarating ambience that came from being part of an energized crowd. She was sick of being cooped up like a frightened chicken, anxious about her own shadow and unable to have any real fun. Well, none of that tonight. She was going to go wild for the next few hours and nothing had better stand in her way.

Previous: Chapter Six
Next: Chapter Eight