An Executive Decision Novel: Interviewing Wade
The Executive Decisions Trilogy may be over, but the story continues. Intrepid reporter, Carla Flannery, wants to interview Wade Crittenden, the secretive creative genius behind Pneuma Inc. But when, against all odds, Wade actually agrees to the interview, Carla suspects ulterior motives.
Carla has made a lot of enemies in her work and when Wade discovers she’s being stalked, he agrees to the interview to keep her close and safe. As the situation turns deadly, lives and hearts are on the line, and the interview reveals far more about both than either ever expected.
Carla nodded to the chair opposite her and Wade sat down cautiously. She offered a dry smile and spoke around a mouthful of toast. ‘Chair’s not booby-trapped, food’s not poisoned. My security system’s not that good.’
When he made no reply but savoured a forkful of eggs, she joined him in devouring the feast, satisfied that after the first bite, he shovelled it in with as much relish and lack of delicate table manners as she did. With her, eating was always done in a hurry to get on with what was always way more work than she had time for, unless she was settling in for a meal with her father. She suspected he cooked for her especially for that reason. And as she watched Wade stuff half a slice of toast into his mouth in one go, she figured he was probably the same, with no one to make sure he got a good meal from time to time. Though possibly Ellis invited him over occasionally, or maybe Harris Walker and his new wife, Stacie Emerson. Apparently her culinary skills were spoken about in hush tones. Strange, but it felt good to be able to offer something to Wade, even if the idiot did show up at three in the morning
‘Good,’ he said, at last, covering his full mouth with the paper towel she’d given him in lieu of the napkins she didn’t have.
‘Thanks. You think this is good, you should see me make Pop Tarts.
‘I like Pop Tarts,’ he said.
‘The secret is,’ she leaned across the table, ‘you’ve got to get the toaster set just right. And then afterwards,’ he leaned closer with wrapped attention, ‘afterwards I put butter on ‘em and stick ‘em in the microwave until it melts.’
Wade’s eyes were huge and very green in the kitchen lighting. He looked dead serious, as though she had just given him her secret for cold fusion. ‘I never thought about melting the butter on them in the microwave,’ he said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. ‘But I find that I do like mine so that the little pastry edges are just beginning to get almost too brown.’
Christ! Were they actually talking about Pop Tarts? She laughed. ‘I like ‘em almost burnt, but I know that’s a matter of personal taste. My Dad likes his just barely warm.’
He lowered his head and went back to shovelling eggs.
She popped the last of her bacon into her mouth and spoke around it. ‘So tell me, is Fort Flannery as unassailable as my father assured me, or are we in need of an upgrade?’
He drained his glass of orange juice and pushed back from the table. ‘Your father did a good job. I didn’t have to do hardly anything.’
‘He’ll be glad to hear that,’ she said. ‘Sorry you had to waste your valuable time in the wee hours. I know how busy you are.’
‘Yes, well, it was on my mind. If you’ll let me see your Android, I’ll give it a little upgrade too.’
‘Will I be able to watch Russian porn on it?’ she asked.
‘Japanese and Chinese porn as well, if you like.’ There was that quirk of a smile that she really would love to eat right off his face.
‘And I’ll assume you’ve given it a test-drive.’
To her delight, the smile didn’t disappear, even though the blush was hot on those chiselled cheeks. ‘I’m my own best guinea pig.’
‘Wade Crittenden, that borders on too much information, but in the interest of consumer protection and all, I thank you.’ The blush grew, but the smile stayed put as she offered him a salute and went into her bedroom to get the device.
She returned to find that he’d shed his hoodie and was filling the sink with soapy water, his broad back mantling the counter like a giant bird of prey. For a second her stomach bottomed at the sight of Wade Crittenden doing dishes at her sink. She stood, Android crushed to her chest, feeling flushed and slightly off-balance. His t-shirt was a loose fit, misshapen and short in the back from too many washings for something that should have migrated to the rag drawer some time ago, and when he reached across the sink to add still more soap, the shirt rode up to reveal the slim line of his back and the muscles where his hips joined his torso just above the swell of his buttocks. The baggy jeans gave enough of an intimation of that swelling to leave Carla breathless and hot enough to want to throw off her own hoodie and splash herself with the soapy water in which he was nearly elbow-deep.
As though he sensed her watching, he turned, slopped water down the front of his shirt and onto his jeans and uttered a surprised curse.
Without thinking she rushed to his side, dropping the device on the table. ‘You don’t have to do that,’ she managed, in a breathless gasp. ‘Sometimes I go for weeks without ever washing so much as a coffee cup.’ She stretched around him, grabbed for a dish towel and offered it to him instead of patting him dry herself, which was what she really wanted to do.
He reached for the towel, holding her gaze. ‘You cook for me, I do the clean-up for you. Fair’s fair.’ His hand slid into the cloth and around her fingers as he drew it to his chest. His breath caught, his lips parted as though to speak, and God help her, she couldn’t resist, she leaned into him on tippy-toe and planted a kiss firmly on his mouth. She only meant for it to be a friendly peck, a way of saying thanks for checking up on her and for doing the dishes, but his other hand, covered with soapy water, swooped in and grabbed the front of her hoodie reeling her to him. Then he curled his fingers in the tangle of her wild hair and cradled the back of her head, pulling her still further up on her toes. ‘Oh God,’ he whispered, his tongue darting deep, his lips, soft and hard and bruising all at the same time, meeting hers in a clash of wills and a heroic effort to get closer and deeper. ‘Oh God, Carla, why did you do that,’ he gasped against her mouth.
‘Just being friendly,’ she managed, before the tongue sparring got serious. He gave the towel a toss and yanked down the zipper of her hoodie, shoving it off onto the floor, his hands skimming her breasts in his efforts, thumbs lingering to rake her nipples that were already painful in their peaking. His jeans might have been loose, but they were not loose enough to disguise his erection, and he didn’t seem to care. Both hands slid to cup her bottom and he lifted her, settling her onto the kitchen table, pushing her legs apart with his knees and moving in between her thighs as she went to work on his fly.
‘I have lots of friends,’ he breathed. ‘None of them do that to me.’
‘How about this,’ she said biting his lower lip and sliding her hand down inside his boxers. ‘Do they do this?’
‘No,’ he returned the nip. ‘Never, none of them.’ For a second he faltered. ‘Carla, I –’
‘Shut up, Wade. I don’t wanna hear it.’ This time she bit his tongue before she took his hand and guided it down into her baggy sweat bottoms and into her own boxers.
“Take one part of tall, dark and reclusive millionaire who likes to go bowling alone on Monday mornings, stir in another part in-your-face intrepid female reporter who never gives up until she gets her story and shake it up with a killer who has a score or two to settle. The result is a steamy and suspenseful tale that takes you on a fast-paced ride and keeps you turning the pages. The suspense is well done and really kept my interest. The book is easy to recommend. You won’t want to put it down. Go and grab your copy.” 4.5 out of 5, Love Bites and Silk Ties
“The story is well paced, with only inklings of the stalker’s identity showing up, after all kinds of computer searching, and old-fashioned footwork. The climax is shivery scary, and I couldn’t put it down.” 5 out of 5, Manic Readers