Waitressing at a tequila bar on the beach in sunny San Diego may not be what Reece Kirkwell wants to do forever, but for now it’s perfect—other than the flashbacks to the tragedy she caused in Boston. And the fact that one of her bosses is a domineering, first-class manwhore who’s as stubborn as he is sexy. If he’d just listen to her, she could double his business. But it would also mean getting close to someone, and that’s a risk she can’t afford.
Cade Hardy’s partners at Conquistadors are like his brothers, but he’s the money man trying to keep them all afloat. To blow off steam, he’s been sleeping around a little. The last thing he needs is business advice from their crazy-hot new waitress. Cade can’t figure Reece out. She’s smarter than she lets on, and she doesn’t hide her disgust for his active sex life. But after he recognizes her PTSD symptoms, Cade is determined to save her . . . unless she saves him first.
Conquistadors is a tequila bar, run by 3 friends who also happen to be former Navy SEALS. So, it's popular. But, the food is bad, they know it and Reece knows it. And she tells the customers, which makes Cade angrier at her than he should be...but, there's more going on than what is on the surface.
I liked Cade, a lot. There was an appeal to the guy who looked like a surfer with no cares in the world and the idea that he was so much more than you would have guessed, once you get to know him. Reece was also interesting, but a little more obvious about it, if that makes sense. She was more open, and more willing to share about her life, whereas Cade, you felt a little bit of a struggle to figure out what was going on with him. I enjoyed getting to know both of them in the story.
I enjoyed this title, and as there were 3 friends and owners, and this is the 3rd book, I am guessing this is the last in the series. I like that it left all of them in a good place, and that it also resolved some of the small uncertainties that had been present in the other books.
I enjoyed this title and I recommend it.
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Cade checked his watch. “Reese should be here soon.”
“Just don’t freak out on her,” Beck said, crossing his arms.
“I’m not going to freak out on her. I’m going to fire her.”
“What? No!” Beck gaped at him.
“Hold up,” Marco said, waving his hands. “Why do you want to fire her?”
“She’s been lying to us!”
Marco and Beck exchanged looks. “Well . . . she’s been a little deceptive . . . but I don’t know about lying,” Marco said. “Why don’t you just talk to her and find out what’s going on?”
“She actually came up with some pretty fantastic stuff,” Beck said. “I don’t think we should fire her. I think we should promote her.”
“What?” Now Cade stared openmouthed. “What the actual fuck?”
“I’m serious. Hey, do you want me to talk to her? Or Marco?”
Cade narrowed his eyes. “No.”
“Maybe we should be here, though,” Marco said.
Jesus, what did they think he was going to do? “I can do it. I hired her. I’ll deal with it.”
“Okay. But let me be clear on this.” Marco leaned forward, shoving his face right in Cade’s. “Do not fire her.”
Cade’s muscles tensed all over again. He was so fucking pissed he could spit bullets.
Why? He never got angry like this. He was in control of his emotions at all times. It was Reese who did this to him. He took a deep breath. “Fine,” he said through clenched teeth. “I won’t fire her . . . right now.”
Beck and Marco wore identical looks of frustrated annoyance. The three of them stood glaring at each other for a long moment in a tense standoff. “Okay,” Beck said finally.
Beck and Marco left and Cade threw himself down into his chair.
Jesus. He hadn’t even had to ask Sid how long this had been going on. It was pretty obvious. He’d known there was something weird happening, when Sid had suddenly come up with those great ideas, but he’d been too lazy to put it all together. Lazy. Stupid. Blind. Or maybe in denial that the cook they’d been on the verge of firing hadn’t really come through after all.
A soft knock on the open door had him lifting his head.
She stood in the doorway, smiling faintly. She was dressed for work in another black dress, this one sleeveless with a bunch of pleats that wrapped around her slender body. It, too, showed off her amazing legs, and today she wore a pair of pointy-toed shoes with a low but spiky heel. Her bright hair had been pulled up into a bunch of loops on the back of her head with wispy pieces hanging out.
“Come in,” he said gruffly, trying to rein in his anger. He gestured at another chair.
She advanced into the room and perched on the edge of the chair. Her fingers went to the hem of her dress and rubbed it. Fingers that were shaking. Just a bit.
“What the everloving fuck have you been playing around at?” he demanded. Then he closed his eyes. This wasn’t how you talked to an employee.
On some level, he recognized that his anger was way out of proportion to the incident.
“What are you talking about?”
He slashed a hand through the air. “No more lies. You’re busted. Sid confessed everything.”
“Oh.” She said the word on a soft exhalation. “Damn.”
She met his eyes. “It was my doing. Don’t be angry at Sid. He’s trying his best.”
Her defense of Sid and acceptance of responsibility took him aback. For a few seconds. “How the hell . . . what were you thinking . . . why?” he yelled.
Her eyes flashed and she pressed her lips together. “I could see how he was struggling. And the food . . . well, you know how I felt about the food.”
Oh, yeah. He did. Even now she didn’t bother to hide her distaste.
“Look, it’s not like I was taking cash out of the register or skimming credit card numbers from the customers, for the love of Godfrey. We weren’t hurting anything by doing what we did. In fact . . .” She jutted her chin at him. “Even you have to admit guests liked the food.”
“That’s not the point.”
“Then what the hell is the point?” she demanded. She sat forward, her cheeks now flushed peach, eyes sparkling. “You wanted to make your food better. I was trying to help. It didn’t interfere with my waitressing, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
He frowned. “I never thought that.”
“Then what are you so pissed off about? Oh wait, I know. Because this wasn’t your idea. Because you weren’t in control.”
His head jerked back.
“Well, I’m sorry I went behind your back. I know it wasn’t honest. I didn’t mean to cause problems. Just don’t . . . I don’t want Sid to be in trouble about this, because it was my doing.” She jumped to her feet. “I’ll get my things and leave.”
“No!” He pushed up, too, then laid his hands on the desk, leaning forward. “No. Sit down.”
She didn’t move for a few seconds, holding his gaze with her own fierce stare.
Jesus. For some reason, he was turned on. Hot need punched his lower belly. She
was stunning with her passion and confidence and honesty. Then she turned and started to walk away.
No fucking way.
He vaulted over the desk and grabbed her arm, spinning her around.
She gasped, eyes big. His gaze dropped to her mouth . . . her full lips shiny and parted . . . fuck, he wanted to taste her and feel those lips. Tension shimmered around them, the temperature in the office rising several lustful degrees. Her breasts lifted and fell with her quick respirations and he tried not to look there but damn, it was hard not to, and he wanted to pull her closer so he could feel those sweet, soft tits pressed against him.
“Let me go.” Her voice came out low and husky.
He was losing his goddamn mind. This was a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. But for some reason he didn’t fucking care. “You’re not leaving.”
Their eyes met again and the air around them crackled.
“Why?” she demanded. “You’re obviously angry. I lied to you. That’s grounds for termination.” She glared. “You know you want to fire me.”
He nearly groaned. “You have no idea what I want to do to you.”
Her eyes widened again. Tension arced between them. His muscles bunched and jumped, his heart thudding. When her lips parted again, he knew . . . she did know what he wanted to do to her. And she wanted it, too.
Drawn to her like a magnet, he bent his head. He breathed in that scent he now knew, spiced vanilla and pear. Heat pulsed through his veins.
He couldn’t screw this up.
“Shit.” He relaxed his grip, but then probably made things worse by reaching for her other arm. Holding her like that, his grip gentler, he stared down into her face. “You make me crazy, Reese.”
Her eyelashes fluttered and her pulse flickered at her throat. Her face now wore a
glowing flush of color and her eyelids dropped to half mast. “I know.”
He choked on a laugh, and lowered his forehead to touch hers. “Sometimes I think you try to make me crazy.”
“It’s pretty easy. Control freak.”
“Shit,” he murmured. “You know what buttons to push.”
“I didn’t do this to make you crazy. I swear.”
He sighed. “I believe you.” He moved back, still holding her arms, and he gave her a
searching look. Then he eased her back toward the chair and down into it. “Sit.”
His lips twitched. “That’s much better.”