Grant's Heat (Shark's #4) o - ANGEL PAYNE, Victoria Blue

Chapter One


“So, as you can see, Mr. Twombley, this property is quite a steal. It won’t stay on the market long. If we don’t make an offer in the next day, someone else will.”

I followed my real estate agent from the hallway into the master suite of the fortieth-floor condo of the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. This was the only room with which I was really concerned, but Charlene didn’t need to know that. I liked the woman enough to have worked steadily with her for the last five years, but she didn’t know much about me on a personal level. I had every intention of keeping it that way.

Char kept on chattering. Something about floor-to-ceiling something or other. I tuned her out while venturing into the en suite bathroom. Typically, the bedroom and bathroom were the only two rooms I used in most of my places, so I focused on what mattered here.

Marble slab counters topped sleek gray cabinets, and matching marble tiles lined the walls of the oversized shower. My six and a half feet made most shower enclosures uncomfortable, so this plumbing masterpiece had me sold on the condo quicker than any of the other features Char had droned on about thus far. Give me a luxurious bathroom, and I was a happy boy indeed.

“Let’s put in an offer as soon as you can draft it.”

“Excellent, Mr. Twombley,” she purred. “I had a feeling you’d like this place.”

“But I want to come in at thirteen percent under asking.”

Just as swiftly, her shoulders sagged. But I didn’t feel a second of compunction about being the confidence murderer. Charlene Jackson and I had closed at least twelve deals together, and she argued with my initial offer every single time. By now, I expected her diligence—but in hopes of saving us both some time, I held up my hand to stave off her ensuing protest. Not that it stopped her. “You heard me,” I said firmly. “Can we make one offer where you don’t argue with me first?”


I just stared, waiting for her to continue.

“I just think it’s a bad number,” she persisted.

“You already know that won’t change my mind.”

“You’re risking driving them from the table by lowballing them.”

“I understand you feel that way. And that is the offer I want you to make. Write it up and send it over so I can sign it.” I scrolled through my phone blindly to signal the conversation was over. The agent let out a frustrated sigh while she packed up her briefcase at the kitchen island.

“This was a great find, Char. Good job.” Turning a full circle, I took in the airy space one last time before concluding, “I don’t have anything in this neighborhood but was looking for something around here.” When she didn’t respond, I looked up to see she was still pouting, stuffing things into her designer bag. “That’s a nice bag, by the way.”

“Really?” She visibly warmed, her green eyes sparkling in the late-morning sun that shone through in the eat-in kitchen’s windows. “You like it?”

“I do.” I meant it, which came as a small surprise, since that wasn’t my original intention. The goal had simply been to get this woman over her snit. Getting Char to revel over her latest handbag or shoes was like setting out catnip for the neighborhood’s stray tabby.

The woman stroked the leather with a gentle hand, gazing at the thing like the parent of a newborn. “Thanks so much,” she crooned. “Today’s her debut.”

I chuckled. “Her? Handbags have a gender now?”

“This one just feels like a she.” Char looked adoringly at the