Hell on Heels(2)By: Victoria Vane
Catching his eye, Tom flashed a lopsided grin and started to rise, but then gripped the table edge as if to balance himself. Early drinking didn’t bode well. It wasn’t like Tom, but then again, Ty had asked a helluva boon even from someone as flush in the pockets as Tom was.
“Sorry I’m late, Tom.” They came together with a hand squeeze and shoulder clap, the closest they ever came to an actual hug. Ty slid into the booth.
“No trouble.” Tom waved his hand. “I went ahead and ordered for both of us.”
“Great.” Ty grinned. “What’re we having?”
“The twenty-two-ounce porterhouse from the dinner menu,” Tom replied.
“Kinda heavy for lunch, doncha think?”
“Hell, yeah, but I didn’t come to the food capital to eat veggie burgers. The steak here is still the best in town, and Rosa doesn’t let me have beef but twice a week since my damned coronary last year. If I never see another chicken it’ll be too soon.”
Hiring Rosa had been Tom’s answer to his three matrimonial strikeouts, but judging by his housekeeper’s relative youth and voluptuousness, Ty guessed she was a bit more than that.
“When’d you get in?” Ty asked.
“Day b’fore yesterday.”
“And you only called me this morning?” That wasn’t like Tom either. This meeting already wasn’t looking good. Deciding he should brace himself for bad news, Ty flagged down a cocktail waitress. “A double Jim Beam Black on the rocks, please.”
The waitress was an attractive blonde with a nice rack who eyed them both from hats to boots with a blinding smile. Now that he thought about it, most of the women in Vegas had great tits and blazing white teeth. Maybe that’s part of what kept him here. After taking Ty’s order, she turned to Tom.
“You want anything from the bar, Mr. Brandt?”
“Nothing, thanks,” Tom replied, looking her over with overt appreciation. He might be getting up in years, but he still admired a good-looking woman as much as the next man.
“All right-y, then,” she replied with another flash of white teeth. “Be back in a jiff.”
Both men watched her ass sway as she walked away. She noticed, caught Ty’s eye, and winked. His prick stirred to life. Hell, it was only a wink. Was it that long since he’d been laid? Weeks probably, he realized dismally. But he’d been so damned busy lately. He decided then and there to add a good long fuck to his agenda once this meeting was over. Hell, if things turned out as he feared, he’d have to flag it as a number-one priority—right after getting shit-faced.
“I didn’t call sooner because I wanted to meet with my banker, accountant, and lawyer before answering you,” Tom replied at last, his perfectly impassive expression giving nothing away.
“And?” Ty prompted.
“I’m sorry to say they all counseled me against it, Ty. The ROI is piss-poor compared to what I’d make on the shale fields. You know how those bean counters are.”
Fuck. Ty’s gaze darted to the bar, where the waitress was flirting with a brawny blond bartender. He really needed that bourbon. Now.
“We both know the place is well past its heyday,” Tom continued. “It hasn’t made a profit in the past decade. Sure, it made money back when all the city dudes were hot to impress their gals on the mechanical bulls, but times have changed. I hate to say it, Ty, but my financial advisers want me to pull out of the hotel altogether and put the money where it’ll grow—into hydraulic drilling and exploration.” Tom sat back with a thoughtful look. “Ironic, isn’t it? My granddaddy made a fortune wildcatting, lost most of it in the Depression, and now fracking the very same sites has made mine.”
The waitress returned with his drink, but this time Ty answered her inviting smile with only a curt nod and a terse thanks. Pretty blondes, even ones with nice racks and pert asses, were now the last thing on his mind.
Tom’s decision to pull out was a blow he’d half-expected but still wasn’t completely prepared for. But with no wife or family, and nothing but old scars and broken bones to his credit, the hotel was all Ty had left. He took a long drink, savoring the bourbon bite while struggling to collect his scattered thoughts. After another fortifying swallow, he set his glass on the table. He still believed he could save the place and wasn’t about to give it up without a fight.