Tie Me Down: Kinky Security
“You want us to work for you?”
“Why are you repeating everything I just said? Yes, I’d like to hire Harlow Security. We’ve had some, er, incidents lately and I need to protect my investment.”
Jacob “Flash” Franklin and his boss, Helen Harlow, sat across from Finnegan, the enigmatic owner of a sex club, Edge. Finn was so mysterious, he didn’t even have a last name.
Of course, the prick has one, he’s just tight-lipped about it.
Harlow had asked the question, but Flash was having trouble believing it, too. However, they weren’t really in a position to be picky.
Not after my fuck up, anyway.
Jobs had been few and far between for weeks. Harlow Security had barely been able to make ends meet. Flash absently twirled the quarter ring on his finger, the one Amy had made for him, it was the only thing he had left of her.
Harlow blinked. “You mean, you need to protect your clientele.”
Finn yawned. “Sure.”
Harlow gave Flash a look, before turning back to Finn. “We’re just havin’ trouble digestin’ it. Can I ask what prompted you to call us?”
“A mutual friend of ours, Storm, recommended your firm.” He smirked. “Actually, the term friend is a bit too strong. He’s an acquaintance, a rather unpleasant one.”
Flash couldn’t quite place Finn’s accent, but he detected a hint of a British inflection in his words. And he recognized the nickname. Storm and Harlow trained together at The Farm. He worked at another security firm in the area.
She was a former CIA agent attached to Flash’s Navy SEAL team to identify targets. After his sister’s death, he’d been ready for a change, so Flash had accepted her offer to join the team.
“Are you sure?” Flash asked. “Especially after the incident.” It had made national headlines.
Finn’s expression was grave. “Yes, I’ve seen the news, but I’m a big believer in second chances.” He ran a hand down the line of his elegant three-piece suit.
Damn. The man dressed even better than True, which was really sayin’ something.
“Well, thank you,” Harlow said quietly.
“And despite appearances, I’m not perfect.”
Flash didn’t like Finn. He was arrogant, irritating, charming at times, and handsome. He had a feeling the charisma was all for show. Flash sensed this man’s allegiances could shift in an instant. As long as they were on the same side, he had nothing to worry about.
The second they were at odds; all bets would be off.
And he really didn’t like the way Finn was looking at Harlow. The man was practically eye-fucking her. But they literally couldn’t afford to pass up this opportunity.
Besides, Harlow was objectively hot. They had a close friendship, so Flash didn’t really think of her that way, but he’d have to be blind not to notice. She was a tall, statuesque blonde with blue eyes and a touch-me-not vibe.
“Thank you for givin’ us a shot.” Flash couldn’t stand to see his brothers and sisters in arms pay for his actions. He’d tried to resign, but Harlow wouldn’t hear of it.
“Besides, you’re in no position to negotiate, so you’re gonna knock twenty percent off your usual fee.”
Flash expected Harlow to argue, but she didn’t.
Instead, she narrowed her eyes. “We’ll consider your offer. Let’s talk duties first.”
Apparently, Harlow Security was a bargain basement firm now. Thanks to me.
Flash scoped out the office while they hashed out the business aspects. It was plush—with thick black carpet, a leather couch, and a massive walnut desk. Finn clearly liked to surround himself with luxury and comfort.
Dum Vivimus Vivamus.
There was a framed picture featuring the phrase on the wall. His high school Latin was rusty, but Flash thought it translated to while we live, let us live. The Latin phrase was practically a hedonistic mission statement and it definitely suited Finn. Flash didn’t know the man well, but he made a distinct impression. A bad one.
“How long will you need security?” Flash asked, tuning in once again since they’d dealt with all the logistics.
“Indefinitely.” Finn rubbed his jaw.
Well, at least they were getting a long-term gig out of this. He wasn’t looking forward to selling his shit on Craigslist or donating plasma to pay the bills.
Finn rubbed his hands together. “Excellent, since we’ve dispensed with the business aspect of this conversation, we can get down to more interesting matters. Tell me, Helen, are you seeing anyone at the moment?”
“I prefer to be called Harlow,” she said coolly.
“Nonsense. We’re going to be on a first name basis.”
“Speaking of, what is your last name?” Flash asked.
Finn smiled. “Perhaps I’ll tell you one day.”
“I’m not sure where this conversation is headed, but just to be crystal clear,” Harlow said. “I don’t mix business with pleasure.”
Finn raised a brow. “Funnily enough, pleasure is my business. I must say, you’re very attractive—strong, yet feminine.”
“Hmm, complimentary, yet sexist.”
Flash coughed to smother a laugh. Finn, to his credit, just beamed at her, delighted with her comeback.
“I meant no insult. I find you intriguing.”
“Trust me, honey, you and me…? It ain’t happenin’. Ever.”
Finn lifted a shoulder. “I concede. We’ll have a purely professional relationship.” He glanced at Flash, and his perusal was almost predatory.
Is he tryin’ to start somethin’ with me? Because I’m in no mood to play nice.
He’d been spoiling for a fight for weeks. Punching this guy might be the cure for what ails me. Flash wanted to beat the tar out of somebody else if only to have a target for all this rage and pain.
Is that what you really want? Or do you need somebody to punish you…?
The thought made him gasp. Where the fuck did that come from?
“And what about you?” Finn prompted.
Flash squinted. “I don’t follow.”
Finn leaned forward.
And then he got it.
“Oh? Are you hittin’ on me? Because…”
“You’re not gay?” Finn leered. “Neither am I. I’m bisexual and it was only a question.”
“Sorry, I’m not interested.”
“I’m truly taken with your supervisor, but you might’ve been a nice bonus.” The man shrugged, as though it didn’t matter. “But I guess I’ll settle for a productive partnership.” Finn held his hand out to Harlow.
“I’m never sleepin’ with you. Ever.” Harlow stared at his fingers as if they were spiders.
Finn rolled his eyes. “Check. One job offer and no sex.”
Weird. Finn seemed enchanted by her refusal, rather than upset. Maybe he liked a challenge?
Regardless, if Finn made a move on Harlow again, Flash would take care of it.
Harlow could kick ass and take names, but he’d still put the hurt on anybody who didn’t respect her boundaries. Flash didn’t like when men acted like assholes with women. Pushy dickheads gave all men a terrible reputation.
Finn turned to Harlow. “Shake on it?”
Harlow grasped Finn’s hand.
And just like that, they were in business.
Hmph. Maybe we should change the firm’s name to Kinky Security?