Home > Perception (Club Destiny #6)

Perception (Club Destiny #6)
Author: Nicole Edwards

Prologue

Nine Years Ago…

Xander exited the elevator on the third floor after a painfully long ride in what could very easily be referred to as a death trap. Seriously, getting to the third floor shouldn’t have taken that long. What the hell?

As he stepped out into the dimly lit area, he glanced around at the well-kept, yet drastically outdated furnishings of a small, two room office. Not only was it drab and dark, it had a musty smell, like there was a water leak somewhere that had never been fixed.

Why in the hell did anyone work in a place like this? He wasn’t sure what he had been expecting, but this certainly wasn’t it.

Less than impressed, he tried to pretend not to notice. He was there to meet one of his closest friends, Shane Gibson, who had been raving about a real estate agent who was rapidly making a name for herself. He wasn’t going in for a design consultation. Thank God.

Based on the office that this up-and-comer worked out of, Xander was having difficulty seeing her success, but he hadn’t met her yet, so he refrained from passing judgment.

Xander had no idea how Shane had come to meet Mercedes Bryant, the Realtor who clearly needed a new office, but he didn’t necessarily need to know either. He was in the market for property, his friend believed she could assist him, nothing else really mattered.

According to Shane, Mercedes specialized in commercial properties, and she’d been referred to as aggressive and emphatic. Based on her office building, Xander was inclined to believe that wet behind the ears could probably be added to the list of adjectives used to describe her.

Following the sound of voices coming from the only other room in the place, Xander stopped just outside of the open door and waited for them to acknowledge him.

“What’s up, man?” Shane greeted him pleasantly when he looked over from his seat across from an incredibly beautiful woman. “Xander Boone, I’d like you to meet Mercedes Bryant.”

Xander ignored the strange smirk on the man’s lips.

“Very nice to meet you, Mercedes,” Xander greeted the well-dressed woman who rose from her chair and walked around her desk as he entered the office. A few steps into the small room, he was standing directly in front of her, extending his hand out for her to shake. “Shane,” he tacked on with a nod of his head toward his friend.

No, Xander wasn’t at all impressed with her choice of offices, but he certainly approved of Mercedes’s appearance. Dressed in a pair of black slacks, a crisp white shirt with the top two buttons left undone, her shiny black hair pulled back in a tight ponytail while small gems twinkled in her ears, the woman exuded professionalism. Not to mention sex appeal.

So maybe she looked like she worked for the FBI with the fact that she lacked any color in her wardrobe, but he had to admit that the contrast between that white shirt and her black hair was striking. And her eyes. An intense gray that seemed to peruse slowly over him, leaving a trail of heat in their wake.

When Mercedes took his hand, he swore he felt an electrical current shoot through his arm. Her grip was firm and confident, her hand soft and smooth. An incredible combination, if you asked him.

There was no denying he was physically attracted to the woman.

“Likewise,” she responded in a smoky tone that Xander’s entire body responded to.

“Xander’s looking to purchase that overhauled warehouse you were telling me about,” Shane stated after clearing his throat.

“I wouldn’t go that far just yet.” He glanced over at Shane and then back to Mercedes. “However, I’d like to take a look at it, if you don’t mind,” Xander added as he continued to watch her.

“Do you have time now?” Mercedes asked, surprising him.

“I do. Shall I follow you?”

“No, I’ll drive. That way we can talk on the way.”

“I’ve, uh… got a meeting to run to,” Shane interrupted, his eyes darting between the two of them. “But I’ll catch up with you later,” he told Mercedes, his hand gently touching her arm. “And you,” he said to Xander, “I’ll talk to you this afternoon.”

Xander nodded to Shane, not saying a word.

A minute later, Xander was following Mercedes out into the brilliant morning sunshine. Had he not been so drawn to the woman leading the way, he might’ve noticed there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. But as it was, he was mesmerized by the way the sun shone off of her black hair, giving it a vibrant blue tint.

As they made their way over to the fancy black BMW sitting in the parking lot, Xander did his best to keep his eyes focused on where they were going, but he couldn’t seem to look away from her.

 

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