The Takeover - T.L. Swan Page 0,2

would like to buy your company, but I’m not offering a free pass.”

“Free pass,” I scoff.

Marley kicks me again . . . oh shit, that hurt. I throw her a dirty look, and she fakes a broad smile. “Happy, happy,” she mouths.

“And what do you mean by a free pass, Mr. Miles?”

“Tristan,” he corrects me.

“I’ll call you whatever I want.”

He gives me a slow, sexy smile, as if loving every minute of this. “I can see you’re a passionate woman, Claire, and that’s admirable . . . but come on. Let’s be serious here.”

I roll my lips, willing myself to stay silent.

“The last three years your company has run at a massive loss. You’re losing advertising accounts left, right, and center.” He steeples his hand on his temple as he stares at me. “I’m guessing the financials are a nightmare.”

I swallow the lump in my throat as we stare at each other.

“I can take everything off your hands, and you can take a hard-earned break.”

Anger begins to pump through my blood. “You would love that, wouldn’t you? Play Mr. Nice Guy and take everything off my hands . . . come in on your horse and save the day like a white knight.”

His eyes hold mine, and a trace of a smile crosses his face.

“I will hold on to my company if it’s the last thing I do.” I again feel a swift kick, and I jump, losing the last of my patience. “Stop kicking me, Marley,” I splutter.

Tristan breaks into a broad smile as he looks between us. “Keep kicking her, Marley,” he says. “Kick some sense into her.”

I roll my eyes, embarrassed that my assistant is kicking the shit out of my ankles.

He sits forward, his purpose renewed. “Claire, let’s get one thing straight. I always get what I want. And what I want is Anderson Media. I can take it now from you for a good price that will protect you. Or”—he shrugs casually—“I can wait for six months until the liquidators move in and get it for next to nothing, and you can face bankruptcy.” He steeples his hands on the table in front of him. “We both know the end is near.”

“You self-conceited prick,” I whisper.

He tilts his chin to the sky and smiles proudly. “Nice guys come last, Claire.”

My heart begins to beat faster as my anger builds.

“Think about it.” He takes out his business card and slides it across the table.



“I know this is not how you want to sell your company. But you need to be a realist,” he continues.

I stare at him, sitting there all cold and heartless, and I feel my emotions bubbling dangerously close to the surface.

Our eyes are locked. “Take the offer, Claire. I’ll email you a figure this afternoon. You will be taken care of.”

My sanity rubber band snaps, and I sit forward. “And who will take care of my late husband’s memory, Mr. Miles?” I sneer. “Miles Media sure as hell won’t.”

He twists his lips, uncomfortable for the first time.

“Do you know anything about me and my company?”

“I do.”

“Then you’ll know that this company was my husband’s labor of love. He worked for ten years to build it up from the ground. His dream was to hand it down to his three sons.”

His eyes hold mine.

“So . . . don’t you fucking dare”—I slam my hand on the table as my eyes fill with tears—“sit there with that smug look on your face and threaten me. Because believe me . . . Mr. Miles, whatever you’re dishing out isn’t half as bad as losing him.” I stand. “I’ve already been to hell and back, and I will not have some rich, spoiled bastard make me feel like shit.”

He rolls his lips, unimpressed.

“Don’t call me again,” I snap as I push back my chair.

“Think about it, Claire.”

“Go to hell.” I begin to storm to the door.

“She’s just having a bad day. We’ll definitely think about it,” Marley splutters in embarrassment. “Thanks for the cake—it was yummy.”

I angrily wipe the tears from my face as I run down the stairs and out the front doors. I can’t believe I was so unprofessional. Tears fill my eyes again. Oh well, at least I stood up to him, I guess.

Marley runs to keep up with me. She wisely stays silent and then looks up and down the street. “Oh, screw this, Claire—let’s not go back to work. Let’s go get drunk instead.”


I stand at the window and stare over