Club Destiny, #4
Copyright © 2013 by Nicole Edwards
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With a slew of reporters standing around, looking to pick up the tiniest bit of news that they could exploit, Tag Murphy did his best to appear unaffected as he made his way through the crowd. This was part of his job that he wasn't all that fond of.
He didn't have any problem being the necessary diversion that would keep the media at bay temporarily, but he’d rather be doing just about anything else. If Susan Toulmin’s rant of lunacy was anything to go by the tactic appeared to be working.
Tag spared a glance at the immaculately dressed woman coming out of the courtroom spouting all kinds of crazy shit. As much as he’d like to be surprised, sadly, he was not. He didn't expect anything less from her today, especially after the judge finally ruled in favor of Sierra Sellers.
He might have to endure a microphone or two that came just a little too close for comfort, but it was the least he could do to keep the attention from Sierra who was now being escorted out through the side entrance by Luke and Cole. Better him than Luke McCoy that was for damn sure.
“Mr. Murphy,” a microphone was jammed toward his face, “is it true that, not only do you represent Club Destiny, but you’re also a member?”
Tag couldn't count the number of times he had heard that exact question in the last couple of weeks. And just like every other time, he ignored it and continued making his way through the hordes of people mulling about.
“No comment,” Tag said as he shouldered his way through, only this time, something – or rather someone – caught his eye.
Stopping abruptly, his feet unwilling to continue, Tag searched the faces around him until his gaze narrowed on one woman. The same woman who had damn near caught his eye every day for a solid month and captivated his thoughts for even longer.
After their first run in, Tag had spent the better part of an afternoon digging for more information on the titillating red head now standing just two feet away wielding a microphone and a seductive smile. The microphone he didn’t mind, but the smile was more than just an intriguing tilt of her full, red lips. It was a dare.
His persistent research gave Tag quite a bit of information on the very successful journalist. She wasn’t just any journalist though. McKenna was a relentless, highly admired entrepreneur who owned Sensations, Inc., a well-known online magazine geared toward swingers and the sexually taboo. In recent weeks, thanks to the loose lips of Susan Toulmin, McKenna’s magazine had received more than its fair share of recognition.
He knew better than to provoke the intriguing McKenna. Not because he worried his life would become fodder for her daily newsfeed, but because, quite frankly, Tag wasn't sure how far his control could be stretched, and the vibrant red head, with her teasing smile and come hither stare, seemed to realize it.
“Is it true, Mr. Murphy,” McKenna drawled in that sexy, raspy voice that was better suited for phone sex than an interview in his opinion, “that you’re representing Luke and Logan McCoy in their newest business venture? Investing in a mega resort catering to the uber wealthy and their kinky obsessions?”
Tag made sure his expression didn't change as he continued to stare into the most exotically intense eyes he’d ever seen on a human being. From a distance, her eyes appeared to be as crystal blue as the waters of the Caribbean, but up close, less than a foot between them, he could see that McKenna’s eyes weren't blue, or green, or brown, but a mixture of all three. The iris consisted of a thin circle of brown, encapsulated by a thicker ring of green, surrounded by an unusually bright teal blue. He didn't even think they could be called a certain color.
Her eyes weren't her only feature that Tag found appealing. Ever since the first day, outside of the very same courthouse where they stood now, he’d been consumed by thoughts of her. It wasn't just the smooth perfection of her porcelain skin, her cute little nose, her luscious mouth or all of those sinful curves that made men turn and watch while she walked away. McKenna had a confident sophistication about her and when she had said his name that day, he’d been a goner.
His body hadn't known the type of lust she inspired in him for quite some time; an inferno of passion and need that all but consumed him. Only Tag was a smart man, and he’d been taught at a remarkably young age not to play with fire. And he sensed this woman was as fiery as the long, silky tresses up-swept at the back of her head.
“No. Comment,” Tag offered McKenna his signature statement and a mocking grin, then turned and moved through the crowd. Had it not been for his brief pause, he might’ve been able to avoid what came next.
“Mr. Murphy!” the voice rang out, all too familiar, and more than a little irritating. “Don’t you think it’s time you came clean with the nice people of this city?”
Why could the woman just not keep her damned mouth shut?
Tag initially found Susan’s insistence on representing herself highly amusing, but it hadn't taken long before she proved not only to him, but the judge as well, that she was unquestionably bat shit crazy. Now, apparently, she was out to ensure the world knew it too.
He turned slowly, dreading the confrontation that had been a long time coming.
“Ms. Toulmin,” Tag greeted her politely, although he should have ignored her. With Luke McCoy, on behalf of Club Destiny, in the process of suing Susan for violation of a binding contract, Tag knew better than to invite trouble if he could avoid it.
Susan’s reaction to Sierra’s relationship with Luke and Cole came as a bit of a shock to the three of them. She made good on her promise to sue Sierra for misrepresentation of her design experience, although Susan’s retaliation was obviously due to her intense feelings for Luke and Cole. Tag knew for a fact that Sierra had wished she never laid eyes on the high maintenance, demanding attorney, so today’s outcome had to be a welcome relief.
“When are you going to let these people know what Club Destiny is truly all about? The lewd and repulsive acts that go on behind closed doors?”
Funny how the woman didn't find the club lewd and repulsive when she had been the one being nailed to the wall by one or more members of the club during her frequent weekly visits.
Tag raised his eyebrows as if to question Susan, knowing full well she was continuing to dig herself a deeper hole every time she chose to open her mouth.
He sometimes, like now, had difficulty understanding what had made the woman snap. Tag liked Luke McCoy well enough, but seriously? Could Luke have been that good in bed that the instant Susan felt as though he wasn't hers to have any longer she went off the deep end? Shit, he’d engaged in some seriously intense sex in his lifetime, but no one had ever pushed him to his limits.
Then again, Tag never allowed himself to consider anyone his the way Susan mistakenly did. There might have been a relationship or two that Tag considered exclusive, but with those partners, they agreed up front and they knew full well what he was and was not interested in.
When it was over, it was over.
Another reason he liked the recent nontraditional aspect to his relationships. He was content with being a third because it allowed him the freedom he craved while also giving him the monogamy – for lack of a better word – that he desired. However, his current relationship status stood at single because he didn't have time for anything else. Or at least that’s what he told himself.
For a solid month, Tag had managed to avoid Logan and Samantha McCoy’s requests for him to join them in their infrequent rendezvous’ because... well, because of her. The sinfully beautiful woman, dressed in black from head to toe, pinning him with those exquisite eyes; the same one standing behind Susan Toulmin, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth in another attempt to fuck with him.
Instead of responding to either woman, Tag turned around, and this time successfully escaped the throng of reporters anxious to sling mud all over the front pages of whatever magazine or newspaper they represented.
Including McKenna Thorne.
If she knew what was best for her, she’d back off before she bit off more than she could chew.
McKenna watched as the extremely fine specimen known as Tag Murphy slowly disappeared from sight, appearing to be swallowed whole by the herd of reporters jumping for the chance to catch that one golden ticket comment that would rocket their career to stardom.
She didn't move until she could no longer see his sexy as hell bald head. What she wouldn't give just to follow him. She was thankful to have been blessed with enough common sense to know better.
From the moment she laid eyes on him nearly two months earlier, McKenna realized he was one she didn't want to mess with. Yet, she was captivated by him. Totally enthralled with every facet of the man to the point she was all but stalking him on the internet, digging up as much information about him as she could, and absorbing it as fast as possible. Thankfully that was her job, or she might be a little worried about her own sanity.
Oh, hell, who was she kidding? She was a little worried.
She was soothed by the fact that Tag Murphy considered her the enemy; therefore, thwarting any chance of her possibly getting close to the man. Little did he know, but McKenna was the least he had to worry about, but it was easier to accept his aversion to her than risk the chance of facing him one on one again.
Their impromptu introduction a couple of months back had left her reeling. Similar to her intentions today, McKenna had been at the courthouse in hopes of speaking to Tag in regards to his personal take on the trial. Considering he wasn't representing Sierra, she had been hoping to get his opinion on a future outcome. From the moment she asked the question, McKenna had been caught up in the mesmerizing intensity of his beautiful green eyes. He never did fully answer her, but something else had transpired between them that day. Something that McKenna thought about often in the days since.
In recent days, she’d acquired a few juicy tidbits of information about the sexy lawyer that she was tempted to share with her readers, but for some reason, she felt it necessary to keep those intricate secrets to herself. After all, she hadn't become successful by exploiting people. No, her readers had come to love her online magazine for her insight and her honesty. But, just like any other journalist worth their salt, McKenna had learned how to get the information she needed. That was her job and she was good at it. Although it didn't explain why she couldn't get her mind off of him and hadn't been able to for longer than she cared to admit.
Tag Murphy was sex personified, and she could only imagine what he’d be like between the sheets. Not that she would ever find out, but she could have fun pretending for a little while.
Her attention was pulled to the woman standing next to her, feeding a line of unsubstantiated bullshit into one of the lingering microphones. Good thing McKenna already knew what the bitter Susan Toulmin had to say. Same thing she always did.
According to Susan, the club Luke owned was one that dealt in lewd, indecent acts of debauchery that were often orgiastic in nature. She continued to taunt the media by threatening to mention names of supposedly prominent members of society who frequented the club. However, whenever asked about her own membership, Susan often backtracked, hinting that she hadn't realized what she was signing up for at the time she applied, was accepted and then paid the outrageously expensive membership fee.
McKenna knew she should be interested because, at some point, Susan was going to slip up. She just had an issue with taking her at her word because no one had the lowdown on the infamous Club Destiny, which meant there wasn't enough proof for her to even hint at a story and feel good about it.
Figuring the day was already shot, McKenna switched off her microphone and turned to go. She didn't need to hear any more, and if she was honest, she didn't come to hear Ms. Toulmin speak in the first place.
Her real reason for coming had just walked away.
Grabbing her cell phone from her pocket, McKenna dialed her assistant’s number, wondering whether she was any more successful in getting information from Sierra or Luke.
“Whisper?” McKenna greeted when her assistant answered the phone.
Yes, her assistant’s name was Whisper, and no one knew whether that was her birth name, or if she’d changed it along the way. No matter what, the name didn't suit her at all. McKenna was pretty sure the term “quiet” wasn't even in the woman’s vocabulary.
“Hey, Mac? You have any luck?” McKenna barely heard her assistant over the sound of a hundred voices speaking at one time, so she waited until she emerged on the other side of the group currently huddled closer and closer to the mouth at the microphone.
“No luck on my end,” McKenna said, thinking back on that smoldering hot look Tag had gifted her with seconds before he turned his back on her. “How about you?”
Any good reporter knew that Sierra Sellers was going to escape through the back doors of the courthouse while a diversion had been set up out front. McKenna had known, but she had also opted to take her chances on that diversion being Tag.
“No, Sierra wouldn't talk and the glares I received from those muscles on her arm had me backing off. I’m not an idiot, you know.”
McKenna laughed. Whisper might’ve been the loudest, most obnoxious woman she’d ever met – and she meant that in the most endearing way possible – but at least she knew when to back off.
Most of the time.
“Well, I’ll meet you back at the office. I've got something I want to write up for tomorrow’s blog,” McKenna told Whisper as she headed to her car. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing juicy, but I figure it’s not a bad idea to dangle the carrot every now and again.”
“McKenna,” Whisper managed to drawl her name into way more than three syllables, which she recognized as a warning.
“Oh, hush. I've got this one covered,” McKenna told Whisper.
“You’re going to push that man too far, honey. I can feel it.”
McKenna’s sole objective these days seemed to be finding more and more ways to push him. The man was too self-controlled for his own good. She wanted to rough him up a little bit, and this little stunt just might get her what she wanted.