She cut him off again, “Look, I told–”
Graham leaned down and kissed his wife, smothering her words with his mouth. After that awkward moment passed, he looked back at me. “Anderson has something to tell you.”
Before I could speak, Soraya crossed her arms and glared up at me.
“Hello, Soraya. Pleasure as always to see you–”
“Cut the crap, Anderson. What?”
My glance over at Graham found him grinning almost in relief. Lorenzo was squeezing his cheeks, wanting his attention. He gestured for me to begin.
“I will be working with Ms. Messer on partnering with her chain of coffee shops.”
“Anderson, that’s wonderful. She had a solid presentation then?”
Not knowing how to answer, I glanced back at Graham. It was clear he wasn’t going to help on this one. “Well, the presentation got cut short, but I’m sure it was going to be comprehensive.”
Soraya squinted, waiting for me to continue. “I’ll let Graham give you all the details. I’d better get back in there and get started.”
Cracking the folder open as I made my way back down the hall to the conference room, it surprised me to only find the contact information sheet and a legal pad with a couple of lines of Graham’s notes. As I entered, Jurnee rose from the chair.
“I didn’t want to be rude and leave without saying thank you. I’ll get out of your way now.”
“Because where you come from, manners are important.”
“Manners are important, no matter where one is from.” Her biting tone forced me to stifle a smile. Focus, Man.
With a shake of my head, I cleared the events of our first meeting out of my mind. She shifted her weight to her other leg. She was preparing to bolt. My previous job at the law firm had taught me two things—first, the importance of reading a client and knowing how to schmooze them effectively. The second, and most important, was that law wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t for it.
“My name is Anderson Douglas, and I’m pleased to inform you that Morgan Financial Holdings is interested in partnering with you on a chain of coffee shops around the city.”
Giving my hand a firm shake, Jurnee corrected me, “One coffee shop, Latte Love.”
“A chain of coffee shops, and we will have to figure out a better name than that,” I responded.
“One coffee shop, and what’s wrong with Latte Love?” She sunk down in the chair as I sat across from her.
“Morgan Financial is interested in partnering with you on a chain of coffee shops. The name will be something we negotiate as we prepare the contracts.”
“But my presentation was for one coffee shop and…” She stopped talking as her gaze reached mine.
This was the first time since meeting her that she wasn’t filling the silence with words. I waited.
She took a deep breath, “he wasn’t supposed to be interested.”
I stared at my portfolio sitting on the table in front of me. “He wasn’t supposed to want to go into business with me for one coffee shop.”
“Graham Morgan doesn’t want to go into business with you for one coffee shop. He wants to partner with you on a chain of coffee shops. The sooner you get this, the sooner we can move forward.”
Tilting my head to the side, I could only stare at him.
“Jurnee. My name is Jurnee.”
I’m not sure why it mattered, but I felt the need to correct him. While he was attractive yesterday in the restaurant, today, he was something more. Maybe it was the fact that his attention wasn’t lost on his phone. Maybe it was because he was prepared to hand me something I never thought I would have. Maybe it was because when he spoke, I had to clench my thighs together because the sound of his voice excited me more than was even right.
“Jurnee.” He was trying a different approach, and I had to work hard not to roll my eyes at his tone change. “Graham and I understand that you were pitching a single coffee shop, but Graham believes in your idea. He is interested in turning your one coffee shop idea into a chain, spreading your vision all over the City.”
“Is this why you were so rude yesterday? Because you work for Graham Morgan?”
“I wasn’t at the restaurant for a date. I had a meeting that canceled.”
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