TAKEOVER: BRAINS AND BRAWN
TAKEOVER: BRAINS AND BRAWN
First Edition. April 20, 2017 at Smashwords.
Copyright © 2017 Lyka Bloom
Written by Lyka Bloom
One – The Trap
thanked whatever higher power may be for the woman's decision to join
him on this side of the desk, offering him a generous look at her
shapely legs. She was in her mid- to late-thirties, but she had
clearly been keeping herself fit and healthy. Lars's own preferences
tended toward the younger blondes, stereotypical but satisfying, but
this woman was making a strong case for a more mature addition to his
stable of extracurricular entertainment.
you understand that there is no going back?"
voice shook him from his reverie, and his eyes flitted up to her cool
the whole point, isn't it?" He smirked, meeting that flinty
was the downside. Women like Benson had their own agenda, their own
expectations. He preferred the younger girls too preoccupied by his
wealth and power and the potential for a taste of each to concern
themselves with their own needs.
is. But you can never speak of this to another soul. I am not in
the business of making deals with men who are going to brag to their
friends about what they have done to a rival."
do you take me for?" Lars frowned, indignant.
stood, poised atop sexy cream-colored heels that gave her legs a
take you for the man who tweeted about his company's takeover of a
rival manufacturer two hours before the papers were signed,
collapsing the deal before it could be finalized. The man who also
found himself caught on camera with a woman half his age in a
compromising position by the woman's then-boyfriend. This sort of
behavior suggests a lack of discretion I cannot abide, Mr. Foster.
That you know about the Janus Institute at all disturbs me. That you
now want to use its methods for your own ends is even more
leaned back against her office desk, crossing her legs at the ankles
as she balanced on a sharp heel. Her skirt was a similar cream
color, her top white and elegant in its simplicity.
don't know what sort of operation you run here, Benson-"
Benson... I think it is in both our interests to keep my involvement
with you and your 'Institute' a secret. Your work here, though
impressive, is not strictly legal, or am I mistaken?"
Benson's thin lips spread into a smile. She took an almost immediate
dislike to the man, with his expensive suit and his habit of staring
at her legs and chest like she was another of his bimbos under
consideration. If she had to bet, Benson would have placed good odds
on the fact that Foster's boardroom was bereft of women, save for the
one or two allowed in to serve coffee.
I can count on your own sense of self-preservation to protect us
like that. I've explained the situation to you. If Prentiss gets
his work to market behind my back, I am ruined. You'll be doing me a
big favor, Miss
Benson, and I don't bite the hand that feeds me. In fact, you might
get an anonymous donation or two. It all depends on how thoroughly
you can complete the task."
believe you will appreciate the end results, Mr. Foster. As part of
our mutually-assured destruction, I am going to need you to sign some
papers to that effect."
not very trusting, are you, Miss Benson?"
in this world can be taken for granted?"
Foster said, leaning forward to take the papers Benson offered him.
She came prepared, he would give her that. It looked like a standard
non-disclosure agreement. He'd signed enough of these in his day to
know what it would state: no discussing Benson, her institute, or
Benson or Foster's involvement with the impending "disappearance"
of Carlton Prentiss.
the Institute delivered as advertised, he would have his hands on
Prentiss's new formula for an energy drink that was both sugar-free,
effective, and unburdened by some of the more dangerous chemicals
that made its users feel jumpy or anxious. It was an organic
delivery method of pure kinetic energy potential, and whichever
company ended up with it was going to make a killing.
Fuel, Foster's company, had done well, but sales had been declining
since the advent of the farm-to-table hippies began nit-picking every
little ingredient. The first to come to market with a so-called
'healthy' alternative to standard energy drinks was poised to drive
lesser companies out of business.
a nebbish little man, owned Prentiss Chemical Designs, a formal
partner to Foster's own company. As a rule, Lars Foster did not
trust anyone, perhaps a function of his own casual loyalties, but
this essential part of his nature led him to plant spies within
Prentiss's company. When he received word of Prentiss's success with
his new formula, Foster gave him ample opportunity to present his new
findings, coaxing him with questions about the latest projects.
Further investigation suggested Prentiss was putting his feelers out,
looking for a new partner to leverage more control in his own
you," Benson said, taking the signed papers from Foster and
laying them on the desk behind her. She stood upright and returned
to the chair next to Lars's, her legs folding over one another in a
manner that drew his eyes once more. "As soon as we have
received payment, we'll schedule his procedure."
you got my notes? About what I want?"
and busty, if I recall. Honestly, I could have guessed without the
notes. Forgive me for saying so, but you men are all alike. Your
tastes do not vary as much as you might think. And trust me when I
say that we will give you the girl of your dreams."
He rose, extending a hand to Benson as she stood with him. She took
it, giving him a firm but terse shake.
we meet again, Mr. Foster."
sat behind the desk and massaged her temples. She hated men of his
ilk, and she could still smell the reek of his cologne in her office.
Even the sight of the green, rolling hills and wooded retreat beyond
her office window did little to quell the headache that threatened to
distract her for the remainder of the day.
light rap on the office door drew her attention.
was slender, with long, dark hair that she preferred to leave loose,
but was in a ponytail today. She had perfectly pouty, bee-stung lips
that were difficult to ignore.
have your next meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Did you want to
that won't be necessary. Just tired. Mr. Foster is a man of a very
mean an asshole?" Megan grinned.
you know I hate that kind of language. Also, yes. He is an
two laughed again and Raquel felt the headache's screaming fade to a
don't like us being involved in some corporate shenanigans,"
Megan added, her smile faltering. "What about this Prentiss
guy's family? Usually, there's... I don't know... some kind of
justice at work. This feels like we're assassins or something."
rose and crossed to Megan, giving her a familiar hug. "I know,
and I don't like it, either. Just trust me on this one. There are
larger forces at work. And I think you will be excited at the
nodded, holding onto her boss, the silk of Raquel's top smooth under
trust you," she said. "I just want to know that the work
we do is done for the right reasons."
scotch was good, part of Foster's private collection. He savored the
warmth of it as he held it in his mouth before swallowing. The
subtle heat of it as the amber liquid flowed down his throat, the
glow in his belly after. It had taken years to learn how to properly
appreciate good scotch, and, more, how to appreciate the moments in
between acts of naked aggression.