He was all male, all the time, and dammit, a man used a barber, not a hairdresser. Even if she was cute.
“Suit yourself. I’ve got more than enough men to take care of—”
Was that his cat growling?
“—without adding a pompous one to the list.”
“Pompous?” Even if she’d pegged him right, it didn’t stop his indignant glare.
A glare she chose to ignore. She crossed her arms over her chest, plumping her cleavage—ooh, pretty, shadowy cleft. His curious nature drew his eyes to the mysterious and beckoningvee until she cleared her throat.
“My eyes are up here, big guy.”
Caught. Good thing he was a cat. His kind had no shame, nor did they apologize. He shot her his most engaging, boyish grin. “My name is Arik. Arik Castiglione.”
She didn’t react to his smile or titles, so he elaborated, “The CEO for Castiglione Enterprises.” He stretched his lips wide enough to engage his deadly dimple.
And still failed to impress.
She raised a brow. “Is that supposed to mean something?”
Surely she jested. Within his mind, his poor lion lay down in a traumatized heap and crossed its paws over its eyes.
“We are the largest importer of meat in the world.”
Her shoulders lifted in a shrug. “I don’t check the label to see who brings me my steak. I just eat it.”
“What about our chain of restaurants? A Lion’s Pride Steakhouses.”
“Those I’ve heard of. Decent, I hear, but overpriced. I can get a bigger plate of food at LongHorn. And according to my girlfriends, the male waiters are cuter too.”
For once, Arik found himself at a loss for words. His lion on the other hand? His mane was definitely ruffled—and itching.
Arik had already gone two weeks longer than usual for this haircut because of an overseas business trip. Time to get back to his highest priority. “How long until Dominic is back?”
“A week, maybe two. I told him to take his time. Granddad doesn’t often take time off, and he’s getting up there in years.”
A few weeks? He’d look like a wildebeest if he waited that long. “That’s no good. I need a cut. Are there any male barbers available?”
“Afraid to let a girl touch your precious hair?” She smirked. “I can peek at the schedule and see if we can squeeze you in this afternoon.”
“I don’t have time to come back. I need it done now.”
Usually when he used the word now, people jumped to do his bidding. She, on the other hand, shook her head.
“Not happening, unless you’ve changed your mind and are willing to let me cut it.”
“You’re a hairdresser.”
“I want a barber.”
Said the girl without a Y chromosome. “I think I’ll wait.”
Arik turned away from her, only to freeze as she muttered, “Pussy.”
If she only knew how right she was. But, of course, she didn’t mean the feline version.
Pride made him pivot back.“You know what. On second thought, you may cut my hair.”
“How gracious of you, Your Majesty.” She sketched him a mock bow.
Not funny, even if accurate. He glared in reply.
“I see someone’s too uptight for a sense of humor.”
“I greatly enjoy comedy, when I hear it.”
“Sorry if my brand of sarcasm is too simple for you to understand, big guy. Now, if you’re done, sit down so we can get this over with and send you and your precious hair back to your office.”
A woman giving him orders? Not uncommon when a male lived surrounded by them. But actually obeying, that was new – and in this case, unavoidable.
Head held regally high, Arik took the proffered seat, putting his back to the female, but he could still watch her in the mirror and track her by scent. Coconut lotion, fabric softener, and musky woman. All woman.
My woman. Want to taste.