I didn"t think much about the photo shoot. Big damn deal. So what, a few models come in, put on some skimpy outfits and plaster themselves over our bikes. If that"s what it takes to sell my motorcycles, I was happy to do it.
Since I"d taken over the company after my father"s death, I owed it to my old man to make sure Stroker Motorcycles continued to grow into a powerhouse. I"d even left the road and my biker lifestyle to honor my father"s last wishes.
Besides, it"s not like a pretty face is enough to turn my head. At least that"s what I thought.
When I saw Cat, everything changed. I"d spent years on the road on my bike. I"d had a lot of one-night stands. I thought I knew what it was to lust after a woman, but with that gray-eyed goddess, just seeing her made me addicted.
Cat was just supposed to be another model. Now I can"t go three seconds without thinking about her.
Oh, one big problem. The woman hates motorcycles. To her, the modeling gig"s just a way to save some money for her kid"s education.
Why do I want a woman who hates everything I am"Books by Author:Claire Adams Books
I stepped through the darkened office floor. The cubicles were empty, and only a few dim lights kept complete darkness at bay. It didn"t matter to me. I could get to my office blindfolded at this point. Every day for the last year, I"d stepped into this building around this time and headed straight for that office. About the only thing I felt more comfortable with was my bike.
A few moments of walking took me to my office door, which I opened with a sigh before stepping inside and flipping on the lights.
A deep breath followed. The office smelled the same as I remembered. Not that it shouldn"t. I wasn"t even sure what I was expecting. I"d only been gone a couple of days, but it felt like months, maybe even years.
I dropped my battered leather bag in the corner of my office, my eyes lingering on the desk for a few seconds. Guilt gnawed away at my stomach.
It wasn"t fair. It was just a damn weekend. That"s all. I hadn"t taken a break for myself in a year, so why should a few days away feel like I was spitting on my father"s grave"
I let out a dark chuckle. Being a workaholic wasn"t following in his footsteps, either. For all his hard work, my dad knew when to relax and take time off. At least he had before Mom passed away. After that, it seemed like the company was the only thing that kept him going. So maybe I was following in his footsteps after all.
Shaking my head trying to clear out the dark thoughts, I looked up at the framed picture of my father on the wall. My office used to be his back when he ran the company he started, Stroker Motorcycles.
"It"s Monday, and I"m back, Dad," I said. "I"m going to keep this place going, keeping growing it until no one rides a Harley anymore, only a Stroker. I hope I"m doing you proud."
Over the course of forty years, he"d taken his company from nothing, just a shop in Denver, to a major nationwide player in the industry. Not bad for one man"s dream, especially one that everyone told him was insane.
When a heart attack brought that dream to an end, it had become my time to step up. So I had and continued to for the entire year. But I"d needed a weekend"time to clear my head and try to remember who the hell I was supposed to be.
This was hard at times. After all, I was used to the open road, not board meetings, even if I had spent years earning an MBA.
It didn"t matter. I was back, and I needed to get into the right headspace; I had a company to run. Stroker Motorcycles was Dad"s legacy, and I was damn well going to make sure that his dream would continue"at least until I was also dead.
I dropped the blinds on my windows and pulled off my leather jacket, hanging it up. Then I removed my boots, chaps, and pants and stuffed them into my bag. I moved over to a small wardrobe I had in the corner and pulled out a button-up shirt and some slacks. I eyed the suit jacket but decided against it.
As I dressed, I chuckled to myself, thinking about how Dad used to run things. He came to work in jeans and liked things more laid back. He had always wanted to keep the same feeling that he had when he"d opened his first shop and said a suit would make him forget where he"d come from.
It was kind of funny that I didn"t stick to more casual clothes, considering I had spent most of the last few years more concerned about riding my bike than worrying about crap like looking nice for work. I"d had a lot of time to think about why that might be, but I never could be sure.
Since I"d never be my dad and I"d put in the effort to earn the business degree, I figured I"d just try to run things my own way with a little more professionalism. No ties though. I drew the line at that. I didn"t like being choked all day.
I finished buttoning up my shirt and then rolled up my sleeves, which revealed my tattoos. Some people in the traditional business set might find them unprofessional, but I did run a motorcycle company, after all, so showing off my ink never really bothered me. Like I said, a touch more professionalism, not a total makeover.
Some of the board members didn"t like my ink, but given that I"d helped improve net profits in the last year, they were apparently willing to tolerate me. It was a good trade-off.
It wasn"t that my dad was a bad businessman, but he"d started the business as a dream, and when I came in, I didn"t have any sentiment, nostalgia, or historical processes holding me back. I simplified the supply chain and expanded our target market. The company was growing more than ever, and I could see us overtaking some of our competitors in the not too distant future, depending on the moves I made.