Instead, a black T-shirt swaddled him, tight enough to show off his honed abs. Confidence and energy ignited his dark-green eyes. He spoke with rapid-fire speed, sharing strategies about how to connect on social media and build an empire like his. His presentation had been passionate and engaging, but then he’d told viewers to stop whining if they weren’t enjoying the success they wanted and ordered them to get off their fucking asses and make something happen.

Shock made her drop her purse. Once the camera stopped rolling, he stood, shook hands, and high-fived another successful Jaxon Media presentation. His staff offered accolades, and he drank them in as his due, everyone bowing before the king. Who the hell behaved like that?

From her mother, Willow had inherited a different worldview, where everyone was better off working together and being supportive. Motivation was crucial. She’d been taught to offer support or lend a helping hand. But beating people up? Everything in Willow despised his self-important approach.

After his crew filed out, her father introduced them, and she forced a polite nod. Jax turned his massive focus on her. He sought her hand, and when she reluctantly accepted, electricity arced through her. The physical awareness of his power had been unwelcome and left a memorable impression on her. He repeated her name, rolling it around on his tongue, seeming to taste the syllables. Willow had never forgotten the way the he’d seared her senses.

She had the exact same reaction when he’d looked at her a few seconds ago.

Even though her appearance was dramatically different, his pupils had dilated. He recognized her. Despite the Quarter’s rules, the way he leaned forward told her he intended to do something about it.

Her pulse had skidded.

Not only was the arrogant bastard at her favorite club—he was a freaking Dom. As much as she wanted to pretend that didn’t matter, her submissive instincts stirred. On an elemental level, she was compelled to respond to him. What would it be like to be claimed by a man with that level of confidence? And it wasn’t false bravado. A million people a day, maybe more, hung on his words, even when they were harsh. If he was as competent with a paddle as he was with a microphone…

Willow shook away the inane fantasy.

Deciding to be brave, she straightened her back in time to see a man headed her direction. He tapped a cane against his calf as he walked, and his gaze was fixed on her. Thank God. She could forget about Jaxon Mills and get on with her night.

“Good evening.” The stranger extended his hand. “May I join you?”

“That would be—”

“No. You may not. The young lady is with me.”