258,654
07.03.2019

So, if you think I’m arrogant? Selfish? Spoiled? You’re probably right. But don’t hold it against me. It’s not my fault. I am a product of how I was raised.

Now that that’s out of the way—back to my office. This next part is big.

“And I think you should know, I want you, Kate.”

See the flush on her cheeks, the slight surprise on her face? See how her face turns serious, and she meets my eyes and then looks down at the floor?

I’m getting to her. She wants me too. She’s fighting it. But it’s there. I could have her. I could lead her right where she is dying to go.

The knowledge makes me swallow a groan as the guy downstairs reacts with a vengeance. I want to walk up to her and kiss her until she can’t stand. I want to slide my tongue between those ripe lips until her knees give out from under her. I want to pick her up, wrap her legs around my waist, lean her up against the wall and…

“Hey, Drew. There’s a traffic jam on Fifty-Third. If you want to make your four o’clock, you should get going.”

Thank you, Erin. Way to kill the moment. Awesome secretary—horrible timing.

Kate gets up from her chair, her shoulders stiff, her back straight. She inches toward the door and refuses to look me in the eyes. “So, thanks for your time, Mr. Evans. You…ah…let me know when you want me.”

I raise my brows suggestively at her words. I love that she’s flustered—and that I’m the one who did it to her.

Still avoiding eye contact, she grimaces slightly. “About Alphacom and Genesis. Let me know what I should do…what you want me to do…what…oh, you know what I mean.”

Before she’s out the door, my voice stops her. “Kate?”

She turns to me, her eyes questioning.

I point to myself. “It’s Drew.”

She smiles. Recovering herself. Her natural confidence finding its way back into her eyes.

Then she meets my gaze full on. “Right. I’ll see you later, Drew.”

Once she’s out the door, I say only to myself, “Oh, yes. Yes, you will.”

As I check my briefcase to leave for my meeting, I realize this attraction—no, that’s not a strong enough word—this need that I have for Kate Brooks isn’t just going to go away. I can try and fight it, but I’m only a man, for God’s sake. Left unresolved, my desire for her could turn my office, the place I love, into a torture chamber of sexual frustration.

I can’t let that happen.

So, I have three options: I can quit. I could get Kate to quit. Or I can entice her to share one profoundly pleasurable night with me. Get it out of both of our systems—consequences be damned.

Guess which one I’m going to pick?

Chapter 4

TURNS OUT I DIDN’T GET BLUE BALLS after all. I met up with the coffee house girl that night. She’s a yoga instructor.

Nice.

What? Come on, don’t be like that. I want Kate, no question. But don’t expect me to act like a monk until it happens. The thing women don’t understand is that a guy can want one woman and still f**k another one. Hell, a guy could love a woman and still f**k ten others. It’s just the way it is.

Sex is a release. Purely physical. That’s all. At least to men it is.

Okay, okay—calm down—don’t start throwing shoes at me or something.

At least to this man it is. Better?

Maybe you’ll understand my point of view if I put it this way. You brush your teeth, right? Well, suppose your favorite toothpaste is Aquafresh. But the store is out. All they have is Colgate. What are you going to do? You’re going to use the Colgate, right?

You may want to brush with Aquafresh, but when all is said and done, you use what you have to keep those pearly whites clean. See my way of thinking? Good.

Now, back to my tale of heartache and pain.

I’ve never seduced a woman before.

Shocking, I know.

Let me clarify. I’ve never had to seduce a woman before, not in the typical sense. Usually, it just takes a look, a wink, a smile. A friendly greeting, maybe a drink or two. After that, the only verbal exchange involves short one-word phrases like harder, more, lower…you get the point.

So the whole conversing-a-woman-into-bed concept is pretty new to me, I’ll admit. But I’m not worried. Why not, you ask?

Because I play chess.

Chess is a game of strategy, planning. Of thinking two steps ahead of your next move. Of guiding your opponent right where you need them to be.

For the two weeks following her first day, dealing with Kate, for me, is exactly like playing chess. A few suggestive words, some innocent but seductive caresses. I won’t bore you with details of every conversation. I’ll just say that things are progressing nicely; everything is going according to plan.

I figure it’ll take another week—two tops—till I’m able to claim that golden treasure between her creamy thighs. I already know how it will play out. I’ve spent hours in fact, imagining it, fantasizing about it.

Want to hear it?

It will happen in my office, one night when we’re both working late—the only ones left. She’ll be tired, stiff. I’ll offer to rub her neck, and she’ll let me. Then I’ll lean down and kiss her, starting at her shoulder, trailing up her neck, tasting her skin with my tongue. Finally, our lips will meet. And it will be hot—f**king scorching. And she’ll forget all about the reasons why we shouldn’t: our mutual place of work, her stupid fiancé. The only thing she’ll be thinking of is me and the things my expert hands will be doing to her.

I have a couch in my office. It’s suede—not leather. Does suede stain? Hope not. Because that’s where we’ll end up—on that sorrowfully underused couch.

Now let me ask you this: Have you seen those commercials that say how life can change in an instant?

Yes, yes, I’m going somewhere with this—just bear with me.

You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? Where the happy family is driving down Main Street on a bright sunny day and then…BAM. Head-on collision with a semi. And daddy goes flying out the window because he didn’t have his seat belt buckled.

They’re designed to scare the shit out of us. And they do. But the fact remains they are also chock-full of truth. Our goals, our priorities can change instantaneously—usually when we least expect it.

So, after two weeks of strategizing and fantasizing, I’m sure that Kate Brooks will be my next one-nighter. I can’t remember wanting someone as much as I want her. I’ve definitely never waited for a woman as long as I’ve waited for her. But the point is, for me, it’s a done deal—a foregone conclusion—not an if but simply a when.

And then, on Monday afternoon, my father calls me into his office.

“Sit down, Son. There’s some business I’d like to discuss.”

My father often calls me in here to talk about things he’s not yet ready to share with the rest of the staff. “I just got off the phone with Saul Anderson. He’s looking to diversify. He’s coming to the city next month to shop around for ideas.”

Saul Anderson is a media tycoon. Big money—the kind of guy that makes Rupert Murdoch look like a peon. Got a napkin? ’Cause I think I’m drooling.

“Next month? Okay, I can work with that. No problem.” I feel the excitement pumping in my veins. This is how a shark must feel after somebody dumps a great big bucket of bloody chum in the water. It’s a rush.

“Drew…” my father interrupts, but my mind’s too busy whirling with ideas to hear him.

“Any clue what he’s looking to get into? I mean the possibilities are pretty endless.”

“Son…” my father tries again.

You can see it coming, can’t you?

Yet I ramble on, “Cable stations are cash cows. Social media’s in the toilet right now, so we could pick up some real bargains. Film production is always a safe bet, and that would cut down on the overhead when they replay on his own network.”

“Drew, I’m going to give the account to Kate Brooks.”

Hold the f**king phone. Care to repeat that for me?

“What?”

“She’s good, Drew. I’m telling you, she’s damn good.”

“She’s been here for two weeks!”

Dogs are territorial. You know that, right? That’s why at the park they seem to have a never-ending supply of piss, which they insist on stopping every four seconds to spread around. It’s because they believe it’s their park. And they want the other dogs to know it, to know that they were there first. It’s the nonverbal way of pretty much saying, “Fuck off—find your own park.”

Men are the same way.

Not that I’m going to piss a circle around my desk or anything, but this firm is mine. I’ve nurtured these clients since they were tiny corporations. I’ve watched, like a proud papa, as they grew to sturdy conglomerates. I’ve wined them, I’ve dined them. I’ve put in hour after hour, years of sleepless nights. My job isn’t just what I do—it’s who I am. And I will be damned if Kate Brooks is going to walk her ass in here and take that away from me.

No matter how fine an ass it might be.

“Yes,” my father says, “and have you seen some of the stuff she’s come up with in these two weeks? She’s the first one in and the last one to leave—every day. She’s fresh and thinks outside the box. She’s come up with some of the most innovative investments I’ve ever seen. My instincts are telling me to give her the ball and see what she’ll do with it.”

What are the early warning signs for dementia, exactly?

“She’ll frigging fumble—that’s what she’ll do!” I yell. But I know from experience dramatics will get me nowhere with my father, so I pinch my nose to try and calm down. “Okay, Dad, I hear what you’re saying. But Saul Anderson is not a client you pass someone off to just to see if they can cut it. He’s someone you give to your best and brightest. Someone you know can take him all the way to the end zone. And that’s me.”

Isn’t it? I wonder as uncertainty clouds his features.

As my father’s silence stretches on, my stomach twists in my gut. It’s not that I have a daddy complex or anything, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the pride my father takes in my performance at the office. I’m his right-hand man. His go-to guy. When we’re down by two with five left on the clock, you can bet your ass I’m the only one John Evans will pass the ball to.

Or at least I used to be.

I’m accustomed to having his undivided confidence. The fact that confidence seems to be wavering is…well…it f**king hurts.

“Tell you what.” He sighs. “We’ve got a month. Come up with a presentation. Have Kate do the same. Whoever can knock my socks off gets a crack at Anderson.”

I should be insulted, really. What he’s asking is the equivalent of telling an Oscar winner he’s got to audition to play a frigging extra. But I don’t argue. I’m too busy planning my next move.

❮❯