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07.03.2019

Well, her evil little scheme isn’t going to work. I’m going to stay calm. I’m going to count to ten. I won’t let Kate get to me.

“Saul Anderson,” I say, “is an old-fashioned businessman—you just said it yourself. He’s going to want to talk to another business man, not someone he sees as a glorified secretary.”

“That is the most sexist comment I’ve ever heard. You’re disgusting!”

Calm goes straight out the window and down about forty stories.

“I didn’t say I thought that way—I said he thinks that way! Fucking Christ Almighty!”

And it’s true. I don’t care what you’re packing in your pants or which way you roll. A pecker, a cooch, or both—it’s all the same to me. As long as you get the job done right, that’s all that matters. But Kate seems determined to think the worst of me.

I push my hands through my hair in an effort to vent some of the frustration that makes me want to shake the shit out of her.

“Look, this is the way it is. Trying to pretend certain biases don’t exist won’t make them go away. We have a better shot at signing Anderson if I do the talking.”

“I said no! I don’t care what you think. Absolutely not.”

“God, you’re so f**king stubborn. You’re like a menopausal pissed-off mule!”

“I’m stubborn! I’m stubborn? Well, maybe I wouldn’t have to be if you weren’t King of the Control Freaks!”

She’s right about the control thing. But what can I say? I like things done the right way—my way. I won’t apologize for that. Especially not to Ms. Stick Up Her Ass.

“At least I know when to back off—unlike you. You walk around like an uptight overachiever on crystal meth!”

By this time, we’re both on our feet, less than a foot apart facing each other. Without her heels, I have a major height advantage, but Kate doesn’t seem intimidated.

She pokes me in the chest as she argues, “You don’t even know me. I am not uptight.”

“Oh, please. I’ve never seen someone who needs to get laid as badly as you do. I don’t know what the hell your fiancé is doing with you. But whatever it is? He’s not doing it right.”

Her mouth opens, forming a big ole O at my little dig against her betrothed. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her hand come up, ready to slap me across the face.

This is not the first time a woman has tried to slap me. You’re not surprised, are you?

Like a pro, I catch her wrist before she makes contact with my cheek and hold her arm down at her side. “Gee, Kate, for a woman who claims she doesn’t want to screw me, you’re certainly eager to make this physical.”

Her other hand comes up to try and slap me from the other side, but I block her again and am now securely holding both her hands at her hips. I smirk. “Gotta do better than that, baby, if you want a piece of me.”

“I hate you!” she yells in my face.

“I hate you more!” I shout.

Admittedly, not my wittiest comeback—but it was the best I could manage under the circumstances.

“Good!”

It’s the last word she gets out.

Before my mouth descends on hers.

And our lips crash together.

Chapter 7

I’VE KISSED HUNDREDS OF GIRLS. No—make that thousands. I only really remember a handful of them. But this kiss? This is one I won’t forget any time soon.

She tastes…Jesus, I’ve never done drugs, but I imagine this is what that first snort of coc**ne feels like, that first shot of her**ne. Goddamn addictive.

Our lips clash and move over one another, angry and wet.

I can’t stop touching her. My hands are everywhere: her face, her hair, down her back, grasping at her hips. Pulling her closer, desperate to feel more of her—wanting her to feel exactly what she’s doing to me.

Needing air, I rip my mouth from hers and attack her neck. I feast on her, like a starving man. And that’s exactly what I am—ravenous—for her. I inhale as I lick, suck, and nibble my way from her jaw to her ear.

She’s whimpering incoherently, but I get the idea. The sound of her voice, wild and sexy, makes me groan. And her scent. Sweet Christ, she smells like…flowers and sugar. Like one of those decorative confectionary roses on the top of a cake.

Fucking delicious.

And her hands aren’t idle either. She grasps my biceps, and the heat of her hands seeps through my dress shirt. She scrapes her nails down my back and dips her fingers below the waist of my slacks, first grazing then cupping my ass.

I’m dying. I’m burning. My blood is liquid f**king fire, and I feel like we’re going to go up in smoke before we ever make it to the couch. Kate gasps as I draw her earlobe into my mouth and dance across the flesh below it with my tongue.

“Drew? Drew, what are we doing?”

“I don’t know,” I moan in a rough voice. “Just…don’t stop touching me.”

She doesn’t.

And I’m back at her mouth. Plunging my tongue into her, sliding it against hers in the same way I’m dying to slide my c*ck into her wet, welcoming body. I feel her h*ps push forward against mine. And any blood left in my body descends, making me harder than I’ve ever been in my life.

Weeks of want and frustration are coursing through me. I’ve brushed with Colgate for far too long—and it’s tasted like shit.

“Do you know how much I want this? Want you? God, Kate…I’ve f**king dreamed about this…begged for it. You make me…ah, I can’t get…enough of you.”

Her hands are on my chest now, rubbing, scratching, moving down my abs, until one brushes against the front of my pants and I hiss in pure agonizing pleasure. Before I can inhale, she’s stroking my dick through my pants, and I thrust forward. Any semblance of control or finesse is gone.

My hands come up to her br**sts, and she arches her back to bring them closer. I squeeze, and she moans again. I skim across where I know her n**ples are, frustrated by her blouse and bra. I want to tug and pinch those beauties until they’re two sharp peaks. Her mouth is on my neck, kissing, and I raise my chin.

It’s never been like this. I’ve never been like this. I’ve never felt so much for any woman, no matter that it’s a mixture of anger and lust.

“Drew…Drew, I can’t do this. I love Billy,” she pants.

Her confession doesn’t affect me like you’d think it would. Mostly because she still has one hand on my c*ck when she says it. Her actions speak the complete opposite of her voice. Hands and h*ps that are pulling me closer, stroking me, pleading for more.

“That’s good, Kate. Fine. Love Billy. Marry Billy. Just please…God…please just f**k me.”

I don’t even know what I’m saying. Don’t even know if I’m making sense. One thought and one only drums in my head like a primal melody:

More.

I bring my chin down, wanting to taste her mouth again. But instead of her lips…I make contact with her palm. I open my eyes to find her hand covering my mouth, blocking me. Her chest is heaving, rising and falling in brisk, rapid pants.

And then I see her eyes. And I feel like I just took a wrecking ball to the chest. Because her eyes are wide with panic…and confusion. I try to say her name, but it’s muffled by her hand.

I hear a sob in her voice as she says, “I can’t do this, Drew. I’m sorry. Billy…this job…this is my life. My whole life. I…I can’t.”

She’s trembling. And suddenly, my need, my lust, and my still-raging hard-on are all pushed to the backburner, behind the overwhelming desire to comfort her. To tell her it’s okay. Everything will be all right.

Anything. I’ll say anything to take that look off her face.

But she doesn’t give me the chance. The moment she takes her hand off my mouth, she runs out the door. And she’s gone before I can draw a breath. I should go after her. I should tell her it’s okay that she put the brakes on. That this hasn’t—and won’t—change anything. Though that’s one big fat lie, and we both know it, don’t we?

But I don’t follow Kate. And the reason is simple: Have you ever tried to run with a boner staring up at you?

No?

Well, it’s damn near impossible.

I collapse onto the couch and rest my head back. Looking up at the ceiling, I pinch the bridge of my nose with my fingers. How is it that something as simple as sex just became so frigging complicated? I don’t know either.

Christ, I’m so hard. I want to cry—I’ll admit it. I’m not ashamed. I want to weep from the throbbing ache in my groin that will have no relief. The idea of going out and finding a substitute for Kate never even enters my head. Because my dick knows what my brain is just starting to admit.

There is no substitute for Kate Brooks. Not for me. Not now.

I look down at the tent in my lap. The one that shows no indication of going down any time soon.

It’s going to be a long, long night.

Chapter 8

THE NEXT DAY, Kate doesn’t come into the office until eleven o’clock. I don’t need to tell you that this is unusual for her.

She’s avoiding me. I know this because I’ve done it myself on more than one occasion. Discreetly sneaking over to the other side of the club when I happen to vaguely recognize one of my previous hook-ups. But to actually be on the receiving end of this? It sucks.

I don’t get the privilege of speaking with her until two, when she comes striding into my office—looking drop-dead gorgeous. Her hair is pinned up in what Alexandra would call a French twist. She’s wearing a black dress that flows out slightly at the knee, with matching high heels and a black blazer.

She puts a small stack of poster board on my desk, her charts and graphs shrunk down to notebook-size like we agreed. “Okay. You’re right. You should lead with Anderson. I’ll be second chair.”

She talks like nothing ever happened. Like she wasn’t quivering in my arms and setting me on fire with her hands in this very office just a few short hours ago. She’s all business. Completely unaffected. And it pisses me off.

Badly.

Indifference is not exactly a reaction I’m used to from women. Frankly, it’s a little hard to take.

I feel my jaw clench as I tell her, “Good. That’s the best way to go.”

Now, if you haven’t guessed, I’m not the touchy-feely type. I’m not one to talk my feelings to death like some New Age, meditating freak of nature. But I expected something from her. Some acknowledgement of what happened last night—of the attraction that’s still pulling at both of us. I thought she would be the one to bring it up.

She’s a woman, after all.

When all I get is silence, I can’t help but push. “Kate, about last night—”

She cuts me off. “Last night was a mistake. It will not happen again.”

Do you know anything about child psychology? No? Well here’s a lesson for you. If you tell a kid they can’t do something, guess what’s the first thing they’re going to try and do the minute you’re not looking? Exactly.

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