Authors: Marisa Cleveland
Now, his usually controlled facade had a scratch from the unfamiliar sliver of jealousy. He was in trouble. Big. Big. Trouble.
lake forced himself to focus on the words on the page and not the pink toenails standing next to him at the copy machine. The rest of the week they’d been so busy and made such an effort to keep work strictly professional. No wonder he’d never mixed business with pleasure before. It was damn hard concentrating on contracts when all he wanted to do was bend Kira over his desk.
“I can handle making a few copies on my own.” She shot him that grimace that revealed her exasperation whenever he did something she found bothersome. Like hovering over her after hours.
“I’m here for your own protection. It’s late.”
As if to protest, Honeybear scooted closer until her jowls drooped over his loafers. Kira bent and lightly stroked the dog’s wrinkles. “I know, sweetie. You’re here to protect me.”
He snuck a peek at the back of her legs and flexed his fingers. He would not grab her ass. He would not touch her in the copy room. He was a grown man, but she’d been sending him suggestive signals all day, and he couldn’t wait to get her back in his office
His cock grew as he recalled some of the office fantasies he’d concocted since they’d willingly blurred the lines between work and play, boss and employee, and he coughed to cover up a stifled groan. “Some protection.”
“Honeybear can tell when you’re not being nice, and she’s already feeling bad because her owners abandoned her.”
The last of the pages ejected from the copier, and she neatened the stack. “All done. Time for Honeybear to get her evening walk.”
The Shar Pei’s open mouth and excited panting squeezed something in Blake’s chest. He hated to see the dog so eager and ready because she might seize at any moment if something excited her too much.
“Easy, girl.” He stroked her head. Then he grabbed the papers and said, “I’ll grab her l-e-a-s-h and meet you by the elevators.”
She grinned up at him. “You’re an amazing man, Blake Whitman.”
And just like that his heart contracted again, only this time it wasn’t with sympathy for the dog. It was for the woman and what she’d done to him. She’d changed him irrevocably, as evidenced by his desire to walk a dog instead of redlining the latest investment philosophy proposal.
His face must have betrayed shock, because she immediately stuttered. “What? I didn’t mean—I mean—”
“No.” He shook his head and smiled at her, touching her cheek. “No, you can’t take it back. You said it. You think I’m amazing.”
She swatted his shoulder. “Just get the l-e-a-s-h.”
He hooked a finger under her chin and gave her a quick kiss. “This better be a short walk. I have plans for when we get back to my office.”
still an unfulfilled fantasy of mine.” Kira licked her lips and shot him her best
smile. Heaven help her, but Blake had managed to take front and center in all her daydreams, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she even imagined hot office scenarios where he stripped her slowly and made her beg for him. She’d never wanted someone so—thoroughly—and even when she wasn’t at the office, she wanted to be.
“Technically, this is the copy room, not an office, but if that’s an offer?”
Her pulse sped up. All thoughts about anything other than Blake naked and bending her over his polished desk vanished. “It is.”
His smile turned predatory. “Then let’s make this a short walk. Very short. After all, Honeybear does have a heart condition.”
a heart condition, and she giggled at the tension mounting in her whole body. “Shortest walk ever.”
Her heart thunked. Every cell in her body ached to be skin on skin with him, and she kept having to slow her pace as they made their way back to the office. Once there, the Shar Pei ambled into her corner of the room, content to lounge on her cushion.
A wicked smile curved across her mouth as she slipped out of her sweater. “I believe you said you had plans?”
Blake’s eyes widened and a low moan emanated from his throat. He crossed to the wet bar in his office, washed his hands, dried them, and then began rolling up his sleeves. “Take it all off.”
Kira had never felt more desirable than she did when he looked at her. If someone told her she’d be performing a strip tease for her boss, she’d have snorted in their face. But even when she’d first fantasized about him, it had been fairly vanilla compared to the way she lost all her insecurities and slipped out of her shoes with a tiny twirl.
I want you
, he mouthed, and she mouthed the words back, adding to it.
I want you to take off your clothes.
One of his eyebrows arched, but then he unbuttoned the top couple buttons, dragged the shirt over his head, and placed it over one of the guest chairs. When he turned to face her, she licked her lips, staring at the wide expanse of his chest. Dear Lord. She moved forward, eager to feel his arms around her.
He caught her by the upper arms, and whatever she’d been about to say flew from her brain. All she could comprehend revolved around his palms sliding over her shoulders, up her neck, to cradle her hot cheeks.
Her breath hitched, and she lifted her chin and closed her eyes in anticipation of his kiss.
But she didn’t anticipate a tornado, and when he literally swept her off her feet, cradled her to his chest, and planted his lips to hers, the impact devastated her central nervous system. The surge of pleasure that pushed the building need lower, between her legs, sent waves of electricity racing over her skin. She clung to his neck, his shoulders, dug her fingers through his thick hair…messed up his controlled appearance.
Her mind blanked on everything but the way his mouth moved over hers, claiming her completely. All that mattered was the fire rushing through her veins, the driving need to grab more, wiggle closer, expose herself.
He lowered her on to the edge of the desk, sliding into the
of her thighs, and pressing his body into hers. “You are so sexy,” he said with a low growl. She giggled, and his eyes darkened. No one had ever looked at her with such intensity. “You think it’s funny I want you so badly?”
Feeling light-headed and seductive and…womanly, she leaned back and ground into him. When he groaned, she smirked. “Yup.”
He reached around her to slide some files to the side and then pressed on her chest until she lay flat. Bending over her, he explored her curves, from her hips to just below her breast. “How about now?” He bent and kissed just inside the spaghetti strap of her sundress. “Do you still think it’s funny?”
Another giggle escaped from her mouth. She couldn’t help it. She could feel the proof of his desire, and it empowered her. Made her bold. She flattened her palms on his abs and ran them up his chest. Amazing. Tight, firm, and incredibly male. She wrapped her legs around him and hooked her ankles.
She couldn’t look away from his face as he pushed the straps down her shoulders. She loved the way his eyes clouded and his breathing deepened. He made her feel so incredibly sexy. When her breasts tumbled free, he used both hands to cup them.
“I.” He massaged them, sliding his thumbs over her pebbled nipples.
“Want.” He flicked his tongue over first one hardened tip and then the other.
Liquid fire rushed between her legs, and she didn’t even try to silence the appreciative moan that escaped from deep within her throat. She’d never known her breasts to have such control over her entire body’s pleasure system and wondered if she could orgasm from just his teasing licks to her nipples.
Her dress bunched around her hips, and she breathed, “This is too good to be true.”
“I knew—” He grunted. “I knew it would be like this the moment I saw you.”
Like a tornado, she thought. Appearing out of nowhere, unpredictable in direction, upending everything in its path.
“Too many clothes,” he complained, shoving up the hem of her dress and dragging down her panties until they caught on her spread thighs. Then he lifted her legs to the ceiling, plucked the fabric from around her ankles, and smiled down at her with his face framed by her calves.
Using just one finger, he stroked the flesh. Her pulse skipped and she slid off the edge of the desk, pushing on his chest until he fell back into the chair.
When she unbuckled his belt, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, sliding out a condom and tossing the billfold on the desk. As she unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, he toed out of his loafers. Then, she sank to her knees, dragging the pants and boxers down in one motion. But before she could touch his erection, or taste it, he lifted her by the shoulders, spun her around, and bent her over the desk.
“I’m so ready for you.”
She bent her right leg and placed her knee on the desk, arching and glancing at him over her shoulder. “Oh, yes, please.”
After tearing open the condom wrapper, he sheathed himself. At the same time he slid into her, he wrapped a hand around her hips until he found the sensitive spot that shot her over the edge.
lake scanned the day’s agenda and grabbed the file he’d need for his next meeting. He read the summary Kira had attached, and something about it bothered him. She’d typed more than a dozen summaries already, and he usually eyeballed them without hesitation. This one caught him off guard.
He scanned it again, opened the file folder, and flipped through the contents. She’d marked insightful sections and placed sticky notes with key questions over dubious subsections. Her analysis of the property matched his perfectly, and he had a sneaking suspicion why the summary bothered him.
With a couple clicks, he sent an instant message to his human resources director and then he sat back and closed his eyes until he heard the telltale ding of an incoming email. If anything could have shocked him more, it wouldn’t have been the document he read and reread and printed and read for a third time. How could he have missed the signs? How had he not known? Now that the evidence was in front of him, all her actions made sense.
With a casualness he didn’t feel, he called, “Kira?”
As expected, she entered his office with her notepad and pen. Damn he loved her efficiency. “Yes?”
He slid the resume he’d printed around so she could read it. She stepped toward his desk, and he knew the exact moment she saw it was hers. Then, she sucked in her cheeks, blew out a breath, and fidgeting with the pen. After that, she strode around the chair, sat down, and crossed one leg over the other.
“Yes?” she repeated.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You said I was smart the day you offered me the position.”
That wasn’t an answer, but he couldn’t decide if he was angry or impressed. Had she been scamming him? What was her game, besides her building and her charities? Maybe she
like the other women he’d dated—interested in him because she wanted something. He just wished he knew what. That she had access to a large amount of sensitive information shot prickles down his spine, but other than divulging the true extent of her education, she’d always seemed aboveboard. Still, he pressed. “You know I didn’t mean that kind of smart. I had no idea you had those advanced degrees.”
She blinked at him and then she laughed. “Are you kidding me? My degrees don’t affect my job duties here.”
“But you should have told me when I offered you a job. Or even while we went over your employment contract. You worked for a year at Layton Enterprises in a high-level position.”
Her gaze lowered and she sucked on her lip. “I didn’t fit in there.”
Now that he knew her, he could see how the consulting conglomerate wouldn’t really be her style, but… “Damn it. We slept together.” And he’d connected with her on a different level than any other female. She intrigued him, and he hadn’t been able to figure out why she seemed so different from the other women.
But with Kira… He thought he’d plucked her out of obscurity when she’d barged into his office. Though he’d assumed she was a dog walker, she was so much more. For some reason, she was playing at secretary but had advanced skills his company could use in many other ways. And she’d never said a word. Why hadn’t she been honest with him?
With her hands on her hips and her head cocked to the side, she challenged him on every level. “What’s that matter?”
She was right, of course. It didn’t matter that she’d been in his bed and he didn’t known her education level. Still, he couldn’t let it drop. “It’s not right.”
“What’s not right? That you didn’t bother to read my resume or that you slept with someone who actually has a brain?”
“Ouch.” She threw him off balance. Just when he’d thought he knew what he wanted, she’d tripped him—literally with that damn dog leash—and now. For once, he wasn’t interested in neat and tidy. He wanted to peel every complex layer of her to find out who the real Kira was.
“What’s that mean?”
Before Kira he didn’t date his secretaries, but he also hadn’t dated women with advanced degrees. Mostly because women with careers had hectic schedules, just like him, and they never had enough time to get a relationship going. It had always been easier to date someone with less ambitious career goals who could meet up with him when he managed a few spare hours.
This meant she hadn’t been bluffing when she’d threatened to take the issue with The Bromwell Building to the city council, although he was certain his solution to the sticky mess would work.
But he’d try harder to secure the votes. Because now that he had her, he didn’t want to lose her.
She huffed and grimaced at him. “Are you for real right now?”
The volume of their voices had escalated, and suddenly he didn’t know why they’d continued this conversation at all. It really didn’t matter. They had a contract. They had a good thing going personally and professionally. He should have guessed she was educated. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen the signs. And when the year was up she’d go back to walking dogs unless he convinced her to stay. Found a way to engage her in his company. First, he’d have to be patient and get to the bottom of what made this confusing woman tick. Besides homeless dogs and threatened buildings. Make sure she had no other motives for accepting a job in a corporate office, when she’d just admitted she didn’t feel like she fit in. He sighed. “I don’t want to argue with you.”
“I’m not arguing.”
She smiled at him, and the way her tongue swiped across her lips before her mouth widened caught him off guard. Made every other thought fly from his brain. She was so damn beautiful. He shook his head in surrender. “You’re right. You’re not arguing. I am. I’ll stop.”
“So? Back to work?” She nodded her head in the general direction of her desk.
“Probably best.” He stepped into her personal space. “But first.” He stood and walked around his desk to lean over her. “This is a brilliant summary.”
She beamed up at him. “Thank you, boss.”
He chuckled. She’d always find a witty way to keep him in line, and he kind of liked it. Cupping her face in his palms, he lowered his mouth to hers.