Authors: Megan Crane
A Bad Boy Short
Copyright © 2016 Megan Crane
The Tule Publishing Group, LLC
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination
or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
hat happened to
that rock of yours?”
It took me longer than it should have to realize that Damon Patrick—lofty seventh year associate at the historic law firm of Granger & Knox, renowned litigator, and San Francisco’s favorite sex symbol—was speaking directly to me, his sexy growl of a voice loud in the confines
of the otherwise empty elevator.
, a very lowly first year associate barely a year out of law school, who’d been sent along on this deposition—I was well aware—to do little more than sort the great man’s documents and keep his coffee mug filled the way he liked it.
Black enough to kill with one sugar to sweeten the blow, in case you wondered.
I was thrilled to be assigned to him
even though I knew celebrated lawyers on a meteoric rise toward an inevitable partnership like Damon didn’t usually speak to green little first-years like me, unless it was to issue orders. And Damon himself had never, in the months I’d worked in the same firm as him and only occasionally on his cases, addressed a single personal remark to me. Not one.
I would have remembered. Hell, I would have
built a shrine to the memory.
Because I might have been a supposedly engaged woman until approximately an hour and a half ago, but I’d never been blind. Damon was so hot it hurt. All of that lean, chiseled, black-haired and blue-eyed male beauty. That raspy voice of his that made even thorny contract issues sound impossibly hot. And his high expectations that the support staff around him, including
junior lawyers like me, should read his brilliant mind at a glance and do as he wanted without his having to ask for it.
“Um,” I said belatedly, which wasn’t the way to impress him. Then again, neither was the awful, betraying blush I could feel roll over me, from my hairline down the length of my neck, and then on to all the private places beneath the suit I wore until I nearly squirmed where
I stood. I felt lit up and wild, suddenly, and it scared me almost as much as he always had on a basic, feminine level I’d never cared to acknowledge. “What?”
I’d been pretty good at my job—even a little bit impressive, if I said so myself, with the mind-reading and all—until today. Because this particular Friday morning in September was the day I’d stopped kidding myself. I’d ordered Alexander
to move out. I’d thrown his ring in his face to underscore that request. I’d finally realized what every single other person in Northern California had realized a long time ago, according to my best friend Holly: Alexander was not “figuring out his issues with intimacy.”
Alexander was having sex. Lots of sex, with lots of people who weren’t me.
While I was engaged and chaste against my will
and still a goddamn virgin at twenty-six.
Oh, and I was also a fucking idiot.
So it wasn’t really my fault that instead of answering Damon Patrick, resident god and technically my boss, I just stared back at him. A little bit angrily, I can admit. As if, because he was a male of the species like Alexander, he was partially to blame for my six year charade of a relationship.
It wasn’t really
my fault—but it wasn’t smart, either.
Damon’s dark brows edged up his clever forehead and I felt it like a very physical touch, when I hadn’t been touched in what felt like a thousand years. A disconcerting electricity shuddered through me when he fixed those dark blue eyes of his on me, sharp and intense, as if he could see straight through me to the mess inside. As if he could
through me that easily. I felt singed.
And then I felt something else. It clenched hard and deep inside of me, then made me feel terrifyingly soft and wet and fluttery. Breathless.
“Did you not hear the question?” he asked, almost softly.
I may have heard it, but I’d already forgotten it. That’s how blue his eyes were.
“Um,” I said again, dazed.
A too-familiar look of impatience
flashed over his remarkable face, making his eyes look bluer and his black hair even darker. He didn’t like to repeat himself. That was only one of the things I knew about Damon Patrick.
Some other things I knew, the way everybody in the office and probably the whole city knew: he was
to look at directly, much like the sun. He made even fourth and fifth year associates, supposedly well-seasoned
lawyers in their own right, stammer and flush and pray for death rather than the sharp edge of his tongue. Speaking of his tongue, he was rumored to have sexual appetites so intense no one woman could satisfy them—though we all liked to speculate about the possibility of attempting to satisfy even one or two of them at length and with creative flourish. He was darkly intelligent, often
brusque and dismissive in the way only confident and powerful men could be with such impunity, and he wasn’t one to suffer fools. Ever.
And he was also fucking beautiful.
“How eloquent,” he said in that smirky way of his. I didn’t like all that focused, too-smart attention on me. It made me feel… restless. Achey. As if I didn’t know myself, suddenly. Or as if my pussy was doing my thinking for
me, for a change. It might have been a relief if it had been anyone else. “Harvard Law, was it?”
“Yale,” I bit out, afraid that I’d betray myself further if I let myself speak normally.
His mouth did something wicked and dismissive at once. “You must be the shining star of the program. Clearly.”
It was only then that it dawned on me that he’d originally been looking at my left hand where, until
this morning when I’d chucked it at his head, I’d worn Alexander’s ring. Which had certainly not been a rock. More like an apologetic pebble.
I didn’t stop to think about how weird it was that
had noticed anything about me.
“Oh,” I said, as if the previous interchange hadn’t happened and he hadn’t actually insulted me, my law school, and the storied history of Yale University at
once. “You mean my ring.”
“I did mean your ring. Now I’m bored.”
The thing was, I was fed up with men. Inconsiderate men who thought only of themselves and never the people around them. Horrible, lying men who strung people along for
“What you are is remarkably rude,” I said, because I had a death wish.
Everything went very, very still in that elevator. Terrifyingly still.
Damon’s head tilted slightly to one side, and he stared at me, a dangerous sort of astonishment on his gorgeous face. I couldn’t tell the difference between the plummeting sensation in my stomach and the elevator that was still dropping us toward the lobby where a car waited out in front of the building to drive us north to today’s deposition in Napa.
I wished it would drop me into the center
of the earth, never to be heard from again.
“Mr. Patrick,” I stammered out, self-preservation washing over me a little too late, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean—”
“Quiet,” he ordered me. His wicked mouth crooked slightly in one corner when I obeyed him out of habit—or maybe something a little more intense than mere habit—and I told myself the bright heat that rolled over and stretched out inside
of me was from embarrassment, nothing more. “You’re right. That was rude. I apologize.”
I couldn’t bear the tension between us, or the way he was looking at me as if he’d never seen me before. As if he wanted to close the few feet between us and peel me down, layer by layer, with his hands and his teeth and his—
What the hell?
Did breaking off my engagement mean I’d gone completely insane? When
Alexander had suggested exactly that, cheating asshole that he was, I’d dismissed it. But now I wondered.
“No,” I said firmly. “I was out of line.”
He looked as if he wanted to say something else, and I didn’t know why I really, really wanted him to say it. I leaned in slightly in anticipation, but the elevator reached the bottom floor with a soft thud.
The elevator doors slid open and it was
like being jolted awake by my obnoxious morning alarm. I blinked, and pretended I didn’t see the curious, considering look he leveled at me, his hands thrust into the pockets of his trousers in a loose sort of way that whispered of a certain
it wasn’t healthy for me to contemplate. Not when the man in question was my boss. Sort of. I bolted across the marble lobby, and would have raced
outside toward the waiting town car but he caught me by the elbow.
Damon Patrick was touching me.
I couldn’t allow myself to think about that. Much less how it
. It might kill me where I stood.
“Tell me,” he said, ushering me toward the big revolving doors as if it was perfectly normal to
and make me modify the way I was walking to match his long, lazy stride. “What’s your name?”
That shouldn’t have made me feel what it did—simultaneously furious that he didn’t know it and chastened, because of course he didn’t. Why would he?
Like one of those yippy little dogs?”
“I don’t believe I was named after a dog, no.” I tried to keep my voice cool, while ignoring the heat of him so close to me, his fingers like a bright brand just above my elbow, making
my heart shudder in my chest. “Would you like me to call my mother and ask her?”