Authors: Kendra Little
Tags: #office romance, #workplace romance, #alpha male
"Stop," he said.
She gave a little sigh and I imagined her
standing up in the dark. Her voice confirmed it. "There," she
murmured. "God yes, Reece, touch me there."
It grew hot in the storeroom. A trickle of
sweat dripped down my inner thighs. Except it wasn't sweat. It was
me. I was wet from the sounds of the lovemaking happening only a
few feet away in the dark.
"Take me," Ally whispered. "Take me
Then came a small thump against the door—her
back perhaps—followed by the rhythmic
against flesh. They were doing it right there in front of me and I
couldn't have been more turned on. I wished I could see them—see
him—but it would have to remain a moment for privacy and secrets. I
would relive it later when I was alone in my own bed.
I dared not move even though I was
uncomfortable squashed between the shelves. The discomfort was soon
swamped by the heat coursing through me and the sounds of sex
filling the small space. They felt close, as if I could reach out
and touch their naked bodies. Their breaths became my breath. Their
heat was my heat. Their desire flowed around me, and it was almost
painful not to touch myself.
Their breathing quickened, then came a grunt
from Reece and a small cry from Ally.
It was all over. Neither spoke, but
someone—Reece I think—blew out a long breath, as if he couldn't
believe what he'd just done.
"Put your clothes on and get out," he said,
gruff. "I'll be there in a minute."
The rustle of fabric was followed by a giggle
from Ally. "Kiss me," she said.
"No." The door opened, letting in a small
amount of light. His back was to me, his big frame shielding her
from me, or me from her.
My heart banged inside my chest, and my brain
was a soupy mess of half-formed thoughts and too many emotions. My
nerve endings jangled from the heat and desire still coursing
Ally slipped out without another word and
Reece shut the door again. He remained in the storeroom. With
"Did you enjoy that?" he asked.
Nothing can prepare you for getting caught in
the same room as a couple having sex. I wanted to sink into the
floor and disappear, or maybe throw up.
Real sophisticated, Cleo.
There was nothing sophisticated about the
situation I'd found myself in. It was totally and utterly
humiliating. I just had to remember it was more humiliating for
Reece than for me. Maybe.
For a moment I thought if I simply stood
there, squashed between the shelves, not moving, he would think
he'd imagined my presence and leave. But he didn't.
He switched on the light.
I blinked at the sudden brightness and shrank
even further back. When my eyes had adjusted, I dared to look into
the face of Reece Kavanagh to gauge his reaction to the weird
Bad move. He wasn't smiling, and dark shadows
lurked in those soulless eyes. His brows crashed together and he
crossed his arms over his chest. His jacket and tie lay on a shelf
nearby and his muscles bulged inside his shirt. The man's physique
was as impressive and intimidating as his expression. He stood
between me and the door, an impenetrable, immovable wall of pure
"I…I'm, uh, sorry," I said with as much
coolness as I could muster, which was very little. "I came in here
looking for…" I glanced around at the contents on the shelves.
"Toilet paper." I winced.
was the best I could do?
"In the dark?"
Crap. Time to retreat and get out with what
little dignity I had left. It seemed unfair that I should be the
embarrassed one, when
been caught with his pants
I stepped forward, out from my hiding place,
but he didn't move.
"You didn't answer my question," he said.
"Huh? Oh, right, yeah I was looking in the
dark. Stupid, I know." I shrugged.
He still didn't move. "My other
"Other question?" I genuinely couldn't
remember. My mind was mush. What the hell had he asked me?
"Did you enjoy the show?"
Hell. Why couldn't he just pretend nothing
happened? That's what normal people did. He could let me out with a
sheepish smile and a goofy shrug. I'd promise not to tell anyone
and everything would be fine.
But it wasn't fine. It was awkward, and I was
still damned hot, my skin slick in uncomfortable places. "Um…"
There's no sensible answer to that question. There just isn't. "It
"Interesting?" he filled in.
"Nice?" He leaned back against the doorframe
and lazily crossed his ankles. With his eyelids half closed, he
looked less dangerous and more amused at my discomfort. Damn
"That's not quite the word I'd use," I
"How about hot?"
I swallowed loudly and looked down at my
shoes. "I, uh, guess so." I cleared my throat and took another step
closer. He didn't move aside. Panic fluttered in my chest, but I
refused to let it bloom. I didn't think I was in danger from this
man, but if that were the case, why wasn't he letting me out?
"Excuse me, Mr. Kavanagh, I'd like to leave now."
"Call me Reece. I think we should be on first
name terms after what we just shared."
anything." Finally I
was regaining some common sense and a shred of dignity. I could do
this. I could be all-business and pretend to be offended instead of
turned on. "I overheard an unfortunate incident between you and
"She's not my girlfriend."
"Your assistant then."
He simply grunted. "It seems we think
"This. What you witnessed. It was an
unfortunate incident and shouldn't have happened." He unfolded his
arms and picked up his jacket. "What do you want?"
I frowned. "What do you mean?"
He fished in his jacket pocket and pulled out
a wad of cash. He counted off some notes and handed them to me. "A
"I don't want your money!"
"You want to play hardball? I wouldn't have
picked you for a hustler." He handed me more money. "Two?"
"No! Mr. Kav—Reece—I don't want your money.
If you're paying me to keep me quiet about this, forget it. I don't
talk to newspapers and gossip columnists. I don't care who you fuck
or date or share a burger with. It's none of my business, nor is it
necessary for the rest of the world to know either. Don't worry. I
won't sell your story to anyone."
He paused, the bills in his hand. "I didn't
pick you as the sort of woman who says fuck."
"And I didn't pick you as a guy to have sex
He chuckled and returned the bills to his
jacket. "I don't usually. But I felt like I owed Ally one last time
before I fired her, and this was going to be our only opportunity,
so…" He shrugged. Just like that, he explained away the rendezvous.
It didn't even sound kinky when he said it. Nor did he seem like a
man in love, or even in lust. There was no flush to his cheeks, no
telltale heat in his eyes. He spoke about Ally and their encounter
as if it were just another round of golf.
"You know, if you're going to dump a woman,
you shouldn't have sex with her beforehand," I said.
"Is that right?" He
that's why all my ex-girlfriends hate me."
"Could be," I said. "Or it could be because
they're still in love with you when you break up with them."
break up with
"Just a hunch."
He narrowed his gaze and stepped away from
the door. I could leave whenever I wanted. I stayed.
"Anyway, Ally was never my girlfriend."
"Oh. Right." I held up my hands in surrender.
"It's none of my business what your relationship is with her."
"No," he murmured. "It's not." He took a step
forward so that he was only inches away from me. He was tall,
imposing, and I could feel his heat radiating across the space
between us. He watched me from beneath lowered lashes. "Thanks for
the tip about breakups and sex. I'll keep it in mind for next
time." His voice was a low, melodic bass note that vibrated across
I swallowed heavily. "Anytime." I should
leave. I should slip past him while he was leaning in like that and
run away. But I was rooted to the floor, my shoes leaden and
clunky. If I tried to move, I'd fall over. So I stayed there
beneath his intense gaze and under his spell.
He reached up, his hand near my ear. I could
smell the subtle spice of his cologne and a baser scent that was
pure male. He leaned forward, his face close. Surely he wasn't
going to kiss me.
He was going to kiss me!
"Here," he murmured. His breath brushed my
forehead, his voice sent my nerves crazy. "Don't forget this."
"Hmmm?" What was he saying? What was I
saying? Why wasn't he kissing me?
He stepped back and I saw what he was holding
out to me. A roll of toilet paper. He'd picked it off the shelf
behind me. A wicked smile teased his lips and mischief danced in
those eyes. I took the roll and rushed past him, my face on fire,
my tongue tied in knots, and my stomach churning.
His chuckle followed me down the corridor to
By the time I came out of the bathroom, the
students and gallery staff were packing up the paintings and the
guests had gone. Reece and Ally were nowhere to be seen. I blew out
a breath, unsure whether to be relieved that I didn't have to see
his mocking smile again, or frustrated that I'd blown my chance of
working with my target. There was also another emotion, simmering
just below the others. One that I didn't want to acknowledge.
Disappointment that I would never see him again, never have a
chance to get as close to him as I had in the storeroom.
"I can't believe she brought him," said
Cassie. She was speaking to Becky and a few other students as they
worked to remove paintings from display. "Ally knows our history
and what he's going to do, and yet she still brought him
"Who is she?" Becky asked.
"We went to school together. We used to be
close but grew apart in our senior year." She shook her head and
her red curls bounced. "Getting the hottest guy to like her became
more important than her friendships."
"So why did you invite her?"
"She asked me for an invitation. I hadn't
seen her for a year or more then she contacted me through the
studio's email address and asked if she could attend with a date.
She told me she wanted to catch up, get reacquainted with her old
friends." Her shoulders slumped a little and her lips flattened. "I
should have known it was all bullshit."
"Maybe Reece encouraged her," I chimed in.
Cassie looked at me, a small frown connecting her brows. "She works
for him," I said. "Maybe he discovered her connection to you and
forced her to get an invitation."
"Maybe," Cassie said. "I wasn't going to give
an invitation if he asked."
I squeezed her arm. "I'd say he's in for
quite a fight. He's picked the wrong woman to go up against."
Cassie gave me a weak smile. "Thank you. But
I'm not sure I can win. I can't afford a good lawyer. I can't even
afford a bad one."
"Is there someone who might help you?" I was
thinking of the mysterious client. Someone had employed Ellen to
stop Reece from pulling down Cassie's house. While it could simply
be a case of a business rival wanting to sabotage RK Financial
Group, it could also be a friend who wanted to remain
"No," Cassie said emphatically. She turned
away, only to be slammed with a hug from Becky.
"What if you don't win?" Becky asked, her
huge eyes filled with tears. "Is this the end for the studio?"
"Are you really going to leave?" one of the
other students chimed in.
Cassie patted Becky's back then drew away
from her. She held my sister at arm's length. "Let's not discuss
the future until we know if we can stop Kavanagh. I'm not leaving
without a fight."
She hadn't said it, but we all heard the
'but' in her voice.
But if I fail, I will go.
Becky ranted and raved about how heartless
Reece Kavanagh was all the way home and was still going the
following morning. After venting to me over breakfast, she
retreated to her room and poured out her emotions on canvas in
dark, angry colors. I escaped outside to the garden to call
We lived in the same three-bedroom house we'd
inherited from our parents. It was a middle-class cream brick home
in a middle-class suburb. Our neighbors were mostly empty nesters
over fifty with houses that looked the same as ours and gardens
filled with roses, azaleas and camellias. I liked it. It was home
to me and always had been. Becky found it boring and wanted to move
closer to the inner city or bayside suburbs where her friends met
at cafes or jogged along the foreshore. But we couldn't afford to
move into something big enough for the both of us. Besides, I
couldn't bear to leave the house I'd grown up in. Not yet.
I made sure the back door was closed and
settled on the stone bench Dad had placed under a large tree at the
bottom of the garden. A gardenia flowered its little butt off
nearby, its heady scent a soothing reminder of my mother's green
thumb. I dialed Ellen's number on my cell. She picked up on the
"How'd it go?" she asked. No 'How are you,
Cleo?' or 'Isn't it hot today?' Straight to business.
"It was a disaster. You told me he didn't
have an assistant."
Her pause was slight, but it was there. "She
won't last long."
"You knew? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because she'll be gone by the end of this