Authors: Kendra Little
Tags: #office romance, #workplace romance, #alpha male
She gave me a blank look. "Everything there
is to know about Mr. Kavanagh you can read in the papers. It's
boring but true. His love life is an open book, as I think you
already know, and his work life is there in the business pages for
everyone to read about."
I nodded. "Yes, but tell me about
Tell me things I can't find out from reading the papers and society
She suddenly sat back in her chair and threw
up her hands. "God only knows! He hardly sees his employees, except
for the executives. All I can tell you is he's too gorgeous for his
own good. Women throw themselves at him and he doesn't give a damn.
Unless you're a model, forget it. He's not interested."
"That rules me out," I said with a laugh.
"And me." She sighed. "The only people who
really know him are his family."
"The Kavanaghs," I muttered. "They're a large
family, aren't they? I think I read that somewhere."
"Uh-huh. Rich as Midas too. Most live down by
the river, but not all in the same house."
"I remember now. Didn't Reece buy an old
house down there?"
"Is he going to live in it?"
"He's going to tear it down. You'll learn all
about it soon enough. It's his number one project, so he told my
boss. Not sure how it will go down with his family, but I don't
think he'll care too much. Rumor is he rarely goes back to the
river. Apparently he hates the area."
"Did he have a falling out with his
She shrugged. "All I know is, our Mr.
Kavanagh lives in a penthouse in the city. Not sure where
precisely. He keeps that to himself, like most other things."
"What other things?"
"Like where the hell he goes every Thursday
afternoon, rain, hail or shine."
I went to check his online diary, but Jenny
shook her head.
"Don't bother. It's not in there. None of his
PA's could find out where he went. None, including his, um,
favorites." She gave me a wink and stood. "I gotta go. Let me know
if there's anything you need. My extension is two-one-nine."
She was about to leave, when I thought of
something and called out to her. I met her in the foyer near the
elevator. "Do you know why Ally left? Did she do something wrong
professionally or personally? I just want to know so I don't make
the same mistake," I said with a shrug.
"Good idea." Jenny sucked on her lip then let
it out with a pop. "Far as I know, she got too clingy. Guess you'd
file that under a personal mistake."
"Too clingy? As in she wanted more from
"She wanted a
Lately, she would to come down to my desk and whine about how he
treated her like just an employee and not his girlfriend."
"She wasn't really his girlfriend anyway. He
never called her that. If she'd known that he slept with all his
PA's before she climbed into his bed, she probably would have saved
herself some heartbreak and just had a bit of fun."
"Poor Ally." I now knew why the woman had
clung to Reece at the gallery. She'd already felt him slipping away
from her and she wanted to hang onto him as long as possible. I
couldn't blame her. If I had a guy like that, I'd want to keep him
"Don't worry, he won't sleep with you." She
shrugged. "Like I said, you don't look like his type. Sorry."
"Don't apologize." I laughed to hide the knot
of disappointment in my gut. "I'm hoping to break the cycle and
just be his PA." It was strange how Jenny didn't think I was his
type, and nor did I, yet Ellen was convinced of it. Maybe she
really had got Reece all wrong.
The elevator dinged and Reece stepped out.
Jenny jumped out of his way and murmured, "Good afternoon, Mr.
He nodded at her. "Good afternoon, Jenny.
Cleo, I need the latest financial reports on the Doveton
He marched through the glass door. Jenny
stepped into the elevator and mouthed
back and returned to
my desk. Reece had left his office door open. I searched through
the files and printed out the ones he wanted and took them into
He waved me into a seat without looking up
from his monitor. I sat and waited, hands in my lap.
When he finished reading, he leaned back
without picking up the reports. "Have you settled in?"
"Yes, thank you."
"I see you've met some of the staff."
"Jenny is very nice. Everyone's been
"Filling you in on the gossip, no doubt."
Was this another test? I decided to be
honest. I had a feeling Reece was a man who liked honesty from his
staff. "Actually, yes, but sadly there seems to be very little of
it around that isn't public knowledge."
He leaned forward, his elbows on the desk,
and pinned me with that icy stare of his. "Is that so? Tell me,
Cleo, do you want to ask me something?"
"Yes," I admitted. I would not be intimidated
by this man.
"Go ahead. Ask me anything."
"Where do you go Thursday afternoons?"
He blinked slowly. Then he burst out
what you want to know?"
"You don't want to know who I have lined up
for my next date, for example? That seems to be the gossip
"I'm sure I'll find out in good time. The
consensus around the office seems to be that it won't be me." I
wasn't sure whether I was saying it out loud to convince him or
His lids lowered. His mouth flattened. "And
why would everyone think that when all the evidence is to the
contrary? I do have a reputation for sleeping with my
Oh boy. His smoky voice had a way of
stripping defenses I thought were solid. "I'm not your type. Too
much school mistress and not enough model."
His left eyebrow kicked up. "Is that so? I
had a crush on my fifth grade teacher so don't discount the effect.
You know, you're a lot like her except you don't wear glasses. Long
brown hair, pretty, slender but with curves in all the right
I squirmed, but refused to lower my gaze. I
would not be defeated by his intensity, or his desire. But that
didn't mean I didn't feel the responding tug between my thighs. I
picked up the papers and handed them across the desk. "Let's just
make one thing clear before the day is out. I'm not going to sleep
with you, Reece."
He simply gave me a crooked smile, as if he
knew differently. Jerk. "I don't suppose you'd consider
I let go of the papers and they landed softly
on the desk in front of him. "Can I ask you another question?"
The light danced in his eyes. "Go ahead."
"Did you know I was in the storeroom before
you made love to Ally?"
The light in his eyes dimmed. Was he
embarrassed by my question? I hoped so, because I felt almost too
awkward to ask it. But part of me had to know. I didn't understand
why. "After," he said without meeting my gaze. "If I'd known you
were there, I would have stopped." He picked up the papers, still
avoiding my gaze, but then he set them down again. "Seeing as we're
asking personal questions of one another, I have one for you."
"Go ahead. But I won't be answering anything
too personal. Let's keep our relationship on a business footing,
"This shouldn't be too personal, but I can't
make that promise of future questions."
"And I can't make promises that I'll answer
"Don't make me snoop. I don't like spying on
Hell. He would spy on me? I swallowed. "Just
ask your question."
"Will your connection to the Serendipity Bend
property cause any problems?"
I paused for a heartbeat, thinking through my
answer. "None that I can foresee."
"Your sister won't get mad?"
"My sister doesn't know I work for you and
nor will she find out. This job is only temporary and it makes no
difference whether I work for you or not, you'll still go ahead
with your plans."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because rumor has it you're a cold-hearted
son of a bitch and won't care who asks you not to bulldoze that
house. You'll still do it."
He huffed out a gruff laugh. "At least you're
honest. Few people around here are. Aren't you afraid of losing
"I'm a temp, Reece. I start and finish jobs
all the time. I'll find another one."
"Sure you will. But no boss will be as good
to work for as me."
Arrogant asshole. I turned on a smile.
"Speaking of which, I haven't signed a contract yet. Who should I
speak to for the paperwork?"
"Leave it with me."
"But I'd like to get it sorted soon, before
we both get too comfortable."
"Too late. I'm already comfortable. You've
taken notes in my meetings, made plans to fix Ally's mistakes and
even watered the plant." At my raised brows, he gave me a wicked
smiled. "I snooped around your workspace while you were at
"That's hardly fair."
"I don't play fair, Cleo. Cold-hearted son of
a bitch, remember?"
I stood abruptly and fixed him with my most
serious glare. He could do whatever he liked to try and intimidate
me or control me, or whatever it was he was trying to do, but it
wouldn't work. In essence, I didn't work for him, I worked for
Ellen and I was employed to stop his Serendipity Bend project
before the bulldozers showed up. Doing that was far more important
than playing his games.
"Have my employment contract on my desk by
the morning," I said and stalked to the door.
Somehow he reached it first. He blocked the
doorway with his formidable body. Being so close to him was like
being on the edge of a black hole. All my bravado was sucked out of
me by his compelling presence. The woman in me just wanted to reach
out and touch his abs beneath his shirt. But we didn't touch, just
stared one another down. I prayed he couldn't see the anxiety in my
"You don't order me about," he said in a low
voice that rumbled up from the depths of his chest. "Got that?"
I nodded primly. "Of course. As your
employee, I would never dream of doing such a thing. Would it help
if I said please?"
He seemed uncertain how to react to my sweet
turn. His gaze softened and he lowered his arm. "You can get me
another coffee before you leave for the day."
"You shouldn't drink so much coffee. It's bad
for you." I held up my hands in surrender. "But I wouldn't dream of
telling you what to do. It's
health." I lowered my
lashes, hoping for the smoky, sexy look that he'd perfected. "Your
I brushed past him, holding my breath in the
hope that if I didn't breathe in his scent, I wouldn't be affected.
Wrong. My insides flipped as my arm touched his. There might have
been clothing between us, but I felt the jolt of my body's
awareness as surely as a lightning strike.
I didn't look back to see if he'd felt it
too. I hurried to the little kitchenette and made him a coffee. I
took it into him but he didn't look up from his papers. I left his
office, shut the door, and settled back at my desk. It was past
five, but I didn't plan on leaving yet. Not only did I have a lot
of Reece's work to do, I also needed to follow Ellen's techniques
for ingratiating myself. That meant working extra hard, harder than
any PA he'd had before. I called Becky and let her know I wouldn't
be home for dinner. She said she'd make something that I could heat
up later. She was used to me not coming home until all hours.
Three hours later, Reece emerged from his
office. He was rubbing his hand over his face so didn't see me
straight away. My breath caught in my throat. The brief moment in
which he thought he was alone told me more about Reece Kavanagh
than anything else so far. He was tired, yes, but troubled too. The
way he lowered his head and the groaning sigh were a sure sign that
he had something on his mind.
I wished I could alleviate the pressure for
The moment of vulnerability shattered when he
drew his hand away and spotted me. We both stared at one another,
neither speaking. I tried to search for something to say and
failed. I couldn't even muster a smile. The urge to take his face
in my hands and brush away the shadows with my thumbs was
I dug my fingers into the leather of my
"You're still here," he said lamely.
I nodded. "There's a lot to do."
He gave a small shake of his head and
shoulders as if he were shrugging off his problems. The shadows
lurking in his eyes vanished, replaced with the familiar coldness
that he seemed to wrap around himself when he needed to be the big
bad boss. "It's late, Cleo. Go home."
"In a minute. I just want to finish looking
at these spreadsheets."
"Trying to impress me?"
"No. Trying to work out why you've spent so
much on servers in the last year and your system is still
He frowned. "What do you mean?"
"You don't think it's slow? I've worked in
several companies, some bigger than this one, and their systems
work more efficiently."
"Austin tells me it's just the nature of
technology these days. Our company is information hungry and all
that data takes up more and more space. He claims to have bought
the best servers money can buy."
"That's what it says here on the
spreadsheets." I nodded at the monitor and he came around to stand
behind me. I could feel his heat and intensity, but he didn't touch
me. I tried to concentrate on the task at hand. "I recognize this
hardware brand, and Austin's right, they are the best. They should
be able to cope with RK's databases without any problems. Other
places I've worked for have installed these servers and they're
just as data hungry, if not more so, than RK."