Authors: Kendra Little
Tags: #office romance, #workplace romance, #alpha male
"See you tomorrow, Cleo. Don't work too late.
Even you need a break sometimes."
"Got any plans this afternoon?" I asked
"You know I do."
I watched him step into the elevator and the
doors slid closed. As soon as they were firmly shut, I leapt up and
grabbed my bag. I ran after him and punched the button until the
second elevator arrived. I tapped my foot on the floor and got
strange looks from everyone as I rode it down to street level.
Luckily a cab had just pulled up to let someone out. I climbed in,
my bag on my lap and peered through the windscreen.
"Wait," I told the driver. The door to the
underground parking lot slid up and Reece's sleek black Jaguar
drove out. "Follow that car."
The driver stepped on the pedal. We wound our
way through the city traffic, keeping the sporty Jaguar just ahead.
Once we hit the freeway, the driver had difficulty keeping up.
Reece didn't break the speed limit, but he wove in and out of cars
like he was playing
Super Mario Brothers
We drove for thirty minutes then turned onto
a smaller road then a smaller one again. The traffic was light and
I worried that Reece would easily spot us, but he never slowed
down. The road narrowed to a single lane with rough edges and
overgrown branches that whipped at his Jaguar. Finally, we rounded
a bend and I could see him slowing down ahead. There were two other
cars parked nearby, both with two surfboards each strapped to their
roof. I ordered the driver to stop.
"Wait here for me," I said, opening the door.
"I'll be a few minutes."
I walked the rest of the way, keeping to the
shadows. My heels sank into the sandy soil and the warm salty
breeze had me shedding my crop jacket. Waves crashed over rocks in
the distance, but we weren't at any beach I recognized. Wherever we
were, it was somewhere few people ventured.
I watched from behind a bush as Reece greeted
some other guys. It shocked me to see they all looked similar. They
were tall, tanned and more handsome than a man had a right to be. I
knew without a doubt that they were Reece's brothers. There were
only three, however, not four, and they didn't appear to be waiting
for anyone else to arrive. They removed wetsuits from trunks and
stripped off near the cars.
It's possible that my eyes
bulged out of my head. I had the perfect view of Reece's perfect
back and ass. Even from a distance I could see his strong, corded
muscles across his shoulders and down his back. His butt was taut
and bitable, the whole package a sexy, masculine V. I squinted,
trying to see better, but he quickly drew on the wetsuit to his
waist. Then he turned around and I got to admire the front
It was everything I knew it would be. He had
the abs of an athlete, all dips and ridges, and the chest of a
swimmer. I couldn't tear my gaze away. I was riveted and quite
possibly drooling too.
Suddenly the other three guys lined up
alongside him, all with their wetsuits open to their waists. Reece
turned on them and said something. The other three ignored him and,
still facing me, waved in my direction.
I ducked behind the bush. They'd seen me! God
dammit. That meant Reece must have known I was there all along. I
watched through the leaves and saw him shove the nearest guy in the
arm. The three brothers were laughing. Reece wasn't. He left them
to untie a board from one of the other cars. Eventually they joined
him and all four disappeared through the scrub beyond which I could
hear the rolling waves of the surf.
I wanted to follow and watch, but I knew what
was good for me. I had to get out of there and think of an excuse
that would preserve my dignity. But I couldn't think of anything.
My mind was blank. No, not blank. It was still picturing the best
ass I'd ever seen, and the best chest, shoulders, abs…
I sighed. Now that I'd seen the package I'd
been refusing all this time, I was doubly glad I'd already turned
down his invitation to accompany him the following night. There was
no way in hell I could withstand the force of Reece Kavanagh if he
asked again because, well, I just didn't want to anymore.
The following morning, an invitation to the
launch party with my name on it sat on my keyboard. I stared at it,
wondering if I should screw it up and get rid of it before Reece
saw. But Reece probably already knew it was there. He goddamned
His door opened and he filled the doorway.
The smile he gave me was all mischief. He nodded at the invitation.
"I hate to lose. I thought you would have realized that by
At least he hadn't mentioned me following him
to the beach. Yet. I set down my bag and switched on the computer.
"You contacted someone and had them courier this out. That's
"I prefer resourceful." He came into my part
of the office and seemed to fill that with his presence too. He
passed by my desk and pressed the wall panel to reveal the
kitchenette. "This way you can attend, but not with me. You don't
have to be seen with me if you don't want to."
"Then why do you want me there at all?"
"For later," he murmured, glancing at me over
his shoulder. His cool eyes surveyed my face.
"And because you should be there," he said as
he made himself a coffee. "This new phone is an important
development for a company RK invests in, and you're an important
part of RK."
I fingered the stiff cream card and traced my
nail over the black lettering. "What if I say no?"
"You won't," he said.
"How do you know?"
"Because I'm ordering you to attend. Unless
you have something important to do, you have to come. Besides." He
turned around, coffee cup in hand, and leaned back against the
bench. "I know you want to."
Be calm, Cleo.
"What makes you say
His eyes met mine over the rim of the cup.
They were devil's eyes, all-knowing and fathomless. "Don't pretend
you're not interested in seeing more of me. Yesterday proved
My face grew hot and I wanted to hide under
my desk, but there was no hiding from those eyes. They saw into me
and stripped me naked, leaving me defenseless. "I saw quite a bit
of you yesterday," I said crisply. "That's enough for me, thank
"Is it?" he drawled, like he didn't believe a
word. "We'll see about that."
I turned to my computer and forced myself not
to engage with him. It seemed to end badly whenever I verbally
sparred with him. The man always seemed to have the last word and
get his way.
"Those were my brothers, by the way," he
said, coming around to the front of my desk.
"All three of them?" I asked, feigning
He nodded. "I have four brothers, but Blake
was missing." He spoke so softly I forgot my resolve not to look at
him and glanced up. He was staring into his cup, a sad twist to his
mouth. "He's been missing for a while."
"You don't know where he is?"
"We have some idea. It's impossible to hide
from the Kavanaghs forever. But he never communicates with us."
"It's a long story."
"I have the time."
His lashes fluttered closed and when they
reopened, the steeliness was back in his eyes. All traces of
vulnerability had been wiped out. "No you don't. We've got work to
do. I want to move things along with the Serendipity Bend
Just like that he shut me out. The small
window into his soul was closed as quickly as it had opened and he
was back to being business-like again. I wanted to ask him more
about his brothers, not Blake, but the other three. They'd seemed
mischievous and so unlike Reece that it was hard to imagine them
being related. I wondered if I'd ever get to meet them.
The hard click of his door closing snapped me
out of those kinds of thoughts. I didn't want to meet Reece's
family. I didn't want to get close to the man. I much preferred the
mischievous surfer side of him to stay hidden. I liked it too damn
"You look amazing," Becky said when I
pirouetted to show off my outfit. The black dress flipped out,
revealing a lot of thigh. I'd have to remember not to spin around
on the dance floor. Not that I anticipated any dancing at a product
"Are these earrings okay?" I asked, touching
the conservative gold and diamond loops. Dad had given them to our
mother on their twentieth wedding anniversary. They were the most
expensive pieces of jewelry Becky and I owned.
"Perfect." She sat on my bed, her legs
stretched out so that her damp toenail polish didn't rub off on the
cover. She'd decided to color them the same deep pink as mine. "And
I like your hair out like that. It makes a change from the
conservative styles you've worn lately."
I checked myself in the mirror. My hair had
gotten long. I'd been too busy to cut it, but I liked the curl
Becky had created with the curling wand I'd never mastered.
"He's going to be impressed," she said.
I gasped. "Who?"
"Calm down, Cleo. I don't who know you've got
a crush on. I just assumed there's some guy at this thing you want
"Oh. Right. No, nobody. It'll just be a bunch
of old, bald, fat businessmen."
"Yeah, right. You wouldn't be going to all
this trouble if it were just a bunch of OBFs." She giggled.
"Whoever he is, he'll want to sleep with you as soon as he sees
I glared at her in the mirror's reflection.
want to sleep with him. Anyone."
She just grinned.
I looked at myself again. Maybe I should put
on lower heels and remove some makeup. And the curl in my hair had
to go. In fact, I should just tie it up.
Becky leapt off the bed and caught me by the
shoulders. "I know that look," she said to my reflection. "Do not
change a single thing. You'll fit right in. I've seen these things
in the papers and all the women look like movie stars, but you'll
surpass them all."
I snorted. "I doubt it."
"I can't believe you got an invite! You're so
lucky. I love their phones. I don't suppose you can pick me up a
"I'll see what I can do, but I'm not there to
"Then what's the point?"
"To represent my company since my boss can't
make it." I'd told Becky all about the phone launch, even going so
far as to tell her the company I worked for invested in it. I
didn't tell her the company name and she didn't ask. There were
probably dozens of large investors behind the scenes and it wasn't
like Becky would know how to find out that information anyway. I
was in no danger of being discovered as long as I didn't walk in or
out with Reece Kavanagh. Inside, the only cameras allowed were the
official ones and they wouldn't pan the audience, only the stage. I
would be safe in there.
The cab honked out the front. I grabbed my
clutch and kissed Becky's cheek. "Don't wait up."
"Have a good time!" she called as I headed
out the door. "Send me a text if you're not coming home
I hated large functions where I didn't know
anyone. Part of me had gotten used to them, having been invited to
a few work ones in my time. But the introvert in me wanted to turn
around and go home. I forced myself to stay and picked off a glass
of champagne from a passing waiter's tray. I searched the crowd for
Reece, but I was too short to see over the heads, even in my
I made my way past many OBF men in
conversation with trophies and other OBFs until I finally saw the
back of a head that looked familiar. Make that two. They were bent
in conversation near a curtain at the side of the stage, and did
not look around as I approached. I was sure one of them was Reece
and the other must have been one of his brothers. Not too many guys
had a physique like the Kavanagh men.
I was about to greet him when I heard the one
who wasn't Reece say, "About yesterday."
I almost turned around right there and walked
off. No way did I want to see the man who knew I'd followed Reece.
It had been humiliating enough at the time, and I didn't want to
But Reece's response stopped me walking away.
"Thursdays are supposed to be for surfing, not the other crap," he
growled. "You promised not to talk business."
"You gave us no choice. You haven't been
answering anyone's calls and it's the only time we get to see you.
We're used to you not coming home, but not the phone silence."
So it was true that Reece never went home. I
angled myself into the curtain so that I was hidden from their view
if they turned around, but close enough to hear. Unfortunately I
could no longer see them either.
"I haven't been answering your calls because
you say the same things over and over," Reece said.
The brother sighed. "That's because time's
running out. You need to stop this, now, before it gets out of
"Too late. It's going ahead."
"Jesus, Reece, don't do this to Cass. She
doesn't deserve it after everything she's been through."
"It's not about her." The edge of steel in
Reece's voice was unmistakable. Most mere mortals would back down
if he spoke to them like that, but not his brother.
"It affects her big time," he said, matching
Reece's frosty tone. "If you opened your eyes, you'd see that."
"Do you forget how she treated Blake?"
"Do you forget how he loves her?"
"Loved, past tense."
"You sure about that?" A heavy silence
followed. I pictured them squaring off, maybe staring each other
down with matching ice-blue eyes. Finally, when I became worried
that they'd walked off, the other Kavanagh said, "Who are you