Authors: Ashley Blake
On Monday it was back to the grind at
work. Tuesday was even more grueling than the day before. I was working on a
spreadsheet when Samira came to my office.
“I wanted to stop by and tell you your
schedule for this evening.”
I hope I get to see
“Yes. You are scheduled to have dinner
tonight with Mr. Hunter, his younger brother Jake, his companion Vivienne
Worthington, and Mr. Hunter’s business associate, Conrad Winthrop III at 8:00
p.m. The attire is business attire. Something similar to what you are wearing
She hesitated for a moment and then leaned
in and whispered to me. “Mr. Hunter’s brother is a bit quiet and serious.
He’s kind enough but he’s not overly talkative. That girlfriend of his is
something else. I don’t want to fill your head with any pre-conceived notions,
but you will see for yourself what I’m talking about. Mr. Winthrop is a bit of
a ladies’ man. The eternal bachelor is what they call him around the office.
He may be a bit flirtatious with you, especially since there is so much buzz
about you around the office. But he’s very kind. He tends to be a bit
competitive with Mr. Hunter. He’s the Vice Chairman and Global Head of Growth
Markets and he is one of Mr. Hunter’s closest allies. So there is your mini
summary of who you will be meeting tonight. Have a wonderful time at dinner
this evening.” She shot me a mischievous smile before retreating from my
I was deep into compiling numbers when I
heard a light tap on my door. I looked up to see Joshua casually leaning
against my door, one hand in the pocket of his beautifully tailored suit, and I
had a sharp intake of breath.
Damn it, that man is gorgeous
“You startled me.”
“I didn’t mean to. I see that you are
submerged in a project. Jameson, I presume.”
“Yes, I am preparing the spreadsheet. It
will be ready by tomorrow.”
“I know it will. I have no doubts about
your work. I assume Samira told you about dinner tonight?”
“Yes, she did.”
“OK, good. You will meet my brother and
his girlfriend. She is what is known as a busy body. She will probably try to
get information out of you regarding the nature of our relationship. I trust
you will remain discreet about us.” It was definitely not a question.
“I didn’t know you had a brother. In
fact, I don’t know very much about you Joshua.”
As his gorgeous dark eyes held my gaze, a
wry smile touched the corner of his mouth. “In time you will know all you need
to know. You will also be meeting my business associate Conrad. He can be
overly spirited at times.”
I could have sworn I saw a glimmer of fire
in his eyes when told me I would be meeting Conrad.
“The car will pick us up at the hotel at
7:45 p.m. and I will meet you in the lobby.” He started to walk away and then
stopped, half closed the door, and leaned in my office. “Sarah?”
“Yes?” My eyes met his.
“Wear something sexy underneath your
clothes this evening. I want to think of you wearing something only for me.”
He winked at me and walked away.
I sat there speechless, butterflies
fluttering in my stomach.
How is it possible that this man still affects me
I had to push that thought out of my head and focus on the task
at hand. I wanted my work to be flawless.
The Rolls Royce dropped me off at my hotel
at about 5:30 and when I returned to my room, waiting for me were my makeup
artist, manicurist, and hair stylist. I quickly showered, and then was able to
sit and be pampered for a couple of hours. Initially I thought about telling
Joshua that it was not necessary to have all of this provided for me. But then
I caught myself and thought,
I had never been pampered like
this before and I certainly could not afford to have a makeup artist,
manicurist and hair stylist at my beck and call.
So why not enjoy this
When my nails were dry I got dressed. I wore a pair of
black dress slacks and a beautiful red, short sleeved YSL blouse. I had never
had my makeup done professionally before and when I looked in the mirror I
barely recognized myself. I actually looked pretty. I thanked everyone and
went downstairs to the car that was waiting for me. I could feel myself
holding my head up a little higher filled with confidence, as I received
admiring glances from several men in the lobby.
I hate to admit it, but I
could get used to this lifestyle.
Joshua was already waiting for me in the
Rolls Royce. My heart was pounding as I was about to get in. Would he notice
the difference in my appearance? Why do I care anyway?
Because you do.
I answered my own question, I was startled by the honest answer that I did not
want to admit. I was still focused on my ultimate goal to make partner in five
years, but it was getting harder to quell the feelings of excitement I felt
whenever I saw Joshua.
My Prada perfume permeated the Rolls Royce
as I entered.
I hope he likes the scent.
Joshua had an approving gleam
in his eye when he saw my transformation but there was a hint of something else
there. He almost looked worried.
“I see your personal salon workers did
their job this evening. You look lovely Sarah.”
It was difficult not to blush at the
compliment as I felt my cheeks flush. He looked so regal in his black suit,
not a hair out of place. I was definitely living a fairytale and I was
starting to want it to never end.
“Where are we having dinner?”
“Reflets, a lovely French restaurant. I
hope you like French food.”
“I have never tried it but I
am sure I can find something on the menu I like. We’ve never gone out to
dinner together.” I straightened my shirt and fluffed my hair and gave Joshua
a small flirtatious smile.
He seemed a bit uncomfortable
with that. “Sarah, I think I need to make something clear to you. I want you
to know that I enjoy your company. If I didn’t, you wouldn’t be here. We are
going to be spending a lot of time together on this trip and you are going to
meet some very important people in my life. But, I don’t want you to mistake
this for anything other than what it is. This is strictly a contract, nothing
more. I offered you something and you accepted. I don’t want you to have any
misconceptions about us. We are not a couple.”
I sat there stunned.
an arrogant ass.
We’re not a couple?
I know that you jerk.
then I guess that means I am free to flirt and mingle with whomever I’d like.
Let’s see what the night has in store.
I gave him a cool stare and
told him I understood.
“No need to worry Mr. Hunter.
No misconceptions here at all.”
I saw him wince when I called
him Mr. Hunter. I don’t think he liked the reinstatement of formality between
We rode in silence the rest of
the way to the restaurant.
We were escorted to our
private dining room and everyone was already there, waiting for us. Joshua
walked over to his brother Jake and gave him a hug. It was nice to see him
show affection for someone he loved. He kissed Jake’s girlfriend on the cheek
and he shook Conrad’s hand.
“I would like for you all to
meet our newest associate, Sarah Vaughn. She was the star intern and we are
very excited to have her aboard.”
They each shook my hand and
Conrad gave it an extra little squeeze. “It’s wonderful to meet you Sarah. I
have heard many good things about you.” He gave me a little wink while holding
my chair out for me.
“Thank you.” I flashed him an
appreciative smile. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw Joshua
grimace. We were at a round table so it was easy to see and talk with
everyone. Jake sat on my left, Vivienne was next to him, Joshua was next to
her, and Conrad sat on my right.
“So, Sarah, where are you
from?” Jake dove right in with the question.
“I am from a suburb of New
York City. I hope to get an apartment in the city soon so I won’t have to
commute anymore.” I flashed Joshua a look and he was visibly irritated.
“Do you have a long commute?”
I tossed my hair over my
shoulder. “It’s relatively long and it’s
boring.” I held Joshua’s
gaze as the biting words rolled off my tongue.
I saw the flash of anger fly
through his eyes as he clenched his jaw.
“Jake, you are the Chief
Financial Officer of the company, is that correct?”
“You’ve done your homework.
Yes, I am. Joshua and I inherited the company from our father who inherited it
from his father, and it goes back down the line several generations.”
I noticed that Vivienne looked
visibly annoyed that Jake and I were having a conversation. Then she decided
to chime in.
“So, Sarah, are you enjoying
“I am. It is beautiful here.”
“Was it difficult to leave
your significant other back home for 30 days?”
Very clever Vivienne.
You’re not getting that information from me so easily.
“I was able to put everything in order that needed to
be in order.”
Then Conrad chimed in. “My
dear, you look very lovely this evening. How nice to have a smart
woman on one of our long business trips. I must show you around Dubai on one
of your free days, if you will allow me.”
“That would be lovely, thank
you.” I flashed him a smile and glanced at Joshua to see him trying to mask
that he was seething.
No misconceptions here buddy.
The conversation was pretty
lively during dinner and I found that I really enjoyed talking with Jake. He
reminded me of my younger brothers. The conversation between Jake and I was
very easy and natural. I think it was because there was zero sexual tension.
We just clicked as friends. Neither Vivienne nor Joshua seemed happy that the
two of us hit it off so well. She shot me death stares anytime I spoke to him.
But I didn’t care. I felt I had made a new friend.
We were all saying goodnight
when Conrad pulled me aside.
“Sarah, it was so nice to meet
you. Let me take you to dinner this week. Does Wednesday evening work for
Out of the corner of my eye, I
could see the disapproving look on Joshua’s face as he watched us.
did make it clear in the car ride to dinner that we were not a couple.
knew he would not be pleased if I spent time with Conrad, but I didn’t care.
He did not own me and I was free to see whoever I wanted.
“That sounds wonderful
Conrad. I am looking forward to it.”
He brought my hand to his
lips, planting a light kiss, as he bid me goodnight. I exchanged goodnights
with Vivienne and Jake and then Joshua and I went to our waiting car.
The tension in the air was
palpable when he closed the car door.
“What did Conrad say to you?”
Fire danced in his eyes.
“First of all, I had a very
nice time meeting everyone at dinner tonight. Your brother seems to be very
kind.” I gave him a cool stare.
“I asked you a question. When
I ask you a question, you answer me.” There was no mistaking the anger in his
“He invited me to dinner
Wednesday night.” I held his gaze daring him to tell me I couldn’t go.
I thought Joshua was going to
explode right in front of me. Lights were shining in through the windows of
the Rolls and I could see that his face was beet red.
“What did you say?” His voice
“I told him that sounded
wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.” I held his gaze as he glowered at me.
“No misconceptions about our relationship at all Joshua.” I controlled the
sneer that wanted to curl my lip.
We rode in silence the rest of
the way to the hotel and Joshua would not look at me. When we arrived at the
hotel, Joshua followed me to my room. I gave him a curious glance and he gave
me a terse response.
“I’m walking you to your
When I opened my door he
followed me inside and closed it behind him. I put down my purse and took off
my shoes. I was exhausted. It had been a long day. Just as I was going to
ask Joshua if he minded if I retired for the evening he grabbed me around the
waist and pinned me against the wall with his hard body. I could feel his
thigh muscles through his suit as he pressed against me.