Authors: Nicki Elson
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the word marks mentioned in this work of fiction.
Copyright © 2015 Nicki Elson
VIBRIZZIO by Nicki Elson
All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America by Swoon Romance. Swoon Romance and its related logo are registered trademarks of Georgia McBride Media Group, LLC.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Published by Swoon Romance
Cover by Killion Group
Cover @ 2015 Swoon Romance
This one goes out to my Godmamma, MaryAnn Keough. Her compliments that my writing is “raunchily hilarious” gave me the confidence that maybe, just maybe, I could pull this one off. How did I do, Aunt Lou?
Lyssa’s back arched, and something between a gasp and a moan clambered up her throat and out into the darkened room. She laughed and let her head fall to the pillow, closing her eyes to exhilarate in the pleasure that had just commandeered her body for those few, luxurious moments.
“Having a good time?” Keith asked, stepping through the bathroom doorway and buttoning his jeans around his lean waist. “Y’might want to turn that off now.”
“Huh?” Confused as to how he’d managed to bring her to climax from way over there, Lyssa only now noticed that her hand was still vibrating. Flicking off the device, she reached for the tissues on the side table. “What’s going on? When did you leave?”
“Seriously?” He scowled as he rummaged around the collection of clothing on her floor and then straightened to pull his
T-shirt over his short, dirty blond hair and cover his skinny torso. “I left when
kicked me off the bed.”
“When you grabbed that thing out of my hand and swatted me away every time I tried to kiss or touch you, and then you got your freakishly strong thigh between us and shoved me to the floor.”
Lyssa settled back into the pillow, listening and now remembering. She broke out into a fit of giggles. “I’m sorry.”
“Glad you think it’s funny.” His mouth, slightly too wide for his narrow face, curved downward.
“Aw, don’t be mad. Come here. And take off those stupid clothes. I can’t snuggle with you with your jeans on. No more kicking, I promise.”
He gave her a teasing snarl, making a pretense of thinking about her request, and then stripped down to his navy blue boxer briefs before crawling across the futon bed and flopping onto his side. Brushing her dark brown hair off her shoulder, he nestled close, touching small kisses to her neck. “You don’t love
better than me, do you?” Keith had bought “it” two months earlier on the one-year anniversary of their first date.
“Of course not,” Lyssa said, even as she made a mental note to buy more batteries the next day.
“Did you really not notice I’d left the room?”
“What? Don’t be silly. Of course I did.” She hadn’t, actually, but she didn’t see how telling him that now would lead to falling asleep anytime soon, and she had an early meeting the next morning. The boss was going to announce the team for Project Pineapple.
* * *
“I don’t understand why they’ve got to make such a big deal out of this,” Carla said through a half-stifled yawn. “Why don’t they just pull the chosen ones into the manager’s office, plop the extra workload on them, and be done with it?”
Standing with Carla at a back corner of the conference room, Lyssa shook powdered creamer into her disposable cup of scalding coffee. “This project is on an entirely different scale than anything the firm has ever done. It’s not only the size of the new account—which alone is a major coup—but Pineapple wants to do an in-depth review and adjustment of their entire retirement plan. It
a big deal.”
Nearly every seat in the large, glass-walled conference room was taken as Fox & Keaton Investment Consulting’s senior analysts gathered. Project Pineapple was what they all had begun calling the firm’s huge new account, Delicious Hawaii. The company dealt in canned and frozen fruits and vegetables of all kinds, but pineapple had been their first claim to fame, thus the nickname.
“So then … remind me why we’re all hoping to be picked,” Carla said. “Cuz you know no raise is going to come along with all that extra work.” Her super-short, ebony hair, always perfectly styled when the girls went out to the bars, now flipped up on one side, where Lyssa guessed the pillow had pressed it to her head.
“High profile, baby. So we’ll look good when an associate position opens up.”
“Right. And why do we want to be associates, again?”
“Because that’s when the money kicks in.” Lyssa winked and tapped her Styrofoam to Carla’s cup.
They were distracted from their conversation when an associate from a different department strutted into the conference room. Though he wasn’t particularly tall, his confident smile made him seem ten feet high. Lyssa and he had never met, but she recognized him—any warm-blooded female who’d ever laid eyes on him would: piercing blue eyes and thick waves of nearly black hair clipped short but with longer wisps arranged in purposeful carelessness across his forehead. His suit, no doubt expensive, hugged his honed physique, and his walk appeared more like a glide as he moved across the room to claim one of the vacant chairs near the head of the table. He had no need of the swill Lyssa and Carla poured down their throats because he carried a tall, lidded cup from the gourmet coffee place in the building’s lobby.
“Shit!” Lyssa hissed as she burned her tongue on the corporate-issued coffee. Lifting an ice chip from the vat holding the orange juice cartons, she placed it on her stinging taste buds and slurred, “Why he here?”
because he works in the Taft-Hartley department, and I think the
Lyssa’s eyes drifted back toward the Adonis in Ralph Lauren as the ice melted and slid in cold streams down the side of her tongue. “Yeah, but if he works in that division, why’s he at a meeting for a corporate account?”
When he shifted his attention in her direction, Lyssa flicked her eyes toward the clear glass wall and pretended to study the cluster of workspaces just beyond the conference room. Over the top of a high cubicle wall, she saw the slicked back, silvering hair of the vice president of her division as he made his way to the room. She nodded toward the long table, indicating to Carla that they should grab seats. They had to separate, with three other analysts between them.
“Good morning, everyone,” Henry Beecher said as he entered the room and moved to stand at the head of the table. Two managing consultants trailed in behind him and stood off to the side. “I appreciate you all coming in so early. I know the stir this new client has caused around here, and I understand that being given this assignment will be viewed as an honor—which it is—but that’s not to say anyone not put on this team isn’t valued around here. As a matter of fact, it stands as an equal testament to our faith in your abilities, because the onus will fall upon you to keep the rest of the company’s operations running smoothly while we pull away other members of the group to focus on DH.
“With that being said, I’ll dole out assignments for Delicious Hawaii.” He motioned for one of the consultants to stand beside him and then named two senior analysts to work with that consultant on asset allocation. The other consultant then stepped up, and Beecher announced the analyst who would partner with her and the IT department on report design. “I’m sure you all noticed the charming new addition to our conference room—Hayden King.”
The Taft-hottie flushed an appealing shade of crimson as he nodded to the room at large.
“Mr. King has been an associate in our Taft-Hartley division for the past two years and has shown particular prowess in investment manager analysis. He’ll be heading up the manager recommendation team, and he’ll be joined by a senior analyst who’s never let me down, Alyssa Bates.” Beecher raised his hand, gesturing toward Lyssa. She only hoped the flames burning her cheeks appeared half as engaging as Hayden’s blush had been. She nodded back to those offering their nonverbal congratulations and relaxed when her gaze landed on Carla’s bright grin.
Lyssa wasn’t surprised she’d been chosen, Beecher had hinted at it the prior week, but her assignment as investment manager specialist hadn’t been expected. Reporting was more her expertise, if she had one.
“We’ll call you all in for brief conferences over the next few days to discuss the reallocation of workloads,” Beecher said. “For now, I’d like just the Delicious Hawaii team to stay. Thank you for your time.”
The conference room filled with murmurs and the shuffling of chairs as most of the analysts cleared out while Team Pineapple moved to one end of the long table. Beecher laid out a rough schedule for the next several months, including a meeting that had already been set for Hayden and Lyssa at DH’s local Chicago office the next day. As soon as the team was dismissed, Hayden and Lyssa looked at each other across the table. He tilted his head toward the corner with the coffee, and she scooted her chair back and headed there, refilling her cup while she waited for her new partner to circle the table and exchange greetings with other members of the team.
His captivating smile widened when he reached her, and she immediately stuck out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Hayden.” As their arms pumped, an enticing, musky scent enveloped her.
“Nice to meet you too, Alyssa.”
“Everyone except Beecher calls me Lyssa.”
“Pretty.” Hayden’s gaze flicked downward, then quickly back up to focus on her face, almost too intently. “So tell me, Lyssa, in your opinion, who are some of the top managers we should focus on as potential additions to DH’s program?”
“Shouldn’t we assess their current lineup before deciding if and where changes are necessary?”
“Changes are always necessary. So come on, give me two names right now.”
“I … well, Burgess Partners has done well for a lot of my clients, and same with S.I.M.”
“Has done well. But who do you see doing well for DH into the future?” His warm smile was gone, and he folded his arms over his chest as he planted his feet slightly apart and fixed intense, blue eyes on her. He couldn’t be more than a few years older than her, and the superior tone he now donned pissed Lyssa off.
“I’ll be honest—I don’t have much experience with manager analysis, and I’m not sure why Henry put me on this particular sub-team, but I’m a quick study and he seems to think I can do it. Apparently you’re the one with all the manager expertise, so you tell me—who should we consider?”
Hayden shrugged. “I have no idea. Can’t make that assessment until after we review their current lineup.” Lyssa’s mouth dropped open, and he continued while she stood mute. “But I can tell you one thing—you ought to be more careful about what you stick in your mouth.”
“The ice chip. You pulled it right out of that tub, which could be laden with God only knows what kinds of bacteria. I don’t want my assistant falling ill right in the middle of a big project.” He winked and relaxed his stance. “Let’s meet down in the lobby at eight forty-five tomorrow morning and head over to DH together. Wear a power suit.”