Control, Part One:
She walks in when I’m on the phone with the lawyers about the merger. It’s a delicate deal, an important one that can go south if I’m not very careful, but suddenly I can’t remember what I was about to say. Hell, I can barely remember what the deal is about when she’s staring at me out of those big, startled eyes of hers, the pupils so large that they nearly swallow whole the verdant green of her irises.
She starts to step back out, but I wave her forward, giving her the most non-threatening smile I can work up. For a second, I don’t think it’s going to work—she’s nervous, skittish, just waiting for an excuse to flee. I’m determined not to give her that excuse.
Once again, I beckon her forward, and this time she comes. I watch as she settles herself on the blue couch—pretty much as far as she can get from me and still be in my office. It makes me grin even as I fight the instinctive urge to pursue her. To settle on the sofa next to her and pull her lush, curvy body into my lap just so I can feel her against me again.
On the other end of the phone, my colleagues continue to prattle on about the revolutionary new process for skin grafting they’ve been working on—a process I’m highly interested in—but I’m no longer listening. For the first time in my life, I can’t concentrate on business. Not when Chloe Girard is sitting fifteen feet from me, her luscious legs crossed and the tight skirt of her very prim and proper suit riding up her thighs.
For a minute, all I can think about is kneeling next to her, burying my face in the silky juncture of those thighs and licking her to orgasm. Just the thought gets my blood racing, turns my cock hard. I’ve wanted her from the moment she challenged me in the cafeteria yesterday morning, her eyes narrowed with calculation and amusement and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. I’m determined to figure it out, however. To figure her out.
Suddenly, I’m not willing to wait one second longer to get started. Making some excuse that I’m pretty sure makes no sense, I hang up mid-negotiation. I’m not in the habit of doing that, but for the first time in my life, I’ve found something—someone—that fascinates me more than the thrill of scientific discovery and business mixed together.
Unable to stop myself, I cross the room to sit with Chloe. I want to crowd her, to push her into giving me everything that I want from her, but every instinct I have tells me that would be a bad idea right now. I’m not sure what it is about me that sets Chloe so on edge, but I can tell the sexual attraction between us isn’t going to be enough. She needs to be seduced, wooed—to be cherished—and I am more than okay with that fact. So instead of sitting next to her and pulling her into my arms, I take a seat on the chair to her right. It’s far enough away to make her feel comfortable, but not so far that it dulls the unmistakable intimacy that sparks in the air between us.
“Chloe.” I fight the urge to run a finger over her wrist just to touch the softness of her skin. She smells like frangipani and strawberries and rich, thick honey. It’s a good smell, an intoxicating one. “How was your day?”
Her fists clench at the question and she glares at me. “How was my day? How was my day? How the hell do you think my day was when you deliberately sabotaged me?”
They’re the last words I expect to hear from her. I go over our previous interactions, try to figure out what she means, but nothing comes to me. “Explain,” I demand, determined to know when—and how—I’ve hurt her when it’s the last thing I ever intended to do.
“What’s there to explain? You basically painted a target on my back and gave them carte blanche to fire at will.”
“Who?” Anger snakes through me at the idea of anyone hassling her. I shove it down. Now’s the time for logic not emotion, though I’m finding it very hard to separate the two when it comes to Chloe.
“What do you mean, who? Everyone. I’m a brand-new intern who’s just finished her second day with the company. It was bad enough that you walked into that meeting with me, but to take the most coveted research assignment away from the guy who’s been there the longest and give it to me for no reason—”
“There was a reason,” I interrupt.
“Yeah, well, wanting to sleep with me isn’t actually a valid reason. Trust me, if I hadn’t known that already, it would have been hammered home today.”
“What did they do?” I keep my voice quiet, steady, though there’s a part of me that suddenly wants to hit the warpath—right through my legal department and its numerous interns.
“What they did isn’t the point. The point—”
“It’s the point to me.” I lean forward, then because I can’t not tough her, I brush one of her sexy, blond curls back from her face. For the past few minutes they’ve been escaping the tight bun she’s got them in and I can’t help grinning a little. I love that the bun is fastened with pencils, almost as much as I love the fact that her hair refuses to be tamed. A little like Chloe, herself. It’s a thought that does nothing to ease the erection I’ve had pretty much since I first saw her.
Her eyes narrow in obvious annoyance. “No, the point is you can’t just go around showing blatant favoritism. Especially when I’ve given you no encouragement.”
“It’s not favoritism. I read your file yesterday, cover to cover.”
“Because your skill at getting your point across impressed me in the cafeteria.” I smile at her disbelieving look. She may doubt what I’m saying, but it’s the gospel truth. She’s one of the most impressive interns I’ve ever had here at Frost Industries and that’s saying something. Our innovation and flexibility have helped attract top talent for years. “What can I say? I like a woman who knows how to argue.”
“What is it with you?” She looks completely exasperated at this point and sick bastard that I am, I love it. She’s sexy when she’s all cool and composed, but when she’s like this—all frazzled and annoyed and ready to tear me a new one—she’s hot as hell. I’m not sure what it says about me that I get such pleasure from winding her up, and to be honest, I don’t give a shit. She’s fun. Really fun, and for now that’s more than enough. “Don’t you know getting involved with an intern is never a good idea? That’s got to be on the first page of CEOs for Dummies?”
I bust out laughing at the disgruntled question, and the quick wit behind it. She’s smart, really smart and quick on her feet. I love that.
“I think you have CEOs for Dummies confused with Politics for Dummies.”
“Is there a difference?”
“Politicians are the married idiots who keep getting in trouble for sleeping with the interns when they should be running the country. I’m not married and I don’t want to run anything but Frost Industries.”
“Tell that to someone who believes it. You put me on the Trifecta merger, the biggest merger in this company’s history. You want to run a lot more than just Frost Industries.”
Again, she’s quick. Very quick. “Touché. But when they’re absorbed by us, they’ll become part of my company and I will have spoken nothing but the truth.”
“That’s a nice loophole. You sure you haven’t been reading Politics for Dummies in your spare time?”
“I like you,” I tell her with another laugh that I don’t even try to hide.
“Well, that’s a shame,” she answers totally deadpan. “Since I can’t stand you.”
It’s a lie. I can tell from the way she’s looking at me. From the way her nipples have hardened during our exchange and the way her breathing has sped up. She might not want to like me, might not want to want me, but she does. And since I want her until it’s a throbbing in my blood, I can’t help calling her on her answer.
“You sure about that?”
She raises her brows, looks down her nose at me. “Pretty sure.” But her voice shakes, just a little.
It’s the sign I’ve been waiting for. I lean closer, until I’m in her space. Not enough to really crowd her, but more than enough that she knows I’m her. “I don’t think you are.”