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  • Alexis Winter

**SNEAK PEEK** Dirty Little Secret





Dirty Little Secret

A Billionaire Office Romance

CHAPTER ONE — THEO


“You know I don’t speak just to hear myself talk, right?”

“Hmm?” Wren Adler, my head of PR, makes a questioning response but doesn’t turn her focus to what I’m actually saying. She’s clearly lost in thought, staring out the window of my downtown Chicago high-rise office.

I take the opportunity to drag my gaze up her curvy body. Before you judge me too harshly, I know… I’m her boss and it’s unprofessional as shit to lust over your employee. I don’t make a show of it; I’m discreet, but a man can only handle so much voluptuous temptation. For three long years I’ve had to talk myself out of bending her over my desk every damn day. I’d like to think it’s because I’m a noble gentleman but I’m not sure that’s the case. Apart from my very strict no fraternizing policy at my company, she’s also still twenty-nine years old and I’m weeks away from forty-two. Whatever the reasons, I just know she’s absolutely off-limits.

“Wren, I’d like to get this press release out today so if we could focus?” I say a little more sternly.

She shifts her weight from one leg to the other, drawing attention to the seductive seam that runs up the back of her pantyhose. Or maybe they’re thigh-highs? I imagine the top of her sheer black stockings encased in lace, gripping her thick thighs.

Fuck. Rein it in, I tell myself.

“Oh, sorry,” she mumbles, turning and walking back toward my desk. “What—which part did you want to go back over?” She fumbles with the iPad a little as she tries to refocus her attention to the task at hand.

I roll my eyes and let out an exaggerated sigh. I’m moody and demanding; I know it and she knows and so does everyone else. I didn’t become a billionaire by wasting my time and catering to people’s feelings.

“Or you can be childish about it and throw a tantrum?” She cocks her eyebrow and juts her hip out. She may be daydreaming, but she’s quick to snap back to reality and give me a touch of attitude. She’s the only one that can call me on my bullshit.

“You know I don’t like wasting time, Wren,” I say in my calmest voice, plastering on the cheesiest grin I can muster.

“Oh, calm down, Theo. It was two minutes and I’m pretty sure you’re wasting time right now with this petty lecture. Anyway,” she says dramatically as she places the iPad on the desk in front of me.

I grip the end of the armrest tightly, my knuckles turning white. Petty lecture? I want to tell her that I’ll bend her over and teach her a real lesson while turning her plump cheeks a bright shade of pink.

“As you can see here, I’ve made notes where I want you to double-check and let me know if you want anything added or deleted. The facts and figures have been triple-checked and it’s ready to go to publication.”

I lean forward, looking over the notes and trying my damndest not to inhale her scent. What is that? Gardenia? It smells florally with a hint of spice. She bends down a little farther to drag her finger across the screen.

“This part right here is the only section I assume you’ll actually care about so just look it over and let me know if I can submit it.”

I glance to my right briefly; it’s the perfect view right down her blouse to her glorious tits, but I pull my eyes away just as quickly. I know it doesn’t make sense that I feel guilty sometimes and sometimes I don’t. It’s lunacy what this woman does to me, but it feels like no matter how hard I try to fight my attraction to her, the more she infiltrates my every thought.

“Looks excellent as always. I don’t require any changes.” I look back up at her and she’s staring off into space again, nibbling on the edge of her thumb.

“Wren?”

“Perfect! I’ll get this published right now.” She scoops up the iPad and starts for my office door.

“What’s going on, Wren?” She likes to think she knows me more than I know her, but it’s not the case. I can read her like a book and I know when something is off.

I see her shoulders fall a little as she stops, spinning around to face me with a big smile on her face.

“Nothing. Just didn’t sleep well is all. Plus, ya know… Penn.”

I see her face drop at the mention of her ex’s name, and I feel my own hands ball into fists. The guy is a piece of fucking work. Grade A douchebag and frankly I never understood what she saw in him. I know, cliché to say when I’m lusting after her but I’m not a dick. I want Wren to be truly happy.

“Didn’t you break up with him months ago?” I know exactly how long it’s been—seven months—but I don’t lead on that I do. “He still causing problems?”

She bites her bottom lip, something she does when she’s full of shit.

“Not problems, no. He’s just having a hard time letting go of things.” I want to roll my eyes again but I refrain.

“Seriously? Tell the baby to move the fuck on already.”

“We’re not all robots without feelings, Theo. Some people take time to heal, especially after four years of dating.”

Ouch. That stings a little but she’s not wrong. Somewhere in my forty-plus years of life, my feelings and heart went out the window.

“Want me to… help him get over it?” I’m not sure what I’m insinuating with my offer, maybe just have a talk with him and tell him to grow the fuck up and move on with his pathetic excuse of a life. My blood pressure is rising; it’s time to calm down.

No! Trust me, you getting involved would only make it ten times worse. I got it; don’t worry about it.”

I’m about to ask her what that’s supposed to mean when my assistant, Cheryl, walks into the office with a stack of folders.

“Sorry to interrupt, sir, but you need to look over these contracts before your lawyer gets here for your meeting in”—she looks at her watch—“seventeen minutes.”

Cheryl is a helluva guard dog when it comes to my schedule, something I’m extremely grateful for. She peers over her half-moon glasses that are permanently perched on the end of her nose as if to tell me to get a move on.

“Thank you, Cheryl. I’ll get right on it.” I turn to Wren who is already moving back toward the exit. “We’ll finish this conversation later,” I tell her. She just shakes her head and waves a hand in the air as she makes her way toward the elevators. I’m tempted to linger a little on her round hips as they swish back and forth, but I’m well aware of Cheryl’s presence.

I grab the stack of contracts and open the first one to look it over, but Cheryl is still standing in my office, a knowing look on her face.

“Just say whatever it is you’re thinking, Cheryl; I know that face.”

“When are you going to wake up and smell the fact that she likes you?”

I take it back. Cheryl and Wren are the only two people who regularly give me their very unsolicited input. I toss the file back down onto my desk and run my hand gruffly over my face.

“And when are you going to understand that she’s too young for me, she’s my employee, oh, and most importantly, it’s none of your business. Contrary to popular belief, Cheryl, I’m not just another entitled billionaire asshole that feels he can take whatever he wants.”

She crosses her thin arms over her chest, her move of defiance that she always does when she’s about to speak her mind.

“We both know that isn’t the only way to go about this. I see the chemistry between you too and it would be a damn shame for you to just throw away something like that because of principal.”

I do not have the time or energy to deal with her high-horse rants today. I look at my watch and then point to it. “I now only have fifteen minutes to look over these contracts before Will gets here to discuss them. So if you could kindly take your delusional ideas elsewhere, I would greatly appreciate it so that I can get back to work and make sure that we keep business running. Okay?” I know my tone is cutting and borderline rude at best, but I’m tired of Cheryl reminding me of the fact that I can’t have Wren. It’s a conversation that needs to die.

She gives me one last harsh look before turning and briskly walking out of my office, slamming the door a little harder than necessary behind her.

After four meetings in a row, a missed lunch, and God knows how many cups of coffee later, I hit the button on the intercom on my phone.

“Cheryl, will you bring me everything we have on the Newcombs, please?”

“Absolutely, sir. Be there shortly.” Moments later my office door opens and Cheryl walks in, her pin-straight dark hair flowing behind her with her quick pace. She puts a thick file on my desk. “This is everything I could find.”

“Thank you.”

“Is there anything specific you’re looking for? I may be able to help,” she offers.

“No, nothing specific. Just trying to get myself familiar with the client.”

“Okay, well, if there isn’t anything else, I’m going to take off for the day.”

“What time is it?” I ask, looking at my watch to see that it’s already pushing five thirty.

“It’s almost five thirty, sir,” she answers with a smirk.

I shake my head at myself. “I’m sorry. Time has completely gotten away from me today. Yes, please feel free to get your evening started.”

She nods. “You got any big plans this evening?”

I want to roll my eyes. Didn’t we just broach this subject a few hours earlier? It might sound like a genuinely innocent question, but Cheryl’s questions are never innocent; there’s always an ulterior motive. I manage to hold back; she already knows my plans.

“I’ll probably grab some dinner, read over more of these notes and files. No big party for me,” I say as I keep my eyes focused on the paper in my hand.

She shakes her head. “When are you going to slow down and finally take a break? You’re over forty. It’s time to settle down. Get back out there.”

I scoff. “Cheryl,” I say a little long-sufferingly, “I thought we discussed this earlier? Leave my personal life out of work stuff.”

She laughs and puts her hands on her hips. “Well, I’m pretty sure it’s well past five so, this is my personal time and not company time.”

“Good night, Cheryl.”

She takes the hint. “Good night, sir.” She steps out and closes the door behind her quietly so I can get back to work.

I lean back in my chair and let out a long breath as I bring my hand to the bridge of my nose and pinch it. My eyes have gone blurry from reading too much today and I already feel the headache setting in. There’s no way I can call it quits just yet though. I still have mountains of work to get through before our meeting with Mr. Newcomb tomorrow. I’ll work for another hour or so, and then I’m getting out of here.

I open my eyes and sit up straight, forcing my gaze back to the stack of papers on my desk. I start reading where I left off.

The next hour passes in a blur and before I know it, I’m driving home, playing the same sick, twisted game I play with myself about once or twice a week. I let my brain run wild with thoughts of Wren. And before you assume they’re just sex-crazed fantasies, they’re not… at least not all of them.

Wren is like no other person I’ve ever met. Apart from being knock-you-on-your-ass beautiful with brains and wit that would give anyone a run for their money, she’s kind and warm. She’s genuine. She hasn’t let the assholes and shitty hand that life sometimes deals wear her down or leave her jaded. She’s always the first one to offer a helping hand or give someone encouragement. She goes out of her way to listen to others. She’s a ray of positivity in the sometimes soul-sucking darkness of corporate America.

She deserves a meaningful and fulfilling life and I know she’ll have it; it just won’t be with me. It’s not that I don’t know how to love or that I was fucked over royally by some woman in the past; it’s just that I’m a grumpy asshole that’s married to his job and I have no business corrupting a bright young mind. That’s the last thing I want, her ending up like me. I already see it happening at times, her staying at work long after the sun has set or getting in before it’s risen. She skips lunch far too often and I’m pretty positive that in three years, she’s never taken a vacation. I make a mental note to fix that.

I step on the accelerator as I take a left onto my street out of the city. The orange glow of the setting sun blinds me momentarily as I hit the button to drop the top on my Aston Martin. This is my favorite part of the drive home. It’s serene and calm; you wouldn’t know that Chicago is a short twenty-minute drive away. I know a lot of people who work downtown prefer to stay downtown, but not me. The last thing I want at the end of a long day is to stay downtown in the constant buzz of people, cars, and hot garbage. I bought a penthouse not too far from the office a few years back, thinking I’d use it—can’t remember the last time I set foot in it. Another thing I make a mental note to address.

Don’t get me wrong, oftentimes my thoughts drift to much less noble places. Sometimes involving Wren screaming my name as she’s bent over my desk and other times I just want to get lost in touching, kissing, licking every square inch of her body while I’m buried deep inside her heat. I subconsciously run my tongue along my bottom lip like I’m licking the sweet, forbidden nectar of the peach off my chin.

I told you it was a sick game. It’s like allowing myself to smell and touch the ripest, juiciest peach, knowing full well I’m fucking allergic to peaches.


CHAPTER TWO — WREN


“That’s right, baby; take me deep just the way you like it,” Theo’s deep voice whispers naughty fantasies in my ear as his hot breath puffs against my neck. I groan and grasp at the hard desk beneath me but there’s nothing for me to grip. A pile of papers falls to the floor as I let out an animalistic groan I’ve never heard myself make before. I feel like I’m about to explode; my body is tight and on the edge; my tits bounce wildly with every hard thrust of his cock. I look up into his dark eyes; a thick lock of his black hair has fallen over one golden eye, and a thin sheen of sweat glistens on his brow.

I reach up and grab his tie that’s dangling loosely around his neck. I fist it, pulling his lips toward mine just as I hear a loud beeping sound invade my thoughts.

“Wha—what is that?” I say between thrusts. He doesn’t seem to notice it. I glance around, confused as the sounds grows louder and more persistent.

The annoying sound of my alarm pulls me from the deepest sleep I’ve had in a long time.

“God, not again,” I groan as I roll over and feel for my clock to turn off the alarm. I was so close to finishing this time. This is the third sex dream about my boss in as many weeks. At first I thought it was just a stupid brain dump after spending a few late nights in his office, being surrounded by his scent and close proximity, but now… I think it’s something more. Something I can’t help but blush about when I remember the way he had me convulsing in pleasure on his desk.

I’ve always had an attraction to Theo; it’s almost like biology didn’t give me a choice. He’s pushing six four and built like Chris Evans. Yeah, it’s disgustingly unfair. His eyes are a shade of gold I’ve never seen before and sometimes, I feel like they linger on me a second longer than needed but maybe that’s all in my head. His thick black hair still doesn’t have a single gray and his Disney prince-like jaw could probably cut glass. I’ve pretty much only ever seen him fully clothed but I would bet money he’s got the most mouthwatering six-pack beneath his bespoke suits with the way he wears them. And judging by the small patch of black hair at the base of his neck, I’d guess he has a perfect little happy trail that leads alllll the way down to his huge… I roll to my side and look at the clock on my bedside table to check and see if I have time to finish what I started in my dream.

“Shit.” It’s going on six a.m. already and I like to be at the office by eight. I need to get my ass in gear if I don’t want to sprint for my train.

I roll to my back and stare up at the bright-white ceiling, trying to work up the energy to get out of bed. With a little mental pep talk, I manage to sit up and get my feet on the floor. First stop, coffee. The scent wafting from my kitchen already has me in a better mood. I have my coffee pot set on a timer so by the time I reach the kitchen, it’s already done brewing. I’m not one of those just a splash of cream type girls. I like it rich, sweet, and creamy. My recent obsession is a Madagascar vanilla creamer with a dash of cinnamon on top. I reach into the fridge, deciding that today calls for a healthy dollop of whipped cream on top, and then I squirt a generous amount directly into my mouth before placing it back in the fridge.

I place my cup of coffee on the highest shelf in the shower and climb in. My little routine makes getting up at the ass crack of dawn bearable. I bring my coffee into the shower with me so that I can savor little sips while I wash and shave. It’s like a little spa experience in my head—only there’s no plinky music and fresh cucumbers. By the time I’m showered, slathered in lotions, creams, and serums, I’ve finished my first cup and am heading to the kitchen for the second.

I take my second cup of coffee to my room and sip on it as I open my iPad and hit the Spotify app and select a Women of Pop playlist. The first song that comes up is “Work from Home” by Fifth Harmony and I grab my hairbrush to sing along as I dance around the room.

I love all things girly—the makeup, cute clothes, and bright colors. To me, fashion is a way to express myself. I love my job, but it’s not very creative so being able to doll myself up and add a punch of color with bright-red lips or a bold smoky eye is a form of self-expression. Also, I’m not one of those dab on some lip gloss and mascara kind of girls and run out the door. I like to take my time, choose the perfect lip color with the perfect outfit, and make sure I feel and look my best before I head out the door.

I place a few drops of Argon oil in my palms, running it through my bouncy barrel curls before walking over to pick out an outfit from my closet. I’ve never been one of those stick-thin girls and I never will be. For years I struggled with the fact that I matured before anyone else in my class. I went to great lengths to try and hide my body, but it was no use. They didn’t exactly make clothes for girls in sixth grade that already had D’s. It wasn’t until I was forced to defend myself that I realized how grateful I am for the body I have. It’s healthy, gets me places I need to go, and looks fucking phenomenal in a pencil skirt.

I’ll never forget the second day of my sophomore year in high school. Kyle Westmore, the class jerk-off, told me that if I wasn’t careful, the friction between my thighs was going to start a fire. I just ignored the comment, but my friend Whitney told him to fuck off and that he wished he was the reason for the friction between my thighs. I tried hiding my giggle, but Kyle saw it and replied with, “No, thanks, I don’t date fat chicks.”

And that was the day, the exact moment actually, that I gave up trying to hide or care about what others thought of me. I’ll never forget the surge of courage I got in that moment. I froze, turned around, and marched right back up to Kyle and told him that maybe if he had half as much dick in his pants as he did in his personality, a girl like me might consider him. The crowd that had gathered around us laughed and jeered as Kyle slammed his locker and shouted some unmemorable comment back to me.

I giggle to myself, grabbing my favorite red heels, or as my best friend likes to call them, fuck me pumps, and slip them on with my high-waisted pencil skirt and polka-dot blouse. Looking myself over in the mirror, I smile with excitement. I look like I just stepped out of the fifties and I love it.

I gather my things for work, pour my unfinished cup of coffee in a to-go cup, and leave my tiny apartment to make my train on time. I’m a few minutes early so I take a seat on my usual bench and pull out the newest book I picked up from a local bookstore. It’s about an ordinary girl who meets and falls for a guy who just so happens to be a prince. I know it’s unrealistic but hey, that’s why we read romance, right? To get lost in the fantastical stories about average people falling in love with a secret prince and dirty scenes so hot you have to fan yourself so your cheeks don’t catch on fire.

My phone beeps from my bag and I suddenly remember that I forgot to take it out yesterday and charge it. There’s no telling how many calls and messages I’ve missed in the last twelve hours. I just hope none of them were about work. I pull the phone out of my bag and notice the battery bar on the top of the screen is red. It’s on its last bit of life and I remind myself to plug it in the moment I get to my desk. What captures my attention next is the fourteen missed calls and the nine unread messages—all from the same person. My ex, Penn.

My stomach tightens when I see his name. It’s not the fact that he’s reaching out to me that’s bothering me; it’s the feeling that his behavior is becoming unhinged and erratic. It’s not normal in the slightest to call someone fourteen times outside of an emergency, especially someone you broke up with seven months ago.

Penn and I had what I thought was a good relationship—until it wasn’t. We met four years ago and started dating pretty much immediately. I felt like we had an instant chemistry and connection that I’d never experienced before, but really, I only felt that way because he constantly told me that’s how he felt. I’ve since learned it’s what my therapist calls “love bombing.” It’s a trick narcissists use to make you feel like what you have with them is so special and can never be recreated and it slowly turns into guilt and manipulation to keep you with them.

He really is a nice guy—or was a nice guy. I have to remind myself constantly that being controlling, projecting his insecurities, and making ridiculous accusations isn’t being nice. It felt like he changed somewhere along the way and I completely missed it, but my therapist also told me that this is what narcissists do. He hid who he was from me until he’d gained my trust.

“They are parasites, Wren. They will latch on to you and use you and use you until they suck you completely dry. They will not change because they do not believe they need to. They believe that you are the problem. That if only you loved them more, just did what they said, didn’t upset them… then everything would be perfect.”

I let her words bounce around in my head for the hundredth time. It’s something I do when I start to feel the guilt creep in that I “abandoned” him and start thinking that maybe I could fix him.

According to him, everything was perfect and me asking for space came out of nowhere. But that wasn’t the case. He had a lot of problems with my relationship with Theo and how much time I spent away from home traveling with him. He would often comment about how I got a raise, convinced that I didn’t earn the money but was given it for pleasing my boss in one way or another. I finally had all I could take and I called off the relationship. However, I still haven’t managed to get him to release me completely.

I glance up and see my train approaching. I shake the thoughts of Penn from my head as I put my book back into my bag and pull it higher up on my shoulder to board the train. The usual hustle and bustle of everyone boarding pulls me in and I find that my usual seat is still open so I grab it and settle in by the window to resume reading my book. I’ve ridden this train to and from work every day for three years so I know by counting stops when I need to get off without ever really leaving the world of the book I’m lost in.

I start reading before the train is even done boarding and don’t take notice of the other passengers around me. I’m too lost in the story of poor girl Ann Cummings and her prince William Shotright. As I make my way through the story, I can’t figure out why I’m so distracted. Maybe I’m just still feeling uneasy about the amount of missed calls and texts from Penn. I look away from my book to inspect the faces of everyone around me. I scoot to the edge of the seat, glancing at the people on the train. That’s when my eyes land on the man I’ve been seeing a lot lately.

I grip the book a little tighter as I peer around the page at him. He has dark stubble growing across his chin and jaw. His hat is pulled down low over his brow so I can’t see his eyes. I’m not a paranoid person but something is off about this guy. He appeared basically out of thin air a few weeks ago and has been riding my train every day since. I know he very well could be new to the area or got a new job around here, but he doesn’t get off at the same stop every day and that little voice inside my head is sounding off alarms. This might sound silly but when you ride the same damn train every weekday for three years, you get to know your train mates.

The whole time I’m looking at him, his gaze is focused on the window, seemingly unfazed by my gawking. When I turn away, it feels like he’s looking at me again but I tell myself to stop. I open my book and do my best to focus all my attention on the story. When the train begins to approach my stop, I put my book away and get ready to get off. I turn my attention back to the guy and it’s like the moment I look at him, he looks away. I even see his hair move from the quick action.

The train stops and I’m more than happy to get off. I hike my bag up on my shoulder and make my way toward the exit with a dozen other people. I start making my way away from the train station and in the direction of the office. It’s only three blocks and I walk it every morning and evening. I usually enjoy the walk, but today, my paranoia is on overdrive and I feel like I’m being followed. This is a new development. I’ve seen the guy quite a few times lately and he’s always given me an uneasy feeling, but I’ve never felt that he’d follow me.

I try to think back over the past few weeks to remember how many days I’ve seen that man so close to me. He always gets on at my stop, but I’ve never noticed him get off when I do. I try to figure out if he’s on the train when I get on in the evening, but I don’t remember if he’s already on or if he gets on with or after me. I pick up the pace and walk a little quicker. Rounding a corner, I decide to look back. When I do, I see the man, walking in the same direction I was headed before I turned the corner. This is the first time he’s ever gotten off at my stop. This makes my heart race and I push myself to go faster.

I don’t look back again until I’m walking up the sidewalk to the office. When I do, I see a whole sea of people but don’t zero in on his face even though I can’t shake the feeling that he’s still there. I walk up the steps to the building and before I walk through, I turn back one last time. I scan the crowd in front of me. I catch a glimpse of something out the corner of my eye and I turn my head in that direction. In a café across the street, there is a man with the same colored hat pulled down low. It’s too far away for me to see the man clearly, but it feels like he’s watching me. A chill races up my spine as I turn and rush into the building.

I feel out of body as I make my way to the elevator.

“Morning, beautiful.” Bob gives me his usual greeting with a head nod, but I’m too lost in thought to return the greeting which isn’t like me at all. I avoid unwanted conversations on my way to my office, and when I reach my office my assistant, Julie, is there waiting with my cup of coffee. I take it even though I have one in my hand.

“Thank you,” I tell her, practically flying by her.

She follows me into my office. “Either you’ve already had way too much coffee today or something is wrong.” She puts her hand on her jutted-out hip.

I fake a smile and a nervous laugh slips out. “I’m fine. Just excited to start the day. And maybe I’ve had a little too much coffee,” I say, holding up my hand and showing her a little bit with my thumb and forefinger while I wrinkle my nose.

She laughs and shakes her head, causing her shoulder-length red hair to bounce with the action. “I left your messages and appointments on your desk. Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thank you. I’ll be just fine,” I say, urging her out the door. She walks out and I close it behind her, leaning my back against it. I feel like I can finally breathe, like nobody is watching me or following me. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly while closing my eyes and resting my head back against the wood.

Taking my seat behind my desk, I turn on my phone and remember to charge it. I start up my computer and start sorting through emails and replying as needed. I have a few questions to answer in response to the recent rumor that Mr. Carmichael is thinking of selling the company which isn’t true at all. How these rumors get started is beyond me. I give a typical response stating that the rumor isn’t true and the company is doing better than ever and that people can start watching for the amazing things to come, and I send the email back to the reporter at The Business Blog website.

After I send the email, I gather my things and head out to my first meeting of the day. I have to prep the new interns on how to respond to questions that may be coming their way on future press releases. It’s all typical and boring and something I have to do every six months when we bring on another round of new interns.

The meeting lasts an hour and when I get back to my office, Julie greets me with a smile. “You have a message from Mr. Carmichael’s assistant.”

I breeze by her desk and into my office as she follows me.

“He’s asking for you to come up to his office.”

I let out a long sigh. “Does it say why?”

“It does not.” She holds out the paper and I take it, looking over the message. “Okay, thank you.”

My nerves are shot today and dealing with Theo won’t exactly help matters. The last thing I need with my already fried nerves is staring at him while I remember every filthy thing he said to me in my dreams while trying to dodge whatever mood he’s in. Every moment I’m around him, I have to remind myself not to stare, not to flirt, not to say something inappropriate. It’s tiring to say the least.

I take a deep breath and push myself up, heading for the top floor. The elevator ride seems quicker than normal and when I step off, his assistant greets me.

“Theo wanted to see me?”

She nods. “I’ll let him know you’re here.” She picks up her phone and whispers into the receiver. She hangs it up moments later and looks back at me with a smile. “He’ll be just a moment, dear.”

I nod. “How’s the new kitten?”

She smiles wide now and grabs her phone to show me pictures like she’s a new mom. “He’s so good and cuddly and sweet. I hate leaving him alone every day, but it’s what I have to do for now. I’m looking into daycare, but—”

“They have daycare for cats?” I ask, accidentally cutting her off.

She nods with her brows lifted. “Oh yeah. It’s great. You drop them off every morning and they get to play with the other cats; they have a snack, and I don’t know, do what cats do.” She shrugs.

The whole thing seems adorable but I don’t let the conversation linger. Instead, I tell her again how cute he is before marching straight into his office before he has time to call me in. I’m on a tight schedule and I don’t have time to wait till he’s ready.

When I do, I breathe his rich scent in deeply and let it settle over me like a thick, warm blanket of comfort. Whatever the scent is, it’s all his own. His entire office smells like him and it’s intoxicating. He’s seated at his desk, a serious look on his face as he studies the piece of paper in his hand.

He’s wearing a dark-navy suit that has a slight plaid pattern to it in a blue that’s almost the same color. He straightens his tie almost absentmindedly before running his hand through his thick, silky locks. Images of my erotic dream from this morning come flooding back and I feel an instant heat creep up my cheeks.

“Wren.” He says my name without even looking up from the file in his hand and it causes a tingle in my lower belly. It’s not his usual office voice as I like to call it, but deeper and rich, echoing through his chest. It’s the tone I’ve only ever heard a handful of times and each time it sends me straight to the moon.



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