She wasn’t entirely sure how she’d gotten herself into this position. Palms flat against the top of his desk, the only sound in the office that of their breathing – his even and controlled, hers shallow and quick. The anticipation curled in her belly, heat spreading through her cells as she waited for what he’d do next. When her day began, she’d never imagined that she’d end it like this…
Twenty-seven year-old Courtney Bell hated her job. She’d started at the Asgard Corporation shortly after she graduated from college, full of ideas about how she was going to change the world. Sure, she’d started in a low-paying entry level position, something more suited to someone with a basic accounting degree rather than someone with an MBA from Stanford – a summa cum laude graduate, no less. But she’d assumed she’d move up quickly, get into positions that would allow her more control over what projects the company invested in. She’d dreamed of some big project – just what she never entirely envisioned – that would lead to her meeting the man of her dreams. After a whirlwind romance, during which he’d shower her with lavish gifts and drive other women mad with jealousy, they’d have a huge wedding and then move into the perfect house – white picket fence optional. Instead, she found herself worn down by the nattering of interoffice politics, the currying for favor and basic ass-kissing. Now it was just a paycheck. She did what she needed to do to get by and that was it. After all, what was the point of trying when it was more about tits and cock – if you had one or were willing to suck one – than about actual qualifications?
Speaking of which, Courtney thought as she scowled at her reflection in the shiny metal of the elevator doors. She hated these annual reviews. They were always the same. Some big-wig, usually a man, sat across some obscenely expensive desk and judged everything she’d done in the past year. Or, at least that’s what they said they were doing. The lecherous eyes that ran from her sensible pumps to her tastefully modest business suit conveyed a different story. It wasn’t that she was ugly, she knew, just average looking. If she’d tried a little harder, maybe wore her ash blond waves down around her shoulders rather than back in a clip, used more makeup to accentuate her dark gray eyes and full lips, maybe she’d have more luck. Maybe if she wore a shorter skirt or a tighter, lower-cut shirt to show off her curves, maybe that would get some attention. Instead, she wanted her work to speak for itself and, unfortunately, it didn’t shout louder than the buxom brunette with her tits hanging out. So Krissy and Shannon and Cindy and dozens like them got the promotions that didn’t go to men.
When the elevator dinged, she took a sip of her coffee and stepped through the doors before they finished opening. She didn’t see him until they collided and hot liquid was spilling over her hand.
“Shit,” Courtney jumped back enough to avoid getting coffee on her blouse, but one look at the man she’d run into revealed that he hadn’t been quite so lucky.
“I am so sorry,” she stammered, completely mortified by the brown stain marring the most-likely expensive dress shirt. Then her eyes flicked up to his face and her heart nearly stopped.
Tousled blue-black hair over a classically handsome face. Arctic blue eyes that made things low in her belly instantly tighten. And the expression in them…she would have expected anger, annoyance, maybe even humor if the man was good-natured enough. This…there was no way to describe it other than she immediately thought that this man wanted to do bad things to her. And she was seriously considering letting him.
She shook her head, realizing that he was talking to her. The heat in her cheeks deepened. “I am so sorry,” she repeated.
“I believe you said that already,” his voice was low, cultured. “I asked what floor you were going to.”
“Oh,” She swore in her head. Her brain scrambled to find the answer. “Twelve.”
“Pity,” the man punched the button and then pulled off his jacket and tie. One side of his mouth twitched upwards in a partial smile. “I was rather hoping you were going down.”
Her mouth dropped. Was he seriously flirting with her? Her eyes dropped to his fingers which were quickly unfastening the buttons of his dress shirt to reveal a fitted undershirt that clung to muscles his well-tailored jacket had hidden. Then he pulled that off as well and she had to bite back a noise halfway between a moan and a ‘fuck.’ His torso was lean and smooth, far firmer than one would originally think.
“Fortunately, I always keep spares,” he was saying as he crouched next to his briefcase, muscles rippling beneath lightly tanned skin.
“Um, what?” Her brain was still trying to make sense of what was happening but it just kept coming back to holy fuck, I want to run my tongue over those flat abs.
“Never know when you might need an extra shirt,” he pulled an undershirt from his briefcase and pulled it on. When he stood, his gaze turned to her, eyes shining with amusement. He shrugged back into his jacket. “We’re here.”
“What?” She was having a problem keeping up.
“Twelfth floor, right?” He motioned towards the opening doors.
“Oh, yeah, right,” She shook her head. She stepped into the hallway, tossing her now-empty coffee cup into the trash.
She jumped. He had followed her off the elevator. “Excuse me?”
“Courtney Bell, here for her annual review?” Her mysterious stranger held out his hand. “I’m Vance Forster, your reviewer.”
She swore as she shook his hand, trying to ignore the excited little tingle that ran through her at the contact. She couldn’t believe her luck. Whatever small hope she’d been harboring regarding a good review vanished. The innuendo in the elevator made more sense now. He wasn’t attracted to her. He just wanted to know what she was willing to do for a promotion. Usually it was only creepy Raymond Lee who hit on her, and based on office rumor, he wasn’t anyone she wanted to know better. One intern said she’d accidentally walked in during a personal call. She’d only heard part of his conversation, but it had involved latex, butter and a few things she’d had to look up on the internet.
“My office is this way,” Vance stretched out his arm.
Courtney followed in silence, her prior bleak mood returning. She really didn’t want to do this, especially after ogling him in the elevator. She’d never found any of her prior reviewers attractive and didn’t want to start now.
She stopped next to Vance and looked around, confused.
“Figured we take my private elevator the rest of the way.”
Understanding hit her hard enough to make her gasp. Vance Forster. Of course! She should’ve recognized the name, but she’d been so distracted by what had happened that she hadn’t really registered it.
Vance Forster, thirty-one year-old Princeton graduate and youngest ever CEO of the Asgard Corporation.
Oh shit. This was not going to end well.
“Come, Ms. Bell,” Vance’s business-like tone startled her. “I’d prefer you go first. I don’t have another shirt.”
Courtney flushed, whether from the embarrassment of having spilled coffee on the CEO or the memory of him without a shirt, she wasn’t sure. Hard muscles, flat dark nipples, pants that hung just right on his hips, showing those deep V grooves…yeah, it was the memory.
“I hope this isn’t indicative of how much attention you pay to your work,” Vance’s voice cut through Courtney’s reverie.
To her chagrin, she realized that he was still waiting for her to move. Cheeks burning, she stepped inside. The private elevator was smaller than the one they’d been in before, but Vance stood closer than necessary, the scent of him surrounding her. She’d never smelled anything like it. Sharp and clean, like a mountain forest she’d visited as a teenager.