His Indecent PropositionBy: Aphrodite Hunt
Susan watches this exchange. She envies the seemingly comfortable camaraderie between Ms. Radcliffe and her boss. If only it were this easy –
Ms. Radcliffe puts down the phone and smiles. “You can go right in.”
“Don’t keep him too long. He doesn’t usually take lunch, but it’s also his private hour, and so I wouldn’t want to take too much out of it if I were you.”
“I promise I won’t.”
OK, here goes. Susan steels herself, bites her lower lip and pushes through the double doors. It’s amazing how much this man affects her. No man should have the right to affect me this much.
She’s immediately assaulted by those electric blue eyes in that wonderfully sculpted face. She almost takes a step back in terror. At the same time, she can’t take her eyes off him. She’s like a prey which must soon be devoured by a predator . . . and this will be of her own choosing.
“Twice in a day, Susan,” he says, not getting up from behind his desk. “I’m beginning to think you’re stalking me.”
Again, she feels the power radiating out of him. Her stomach goes queasy again and her feet wobble in her high heels. If he were ugly and old, she could at least attempt to marginalize what she is about to do. But he’s young, extremely handsome and fascinatingly powerful in every sense of the word. Omnipresent is the term she ascribes to him. He sucks all the air out of the room, and she’s breathless as a result.
Before she can lose her nerve, she says in a rush, “Yes.”
“Yes to what?”
“Yes to your proposition, sir. I w-want the job and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.” A warm flush traverses down her body as she says this.
He regards her for a long, long time, and she’s beginning to think that perhaps she had heard him wrong previously . . . and he has no idea what she’s talking about. In fact, this entire morning might have been a dream brought on by too much stress.
I think I’m losing it.
Then his eyes crinkle in amusement. He says, “I’m glad to hear of it, Susan Chalmers. I admire ambition when it comes to ascending the corporate ladder. Reminds me of myself when I was younger.”
I thought you were in the military, she wanted to say, but she isn’t certain. There are so many things she isn’t certain about when it comes to Channing Crawford.
“You’re a beautiful woman,” he says. “You have the right body proportions . . . everything I like in the female form. Take off your clothes.”
She thinks she didn’t hear right.
“I said take off your clothes. I would like to see the merchandise before I trade in a VP post for it.”
Merchandise. So that’s what he thinks of her. Dread pools in the pit of her stomach.
“You mean right here?”
“No, I mean in the street.” He leans back. “Of course I mean right here. You can lock the door if you feel more comfortable.”
Again, the fleeting thought – so fast? – crosses her churning mind. She hesitates only for a moment, and then she turns to wrench the double lock in the door so that it slides back home. Click. No escape now.
She turns to him again.
It’ll be OK. He finds me beautiful.
I can do this.
She begins to unbutton her blouse from top to bottom. He stares at her – a frank appraising gaze that simultaneously unnerves and excites her. Oh yes, she is excited as well because he is a very, very attractive man. And he wants me. He wants me enough to see me naked. Her buttons are gold, and she undoes them carefully, her fingers almost slipping because of accumulated sweat.
Her red silk blouse parts to reveal her brassiere – black, lacy, expensive La Perla. Her blouse is tucked into the waistband of her skirt. She pulls it out. She unbuttons the rest of it and peels it off. Her skin is white because she has not gone on a vacation for a long, long time – not since Christmas, and you can’t exactly get a tan during Christmas. She has been working hard, immersing herself in project after project so that she has no time to work on herself.
She lays the blouse carefully on one of the chairs facing his desk. She doesn’t think she should drop it onto the floor like a common stripper. This is, after all, essentially a job interview.
She reaches for the zipper at the back of her pencil skirt.
“Come here,” he motions to the side of his desk. “I want to see you more clearly.”
Yes, of course. He doesn’t want to be obstructed by the bric-bracs on his desk – the pen holders, the commemorative plaques, the files, the piles of documents.
She walks nervously to the other side of his desk, where there is a direct unobstructed line between his chair and her body. She resumes unzipping her skirt – a demure tartan piece that shows off her slim hips and emphasizes her long, shapely legs. She lets the skirt fall onto a crumpled heap at her ankles, and then steps out of it.