The Boss Vol. 2By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott
“You do realize you’ve held company-wide events that aren’t work-related approximately never, right?”
“I know that. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf.”
Jack snorted. “Yeah, and maybe I’m the Sugar Plum Fairy. Wanna see my tights?”
“I’ll pass,” I said drily. “Make it happen.”
“Aye, aye, sir. Whatever you say, sir. Anything else I can do for you, sir?”
I had to laugh. The guy was such an asshole. This time, he just happened to be right.
“Yes. Make sure Ms. Copeland attends.”
Before he could mull over that statement, I hung up.
After eating half the corned beef sandwich and all the pickles, I wrapped up the other half and stuck it in the employee fridge. I labeled it “for anyone who wants it” hoping Grace might eat it, but I was acting like enough of a pussy. If she didn’t want the damn sandwich, she didn’t have to eat it.
Maybe she didn’t like deli meat. Maybe she’d become a vegetarian in the last week.
Maybe I needed to jerk off until all this ridiculousness I was spouting drained out of my head.
I buried myself in work until dinnertime came and went. It was hours past dark the next time I looked up from my schematics and stretched my neck. My eyes were starting to blur and I needed to clear my mind.
At least the other one had gone on hiatus. Thank fuck. I hadn’t been this perpetually horny since high school. Probably not even then, since I’d always had control of my impulses. If I didn’t want to be attracted to a woman, I ignored the feeling until it dissipated.
Why that had yet to work with Grace, I didn’t know.
I rose and bent at the waist to stretch out my back. My ergonomic, extremely high-end desk chair wasn’t getting the job done today. Perhaps I’d look into getting a new one someday, when I had time.
Right now, I needed to take a walk. The coffee I’d been mainlining all afternoon had done a number on me. My muscles were jangling, my heart racing, my blood pounding under my skin. It was as if I was in a flight-or-fight situation instead of feeling the natural effects of sitting for so many hours in a row.
I walked past Grace’s desk. Her computer was dark, her chair tucked in. She must’ve gone. She’d probably left sometime ago. Only workaholics like me regularly lived at their desk. And she had another job, one that suited her far more than this one.
She wasn’t meant to be stuck behind a desk. Not with her kind of eye. She had the kind of talent that deserved to be nurtured, not squandered on spreadsheets and ordering supplies.
Even if she was only working for me for some secret reason only she knew. I would never believe for a moment that her arrival that day had been coincidental. She knew who I was, and my connection to her grandmother. She had to.
One way or another, I would find out all that she knew.
I continued down the silent hallway, passing by Jack’s assistant’s darkened office. Jack nor his assistant kept the kind of hours I did. I didn’t blame them. On the contrary, I quite liked being the only one working late on a regular basis. When I was alone, it was easier to think.
Easier to be.
In silence, my designs had room to grow. The ones I continued to sketch even as I prided the company on its focus on function rather than style. The artistic side of me had never quite died, much like my fascination with Grace. I’d used it to build my company, and now I used it in secret. As if drawing beautiful things that weren’t strictly functionary was somehow taboo.
For the man I showed to the world, it was.
I pushed open the bathroom door. And stopped.
Grace was at the sinks, her leg propped up on the lip. She was doing something to her hose and cursing a blue streak under her breath. My eyebrows rose at the colorful language until my gaze darted down the long expanse of leg revealed by her actions.
Fuck, she was wearing garters. Lacy-top hose and garters.
I was a dead man.
“Goddammit, stupid clip.” She pitched the offending item and lifted her head, blinking owlishly as if she’d just realized she wasn’t alone. How she hadn’t heard the door, I didn’t know. But goddamn that clip.
She glanced up at me and her lower lip trembled. Yet she maintained her pose that left her gorgeous leg on display. “What are you doing here?”
Inexplicably, I started to smile. “This is the bathroom, is it not?”
“You should have your own bathroom. You shouldn’t even be here. It’s Friday night. Don’t you ever date like normal people?”
“You’re a fine one to talk.”
“Actually, I’m on my way out.”
“So you do have a date then.” I didn’t think she did, but I wanted—needed—her to say it. “Is that why you’re doing a last-minute repair on your hose?”