All Work and No Play

By: Coleen Kwan



He clenched a fist, unexpectedly furious at her pigheadedness. “You’re angry with me because you almost let me kiss you.”

Her eyes widened before they darted around for possible eavesdroppers. Then they glared at him. “I’m angry with you because you don’t respect my authority,” she hissed at him.

He blinked. “Is that what you think?”

“It’s my fault, of course. I shouldn’t have touched you.” She pressed her lips together. “I had a moment of weakness. But no more.” She aimed a gimlet stare at him.

Remorse twisted in Giles’ gut. He was just as responsible as she for what had happened in the stationery closet, but she was heaping all the blame on herself. And now, when he wanted to help her, she couldn’t accept because she believed it would weaken her position even further.

He held up his hands, palms facing her, in a gesture of surrender. “Look, I’m not interested in undermining your authority. I just want to help you fix Oscar’s mistakes. If we both work on his programs, we’ll finish it in half the time.”

But Anna stubbornly shook her head. “I’ll take care of Oscar’s work,” she insisted. “I’ll just have to work overtime.”

“You mean more than we are already? Last week we were working back until seven or eight every night. You can’t do more than that.”

Her chin jutted up. “I’ll do what’s necessary.”

He wanted to grasp her obstinate chin and press his mouth against hers. Would she still be unyielding then, or would she slowly melt into him? His body ached to find out, but his head restrained the urge.

“I can stay back tonight too,” he said. If he was here, at least she would have company and someone to bounce ideas off.

“Oh? I thought you had a date tonight with whatserface? Persephone?”

The cogs in his brain slowly turned over. He remembered that Persephone had called him earlier this morning, and they’d arranged to meet at six, but how did Anna know that?

“Yes, I do.” He lifted his eyebrows at Anna. “Been monitoring my calls?”

She turned pink with embarrassment. It was the first time he’d ever seen Anna blush, and he found it a huge turn on.

She hugged her arms, lifting her shoulders defensively. “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, the way you were cooing at her. Is she your girlfriend, then?”

The question made him frown. Did Anna think he was the type of man who would try to kiss another woman when he had a girlfriend?

“No,” he replied shortly. “We knew each other back in university.”

They’d slept together a few times, but it had never been serious for either of them. Later, Persephone had started dating a lawyer, but she’d recently broken up with him, and she was here in Sydney on holiday.

“I don’t want you to miss out on catching up with old friends,” Anna said. “I’ll be fine.”

She turned away from him and resumed her seat, as if the subject was closed. Giles wanted to object, but he sensed that in her present mood she wasn’t exactly amenable. Better to wait until she’d cooled down. Better for him, too, to cool down. Having come so close to kissing her and realising one of his fantasies about Anna, his senses were trigger happy around her, and he didn’t completely trust himself not to do something stupid like grab her and kiss her right here in the office.

No, he needed time to get himself in order. But that wasn’t easy when he was in such close proximity to Anna. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to work back late with her, if he couldn’t control his appetites.

***

She shouldn’t have let slip that she’d overheard his phone conversation. That had been a mistake. Now he would think she was hung up on him when she wasn’t. Giles could see this Persephone girl anytime he wanted. Persephone...what a perfect name for an upperclass English girl. The kind of girl Giles was used to. She was willing to bet that Persephone was stunning and sophisticated because only the best would do for Giles St Clair.

Anna huffed irritably. She wasn’t doing a very good job of focusing on her work load. But first she had to cancel her dinner date with her two best friends. She texted them a brief message and returned to the program she was debugging, only to be interrupted a few minutes later by a phone call.

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