Home > Tangled Sheets(8)

Tangled Sheets(8)
Author: J.L. Beck

The door behind me opens with a squeak, and two people walk in. Glancing over my shoulder, I find myself disappointed when I see it’s Mike walking in instead of Riley.

“Good Morning,” he greets cheerfully.

“Morning,” I answer flatly.

I have no time for pleasantries and I don’t want to give him the impression that we are friends or equals in any way. He’s an employee and I need to set boundaries early on. I never place favorites and won’t be accused of it.

John walks in next, getting straight to the point of asking me what I thought about his plans. He’s a smart guy. Everything worked out down to the smallest detail. What he did was good, but there’s always room for tweaks along the way.

“I like your second design the best. We’re going to move forward with it.”

“Great, I’ll start working on more detailed plans,” he tells me, clearly excited that I liked one of his designs. I didn’t know it could get more detailed, but I nod and go back to the papers in front of me.

The door opens again, and I know it’s her without looking. I’m not sure how I know it, but I just do. I can feel her approaching. The air shifts even in the large room. Her light floral scent invades my senses and I have to fight the urge to take in an audible breath to get more of it.

There is something wrong with me, there has to be. I’ve never been so struck by a woman before. It’s like she has a remote control linked straight to my thoughts. I’m a no-strings guy. Pick up a girl and leave the next day. No phone numbers and no attachments.

Strutting past me, she takes the same seat she took yesterday. Her hair is up in a bun again, her outfit is business casual, a knee-length skirt, and a button-up free-flowing blouse. Professional and modest. I shouldn’t find it sexy, but knowing the delectable pair of tits hiding beneath that blouse would make even the ugliest sweater look good, I do find it sexy. My cock hardens in my dress slacks, and I want to groan. Fuck me.

“Morning,” she mumbles as she sits down.

I try not to stare as she digs into her oversized purse and pulls out her work stuff. A notepad, a pencil, and a stack of interior design magazines find their way onto the table.

What the hell doesn’t she have in that bag?

Actually, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know anything about her, because even without really knowing her, I’ve somehow found myself completely enamored with her every move.

Her eyes flash to mine for a split second and that’s all it takes to leave a zing in the air. Just like that, an imaginary tether forms between us. For a second her eyes widen and her lips part. It’s taking all of me to not jump up and drag her out of here.

She lowers her head and averts her eyes, picking some random spot on the table to stare at. I drag my own eyes away and check the time on my watch. Two minutes after eight. Our public relations manager is late.

“Let’s start,” I order, not the least bit interested in waiting on Naomi.

I go over the plan, telling them which designs I’ve picked and what I need everyone to work on next.

It’s almost twenty minutes later when the door opens again and Naomi walks in. I grit my teeth at her blase attitude, as if we’re here to wait for her. Not in my company.

“Good morning,” she chirps, walking calmly to her seat. Her high heels click on the floor with each step she takes. The sounds annoying and loud, interrupting my thought process.

“You’re late.” The power behind my tone makes her take notice, but she doesn’t miss a beat.

“Oh, gosh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t even check the time. I stopped to get a skinny vanilla latte, but the first place didn’t have any cashew milk, so I had to stop at this other place I’ve never been to…”

“Naomi,” I interrupt her rambling. “You will be on time every morning, or I will find someone who can manage their time better.”

For a split-second shock flashes across her face, but then she covers her surprise up with a tooth flashing smile.

“Of course, Nicholas.”

“Mr. Brooks,” I correct her.

Her smile only widens, but the tension between us builds like pressure in a kettle sitting on a hot stove. Water boiling inside, a low whistle forming at the spout.

“Of course, Mr. Brooks. It won’t happen again.”

Nodding, I continue explaining what I need from each of them before Naomi interrupts.

The tension remains for the duration of the meeting, never easing up. I give Naomi the cold shoulder, but she obviously doesn’t take the hint as she continues flirting with me, which pisses me off more.

Then there is Riley. There is a different kind of tension building between us, like a fire on the edge of the woods that’s about to engulf the entire fucking forest. I want to take her by the hand, lead her into my office, and bend her over my desk.

No. She is your employee. You don’t fuck where you work, idiot.

By lunchtime, I’m ready to call it a day. “You can work in your office for the rest of the day. I’ll see you back here in the morning. At eight,” I emphasize the time, looking at Naomi, who ignores me entirely.

Everyone gets up and gathers their things, clearly just as ready to escape this room as I am. Riley is shoving her stuff into her purse, and I know we need to talk. It was just sex, yes, but things have changed. I’m her boss now, and we need to defuse this bomb before it explodes.

“Riley, could I have a word with you before you head out?”

“No.” She shakes her head and swings her purse over her shoulder.

No?

Just no? No explanation or apology. She simply tells me no. The situation is so foreign to me, that I’m blindsided by it, which feels just as alien to me. No one tells me no, and no one catches me off guard like that. Yet, she just did both.

The door falls shut behind her, leaving me standing alone like an idiot in the now-empty boardroom. The only thing she’s left behind is the faint flowery scent of her perfume clinging in the air. Summer. Sunflowers. Strawberries. She is fucking with my head.

I don’t know if I should be angry or impressed. If I run after her now, everyone will think something, and there’s nothing worse than office gossip. While I think that over, I decide to take care of something else instead.

Leaving the boardroom behind, I walk to the other side of the floor and right into my brother’s office. His secretary has gotten used to me not asking for permission, so she ignores me as I open the door.

He barely looks up from the papers he’s examining. “Nick, what can I do for you?”

“Why is Naomi on my team? I swear to God, if you tell me you slept with her…”

“Fuck no, I didn’t sleep with Naomi,” William sneers, though there is a grin tugging at his lips. “Look, I’m sorry. I should have warned you about her. She can be… a lot. But trust me, you want her on your team. Naomi is well known in Boston. She knows people, has friends everywhere. She can give us an in that lets us cut corners, gets us put to the front of the line. That kind of thing.”

“Great, we need her and she knows it,” I growl and open up the liquor cabinet hidden inside the bookshelf. “Whiskey?”

“Why not?” I pour both of us a glass and hand him one.

“Sorry, brother.” William sighs. “Want me to sweet talk her a little? I’ll do what I need to do if it makes your job easier.”

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