Home > Bewitching the Boss

Bewitching the Boss
Author: Jessa Kane

 

One

 

 

Jane

 

 

I walk into Byron DeWitt’s office and beam him my best smile.

What I’d really like to do is drop to my knees and crawl to him.

“Good morning, Mr. DeWitt,” I say brightly, extending my hand over the top of his ruthlessly organized desk. “It’s wonderful to meet you. I’m going to plan the heck out of your company Halloween party.”

He still hasn’t looked up from the memo he’s writing.

Hasn’t even acknowledged my presence.

I leave my hand right where it is, smiling even wider, taking the opportunity to study the man up close. He’s been starring in my waking thoughts and dreams alike for two years. The suit jacket that hugs his thick shoulders? I know the tailor who fitted him. The shaving cream he uses to stave off that black stubble that plagues his square jaw? I know the brand he uses. How it smells. And the sharp green eyes that finally tick up to mine?

They are responsible for every beat of my twenty-three-year-old heart.

He drops his pen when our eyes lock, his Adam’s apple squeezing past the tightly buttoned collar of his dress shirt. Hastily, he pushes up his black rimmed glasses and stands, upsetting a coffee mug on his desk. It splashes onto a neat stack of paperwork, black liquid slithering along the gleaming surface of his desk like a river. We reach for the box of tissues at the same time and our hands collide, stealing the strength right out of my knees. I fall into the chair facing his desk, my pulse haywire.

Keep smiling.

Keep smiling.

Cannon fire booms in my ears and the skin beneath my blouse is turning clammy, but I order my hands to move and we manage to sop up the coffee before it does too much damage, tossing the damp tissues into a waste basket.

“I’m sorry about that,” he says gruffly, the tips of his ears red. “I didn’t expect…no one told me to expect someone who looks like you.” Immediately, he pinches the bridge of his nose, clearly scolding himself on the inside. “That’s not what I meant. Well, it is what I meant, but it can’t be appropriate for me to say something like that. About your appearance. Jesus, I don’t usually have this problem—”

“Because most of our employees are in sweatpants and haven’t showered in a week?” He thinks I’m attractive. How am I not floating? How much longer can I act normal around this man who haunts my mind? “Don’t worry. I plan parties for software companies in Silicon Valley. Coders like to be comfortable.” I trail a finger down the row of buttons on my shirt and he tugs on the side of his collar. “I’m used to being the overdressed one in the room.”

“Right,” he rasps, his gaze briefly warming my breasts, before he determinedly pins it on the wall over my shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

“Jane,” I say simply, begging him to repeat it. Please. Please.

“Jane.”

A hot pulse begins between my thighs, the urge to touch myself fierce. Almost undeniable. It’s what I typically do when I think of this man. Byron DeWitt. CEO of the booming Silicon Valley technology company, Firestarter. He’s brilliant. A genius. He created a universal app for transportation information, putting train, bus, taxi and flight data at users’ fingertips—and that was only the beginning. Since then, he’s brought technology to its knees. Everyone else in the Valley is just trying to keep up.

Did I mention how beautiful he is?

Hot Nerd. That’s what the other girls at my event planning job call him.

Byron is six foot three, naturally muscular. Thick in places it should be illegal. And he clearly has no idea what to do with all of that size and strength. It’s untouched and untested. The buttons of his dress shirt struggle to remain closed, black hairs that match the unruly waves on his head peek out over the top. The fly of his slacks is strained. God bless his tailor for hugging those bulky male lines. He’s doing the lord’s work.

This is the first time Byron has ever arranged a party for his software firm.

And it’s about time.

I’ve only been slipping advertisements into his mailbox—real and virtual—for a year.

“So what made you decide to plan a party, Mr. DeWitt?”

He realizes he’s still standing up and takes a seat, but not before bumping the desk with his knee and wincing adorably. “Call me Byron, please.”

“Byron,” I murmur, winking at him, watching the flush creep up his neck.

Wow. He really is attracted to me.

I was afraid to get my hopes up and have them dashed.

Really, I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t have spent the last two years watching this man from afar, obsessing over him, hungering for his touch. If he knew who I am—who I really am—he would throw me right out of his office. Maybe even call the police. And that would be his right. But I couldn’t stay away. I could no more pass up this opportunity to breathe the same air as Byron DeWitt than I could predict next year’s weather patterns.

I ache for you, I whisper to him inside my head.

He jolts a little when he remembers that I asked him a question. “Why did I decide to plan a party?” He rolls a big shoulder, looking out at his endless rows of coding employees through the glass wall of his office. “They’ve been working hard. Really hard. A party never really occurred to me until recently. I’m not much of a partier. My sister does—” He stops short, taking long moments to gather himself. “My sister did like parties. She would have been the one to remind me to schedule one, but she’s no longer with us.”

My heart is plastered to the ceiling. “I’m so sorry.”

He has no idea how much I mean that.

I mean it on a soul deep level that I’ll never be able to express.

But sorry can’t bring a person back from the dead. Sorry can’t undo the past.

My sorry means nothing.

“What kind of party would she have liked?” I ask quietly, taking out my electronic tablet and taping it awake. Poising my stylus over the screen.

His lips jump at one end. “Silly. Fun. Over the top. The opposite of me.”

“Is that what you’d like?”

“Yes,” he says after a moment. “I’ve never thrown my company a party. So I suppose I should make up for the oversight. Just make the night fun for them and I’ll…” He rubs at the back of his neck. “I guess I’ll suffer through it.”

“Ouch.” I give him an amused pout. “You’re not very confident in my party planning skills, are you?”

He comes forward abruptly in his seat. “I’m sorry. That came out wrong.” More redness on the tips of those ears. I’d like to bite them. “Please understand, I wouldn’t enjoy a party thrown by anyone. In any way, shape or form. I’m just not very…”

“Social?”

“That’s right.”

“Costume ball it is.”

Those insanely intelligent eyes narrow on me. “I don’t understand.”

Excitement tingles my fingers and I sit up straighter. After the accident, it took me a while to straighten out my life, to figure out what I’m good at. But I think I’ve landed on the career that truly makes me happy. I’ve been party planning for the last year and I love the challenge. The fact that every event is different. A party is a blend. Personalities, occasion, theme, season, vibe. I’ll never arrange the same event twice. I love the spontaneity and adventure in that and now, miracle of miracles, I get to use my knowledge to help Byron.

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