Craving My BossBy: Tasha Fawkes
“I…” she begins. Her eyes flicker to her laptop. I see a look of puzzlement. She probably remembers leaving her laptop open, but I allow her to second-guess her own memory.
“Please.” I indicate the chair sitting catty-corner to her desk. She sits without a word. I need her to see me as her superior, now more than ever. “I just wanted to make sure you were all right.” I try to establish eye contact, but it’s difficult when she’s obviously determined to look everywhere but directly at me.
“Yes. I’m all right… thank you for asking, Mister Stone.”
Her cheeks flush a deep, fetching rose, and I imagine she’s reliving the moment. I hoped she would. A part of me hopes the way I’m looked at her registered.
“Please. Call me Daniel.”
“I don’t know what you must think of me,” she stutters. “But I’m not… I wasn’t…”
“That man. Is he your boyfriend?”
The refutation is so immediate and flatly spoken that I can’t help snorting with laughter. Her dark lashes sweep against her cheeks as her gaze falls to her lap, and her blush deepens. I’ve known women who flush all the way down to the tops of their breasts. Is Ashley one of them? Unfortunately, her ingenuity with the dress prevents me from finding out.
“Was he harassing you?”
“He’s… no. Stewart’s a friend,” Ashley replies. “He had a little too much to drink. That’s all.”
“Then it’s a good thing I called a cab for him.”
She nods gratefully, the buoyant raven waves of her hair bouncing against her cheeks. There’s a thought itching at the back of my mind, but I’ll have to wait until I’m home—with her manuscript in my hand—to explore it further.
Just where do you find your inspiration, Ashley?
“I know you have a lot on your plate right now,” I continue. “I wanted to take this moment to personally thank you for your work on the Christmas party. I knew we were in good hands when Elektra said she delegated to you.”
“It’s… it was nothing.” She shakes her head, but perks up a little. “Did you get a chance to go to the party?”
“I don’t usually enjoy these things.”
“Not usually,” I emphasize before she has a chance to be disappointed. I want that blush back. I want more than that. I rise from behind her desk, and she quickly pushes out from her chair to follow my lead—like an indentured servant who follows the Master’s lead. “But tonight has been… illuminating. You’re a hard worker, Miss Shiels.”
“Thank you, Mister Stone… Daniel.” She struggles with my first name now, but not, I noticed, in front of the drunken ‘friend’ she left back in the hallway.
“Is there anything else I can assist you with this evening?”
“Not this evening, no. But I’m glad you asked.” I move around the desk to stand closer to her. She doesn’t shrink from me—which is a welcome relief from my conversations with some of the other editorial assistants this evening—but I entertain the idea that she feels the heat radiating between us all the same. I’m still hard, but her eyes never so much as glance away from my face. Good. “I might have a special job for you. Nothing that will interfere with your work assisting Elektra… but we don’t need to discuss it tonight.”
I let my eyes drop, allowing her to feel the full weight of my gaze trained on those already-heavy breasts of hers. I betray nothing: no disproval, no lasciviousness. I want her to recall this moment and wonder at its meaning when she lies alone tonight.
“Come by my office first thing Monday morning, and we’ll discuss the details,” I say. “Good night, Miss Shiels.”
“Good night, Daniel.”
She backs out of my way to allow me to pass, and it’s all I can do to not crowd her into the deeper shadows of her office and ask her to give me a hand with the aroused state for which she is wholly responsible. Something tells me that Ashley would prefer it if I didn’t ask.
I nod, hold her eyes a moment longer, then slip past her and let myself out the door. I contemplate all the ways I’m going to get Ashley Shiels out of my system on the long elevator ride down to the parking garage.
Monday can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, I’ve got a book to read.
I walk into work Monday morning with every expectation of being fired.
I’m going to go about it gracefully, I’ve decided. I spent all weekend working out how my departure will go. Tory will cry into my commemorative Disney mug that I will graciously gift her, and Elektra will look on with disapproval as I gather my sparse belongings up in the cardboard box that I will soon be living out of.