A COUPLE OF
minutes later, I enter the library double doors. I’ve worked my ass off for
every volume lining the walls. There’s something about holding a leather-bound
book—the weight, the texture of the page, the subtle hint of coffee and ink.
Drake thought I was crazy to invest in paper, but today it’s been proven—every
dollar spent is worth its weight in gold.
As I turn
the corner of an aisle, Maisie laughs. The sound is low, vibrant, the auditory
translation of a simmering sun sliding through the horizon. Sunset in Venice. Monet’s masterpiece
brought to life in the color of her voice.
the end cap, I look. Blindsided.
That’s what I am when I see her. The curves, the hips, that ass, her face, her
ivory skin and those full lips. I forget everything. All of the worries
swirling in my mind disappear. I focus on her and it’s a relief. A long hiss of
air loosens from my chest and I’m breathless.
on the stepladder, stretching for a book. Her arm reaches higher until the
pearly white flesh of her midsection is on display as her sweater rides up. I
stare, silent and stupid with incomprehensible words flashing neon in my brain.
You. Me. Dinner. Date.
Why? Why does she make me insane?
The tips of
her bare toes hardly hold her in place. There’s that laugh again, a short burst
as she teeters on the last rung. Her footing slips. Arms whirlwind to find
balance or a shelf to grab onto, but instead find nothing but air.
forward. Her back slams into my chest with a breathy “oomph.” Then my hands are
on her. Christ. My fingers burn where
they curve into her hip. The line of my forearm molds around her stomach,
pressing her against me. When her spine stiffens I say, “I’ve got you,” and her
head falls to my shoulder. She sighs. She
sighs and I hold on tighter.
That’s all we have. Maybe five. The subtle hint of peaches and youth, the scent
of summer and innocence reaches my nose. I breathe her in for one second, my
exhale moving the soft wave of her hair in the next.
constrict around my lungs, squeezing the air out when her hand slides over my
arm. Scraping her nails over my skin, her fingers stumble over my watch until
finding mine and tangling. The instant ache in my groin shifts my attention
from our joined hands to her ass. The same ass that rubs against my zipper. Shit. My dick swells against her
backside and a low moan vibrates through her. Goddamn, a moan.
What the hell am I doing? I should leave. The
inappropriateness of this situation is not lost on me, but I can’t move. Too
intoxicated by her to do anything but squeeze her closer and berate myself for
doing so. I’m her boss. She’s . . . Jesus Christ, she’s everything I shouldn’t
crave yet I do. For a hundred foolish, selfish reasons, I want this woman.
make me insane . . . but I’m not crazy. Not yet anyway. And to keep my sanity
intact, I grip her hips and push her forward, forcing some distance between us.
turns, flattening her shoulders against the bookcase. “Thank you. For saving
me.” She clears her throat and waves at the ladder. “Heights are not my thing.”
second, her eyes dart from my thighs to the engorged cock in between them and
then to my chin. Her gaze flies to the shelves behind me and then up, up to the
rows of books. “Such a great library. I wouldn’t have thought . . . Not in a
firm this size, not that it’s small. No, God no, it’s not small. Not by a long
shot. I can see that. I mean, I know how big. No, that’s not right.” She shakes
her head and starts again. “I know how stiff . . . uhm, staff . . .” Her voice
trails off when she sucks her bottom lip between her teeth.
breathless laugh erupts from her mouth. And that fucking smile.
all wrong,” she says, grinning like a loon.
Perfection. She is that—flawless and undeniably
I clench my
teeth and block the urge to reach for her. Bring her flush with my chest, to
feel her soft curves wrap around me.
Kavanagh.” Her hand shoots out. “We haven’t officially met. Maisie Walker,
newest and best—I assure you—legal assistant in the office. It may not seem
that way. The brief—this morning. However, I promise my review is top-notch.
All morning I’ve done nothing but think about it. The contract. I’ve worked on
you in my mind. Ugh, the research. I’ve worked on the research.”
dumbfounded, at her perfectly painted pink nails and her long fingers stretched
between us. That breathless laugh sounds off again and then she whispers so low
I barely hear the words, “I don’t bite. Not too much anyway.”
jerks and narrows in on her sparkling blue eyes just before our palms connect. Fuck that tremor racing down my spine.
you say?” I step in, hovering over her until she has to crane her neck to stay
connected with my eyes. Her hand is gripped in mine. Trapped. Just like I feel
when we’re in the same room.
mentioned my research.”
“No, I was
definitely referencing my review. It’s taken all morning and now it brought me
to the library. Your very large, well-endowed library. I’ve not encountered one
in real life that’s hung in quite this way, only seen them on TV.”
her lip and the dimple, the one in her right cheek, dips into her porcelain
skin and then disappears as she fights a smile.
I didn’t say hung. That would be a highly inappropriate adjective to describe a
library. It’s strung with books, volumes
and volumes of big, massive books. Color me impressed, Mr. Kavanagh.”
able to speak coherently?”
But you’re standing really, really close to me. And you smell good too. Like
cinnamon and leather and big, brutish man. You’re also holding my hand and
although I’m not complaining, I have no idea what’s happening right now and I
babble when I’m confused. So.”
spite of itself, the corner of my mouth tips up. “You like my library.”
and uses her free hand to tuck a curl behind her ear, but her eyes never leave
mine. “Truly, I do.”
A part of
me, the lawyer, wants to tell her how wrong this is, that it verges on a
violation of firm policy. Then again, I’m enjoying every word out of her
delicious mouth. And as the managing partner, I make the rules.
flirting with me, Ms. Walker?”
depends,” she says in that low breathy voice that gets me hard. “Were you
staring at my breasts during the staff meeting, or just appreciating the faux
mohair in my sweater?”