Series: Executive Trilogy, #1
Author: Grace Marshall
Publisher: Xcite Books
Release Date: September 26, 2012
Buy Links: Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon UK
Overworked CEO Ellison Thorne has no time for sex, let alone romance. The only answer, at least where his retiring business partner Beverly is concerned, is a no-strings sex clause in her replacement’s contract, designed to make Ellis’ busy life easier – and hotter. But she’s joking, right?
At last Ellis pushed his chair back and looked up at her. ‘Marston refused the proposal.’
‘I’m sorry,’ Dee said again.
‘Not that it was a huge surprise, but I could have done nicely without him berating me for hiring someone incompetent and irresponsible to take Beverly’s place. That didn’t exactly make my day. What the hell happened?’
She felt the heat rising up her spine and onto her ears. ‘I overslept.’ She forced the words out into the chilled room.
‘Yes.’ She nodded imperceptibly, feeling the scrutiny of his glare.
For a long moment he just stared at her. She forced herself to meet his gaze and held her tongue, afraid if she tried to say anything she’d burst into tears, and she despised women who cried.
‘That’s it, then? You overslept.’
She nodded again, swallowing hard.
‘Well that’s a relief.’ He leaned forward in his chair and rose almost as though he were going to leap over the desk and pounce. The tension in his body was palpable. ‘I was afraid you were lying on the freeway somewhere in a pool of blood. I’m so relieved that it was nothing so dire, and that you simply overslept.’ With each word, his voice grew louder until he wasn’t exactly yelling, but neither was there any way she could miss his message as each word drove her deeper into her chair until she felt as trapped as if she had been tied there.
‘I’m sorry,’ she forced a whisper through the roadblock in her throat, but the stinging behind her eyes warned that a swift exit would be necessary if she were to avoid the flood.
‘Sorry? You’re sorry? Tally had to pick up the slack. Do you have any idea how that looked? Just when I was starting to make progress with Marston, just when the man was beginning to listen to reason, you oversleep. You made Jamison’s deal seem all the sweeter, that’s what you did. Now, tell me what the hell’s going on.’
He moved from behind his desk and paced the carpet in front of her like a bull ready to charge. ‘You’re supposed to be working to shore up the situation with Scribal. I told you up front that’s your major concern at the moment, then not only do you oversleep and miss an important meeting, but I find out you’ve been working on something else behind my back.’ Before she could respond, he turned on her. ‘Is Trouvères what you’ve been staying up half the night and missing meetings for? When I hired you, I never thought you, of all people, would neglect your responsibilities.’
‘I’m not neglecting anything. If you would just –’
He interrupted her. ‘Don’t think just because I gave you this job, you suddenly know it all. I took a big risk hiring you.’ He stopped pacing and rooted himself in front of her, close enough that she had to strain her neck to look up at him. ‘You want to do something; you bring it to me first. You’re not ready to make that kind of decision on your own. You don’t have the experience it takes to…to… You’re not Beverly.’
His words were a hard slap, felt more than heard above the roar in her ears. She wasn’t sure the ragged breathing her brain finally registered in the chasm of silence that followed his tirade was his or her own.
The phone rang into the charged atmosphere and Ellis jerked it from its cradle in a strangle hold. ‘This had better be good, Lynn. Wade? What the hell does he want? Can’t it wait? We’re not finished yet. I can what?’ He heaved a sigh of resignation and slammed the receiver back down. ‘Wade wants to see you right now. He says I can get back to you on this, and believe me, I intend to.’ He nodded toward the door. ‘Well, go on, at least don’t keep him waiting. Pick up the notes on the meeting from Sandra.’
She stood on trembling legs and turned to go. As she reached for the door, he called to her. ‘Dee, I strongly suggest you make no more attempts to prove Marston right about you.’
Sandra joined her in the hall. ‘I have the meeting notes for you.’
‘Just put them on my desk. Wade wants to see me.’
Sandra nodded. ‘Yes, I know. I told him he did. And I told him to give you a few minutes in the ladies to freshen up first.’ She offered a reassuring smile and turned on her heels.
Still breathing like a freight train, Ellis watched Dee disappear shutting the door behind her. He grabbed up the phone and called his secretary. ‘Lynn, hold all my calls. I don’t want to be disturbed. How long? Until I say otherwise, that’s how long.’ He slammed the receiver down, snapped his laptop shut and stormed down the hall to the lounge.
He shoved his way out of his jacket and tossed it across the wingback chair, then practically strangled himself in his efforts to loosen his tie. From the coffee table he grabbed up the remote and plunged the room into the wild raucous ride of the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Then he dropped onto the sofa struggling to breath, struggling to regain control, struggling to figure out what the hell had just happened. All through the meeting, when Dee didn’t show up, he was terrified that something horrible had happened, terrified that he would lose Dee the same way he had lost Beverly. And the relief he felt at seeing her. Jesus, the relief was like nothing he’s ever felt before.
If Lynn hadn’t called, if Wade hadn’t demanded Dee’s presence … If Ellis had had one more second with her, he would have yanked her up from the chair and fucked her senseless right there in the middle of the day with all of Pneuma Inc just outside his door, fucked her as though he might never get another chance, fucked her as though his life depended on it, and that’s exactly how it felt. He wiped cold sweat from his forehead and struggled to breathe. If he’d lost her, Jesus! He couldn’t even bear the thought.
Christ, he couldn’t go on like this. It felt like he was always either avoiding her or jerking off thinking about her. And damn if he wasn’t thinking about her all the time; the shape of her, the feel of her, the sass of her. He’d never wanted anything so badly. And then … and then she screws up so royally that all he wanted to do was punish her, to turn her over his knee for giving him such a scare, to … to … to fuck her until she couldn’t walk.
About the Author:
Grace Marshall lives in South England with her husband and the growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their feeders. When Grace isn’t busy writing something sexy and romantic, she’s busy digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or walking across the British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or gardening.
Grace is the author of the fast paced, quirky Executive Decisions Trilogy published by Xcite Romance. An Executive Decision, the first novel in the trilogy, will be available soon at all your favourite book sellers with lots more romance served hot to follow in the near future.
Grace Marshall’s alter-ego, K D Grace, writes critically acclaimed, best-selling erotic romance. Whether it’s sexy romance or romantic sex, between The Graces, there’s a story for you.
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