Authors: Hannah Ford
I leaned back, running my hands down over his strong chest. He held my wrists, letting me touch him where I wanted, all the way down over the defined ridges of his abs.
He took my wrist and guided it to where he was inside of me. “Feel it, baby,” he said. “Feel where we’re connected.”
I choked up with the emotion of the moment, of the love for me I could see on his face, in his eyes.
“Do you feel it?” he whispered. “Do you feel how much I love you?”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I do.”
“God, you are so beautiful.” His hands moved up my sides, over my breasts, and he was gazing at me, awe and wonder in his eyes. Then his hands were back on my hips, guiding me up and down on his hard cock, until I couldn’t take it anymore.
My veins were pulsing with need, scalding hot.
His thumb brushed over my clit, his gaze moving from my face down to where his cock was inside of me.
I shuddered and groaned.
“You want to come, don’t you, baby girl?”
“Yes,” I moaned.
“Come,” he commanded. “Come for me.”
He may have decided to be gentler with me for this one time, but his voice now was steel hard and commanding, and my training took over, his voice sending shockwaves of bliss sliding up my spine. My pussy convulsed and spasmed on his dick, my orgasm incinerating me and blazing through every cell in my body.
As I came, Callum grabbed my hips and flipped me onto my back, thrusting into me hard and deep, his body pressing on top of mine, his weight allowing him to go deeper inside of me as he pulled my leg up and rutted away at my pussy.
He came inside of me, pushing, thrusting, harder and harder as he emptied his come into me, and I pushed myself down, making sure to get and take it all.
He collapsed on top of me, his breathing started to slow as he covered me with the blanket and pulled me close.
I turned onto my side and he spooned me, wrapping his strong body around me, making me feel small and protected. His fingers skated lazily over my side and we laid there for a few moments, not saying anything.
“Are you hungry?” he asked finally.
“Cold?” he asked, a grin in his voice.
“No.” I entangled my legs with his. “I don’t want you to get up.”
“I’m not going anywhere, baby,” he said.
I turned over and propped myself up on my elbow. “Did you mean what you said?”
“When you said you wanted to talk?”
He nodded. “Yes.” He reached for my hand, entwining his fingers with mine. “I want you to know that I am committed to this. I love you, Adriana. I will do whatever you ask of me.”
I swallowed and raised my chin into the air. “I want you to go to meetings.”
“Every day.” I thought the suggestion would be met with resistance, or at least with him shutting down, but instead, he just nodded.
“And I want to go with you, at least some of the time.”
He nodded again.
“That was really nice, what you did tonight. How you were with my family, how you played with Chelsea.”
“I did it for you.”
“I know.” I shivered, letting my eyes linger on his beauty, his full lips, the strength of his jaw, the perfect symmetry of his cheekbones, the stubble that dusted his cheeks. “I want to be able to talk to you,” I said, running my hands over his forearm. His skin was smooth, his muscles hard cords under my fingertips.
“I want to be able to talk to you, too.”
“No.” I shook my head. “Really talk. About real things.”
“What kind of real things?” he asked me softly.
“Real things. Like your childhood, Rose, those kinds of things.”
I saw a flicker of something in his eyes – fear? – and then it flamed out. “Okay.”
“I just need you to try,” I said. “That’s all I ask, Callum, is for you to try.”
He pulled me toward him and kissed me softly, his hands tangling in my hair as I melted into him, my body molding perfectly to his.
I fell asleep in his arms and that’s where I stayed all night.
* * *
n the morning
, the mood between us was light.
We showered together, making love under the spray, soft and sweet, my legs wrapped around Callum’s waist as I bit his shoulder to keep from screaming.
He’d had a crisp gray suit messengered over for the wedding, and I wore another pair of yoga pants and one of Callum’s hoodies back to my mom’s house, where I was going to be getting my hair and make-up done by a professional with Ciara and her other bridesmaids.
“I’m sorry you’re going to be stuck hanging out with Bryan’s friends,” I said to Callum as we pulled up in front of my mom’s house. “I don’t know much about them.” I was sure they were nice guys, but the thought of Callum drinking beer with a bunch of ex-state-college frat boys didn’t really compute.
“I’ll be fine,” Callum said as he pulled the rental car up into my mom’s driveway and cut the engine. He leaned over and kissed me. “I cannot wait to see you in your dress.”
“You might want to wait to say that until you find out what it looks like,” I said. My sister had picked out a cute dress for her wedding party, but it wasn’t insanely sexy or anything.
“Then I can’t wait to get you out of your dress.” He kissed my knuckles, his lips brushing my skin and sending shivers down my spine.
We got out of the car and walked toward the house hand in hand. The sun was shining, the sky a bright blue, the air clean and open in a way that didn’t happen in New York City.
Nothing else mattered today – not the fact that I’d lost my job, not the fact that my reputation in publishing was probably ruined – all that mattered was that Callum was here, that my sister was getting married, that it was a beautiful day.
I left Callum in the living room with my mom, who was explaining to him the finer points of her favorite soap opera, Temptations, then went to find my sister.
“Ciara?” I called down the hall.
“I’m in the bathroom.”
The door was open, and Ciara was standing at the sink, her hair loose around her shoulders. She was rinsing her mouth out with mouthwash.
She spit into the sink and smiled. “Yeah. Just a little morning sickness.”
“I’ll go get you some ginger ale.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” she said. “It usually passes pretty quickly.” She opened the medicine cabinet to put the mouthwash away, and a pregnancy test fell out and onto the sink. She laughed. “I took like five million of these things, not able to believe it when the first one was positive.” She sighed. “Whatever you do, Adriana, do not get pregnant before you get married.”
“I’m not planning on it,” I said, and laughed.
But something about her words nagged at me.
“I’m going to go get some crackers, and then I’ll meet you in my room so you can see your dress,” she said. “The alterations are perfect.”
“Okay,” I said, smiling as she slipped by me.
My eyes fell on the pregnancy test, still sitting on the sink.
When was the last time I had my period? I wondered suddenly, a slight grip of panic seizing me.
I pulled out my phone and checked the date.
I was four days late.
But being late could happen for a million reasons.
I had been ridiculously stressed lately, probably more stressed than I’d ever been in my life.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was pulling the test from its package and peeing on the stick.
I set it on the counter, my foot tapping as the longest two minutes of my life ticked by.
I’d convinced myself it was going to be negative.
So when I saw those two glaring pink lines, I blinked twice, checking it over and over. I picked up the test and shook it, as if that was going to change the result.
I set the test back on the counter, gripping the side of the sink.
I was pregnant.
Pregnant with Callum’s baby.
Just when we were starting to get back on our feet, just when I thought maybe we had a chance, we were being thrown another curveball.
And I had no idea how he was going to react to this one…
END OF BOOK NINE
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It’s a hot alpha billionaire romance with a sexy, dominating hero who can’t stay away from his naive intern…
onday came too soon
for Nicole Masters.
The most important day of her life, and she felt ill prepared.
Nicole hadn’t slept the night before. Instead, she’d spent hours laying out different outfits, going through possible interview questions. Her stomach churning, she’d taken six or eight Tums, read article after article about Jameson International on the Internet, and of course, she’d also researched Red Jameson, the high profile CEO and founder of the advertising agency. At only age thirty-two, the man was already a legend in the advertising world and a heartthrob in the rest of the world.
While playing around online, she’d even run across a web forum seemingly devoted to discussing Red’s every relationship, both real and imagined. The forum participants gossiped endlessly about celebrity women he’d been spotted with, and then discussed (in great detail) what they would do if they had five minutes alone with him.
Red Jameson had been featured on the cover of both Forbes
Rolling Stone. He was just
Finally, around five-thirty a.m., when the darkness was starting to give way to a gray and foggy morning, Nicole began drifting to sleep.
Her alarm woke her just half an hour later. She groaned and sat up, feeling like she’d spent the previous night drinking tequila. Or maybe bashing herself in the head with a hammer.
Either way, she had to pull herself together. She ran to the bathroom and started the lengthy process of getting ready for the day. Shaving her legs in the bath, washing and conditioning her hair. As she rinsed the soap out of her eyes, images of Red Jameson flashed in her mind. He was staring at her and his expression was one of disapproval. He shook his head.
No. You can’t have the internship, Nicole. You aren’t ready for the real world. Maybe you should have gone to grad school instead.
When she opened her eyes, her heart was pounding. Think positive thoughts, she admonished herself.
This interview is going to go wonderfully. I deserve this internship. I’ve got all the skills they require and that’s why I’ve made it this far.
Nicole nodded, heartened by her own propaganda, and applied moisturizer to her skin. Her skin was smooth, silky, and pale. It was one of her attributes that seemed to get the most comments from men and women alike. She rarely had a blemish on her face, or any kind of acne.
Other than her nearly perfect skin, Nicole had always considered herself rather average. She wasn’t too tall or too short. She wasn’t too skinny or too fat. She had breasts but not the kind that men tended to stare at like salivating dogs. She liked to run two or three times a week, so she had some muscle tone, but wasn’t ripped like some of the girls around town.
Her hair was brown and she usually wore it back in a simple ponytail.
Today Nicole needed to be sophisticated, though. Jameson International was a cutting-edge ad agency, and she couldn’t come in like some hick with hay in her teeth.
So she was dressing up way beyond anything she felt comfortable in.
She’d even gone into credit card debt yesterday at Prada, buying a full ensemble: high heels, skirt, blouse, purse. The entire thing had come to just under two thousand dollars. She’d spread it across two cards.
TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS.
More than she’d spent on clothes all of last year.
But this wasn’t for just any old internship. Nicole had beaten the odds just getting this interview, and now she needed to knock it out of the park. She needed to look global, she needed to look rich and worldly or she didn’t stand a chance.
Out the door and on the train, she tried to stay calm. Focused on a little breathing meditation she’d learned from a hippie ex-boyfriend. He’d taught her to meditate and he’d also tried to convince her to give him a rim job, which Nicole had politely declined.
They’d ended soon after that.
A short walk from the train to midtown and she was suddenly there. The large glass building that stretched almost to the sky. Jameson International. It looked like a block of onyx.
Nicole’s breath caught in her chest.
She shook in her heels for a moment.
And then she went inside.
The main entrance was huge, with immense marble floors and a fountain. Men and women in suits with perfect hair were filing through the doors and waiting for elevators. At the large security desk in the center of the room, three black men were checking in guests.
Nicole approached them with a smile. None of them smiled back.
“Name please?” One bald man asked. He glared at her like she might be a potential terrorist.
Her voice came out so low that she needed to start over. Nicole cleared her throat. “I’m Nicole Masters? Here for an interview at eight-thirty?”
The man nodded and turned to his computer. He typed quickly. Nodded. “Sign in please.” He tapped a clipboard next to her on the desk and she quickly wrote her name and the time and date.
“Look over here please,” he said, and when she looked at him, there was a sudden flash in her eyes.
“Just a moment.” Seconds later he’d printed out a picture of her and made a laminated badge, which he handed to her. “Please wear this at all times while you’re in the building, Ms. Masters.”
She glanced at the badge. In the picture, she looked like a cross-eyed Japanese woman. “I wish you’d at least told me to smile,” she joked.
He reacted as if she’d never spoken. “Take the elevators on your left up to the fifteenth floor. You’ll be meeting with Glen Goldman.”
“Thanks,” she whispered.
Her stomach was churning, anxious. She dug in her purse and grabbed a couple of Tums, chewed them as she crammed into the elevator with the perfect employees of Jameson International.
She disembarked on the fifteenth floor as instructed, into a wide hallway with black marble floors. To the right was a closed oak door. To the left was a set of glass double doors, and behind them, a waiting room of sorts.
She walked through the doors.
There was a striking, tall blond woman behind an immaculate desk. She wore a Bluetooth headset and sat in front of a computer. “Can I help you?”
She told her she was here to interview with Glen Goldman.
“Absolutely.” The blond woman smiled in the most perfunctory way possible. “Please take a seat, he’ll be with you momentarily.”
Nicole took a seat in one of the black leather waiting chairs. It felt gorgeous and sleek and glossy, like something out of a four-star hotel room. There was a glass table nearby, with magazines carefully fanned out across it.
They were advertising industry magazines. Two of them had Red Jameson on the cover. On one, he was holding a golden CLIO statue. In another, he was holding a cigar in each hand and grinning. Beneath his picture it said, How One Man Can Have Too Much of Everything and Still Not Enough.
It was hard for her to tell if Red was smolderingly sexy because he was good looking and photogenic, or if it was because Nicole happened to know how smart and innovative and powerful he was. Maybe it was all of the above. His looks were interesting. He was supposedly of Irish and German descent, but he looked more Italian or Persian. His skin was dark, almost coffee colored. His eyes were hooded. His hair was slightly curly, black and wiry. His nose was long and a little hooked at the end, and he possessed a strong, chiseled jaw, surprisingly thick neck and broad shoulders.
In his slick gray and black suits he sometimes looked more like an athlete dressed up as a businessman, rather than someone who belonged in neckties and wingtips.
The blonde receptionist’s voice startled Nicole out of her reverie. She realized she had just been staring at the magazine with Red’s picture on it.
She stood up too quickly and nearly lost her balance.
The blonde smiled as if embarrassed for her. “I’ll bring you to your interview with Mr. Goldman now.”
he interviews turned
out to be surprisingly pleasant, if exhausting.
Glen Goldman was older, thin and balding. He reminded Nicole of her Uncle Regis, who used to always pretend to find quarters in her ear when she was little. Glen asked her about college, he seemed genuinely happy for her that she was so excited about advertising.
“It’s a young persons game now,” he said, blinking. “If you don’t mind working sixty or seventy hours a week minimum, you’ll be fine.”
“I can’t wait to work,” she said, truthfully. “I’ve always enjoyed hard work.”
Blinking ferociously, he nodded and smiled. “I like your attitude.
After Glen, a middle aged severe woman named Remi Danvers came in. Remi was an art director at the agency. She had short brown hair, enormous golden earrings and an even more enormous golden necklace. Her white button down shirt was unbuttoned far enough to reveal her nonexistent cleavage. Remi fired off questions about Nicole’s resume, almost as if trying to catch her in a lie.
After fielding twenty or thirty rapid-fire questions about her previous work experience, Nicole had waited for Remi to move on to some other topic. But the woman didn’t do any such thing. She simply smiled briskly, stood up and left the room.
Next, the creative director entered. His name was Edward Lane and he was stocky, grinning, with a thin red beard. He had a phone at his side that constantly buzzed as he studiously ignored it. Nicole tried to talk without being distracted by the incessant buzzing sound.
Edward was also friendly, although his blue eyes were watchful and perceptive. At one point he asked her how she handled conflict, and she said that she typically avoided it.
“You won’t be able to avoid it here,” he said softly. His eyes watched her intently.
She took a breath. “I look forward to learning, and if conflict is part of that, I welcome the challenge.”
“You may find yourself under a great deal of mental and emotional pressure. The strain can be enormous. Working for Red is never easy.”
She swallowed. “You mean Mr. Jameson?”
He nodded. “He’s also very egalitarian and likes to meet everyone. That’s why he interviews all prospective employees.”
Nicole gulped audibly. “He interviews
“Yes, if we think the candidate is appropriate Jameson International material. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll be meeting him very soon,” he grinned.
Nicole licked her lips and tried to still her shaking hands. “It must be overwhelming for someone with Mr. Jameson’s schedule and responsibilities to meet with
Edward laughed heartily. “We’ve been trying to get him to stop for years, but he won’t. That’s how seriously he takes his business. And he expects that dedication and intensity from every one of his employees.”
“I find that refreshing,” she lied. Actually she found it horrifying. She wasn’t ready to come face to face with the man she’d been studying from afar.
Edward sat back and looked at her anew. “Working for Red can be particularly challenging for female employees.”
“It can?” She didn’t know exactly what Edward meant, but her arms broke into gooseflesh anyway. She thought back to the things she’d seen on those online forums. Women who worked here probably fought tooth and nail to gain his approval and notice.
Edward tapped the table lightly with his hand. “In any case, you’re a great candidate, and everyone speaks highly of you. I’m going to recommend that Red meet with you today.”
She felt woozy from all of this. “You’re hiring me for the internship position?”
Edward sighed. “Pending Red’s approval. But that’s why I’m trying to give you fair warning. This is a tough business, but for someone like yourself it could be positively torturous.”
“Just…be prepared, Nicole. If you can do this job, you’ll go very far in this business. But if you’re a wilting flower—it won’t be a pretty sight. I’ve seen the ones who crack and it can get ugly.”
“I won’t crack,” she said, suddenly sitting up straighter. She didn’t like his implication that she was a wilting flower. Maybe she was fresh out of college, but she’d never failed at anything in her life. In high school, she’d been debate champion three years running and when she was even younger she’d won chess tournaments playing against kids twice her age.
Edward seemed to take stock of her and find what he’d wanted to see. He smiled, stood up and shook her hand. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of one another in the future, Nicole. Just hang tight for a minute.”
And then he left her alone in the small conference room.
She was suddenly aware of being incredibly thirsty. Checking her phone, she realized she’d been in here for nearly an hour and a half now. It hadn’t felt nearly that long, but time had flown in the midst of her anxiety, and the endless questions and trying to make a good impression.
Well, apparently she’d done it. Now she just had to make a good impression on
As if to confirm this, the blonde receptionist opened the door to the conference room. “Miss Masters? Please come with me.”
She wanted to get a drink of water, but the receptionist was already walking ahead of her, striding confidently, elegantly. Nicole was too intimidated to ask for a cup of water. Instead she followed her to a different set of elevators.
When the doors opened, the inside was opulent. It looked like an old fashioned elevator from some nineteenth century mansion. A man dressed in a dark blue uniform smiled at them. “Top floor?” he asked with a delicate smile.
“Yes,” the blonde replied, barely looking at him.
Nicole tried to smile and thank him. He pressed the button for the fifty-fifth floor and put his hands behind his back. When the elevator pinged and stopped, he held out his hand and tilted his head gently toward the hallway.
The blond receptionist didn’t leave the elevator. “Red’s expecting you,” she said with an enigmatic look in her eye.