Authors: Abby Gordon
going to need his help dealing with the PR aspect of
everything.” Turning her around, Serena gave her a
little push out the door. “Go on. Tell Jason to come
Only after she was sure the other woman was
headed down the hall did Serena turn around. Her eyes
went to Paul. They were slightly censorious.
“You did a number on her,” she told him, returning
to the chairs. “I don’t blame her for acting like that.”
“You know about that? From whom?”
“First Debbie, then Claire,” came her calm reply. “I
don’t think either has an accurate outlook on the
“Why is that?” he asked as she sat down.
“Claire got so upset, she’s not even sure what she
heard and saw, much less what she told Debbie.” She
gave him an understanding look. “Give her some time
to calm down before you try to straighten anything out.
Or at least let her focus on Debbie for a while.”
Keith suddenly remembered he wasn’t supposed to
understand what was going on. At least not to Serena.
“Do I want to know what’s going on?” he asked. “Or
is this like my breaking the phone?”
“Only insofar as the less said the better,” Serena
explanations on either at the moment. Or any future
moments. She leaned back in the chair, something
Keith could remember her doing only a few times. “This
is not going down as one of my favorite Mondays.”
“Not a good shopping trip?” Keith wondered.
“Yes and no. Yes, we found more appropriate
clothing and no, I don’t know if she’ll actually wear any
“Who went shopping?” Paul frowned.
“Serena and Debbie,” Keith answered. “And I agree
with Serena. This is not making my top ten list of good
Jason appeared and Serena left, closing the door
behind her. Almost gratefully, she sat at her desk.
What a day! And it wasn’t even one in the afternoon.
By five, she was shaking with exhaustion. Detective
Sanders called and asked if there was anyway she could
confirm the identities of the officers. The detectives met
her at her apartment, where she found her planner for
the previous year and retrieved the business card of the
officer she’d spoken with. The date and time were
marked on the back. While Sanders took it to the
station, Erickson and two officers from Internal Affairs
had gone over everything with her.
Keith did a press conference at two and steadied the
stock price of the company. With all the rumors about
the dismissals, the price of MC stock had plummeted.
Keith’s determination to root out everyone involved in
the sexual harassment had impressed people. Already,
several women’s organizations were issuing statements
of support and three politicians representing the area
Debbie had called several times during the
afternoon to keep Serena and Claire abreast of the
latest news. She’d been giddy after Keith spoke to the
press, then despondent and panicky when Duncan,
Mark, Hester, and two other men had their say an hour
later. Between her own thoughts, Debbie’s apologies,
and Keith’s anger, self-flagellation, she decided, had
become the newest fad. Hopefully, she thought, as the
door closed behind the men, it would be short lived.
Penny Davidson had called, berating Serena for
chasing after an engaged man and trying to browbeat
her into retracting the statement she’d made to the
police. Losing her patience from the stress, Serena told
the younger woman in a flat voice everything—that she
was involved with a man and had absolutely no interest
in Mark, nor had she ever considered a relationship
outside the office with him. When Penny hung up on
her, Serena sighed and reached for the little bottle in
her middle drawer and shook out two small tablets.
All she wanted, she told herself, shutting down her
computer, was a nice long yoga stretch, a hot bath, and
sleep. Well, not quite, she admitted with a smile. What
she really wanted was Master to hold her and make the
rest of the world go away. She checked the special
phone and there was a message from him saying work
was going to keep him at the office late and he didn’t
know if they’d be able to get together. The last
remaining bit of energy in her slipped away.
“Have you bought a car since Friday?” Keith asked.
“Uh, no,” she replied, blushing. “I was busy all
He nodded and locked his office door.
“Then I’ll take you home.”
“Keith, you don’t have…”
“I know,” he nodded. “But we’re both tired. And
since you seem to keep things from me, I need to make
sure you get home safely.”
“You’re angry that I didn’t tell you,” she whispered.
“Hell, yes!” he nodded. Visibly, he fought for control
of his emotions. “Serena, one of my Vice Presidents hurt
you and you didn’t feel confident in telling me. I’m
thoroughly pissed about that. I’m glad you brought
Debbie to me, but I am still pissed that you didn’t tell
me when this happened!” Sparks practically shot out of
his blue eyes.
She opened her mouth and he held up a hand. She
closed her mouth. “I realize intimidation can make
people do things they normally wouldn’t. You thought
you were protecting Claire and others, even as you
insisted Debbie talk to me to protect her and other
women. I understand that, but I’m not convinced you
would take the same steps to keep yourself safe. So, I
will give you a ride home. Understood?”
“All right. I promise that next time something
happens, I’ll tell you in excruciating detail,” she
relented, giving him a small smile. “And I’ll let you
drive me home.”
“Now you’re being sensible,” he nodded.
“But only because I’m exhausted and I really liked
“Gee, you do such wonderful things to a man’s ego,”
“I’ll let your women inflate your ego,” she teased.
“Who was it this weekend? Or should I say, what color
hair did she have?”
“Actually,” he replied quietly as they reached the
elevator. “I spent a memorable weekend with a blonde.
Very different from the Jekylls and Hydes.”
Serena froze and felt her heart stop. She shouldn’t
be feeling this, she told herself. She knew, had known
five years ago, he was only interested in women who
were tall, supermodel thin, gorgeous, ultra-wealthy,
and sophisticated. And she didn’t meet a single one of
those qualifications. She had known there was no
chance of Keith ever looking at her as anything besides
an efficient assistant. So why did she suddenly feel as if
her heart had dropped out his office’s thirtieth floor
The elevator doors opened, but Keith didn’t move.
Glancing up at him, Serena saw him staring at her
“Really?” she answered. “I’m happy for you both.”
Keith stared at her. The doors started to close and
Serena quickly pushed the button to keep them open.
“You coming?” she frowned, confused at his
Slowly, he stepped into the car and pushed the
button for the garage level.
If he didn’t know better, he would have sworn she’d
been hurt when he mentioned he’d been with a woman
Get your ego in check. That doesn’t mean
she’s in love with you.
Besides, she was with a man all
weekend and…she was with me, but is upset that
with a woman. She is jealous of herself! He nearly
grinned, until he realized she was jealous while she’d
been with…him. The ironic circles hurt his head after
everything that had happened that day.
“Headache?” she murmured as the elevator slowly
started moving down. “I don’t blame you. I had to take
two aspirin around four.”
“Did they help?”
“Didn’t even put a dent in it,” she sighed, leaning
back against the back wall. She closed her eyes, trying
not to think of what had happened the last time she’d
been in an elevator with a man. Too late. Her pussy
clenched, ready for another go. “I don’t know whether to
do my workout, eat, or go straight to bed and sleep until
“No,” she smiled. “It was a wonderful weekend. I just
didn’t sleep much.”
“Ah,” he nodded, as if remembering. “The man who
sent the rose.”
“Yes,” she replied simply.
“Maybe you should call him to get your mind off
“He already called and left a message that he was
working late,” she sighed. “I knew it would be tough for
us to get together during the week, though.”
“What’s he do?”
Serena shook her head.
“I’d rather keep that part of my life private,” she
told him. “Especially considering what I had to tell you
“You should have told me when it happened,” he
said sharply. “Serena, think about what happened
because you didn’t.”
Pain and shame filled her eyes as she nodded with
“I know,” she whispered. “I have to live with that.”
Keith studied her. From her pallor and trembling
lips, she appeared stricken with guilt. If she knew who
he was, he would punish her. Not too much, as he could
tell that her conscience was giving her mental lashings
that surpassed anything he could do. He sighed. She
didn’t know who he was, though, so he couldn’t do
anything. He considered that angle. When he’d called
her, barely remembering to use the voice disrupter, he
didn’t think she would want him around her. Not after
what Mark had done. Now, seeing how disappointed she
was and how the entire day had affected her, he
reconsidered. Maybe a night of submission was just
what she needed. And he would tell her the truth.
The elevator beeped at the basement and he
quickly guided her to his car.
Keith gripped her elbow tightly, unable to believe
what he’d done. He had brought her to the basement! If
she took a good look around, she would realize it was
the same basement she’d been in over the weekend.
Then she might wonder just who lived in the building
and start putting pieces together before he was ready.
Fortunately, she was too upset to notice much of
anything. He could only hope she hadn’t been paying
much attention when the driver had picked her up and
dropped her off to notice the building’s exterior.
“Why don’t you do all three?” he suggested, pulling
out of his spot.
“What?” she frowned, glancing at him. “What
“Workout, eat, and then get some sleep.”
“I don’t know,” she sighed. “I…I just want to be with
“Must be quite a guy,” Keith couldn’t resist saying.
“I’ll have to meet him some time.”
There was a short bark of laughter.
“I don’t know,” she murmured. “He was the one who
convinced me to get Debbie to tell you what was
happening in Programming. Considering all the
trouble that caused today, you might not want to meet
“Serena, do you really think I would rather be
ignorant of what is going on in my own company?” he
demanded. “I mean, come on! What kind of man do you
think I am?”
He couldn’t believe it. Did she really think he would
prefer to not know about the harassment and
intellectual theft? Toward the end of the day, it had
become clear that the theft was as extensive as the
“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I didn’t mean that. I
just meant…” she sighed and shook her head. “I’m
sorry. It’s just, most CEOs don’t think of the rank and
file in their companies. They’re flying over the forests
while the majority of the people are trying to make
their way through thorns and thick brush.”
“Interesting way of putting things,” he observed.
“I’m a country girl at heart,” she shrugged. “And I
was always trying to keep up with my brothers and
cousins. They have legs at least a foot longer than mine
and….” She smiled. “I’m babbling. Sorry. I didn’t think
you would tolerate harassment or anything. It’s just
that it’s never really been on your radar screen.”
“Let’s make a deal,” he suggested, pulling up in