Read His To Own Online

Authors: Elena Black

His To Own

BOOK: His To Own
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Michael Caine was having a very bad day. It had been a long time since he'd had to fetch his own coffee or make his own copies and he'd forgotten how incredibly tedious small tasks could be when his brain was occupied on a bigger problem. He was mentally rifling through the paperwork from three mergers while swallowing down coffee he'd unintentionally brewed so weak it might as well have been tea. Grimacing, he set the mug aside and dialed the temp agency.

"This is Michael Caine at Waters, Price and Caine," he said when the girl -
Dori - picked up. "When can I expect that temp? She's already fifteen minutes late."

"
Sir, it was very last minute, of course," Dori said, referring to the emergency phone call he'd made this morning when he realized he couldn't bear another day like yesterday. "She's probably fighting traffic still."

"Of course," Michael muttered, annoyed and chastised by her reminder. His longtime secretary, Beverly, had broken her hip
and her husband had packed her up to stay with their son for the next two months.

"Try to be patient, Mr. Caine,"
Dori said, her voice a little kinder. "Elaine's a bright girl, takes direction well, lovely disposition."

He didn't much care about her disposition. Michael just wanted someone who could make coffee.

"Thank you," he said sullenly, hanging up the phone with an internal sigh. He was acting like a child, but he didn't react well to change, especially change that was totally out of his control. Michael was the youngest partner Waters and Price had ever seen because he'd worked damned hard to get there, had made sacrifices in his personal life and generally not let anything get in the way of what he'd wanted. He had excelled in every way a man in his field could excel, yet he'd apparently forgotten how to brew a simple cup of coffee.

"Excuse me, are you Mr. Caine? Oh, I hope you are, because I've already met someone who isn't Mr. Caine because the agency gave me the wrong floor and -- oh, my."

Michael looked up, bemused at the trail of rambling and thought,
oh, my
was accurate. The girl - woman, he assumed, though she barely looked old enough to be out of college - was beautiful. Soft brown curls fell around her heart shaped face. Full, pouty lips painted to look wet and inviting. Bright blue eyes that became more attractive as they widened and gazed at him. He swallowed back a laugh as he noted her posture, the way she licked her lips unconsciously, the nervous flutter of her hands, and if he wasn't mistaken, the hardening of her nipples. Michael was well aware when a woman was attracted to him and he was delighted to realize this lovely creature was exhibiting all the usual signs.

"You must be Elaine," he said with a smile.

"Laney," she said, her voice a bit breathless. She jumped, as if coming out of a trance, and cleared her throat. "Hopkinson. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Caine. Sir."

"Michael's fine," he said, though his cock had certainly seemed to like the way she said
Sir
.

"Michael." She smiled, not just with her mouth; her eyes smiled at him and Michael worried that he might like her a little too much. Her smile faded and he was reluctantly relieved. He didn't have time to like his new temp, no matter how sweet her smile was. And her legs - he took notice of how long her legs looked in her professional gray skirt. "Again, I apologize for my tardiness. The agency had me on the 8th floor, not the 18th."

"Don't worry about it," he assured her, waving a dismissive hand in the air. "As long as you're ready to hit the ground running now that you're here, we'll be just fine."

She nodded eagerly. "I'm very excited to get started. I'm studying to be a paralegal. Well, I was studying. My classes are taking a backseat to my new job, so I can afford luxuries like rent and food."

He stifled a laugh. "Well, then let's get you to work right away. I have a very important question for you, Elaine."

"Oh, please, call me Laney," she insisted. "My mother's the only person who actually calls me Elaine."

"Laney," he said softly, enjoying the way her name rolled off his tongue. "Can you make a good cup of coffee?"

"The best you've ever tasted," she vowed, straightening her spine.

"Coffee. Black. Strong." He grabbed hold of a folder and held it up to her. "And please make three copies of this file - one for each partner and a third for your personal filing system. I will ask you for it in the future and I will probably be a bastard about it."

"
Of course," she said, moving forward to take the file. Their fingers brushed and he noticed her sharp inhalation of breath at the contact. She quickly held the file to her chest, backing away toward the door with another bright, slightly forced smile. "I'll have your coffee right away."

He sighed as she hurried out. His first impression of Laney - aside from how
attractive he found her - was that she was bright, but easily flustered, which he hoped and feared was in response to how attracted
she
was to
him
. It was a complication he didn't need, but the one thing he didn't have at the moment was time; he didn't have time to do everything himself and he didn't have time to interview a permanent replacement for Beverly; Laney's agency was highly recommended. Michael was sure she'd do fine. He'd just have to stop having inappropriate thoughts about bending her over his desk and seeing just what was underneath that tight gray skirt of hers…

He shook himself. There was work to be done. And the only thing about Laney he should be fantasizing over was her coffee.

##

Get a grip
, Hopkinson
, Laney thought as she wrestled with the expensive coffee maker that took up most of the counter space in the break room. So her new boss was looked like sex. So his voice made shivers run up and down her spine. So she was pretty sure she'd ruined a perfectly good pair of panties when he insisted she call him Michael.

"Work, you bastard," she muttered, punching random patterns on the incomprehensible LCD screen that controlled how strong or weak the coffee was. "Don't make me bring my Mr. Coffee from home."

As if the confounded machine understood her threat it began merrily humming along. The LCD screen flashed the word
strongest
, causing a stab of hope. Tomorrow, Laney would definitely be bringing her private stash coffee grounds in. No matter what level they were brewed at, the imported Colombian beans were sure to grow hair on your chest, and definitely put to shame anything they served at
Starbucks
.

While the machine warmed up, Laney darted into the copy room and quickly created duplicates of the file Michael had given her. This was something she
didn't have to worry about screwing up. Laney remembered fondly the hours she'd spent as a T.A. in her college ethics class, making thousands of carefully collated copies for her favorite professor. The skills she'd learned in that position had proved more valuable to her than all her other college courses combined.

The coffee was done when she returned to the break room, piping hot and
smelling strong. She hurried to her temporary desk, rooting around in the top drawer until she located blank file tabs to correctly mark the copies for distribution. She would create a cover letter for each partner, and the spare, as soon as she delivered her new boss the best cup of coffee he'd ever tasted. Laney needed this job and she was positive the way to anyone's heart was a good cup of coffee. Not that Michael's heart was the only part of his anatomy she was interested in reaching, but those were exactly the kinds of thoughts she was putting a stop to.

Professional
, she thought, straightening her shoulders.
Be professional. He's just a man. A gorgeous, ridiculous fashion model lawyer who held my employment in his long fingered, big hands…

"Coffee," Laney said, forcing a bright smile as she walked through Michael's office door.
It was spacious, larger than her tiny studio apartment. The view was a great deal more spectacular, too, the distant mountain range breathtaking from this high up.

He looked up at her from a brief he was reading, cracking a smile of thanks. "Wonderful. And the copies--"

"Already made and put together. I just need to add a cover letter to each and distribute them accordingly. But you asked for coffee and I know my priorities." She winked to show she was kidding, but only a little. Michael was definitely a caffeinated junkie kindred spirit.

"This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he said, sounding sincere as she moved around the back of his chair to place the steaming cup of coffee to his left, where a tiny patch of his desk could be seen; the rest was plastered in papers.

"How do you find anything?" she marveled, leaning over his shoulder to peek at the mess. That was her first mistake; from this new angle, she could smell him and he made her mouth water. His cologne, a freshly laundered shirt, and something she had never smelled before. Laney bit her lip to keep something embarrassing from emerging, like a whimper or a moan.

"It's not usually this bad," he said, his tone embarrassed. "Beverly keeps everything in order for me, but yesterday was a bit of a…" He trailed off, searching for words, and took a tentative sip of his coffee. His eyes widened. "H
oly shit. Never leave me."

Laney flushed at his words. Even though his words were in jest - at least, she thought they were - the idea of staying with this man pleased her.

"I'm glad you like it," she said, staring at his profile. The strong line of his jaw, his aristocratic nose, those criminally long eyelashes most women would kill for. She could make out a hint of dark stubble, even though he must have shaved a few short hours ago. She could imagine what it would feel like, rough and bristling against her cheek, her chest, between her thighs…

"Laney? Are you listening to me?"

"Sorry," she said, jerking out of the lust-trance his stubble had put her into. Two things happened: first, she lost her balance, one of her hands darting out to clutch the first available surface to halt the embarrassment of falling on her ass in front of her new boss. Unfortunately, that surface was said boss' incredibly well defined chest, causing the second thing to happen - lurching away from her unintentional grope, Laney smacked the mug of coffee with the back of her hand, sending the brown liquid spilling over Michael's desk.

"Shit," he muttered, grabbing untouched papers.

"Oh my God," Laney mumbled in horror before common sense kicked in and she yanked off her jacket - the best one she owned, Anne Klein at 80% off, but these were desperate times - and quickly used it to keep the coffee from destroying about half the papers still on the desk.

Laney wondered how long it would actually take him to fire her and desperately hoped he didn't yell at her first. She'd prefer to remember him smiling at her, praising her coffee making skills while she searched for new employment.

"Well, we've saved half of them, at least," he said, his words not making sense in her head. She tried to figure out if he was being sarcastic, but he sounded sincere as he swept the rest of the clean papers safely off his desk and onto the relative safety of his office floor. He grimaced. "Sorry about your jacket. Send me the dry cleaning bill, if they can salvage it."

"What?" she asked, then shook her head. "I mean, that's not necessary, sir. Michael. Sir."

He laughed. "Michael's still fine." His grin widened, turning almost predatory. Oh, he was going to be so dangerous. "You blush all over, don't you?"

Mortified, Laney looked down at her chest. The revealing white shell she wore under her suit jacket, so as to reduce unsightly lines, didn't exactly leave much to the imagination. Indeed, she was blushing all the way down to her belly, no doubt; the tops of her breasts were definitely flushed pink.

"I get really klutzy when I'm nervous," she said. "I'll clean this all up and get you a fresh cup. One I
won't
spill all over your very important paperwork."

"Don't worry about it," he said, sighing
as he surveyed the wreckage. "I'd appreciate you talking to the kid who runs the files between floors. He should have a record of what he brought up to me today." She must have still looked horrified, because he placed a hand on her shoulder; trying to be comforting, she was sure, but it sent a shiver through her body instead, one he obviously interpreted as a sign of distress. "Hey, it's okay. Just think, you got it all out of your system day one. Right?"

Right
. Laney was spastic today because she had the hots for her new boss. Given the way his palm was practically burning her skin with the most innocent of touches, it wasn't likely she was going to stop having the hots for him. Which meant she was going to turn into a walking disaster zone. Freak accidents would follow her throughout the office. She'd had a crush on her ethics professor in college, a tiny crush that paled in comparison to the overwhelming lust she felt for Michael, and she'd sprained her ankle twice the year she'd been his T.A. No, there was no hope she'd gotten it all out of her system, no hope at all.

"Right," Laney
agreed faintly.

##

2.

I’m so sorry.

BOOK: His To Own
7.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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