Authors: Rita Sawyer
His door was ajar, though not enough to see inside. She heard him talking to someone. Sarah rounded her desk, taking a second to glance down at the appointment list. She assumed he was on the phone since he didn’t have any appointments. Sarah quickly shut down her computer like she did every night. Then she turned to the file cabinet against the wall behind her desk and locked it. She opened the closet door to the right of the filing cabinet, reaching in for her coat. She listened to her father tell one of his lame jokes. She was just about to close the door when laughter, other than her father’s filled the air, followed by the sound of rustling clothes, then footsteps.
The last thing she needed right now was to have to endure another lecture from her father about her appearance. She knew he considered it a direct reflection on him. So she did the only thing she could. She stepped into the closet, easing the door closed. The footsteps got loud enough to let her know her father and whoever was with him where standing right outside the door. She was thankful to be hidden from view, and his powerful voice came through the door loud and clear.
“Well I’m not sure where my receptionist has gotten off to. I’ll have her call you tomorrow to schedule a meeting for the second week in January.”
She knew it wouldn’t be professional for him to tell people she was his daughter, but the receptionist tag really sucked.
“That will be fine.” A feminine voice said, and a few more platitudes were exchanged, Sarah prayed her father would offer to walk her out.
He didn’t. Silence filled the air, so she figured he went back in his office. Sarah wrapped her hand around the knob, waiting a few extra seconds to make sure they were gone.
She’d started to turn the doorknob when she heard a male voice that she recognized as her father’s assistant Harvey say, “You know you don’t give your daughter enough credit, after all this was a surprise visit. Sarah runs your office with a smooth efficiency that most of the other partners and associates would kill for.”
“I know that.” Her father’s grudging tone didn’t give her any warm fuzzy feelings.
Another voice more familiar, yet too muffled to identify, asked, “Then what’s your issue with her?”
“I don’t have any issues with my daughter.”
That was true, she admitted to herself. He didn’t care enough to have issues.
“Someone might swoop in steal her away if you’re not careful.”
said with a chuckle.
Her father laughed for a minute. “My daughter is too well mannered to ever do something like that. In fact, sooner or later, hopefully sooner to make my wife stop worrying, she’ll make some man a very dutiful wife.”
Dutiful? Is that really what he thought of her?
Okay so maybe she’d tried to win his love by always doing what he wanted. Well, nearly all the time. The one exception had been when she’d refused to attend the college he’d wanted and get the degree he thought would be best. Oh he still paid for her schooling, with conditions, hence her receptionist position with his firm. Back then, it’d seemed like such a small price to pay for her freedom. Now, she wasn’t so sure.
“She might surprise you.”
Her father’s deep huff announced his disagreement with whoever had made the comment.
Though Sarah wondered who her mysterious defender might be, she wasn’t about to open the door to find out. He was correct, after all. She may be playing the role her father wanted right now. The time was coming for her to show him, and everyone else, she wasn’t the obedient female they all thought her to be. A mere three days from now she’d lay her resignation in her father’s hand. December thirty-first was going to mark the beginning of a new phase in her life. Sarah Leary wasn’t going to be a shrinking violet anymore. She was going to break out of her shell and experience life to the fullest.
~* * *~
Edward Capatellio, Eddie to his friends, stood outside Robert Leary’s office like he had a thousand times before. Tonight seemed different somehow. He looked around the room, trying to figure it out. The room was maybe half the size of Robert’s office. Compared to his heavy masculine furniture, the desk and cabinet out here was purely functional. It wasn’t the lack of personal items. The room felt colder without Sarah sitting behind her desk smiling up at him. He’d have to send her some flowers to brighten the place up.
“I didn’t think she was dating anyone special.” Eddie hoped Sarah’s father didn’t know something he didn’t.
Robert Leary shook his head, his mood taking a turn towards the serious. “She’s not dating. Period.”
“What happened to the guy from the probate court that I’d heard asked her to dinner?” Harvey James, Robert’s number two, asked, not seeming to be bothered by the personal topic.
Eddie hated talking about Sarah behind her back. Even though it was innocent speculation on her love life, he felt wrong. Someone needed to set her father straight. He wouldn’t mind being the one to do it, but now wasn’t the right time. Sarah may be shy, but Eddie liked to think she was like glowing embers ready to ignite into a wildfire. He wanted to be the match that struck the flame within.
He’d been giving Sarah time to get used to him. Eddie knew he was one of her father’s most prolific clients. He always had something in the hopper, therefore Robert was usually drawing up some kind of legal form for his latest project. Still, it was getting harder to find excuses to come into his office. He didn’t need to see her father to get his opinion on the terms of his contracts. Until Sarah had come to work for her father last year, most things had been handled by phone and courier. Now he made the time to stop in, even if it was for some lame excuse like picking up copies.
Each and every time he came into the office, he made a point of stopping by her desk for a quick visit. Eddie hoped his subtle flirting, and lately more blatant advances, had warmed her up, because he was on fire. Over the past few months, he’d had plenty of invitations that would have helped ease his desire. He happened to be a one woman man. Once he got a hold of the woman he wanted, she’d find that out first hand.
“She turned him down flat.” Her father’s voice spoke volumes on his disappointment.
It occurred to Eddie, even though he was the one who’d started this line of conversation, Robert should have instantly called a halt to discussing his daughter’s private affairs. Or lack thereof, with a client.
Since Robert didn’t, Eddie decided he would. “How’s Robert Jr. doing at Harvard?”
“Good. Why don’t we step inside for a quick drink?” He motioned to his office,
nodded obviously thinking it was a good idea.
Eddie knew there was nothing Robert liked more than to brag about his son. If it got Sarah off the hot seat, Eddie could listen for a few minutes. Besides if he stuck around for a while, she might come back. Then he could offer to walk her to her car or something. He’d prefer the something given the choice. He was about to agree when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head in time to see the knob on the door behind her desk move.
“I’ll have to take a rain check. My Aunt Harriet is supposed to be stopping over tonight.” He watched the way Robert’s shoulders lost some of their stiffness.
“How is the old girl?” Robert held his aunt in high esteem, though Eddie wasn’t quite sure what their connection had been.
Robert’s use of the term had him chuckling, because his aunt was well into her sixties and Robert was right up there with her. She swore Robert would never steer him wrong. Since she was the smartest woman he knew, he had no reason to doubt her. Eddie knew she had a good business sense, which she’d used to amass a pretty good portfolio. She trusted Robert to guide her through many legal issues. So Eddie decided to give him a shot. Eddie hadn’t regretted it, but now he wondered how his business relationship with Robert would fair after he slept with his daughter.
“Still spry as a spring chicken. She told me you two have a review coming up soon.” She’d been really animated when she’d informed him and his cousin Daniel about the meeting.
Robert nodded with a smile, giving Eddie the impression he was really looking forward to seeing Aunt Harriet. “I’ll have to make Sarah remembers to pick up cherry Danishes and hazelnut coffee.”
“She’s on a new vanilla chai kick. Supposed to be healthier or something. I think she’s drinking it because my mother hates the smell,” Eddie suggested. They both laughed while
just stood there looking lost and waiting for Robert.
“Well, you go on then. Tell her I said hello.” Robert patted his shoulder, and with
dogging his heels, he headed back into his office.
Eddie waited for her father to close his office door. Then he slipped quietly to the door behind her desk and wrapped his hand around the knob. With a quick twist of his wrist, he yanked the door open. Sarah stood in the darkness shrugging her way into a long leather coat. It would have taken a miracle for him not to notice that she wasn’t wearing a shirt. Not that he minded. Quite the contrary.
All that pink skin drew his attention like a magnet. The black jacket, black skirt combo really enhanced the white lace cupping her glorious breasts. A fierce urge to touch her raged through him. Her gasp barely penetrated the erotic haze filling his brain. Not wanting anyone else to see her like this he stepped inside, closing the door behind him.
“What are you doing?” Her breathless voice sounded so sexy he fisted his hands to keep from touching her.
He was glad the darkness hid the obvious response of his body. “I should be asking you that.”
She made a noise, he had no idea what it was supposed to mean. “Sarah, I need more than that.”
“Can’t you just go away? Do me a favor and forget you ever saw me.” The plea tugged at him, but he wasn’t about give up on a chance to help her get over her shyness around him.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I don’t want too
. “Sorry, not a chance.”
He heard her huff and something made a slapping noise. “Fine. Some bonehead associate decided to share his iced coffee with me. So instead of ruining my coat with the gooey mess, I took my shirt off.”
“Makes sense. Though it doesn’t explain why you are hiding in a dark closet. Surely the ladies room would have-” He lost his train of thought when something touched his hand then thigh. “Sarah?”
“Sorry. I’m embarrassed enough. Can we just say I was a little impulsive?”
If Sarah’s stripping out of her clothes was a sign of action rather than thought, he’d have to keep her from thinking. May be he could slide past her defenses if he had her focused on something else. First, he needed to get her out of there before her father found them.
Or he could pretend they were playing Seven Minutes in Heaven and kiss her
. He doubted a girl from her high class upbringing had played those kinds of games as a kid. He’d love to teach her the rules.
Taking advantage of the dark he adjusted himself, easing the tightness of his slacks. “You ready to get out of here?”
“Yes, please.” They both moved at the same time, Sarah ended up pressed firmly against his chest.
Her hair tickled his nose. Eddie reached out to smooth it down. His hand landed on the silky soft skin of her cheek instead.
She gave a swift inhalation. So his touch affected her after all.
He wanted her to feel desire, not fear. Damn it. He wished he could see her face to determine which it was. He wanted to look into her eyes and see the second she realized that he was about to kiss her.
“We should go while your father’s tied up in his office with
.” He dropped his hand. Backing away slightly, he wrapped his hand around the doorknob.