Authors: Willow Summers
essica Brodie Diaries
Back in the Saddle, Book 1 – FREE
Hanging On, Book 2
A Wild Ride, Book 3
Lost and Found, Book 1 - FREE
Overcoming Fear, Book 2
Butterflies in Honey, Book 3
Love & Chaos; Cassie’s Story
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My eyes fluttered open as dim sunlight streamed in through the windows. The air had that “early morning smell” that said it was way too early to have my eyes open.
Hunter stood by my bed holding a tray with legs. I could just make out a small white vase with a flower, and the rim of a glass. The smell of bacon wafted toward me.
“Hi.” I rubbed my eyes, trying to get the sleep out. “What time is it?”
“It’s five thirty. I need to drop you off at home on my way into the office.”
“Why do you go to work so early?” I coughed, trying to wake up my vocal cords.
“I’m hoping I can actually concentrate today. I need to get some things ironed out for this takeover. Here, Mrs. Foster made you breakfast.”
In another situation I might’ve whined about getting up, and then stayed securely under the covers for another fifteen minutes, but with a tray of breakfast being presented to me I wasn’t about to complain. I scooted up and braced the pillows behind me, suddenly wide awake. “She must work really long hours.”
Hunter’s grin left me star-struck for a moment, as I took in his handsomeness. It was almost as pleasant seeing him first thing in the morning as having breakfast delivered.
“She must like when I entertain, which was why the late night, but she’s usually here early.”
Hunter put the tray over my lap and laid one of his shirts next to it. Then he leaned over and gently touched his lips to mine. As he was about to back away, he must have decided better of it, and connected a little more firmly. His hand touched the back of my head as he nibbled my lips, moaning softly. When he stood up, a small smile touched his lips again. “
I have never had.” He brushed my hair back from my face. “A woman to wake up to.”
He gazed at me with soft brown eyes for a moment longer. With another small smile, he gestured to my tray and turned to walk away. “Eat. It’s getting cold.”
I didn’t have to be told twice.
As I ate, I reflected on my luck to have ended up in Hunter Carlisle’s bed. Yes, he had problems, and some serious baggage in the form of a contractually obligated fiancée, but he was trying to open up. He’d admitted last night that he wanted to try and have a relationship.
I was all for it. Right after I ate breakfast.
A half-hour later I sat back and looked out the window, and finally decided I should get up. I’d thought Hunter would be encouraging me to get moving, but he’d gone downstairs shortly after delivering breakfast and hadn’t returned. I figured I should be a big girl before he got irritated and said I couldn’t come back.
I glanced at my pile of clothes, and then at his pajama bottoms and shirt. I should wear one set, but I wanted to wear the other. As it was my first time over here, and I really wanted to come back, I reached for my own clothes. Testing the boundaries would have to wait until next time.
I shrugged into my jeans, a pleasant soreness from last night acting as a reminder, and walked a few steps to glance in the mirror.
I had black smudges under my eyes, my hair looked like I’d stuck my finger in an electric socket, and one side of my face still had a light dusting of blush.
“After seeing this face, he’ll rethink wanting normal.” I cleaned myself up as best I could, using the tried and tested method of licking the pad of my finger and wiping it under my eye to remove the black. I tied my hair back and picked up my handbag.
All was quiet outside Hunter’s room. I made my way downstairs, too shy to call out, as we weren’t the only ones there. I didn’t want to alert the fiancée to my whereabouts. He wasn’t in the living room, nor in the dining room. I popped my head in the kitchen and found Mrs. Foster wiping down the counters.
“Have you seen Hunter?” I asked in a tiny voice.
She glanced up with raised eyebrows. “Oh. Good morning. Yes, he’s in the library.”
“Great, thanks.” I turned to leave before remembering my manners. I turned back. “And thanks for breakfast. It was delicious.”
“No problem, sweetie. That’s my job.” She smiled at me before returning to her task.
I should’ve probably brought down the empty tray.
I headed off toward the area of the house I hadn’t seen to yet. I figured that was where I would find the library. As I got halfway down the hall, I heard voices raised in an argument. I slowed down.
“Blaire, I gave permission for visitors of a sexual nature—I did
give permission for sex parties. You can spend your time how you will, but in my house, there will be boundaries.”
“Oh, really?” a girlie voice spat back at what was definitely Hunter. “As I recall, you didn’t specify any of this in your precious
If you look at the detail, you will see that I covered any acts that might reflect badly on my dealings in a social or business aspect. My housemate having wild orgies, participating in flogging, bondage, self-mutilation, among other things, is not something I want your strangers spreading around my circles of influence.”
You arrogant prick! What happened to
“This is a business arrangement, Blaire, between your father and mine. I went along with it to attempt to cut my father out of my life. This was understood in the negotiations that you sat in on. Since he has
been cut out of my life—he’s more in it now than before this agreement—I’ll be looking into a breach of contract.”
“Is that right?” she snapped with a cutting and snide voice. “So let me get this straight. You won’t fuck me, but you don’t want anyone else fucking me, either? What am I supposed to do, take up a monk robe?”
I heard a sigh that was distinctly Hunter’s. “I’m not saying to stop having sex, Blaire. I’m saying go about it with some discretion, or take it somewhere else.”
“Somewhere else? I live here, too,
Carlisle. And don’t think I don’t know what’s going on here. Your cook told me all about your pretty little piece of ass. She was trying to throw it in my face, the bitch. I’ll bet that’s the street trash secretary I’ve heard about, right? You’re not only fucking the hired help, now you’re bringing them around?”
I withered against the wall. I should really turn around and walk away. I didn’t need to hear any of this. At the same time, the roadblock that was Blaire, and the contract she represented, was now very clear. She might not love Hunter, but she wanted him. She didn’t sound like a girl that was happy not getting what she wanted.
“Watch yourself there, Blaire,” Hunter was saying in a low and dangerous tone.
Blaire scoffed. “So it is her. That’s your type, is it? Sweet and naive. I should’ve known. Men like you don’t want sexually enlightened; you want the dumb little virgin that you can lead around by the nose. Well
Hunter Carlisle. If I can’t have any fun, neither will you. If you keep bringing her around, I’ll make your life hell, you got that? I’ll show up at your business lunches, I’ll spread nasty rumors around your social circle—if you try to trade me in for a troll like that, so help me God, you will rue the day!”
A beat of silence passed before Hunter said, “Are you done?”
“Not even remotely, you controlling piece of shit. Not even remotely.” I heard the pounding of bare feet on wood before a wild-eyed woman emerged from the room along the hall. I sucked in a breath at her beauty. Hunter might’ve called it manufactured, but everyone else would call it model-worthy. Long blond hair framed her heart-shaped face in a series of waves. Her full lips, colored deep red, were currently pressed tight. Bright blue eyes and high cheekbones made her stunning. A long silk robe parted at the front, revealing a slim body with large, perky breasts and a cleanly shaved pubic area. She’d been fighting virtually in the nude. It hadn’t slowed her down at all.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?” She slowed in her sensuous walk, not bothering to pull her robe closed. “If it isn’t our deflowered little princess…”
I stayed frozen against the wall for a moment, terrified for reasons I couldn’t explain.
“Come to find your master?” She stopped in front of me. Her hip jutted out.
I tore my eyes away from her bald pubic area, and then her exposed breasts. I really wasn’t used to being confronted by naked people.
“Excuse me,” I said, trying to slide along the wall like a coward, trying to sneak past. Her eyes shone with a maniacal flare that said she was capable of extremely damaging things. I didn’t think rules bothered her, and I knew I would be the target if she decided to torch someone’s house while that someone was tied up inside.
“What’s sad is, you think he actually likes you. Let me fill you in, sweetheart. Hunter Carlisle doesn’t like anyone but himself. He is a selfish bastard with a giant ego, and he wants a fixer-upper to drape across his arm to appear like one of the
To seem like one of his workers. You’re Cinderella for now, but you’ll be old news tossed in the garbage when he has what he wants.”
“Blaire!” Hunter’s voice boomed through the hallway. I jumped.
A vicious smile spread across Blaire’s face as she beheld me. “Watch your back—I may decide to stick a knife in it. I would hate it to be a surprise."
She took a small canister out of the pocket of her robe and unscrewed the top. Turning toward Hunter, she poured a little line of white powder onto the skin between her thumb and forefinger. She threw Hunter a malicious glare before bending her head down and snorting up the line. She wiped her nose with her thumb before screwing the top back on the canister. She smirked. “Oops. Another rule broken.”
With a last scathing look at me, she turned and sauntered away.
“I’m sorry about that,” Hunter said in a troubled voice. “She’s never been one to maneuver, but I’m starting to think her father was offloading her, rather than securing her a comfortable future.”
“She’s…precious.” I tucked a flyaway behind my ear and leaned against the wall. “And she’s always here?”
Hunter’s gaze turned to me. He closed the distance between us and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into his body. “Yes, unfortunately. She doesn’t work, and she doesn’t have a place of her own. Part of the deal was that she’d move out of her father’s house and live with me. I think she thought I’d buckle and become a husband, of sorts. One like my father was. I’ve disappointed her.”
“Then why doesn’t she want to find someone else?”
“Money.” Hunter kissed the crown of my head.
“So…you’re locked in?” I couldn’t prevent the hollowness in my voice.
Hunter squeezed me tighter. “I’ll figure something out.”
As Hunter led me to the library, my mind started whirling. He might be able to figure something out, but if that woman didn’t get what she wanted, I’d be the first she’d blame.
I remembered the vicious, manic look to her eye and shivered. It was a pretty safe bet that she was capable of terrible, malicious acts. If Hunter brought me here again, she’d probably find ways to make trouble. I’d made a terrible enemy, one likely to be as unpredictable as she was dangerous.
Cold hands of fear crept through my body. I’d have to be on my guard, but would that be enough?
little before nine
, I walked toward my desk with my computer in hand. Brenda was just coming down the hallway with two cups of coffee. As soon as she saw me, a huge smile lit up her face.
“You’re back! Oh thank God. I thought I was going to have to quit.” Brenda set the cup down and sipped her coffee as she looked down at me. “Please say you’re staying.”
“Until he freaks out again, yes.” I laughed as I booted up my computer.
“He was a
the last half of the week. He sent one of those interviewees running from his office in tears.” Brenda made her way to her desk. “Good. Bert will be pleased—did you see him?”
“Yes, he picked me up this morning. He said pretty much the same thing you just did.”
“Oh yeah—when the big boss is in a bad mood, everyone gets it.” Brenda set her coffee on her desk and glanced at the cup in front of me. “You better get that in to him, but then I want to hear how this happened. Hunter Carlisle does not like to admit he was wrong. I hope you made him beg—that pisses him off even worse.”
Smiling, I picked up his cup and headed into his office. The light streaming in was a welcome sight, as was the handsome man in the expensive suit looking at his computer. I put the cup down where I always did, and saw a grin crease his lips. He didn’t look away from the screen, though, just like normal.
With a grin of my own, I started to walk away, glancing back when I was halfway out of the room. As he’d said at my mother’s house, he was looking, watching my butt as I made my way out. He glanced up at me and winked before turning back to his computer.
When I reached the door, I heard, “Olivia…”
I turned back. His burning gaze hit me, full of command and power. “Plan on staying late tonight. I have some things I’d like you to do…”
Tingling with expectation, I left his office and settled in my chair, needing a moment before I started to tell Brenda the short version of why I was sitting in this office, and what kind of trouble I might have waiting for me if I tried to steal Hunter away from the woman that had signed a contract.