Authors: Emma J. King
The One Series: Novella #4)
By: Emma J. King
2013 by Emma J. King
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To taking chances.
In a normal world
, when your boyfriend dumps you, you curse a little, cry a lot and eat a ton of ice cream. Then you go about your life and never have to see him again. Starting the day after William ended our relationship, we spent our days avoiding looking at each other over conference room tables and communicating through third parties whenever possible. After four weeks of no eye contact and avoiding being alone together, I was on the verge of screaming or quitting. Or maybe both.
I was in a particula
rly bitter mood during a meeting that happened to be taking place on Valentine’s Day. Our CFO, Steve, was going over some financial concerns, but I barely heard him. I kept my eyes focused on the paperwork in front of me. William was leaning back in the chair across the table, flipping through a financial report.
“Are these numbers accurate?” he
asked Steve, stabbing a long finger at the paper.
My face grew hot as I thought for too long about that finger and all the places it had been, both on and in my body. When I finally allowed myself to glance up, I caught William watching me. He looked away immediately
, but the damage was already done.
“Those numbers would be much higher if you would stop turning away potential clients
, Connor.” Steve was still angry that William had refused to represent a philandering abuser who happened to be a Senator.
“Well, Steve, you’ll be happy with the pros
pect that is coming in tomorrow.” William rolled up his paperwork and tapped the table with it. “We’ve got a Major League baseball player coming in that is being accused of doping. Apparently he’s part of a larger group. Could be a windfall for us.”
“Good. I hope they’re all guilty.” Steve
wasn’t trying to be an asshole. We all knew that guilty people were willing to pay more.
“Olivia, do you have the Henderson file ready?” William’s voice was distinctly more guarded when he addressed me.
“It’s ready. I’ll drop it by your office later.” I really didn’t want to stop by William’s office but I didn’t have much choice.
“Sooner would be
preferred over later,” he snapped.
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever, William.”
I heard everyone in the room suck in a breath. No one talked to William Connor like that. Frankly, no one at Gravity even called him William. I knew that he was glaring at me but I refused to look at him.
“We’re done here.” William rose smoothly to his feet.
I stayed in my seat long after he had gone. On his way out of the room, Dan turned to me. “Connor’s just in a bad mood because of the lawsuit. Try not to let it get to you.”
“Lawsuit?” My head snapped up.
Dan looked surprised. “I assumed you knew. I thought you and Tara were friends.”
“We were, until she got fired. She sort of blamed me for that.” It had been a couple of months since William had let her go. She had found out about our relationsh
ip and accused me of being responsible her departure.
“Well, now she’s suing for wrongful termination. She claims that Connor was sleeping with somebody at Gravity and that she found out about it so he fired her.” Dan shrugged. “Sounds like a crazy soap opera if you ask me.”
Something clicked in the back of my brain. “When did the lawsuit get filed?”
“About a month ago, I think.” Dan noticed that I had gone pale. “Don’t worry, Harris. I’m sure it won’t amount to anything. Our jobs are secure.”
My job was the last thing on my mind. Everything made sense now. I hurried back to my office and grabbed the stack of papers for the Henderson case. William had requested it now, so I was going to deliver.
He was sitting at his desk when I stormed into the room and slammed his office door shut. I dropped the papers onto his desk with a loud thud.
“Here’s the damn file,” I said, one hand on my hip.
William started riffling through the papers I had just deposited. “You can’t talk to me like this, Olivia. You might be mad at me personally, but you have to be professional in the office.”
“For fuck sake, William.” I was trying so hard to get a reaction from him- any reaction. But William had mastered the art of remaining cool.
“I mean it. If you’re going to throw a hissy fit, just go home.” William started making notes on one of the court documents.
I grabbed his pen out of his hand and said, “Why didn’t you tell me that Tara is suing you?”
He reached for another pen and resumed his note taking. “I was advised by my lawyer not to discuss it with anyone who works at Gravity.”
I had known William long enough and observed him closely enough to know when he was on the edge of losing control. He was seconds away. “Look at me, William. Please.”
, I didn’t think it had worked. He kept his head down for a long time. But then he very slowly set his pen on the desk and lifted his eyes. His beautiful, blue eyes looked so tired and sad.
“Why didn’t you tell me, William?” I ached to hold him, or even just to touch him.
“I was trying to protect you.” He let out a breath. “I wanted to keep you out of this mess.”
“That’s why you ended things.” I remembered standing in that very office when William said it was over.
William got up and walked over to the window. His office had an amazing view of the city and Lake Michigan. It was the tallest building around so the view was unobstructed. “I tried. I sent you away, thinking that would be the end of it. But I couldn’t stand the idea that I had hurt you. And I couldn’t even begin to imagine my life without you in it.”
“That’s why you came to my place that night.” My voice sounded very small. After William had broken up with me, I had turned to an old friend for comfort and eventually more. Though we had stopped just shy of crossing the line, William had shown up at exactly the wrong time.
“I wanted you back. I had only just sent you away, but I already wanted you back.” William leaned his head against the clear glass. “I needed you to be mine again, Livy.”
“You never lost me. I was always yours.” I was still his. “What you saw that night, it wasn’t what it looked like. I didn’t sleep with Thomas.”
“You don’t have to explain it. I had ended it. You had every right to move on.” William straightened when he sensed me moving closer to him.
“But I didn’t move on, William. I still haven’t moved on.” I was close enough that I could touch him, but I refrained. “You’re all I think about. Every day, all day.”
William turned around, looking tortured and irresistible at the same time. “She’s naming you in the lawsuit, Livy. Everyone is going to find out about us.”
“I don’t care.” The words surprised me as much as William. My biggest fear since getting involved with William was that our relationship would become public. I was afraid of the judgment and the gossiping. Women who slept with their bosses tended to have very short careers. But given a choice between being with William and having a successful career, I would pick William every time. “Let them talk.”
“Olivia.” William was trying not to look hopeful. I had said the exact thing he was dying to hear but was unwilling to allow himself to want me to say. “It could get ugly. I don’t want your entire career ruined over this.”
“If that happens, I’ll just find another career.” I smiled at him. “I’
m a woman with many skills, remember?”
William allowed himself a small smile. “I remember. I remember everything, Livy.”
“It doesn’t have to be just a memory,” I said. I moved my hand very slowly so that William would have time to stop me if he really wanted to. When I rested it lightly on his chest, he sighed.
“You aren’t playing fair,” he said, inching forward. I felt his hand on my hip as his head lowered toward mine.
“I’m not playing at all.” I could feel William’s heart beat faster against my hand. As he pressed his forehead against mine and I stared into his eyes, my pulse picked up as well. I was certain he wouldn’t be able to hold back much longer. But then he pushed me away and marched back to his desk. He slammed his hands down and leaned forward, his body heaving as he took several deep breaths.
“We can’t.” His voice cracked. “We shouldn’t.”
bring myself to look at him so I moved closer to the window, placing my hand on the cool glass. It was a surprisingly sunny day considering how cold it was outside. A flash of movement on the glass pulled me back inside the room. William was behind me now.
“Why is it so hard to stay away from you?” he muttered. I found his reflection and our eyes locked.
His hand settled at my side, a soft caress. I didn’t dare move. He found the hem of my shirt and slipped his hand inside. His skin was smooth as it passed across my stomach. I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck.
I sucked in a breath as his hand moved beneath the waistband of my skirt and underwear. He headed south quickly, twirling his fingers in my hair before moving on. My
body was already beginning to pulse with anticipation. My breath hitched as his finger slipped between my lips. He waited for me to relax into his hand before he pushed himself inside. I bit hard on my lip to keep from moaning.
“William.” His thumb circled over my clitoris and this time I couldn’t keep back the moan of pleasure. I tried again. “William, you said we shouldn’t do this.”
“What the fuck do I know?” he growled into my ear. While his right hand continued its assault on my body, his left arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me against him. His lips grazed over my ear and then he caught my lobe between his teeth while he simultaneously thrust another finger inside me.
I could feel his erection pressing against my lower back and I wanted it inside me. But given the circumstances, I could settle for his fingers. They were working their own special brand of magic, a hurried frenzy of activity inside me. In, out.
Around. Faster and faster. He had me right on the edge of orgasm when we were interrupted by a loud banging on his office door.
He jerked his hand from me and I gasped from the sudden departure. I sucked in hurried breaths and smoothed down my clothes with shaking hands. William had already retreated to his desk and picked up a file with the very hand that had just been inside me. “Come in,” he called in a faint voice. He sat quickly in his chair and placed the file strategically in his lap.
I collapsed into a chair across from his desk just as the door opened.
“Sorry to interrupt.” I thought I heard a tone in Dan’s voice. He nodded at me and handed William a stack of papers. “You wanted me to let you know when we got the medical report.”
“Yes. Thank you.” William glanced at the report. “Does this say exactly what I think it says?”
“It does. Good news for us.” Dan grinned. “Now maybe Steve can stop being so cranky.”
William offered a tight smile. “Steve never stops being cranky. That’s why I pay him the big bucks.”
“Sure. Well, I’ll let you two get back to it then.”
I flinched and glanced nervously at William. He kept his eyes on the medical report but I could tell that his hand was still shaking slightly.
“Thanks, Dan. Let’s get a meeting on the books tomorrow to go over this in detail.”
Dan exaggerated a salute. “Sure thing, Connor.”
As the door closed behind
Dan, the silence in the office was overwhelming. I could feel William watching me but I wasn’t ready to look at him. As it was, I was having a very hard time not throwing myself over his desk.
“I should go,” I said, wondering if my legs would be able to hold me up.
“Yeah.” William didn’t sound convinced. I finally made eye contact and it was clear that he was conflicted. “Or maybe-”
He didn’t get to finish his thought because his phone picked that moment to ring. After a long hesitation, he picked it up.
I could tell right away that it was going to be a long call so I used the opportunity to
make my getaway before it was too late. I knew from experience that once William Connor got me in his hooks, there was no escape.
My office was supposed to be a safe place- somewhere I could hide out until the storm settled. I needed some time to think and make sure I was ready for what might lie ahead. Choosing William would mean accepting that
I might be saying goodbye to my current career. So when the Mark Deston called and asked to meet for lunch, my head wasn’t exactly in a good state.
Mark was the CEO of
Palmroil, one of our biggest clients. A few months earlier we had helped them save face after a nasty oil spill. I had worked closely with Mark, and he had been very appreciative. He suggested lunch as a way to say thank you and I was naïve enough to think it was that innocent.
“Olivia, you did good work saving our ass,” Mark said after we had exchanged pleasantries and placed our lunch order. “We owe you.”
“Nonsense. That’s my job, Mark.” I smiled when I thought about what William had said earlier. “That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”