Authors: Kaily Hart
Desperate and young, Jillian Moore did something she knew would one day come back to bite her in the ass. She’d posed nude.
Years later, and on the fast track to a successful career, she’s still haunted by her mistake. She can’t help but wonder when her past will catch up with her.
Samuel Steele is not short on female attention, but the women who warm his bed pale in comparison to the fantasy he’s created of the seductive temptress in the painting hanging prominently in his bedroom.
A fantasy that has ruined his once-satisfying sex life.
When he discovers that her exact likeness works in his building—works for
, in fact—things get interesting. Perhaps there’s hope for his sex life after all…
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Picture This Copyright © 2010
Edited by Grace Bradley
Cover art by Syneca
Electronic book publication June 2010
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
I’d like to dedicate my debut book to all the aspiring authors out there.
One of you.
Don’t give up, just don’t, because all of you deserve to have people read the stories of your heart.
I’d also like to thank
. Whether you know it or not, you’ve been my rock. I guess it was fate, my friend.
To Cari Quinn.
You’re an awesome writer and have been so generous and supportive. I appreciate everything you’ve done.
And to D.
? I told you so.
Christ, he was a sick fuck.
Sam rubbed his hand over the rough stubble on his jaw, the raspy sound loud in the quiet room. Carla, Carrie, or whatever the hell her name was, had left. Hell, she hadn’t been able to get away fast enough once she’d figured it out. He could still smell the unmistakable scent of sex. It was thick and heavy in the air and wafted up from the ruined sheets he was lying on every time he moved. It’d been good—hard, fast and impersonal, just how he liked it. Okay, so it’d gone to crap at the end, but he’d gotten his rocks off and had no complaints in that regard. She’d been gorgeous and built, with a tongue that was more talented than most and a way of moving her hips when she rode him that had almost blown the top of his head off. So what was his problem and what the
was he doing? He shouldn’t still want to, shouldn’t need to—
He shook his head in equal parts resignation and disgust as his hand unerringly found his hard cock. God, here he was. Playing with himself like some horny teenager, fantasizing about pussy and wild, rough, out of control sex—as if he didn’t get enough as it was. It shouldn’t even be possible for him to be this hard again this fast. He shuddered at the sensation as he wrapped his fingers around his shaft and parted his legs to give himself more room. He couldn’t prevent the groan of anticipation when he reached down and cupped his balls with his other hand.
Eyes riveted to the opposite wall, he gave in to the raging need that had plagued him for weeks, a need that was unrelenting in its fierce grip. A need he knew he couldn’t fight for long. It just made it worse.
Yeah, he’d become one sick fuck all right.
* * * * *
“Well, thank you for your time and for the information. It was very helpful.”
Jillian put the phone down a little harder than she’d intended. It slammed back into the cradle with a sharp crack that more than matched her mood.
It’d been sold,
three months earlier. Private auction, anonymous bidder and there was no way for her to find out who’d bought it. All she knew for sure was that it’d been a man. It figured.
, she’d been close this time. Not that she would have been able to afford to make even one bid herself. It had opened at fifteen thousand and after some fast and furious bidding had finally gone for a cool seventy-five thousand—
Jeez, she’d probably be paying off her student loans for another twenty years and some guy had dropped seventy-five grand on a
Jillian sighed. She wasn’t even sure what she’d do if she could uncover the identity of the new owner. She’d kept telling herself she’d be able to buy it one day once she got established. She’d planned on it, she’d
on it. It was why she’d tried her damndest to keep track of it for the past ten years. Her only hope now was that it would sit in some private collection, gathering dust and never see the light of day. Yeah, right. She’d never, ever been that lucky. All those years ago, who would have thought? Deep down though she’d known and it had plagued her ever since. When she least expected it, it was going to come back and bite her on the ass. She just knew it.
* * * * *
“Sam? Man, are you even listening to me?”
Sam couldn’t tear his eyes off her.
The dark luster of her hair, the curve of her cheek, something about the shape of her body.
It just now occurred to him, but he’d seen her around the building before. He’d noticed her legs he remembered, appreciated the toned lengths, the shapely calves and too easily imagined how they’d look wrapped around his waist or up around her ears.
And her mouth.
God, the things he’d thought about her mouth.
How could I have forgotten that
As soon as the thought formed he knew the answer. He had a strict hands-off rule at work that he’d never broken, not even in his head.
He watched her mouth curve into a smile and his dick twitched in immediate response. Something flared low and sharp in his gut. It was a sensation he didn’t think he’d ever felt before, at least without some form of specific and intentional stimulation.
“Who’s that?” he demanded.
He heard rather than saw Duncan’s puzzlement. He motioned across the expanse of the elegant lobby.
“The woman there.
Slim, dark hair, black suit.
Talking to the blonde.”
“I thought you didn’t fuck around with the staff?”
Sam’s balls tightened in a rush. The explicit image he got was shocking. Not just because it was of
—on her knees in front of him while he fucked her from behind—but because he hadn’t been able to censor it, or control his body’s reaction to it. Sam shot him a glare. He was in no mood to be trifled with.
Duncan cleared his throat. “Ah, sorry, I think her name’s Jennifer, something like that. She works in Finance. Or maybe it’s Legal.”
“Jillian?” he managed to choke out. “Could her name be Jillian?”
“Last time I checked you were head of Human Resources, Duncan.”
“Jesus, Sam, we have over four thousand employees, two thousand in this building alone. I can’t personally keep track of all of them. I haven’t worked with her directly. She’s probably—”
“Find out. I want her file on my desk in ten minutes.”
“What’s got into you?”
Sam took a deep breath. “Schedule a meeting with her.”
“Yeah, with me.”
“You don’t know where she works or what she does in your company, but you want a meeting with her?
Sam felt the impatience he’d tried to contain roar through him. He wasn’t used to having his orders questioned and he sure as hell wasn’t used to explaining himself to anyone.
Because I’m the fucking boss and I said so
* * * * *
So, she’d dropped everything as ordered and hightailed it up here.
She hadn’t had time to grab even a quick bite for lunch and her stomach was beginning to churn in protest. Of course, it wasn’t everyday someone at her level got a personal summons to the big boss’s office, so that might have something to do with it.
So, what the hell did he want with
? She hadn’t done anything. Had she? And if she had, wouldn’t he want to talk to her manager? Okay, so the analysis she’d done on the Bourke deal hadn’t exactly been her best work, but it was still better than anything anyone else here could have done. As usual, she hadn’t gotten any credit for it. Her manager was a pain in the neck, a frustrating pain in the neck because she’d gotten into the predicament of allowing him to take credit for her work. Well, not exactly take credit, but anything he presented up the chain was never individually recognized. Had it come back to bite him on the ass and he’d thrown her under the bus? Even if the IT geeks had somehow tracked her checking out the naked firefighter calendar last week, it would come down through the department head.
Jillian took a deep breath. “Am I in some kind of trouble?”
She’d always liked the direct approach and she wasn’t sure how long she could stand the suspense, particularly on an empty stomach. If she needed to go clear out her desk, she’d prefer to know sooner, rather than later.
And if she didn’t?
Well then, she had about fifty unread emails, a voicemail light that wouldn’t quit blinking, a spreadsheet still to get through and a meeting due to start in—
—fifteen minutes ago.
“Depends on what you consider…trouble.”
Jillian blinked. His response was delivered in a slow, sexy drawl. If she hadn’t already been nervous from the intense scrutiny he’d given her since she’d walked into his fancy office that would have amped things up considerably.
“Ms. Moore, Jillian, why don’t you sit down?”
Oh my God, Samuel Steele was a walking, talking wet dream
She’d drooled from afar plenty, but up close he was downright gorgeous. Every woman in the place, and even some of the guys, had checked out his tight butt, flat abs and broad shoulders, and although he’d never worn anything but a suit to the office, that didn’t stop imaginations from running riot. His hair was dark and thick, his skin tanned, and regardless of the time of day, his jaw always seemed darkened with at least a day’s beard growth.
And his eyes.
She’d never been close enough to make out their color before, but they were a dark, piercing gray. They should have looked cold, but the way he was looking at her made her wonder if someone had turned off the air-conditioning.
She swallowed at the sudden lump in her throat. “Mr. Steele.”
“Sam. Call me Sam.”
“Ah, Sam, what—”
“Sit down. Please.”
Jillian’s stomach jolted. She knew he had to be busier than her, so if it was going to take some time and she needed to be sitting,
it could only be bad, really bad. She clasped her hands together in her lap as she relented and sat in front of his heavy desk. He lowered his long length onto its edge in front of her, totally filling her visual field and putting his crotch directly in her line of sight. With his suit pants bunched around his muscular thighs, the fabric hugged and accentuated the bulge between his legs. What could she say? It looked impressive to say the least.
The roiling of her stomach and the slight tremors she could feel along the length of her legs weren’t just because of a feeling of dread.
In the dead of the night when her body burned, when it craved a man’s touch and she brought herself relief?
was the face she pictured above her,
were the hands she visualized on her holding her down,
was the body she imagined pleasuring her.
. Now she’d been close enough to actually smell him. It was something expensive, but rugged, and she wasn’t getting it out of her head anytime soon.
She cleared her throat, but her voice still sounded scratchy. “Mr.…Sam, what do you—”
“Have dinner with me.”
Jillian thought she might have gasped. Okay, she was pretty sure she did.
He wanted to date her?
He’d specifically demanded her presence in his office, insisting she drop everything she was doing, because he wanted to ask her out on a
She’d never heard any hint of him coming on to any of the women at Steele Enterprises.
Quite the opposite in fact.
It was common knowledge throughout the company that he didn’t involve himself with any woman who worked for him. It caused a lot of disappointment among the female ranks on a regular basis.
His eyes were locked on hers, probably to gauge her reaction. No one had ever looked at her quite like that before, as if they wanted to…devour her. It was explicit, as if he’d stripped every stitch of clothing off her in his mind and was memorizing her curves. It should have shocked and offended her; it should have disgusted her on some level at least. He was the owner and CEO of the company after all, her boss, but the punch to her stomach told her what she felt was something entirely different.
Keep it together, Jillian.
She lifted her chin to be sure she met his gaze dead-on. “I’ve heard you don’t date anyone who works for you. That it’s always been a hard and fast rule.”
He rubbed at the back of his neck.
Jillian worked hard to keep her body toned and fit. She knew she was attractive and tried to make the best of her looks, but no way was she the drop-dead gorgeous type. Guys didn’t fall all over themselves to meet her, they didn’t beg for her phone number, they didn’t look back at her if she passed them on the street and she knew she didn’t make that much of a lasting impression. At least her last boyfriend hadn’t thought so. Besides, she’d heard Sam Steele had a penchant for models—of the leggy, blonde variety.
“So, why me?”
After a slight hesitation, he glanced down at himself. It was a somewhat rueful look. When Jillian followed his gaze, she felt the flush she couldn’t prevent flood her face. There was no way he could hide it the way he was sitting. It wasn’t the cut of his pants that caused the tenting and it was obvious he’d lucked out in the size department.
When he clearly wasn’t going to say anything, Jillian tried to remind herself a sophisticated woman would not be fighting the urge to put her hands to her heated cheeks or over her eyes.
“This is clichéd I know, but I’ve heard you change women as often as you change your underwear.”
She almost sputtered.
She’d expected him to try and skirt around it at least. “So, I don’t go for one-time, one-night casual sex.”
His jaw clenched. “Once isn’t going to cut it, Jillian.”
She felt the heat sear through her. It wasn’t a slow wash. It was an immediate flush over her entire body ending in a heated burn between her legs and a sharp tug low in her abdomen. Perhaps it was the intensity in his eyes or it might have been the way her name sounded rumbling from his chest. Or maybe it was just the fact that he’d told her he wanted to have sex with her in no uncertain terms. She squirmed a little on the chair, barely preventing a sharp intake of breath as the seam of her pants pulled tight across her sensitive flesh, rubbing directly against her clitoris. She was wet and hot and aching.
“You want to go out on a…date?
For a night?”
“Not particularly, but I will if you require it.”
Jillian frowned. “Require it?”
Before you’ll let me fuck you.”
Jillian’s heart slammed against her chest.
She wet her suddenly dry lips, tried to think of something to say—
—but her mind was a complete blank. Well, except for the image of them twined together, on his desk, mostly naked, her pants around her ankles and her—