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Authors: Capri Montgomery

Red Noon (9 page)

BOOK: Red Noon
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Sheila didn’t know why she retreated to her room after what she would call an argument, almost argument, with Takahiro. She did wise up and go down to give him well wishes before he left for work. There was no way people should leave things on bad grounds before going to bed or leaving home. She wanted him to hug her, but she refrained from holding him to their hospital conversation on hugs. She wanted it, but clearly he didn’t want to give it so she would make it easier for him and just keep a little more distance to give him space.

The call had come in while she was thinking about going to work tomorrow and what she heard was a frantic Eddie telling her in near hysterics that the layout had gotten worse and none of them knew what to do to get it back. He said she had gotten it so perfectly and he begged, literally begged, for her to come in. “A couple hours is the best I can do on getting there time.” She said as she looked at Deputy David Sharron. He was such a nice guy that he just shrugged and said okay. With a heavy dose of makeup to cover the bruises the best she could she got in the deputies unmarked vehicle and rode up to Scottsdale.

Deputy Sharron had told her he cleared everything with his boss so she figured all was set right on his end. Her head was not quite ready for this, but sooner rather than later was probably for the best in the returning to work case. At least she wouldn’t have to dream about how bad it would be to go in tomorrow. Plus, she would be so busy working on the layout it wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable being there after what happened to her. she wouldn’t even have time to acknowledge the eyes focused on her.

She walked past everybody, giving the same smile and head nod of hello that she did before the abduction. They stared at her like she was some anomaly to be gawked at. Those were stares she couldn’t pretend weren’t happening, but with her eyes on Justin’s office she was able to keep her head up.

She closed the door as she entered their office with the deputy.

“Hey, kid,” Justin smiled warmly at her. “We need you so much you just have no idea how crazy this layout is. I don’t know what happened.” He started moving things around on the desk and clearing a small space for her to work. “Not even Ike can figure it out since our system wasn’t hacked.”

“Yeah, talk about bad timing,” Eddie shook his head. “This is one of our best issues yet if I do say so myself.”

She smiled and held up a hand to let them know to take a breath so she could speak. “First of all, hello. Secondly, he’s with me so I can’t go anywhere without him. Is it okay if he just sits over there?” She pointed to the couch in the corner but she noticed the disapproving look in Justin’s eyes. “Or you could crash in my office.” She looked at the deputy and shrugged.

“I’m not letting you out of my sight and you know that.”

She walked over to the closed blinds and opened them. “See, my office is right there so I won’t be out of your sight at all.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I can sit there then, but that blind stays open.”

She and the guys agreed. She knew they would prefer privacy while they worked so it was the best she could do.

Everything was so rushed and so disorganized on this disheveled layout. Somehow the sections between date night fashions had been blurred with workout fashion photos. The small section as a teaser on fashions across the world, starting in Barcelona, had been merged with jazzing up the office attire while still remaining within the office etiquette lines. Pictures were all over the place, not just one or two misplaced, but nearly all of them were hanging either in the wrong section or over the text of the article. Great, layout problems was more like an EF-5 tornado had gone through the file and left everything in ruins. She would rather work from her office so she could have more space, but Justin and Eddie seemed to think being in her office would be distracting with the young deputy in there. Apparently they, too, thought she was going to go fall for some romantic attachment just because of the attack. She wasn’t. She wasn’t even interested romantically in the deputy which was really a good thing seeing as though he was married with two little girls as home and a new baby too. New being about six months new, but six months was still new to many people.

“This one here,” Justin tapped the monitor. “This one doesn’t belong either.” The glamorous side of city life photo surely didn’t belong in the office section, but neither did the text. Eddie was more legal minded, but still good at the basic layout design. Justin was more of their design guru, or so she thought. But now she was realizing that Kelly Fisher was the woman who probably did all the basic work and they just looked it over and claimed ownership of the expert layout. Kelly was on maternity leave for her six weeks and then decided not to come back so that meant the guys were probably thinking of…oh, she thought as she watched how he kept edging the screen toward her. They were thinking of adding that to her to-do list of growing job responsibilities.

“The text is in the wrong spot. This is not a quick fix you guys. We’ll need to work on this for a while.”

“Ah yes. You can do it,” Eddie said. “We have absolute faith in you. I have some legal stuff to handle.” He excused himself from the office. Justin started shuffling around papers like he, too, had a lot to do all of a sudden.

“Don’t even think about it,” she said as she tilted the screen so he could help with the disheveled mess. “You know you should hire a new employee to handle this. They’ll be able to keep a closer eye on things so it doesn’t get this messed up.”

“You’ve been doing a great job at it already.”

“Me?” She was shocked because she didn’t hear any sense that he was talking about just what she had been doing for the last half hour.

“Yeah. Why do you think we have been using you to communicate with the layout and design department.”

“And the communications between the writers, photographers, and everybody else,” she nearly let those words roll off her tongue with a slight hint of bitterness.

“Yeah. You’re great. You’re multi talented and Eddie and I decided to add it to your list of responsibilities. You’ll stay in your office and keep on reporting directly to us. You’re getting a raise too. A solid six figures for you.”

She sighed. While she would love the extra money—she could buy a lot of fabric with that and maybe even build a room onto the house that was nothing but closet space—she still would have preferred it if they had talked to her first about it instead of just assuming she wanted the add on. And add on is exactly what he said it was which meant he still wanted her to do the same job she had been doing by keeping his ducks waddling in a steady row.

One hour turned into two, and quickly into six. It was nearly six thirty by the time they got everything sorted out. She received thanks that was sincere enough, but something else had her mind edging toward anger.

“Can you still come in tomorrow? One more run through and I’m going to put this through to print early.”

“Yeah. I can come back to work, but I’m escorted now so I’ll have to come in a little later and leave before nightfall.”

“Deal,” they both said at the same time with a large smile and a sealed deal handshake.

The office was empty by the time she and the deputy walked out of the building. The parking lot looked sparse too, but that didn’t stop the man from being highly vigilant. The great thing about leaving after six meant traffic had died down some and they had made it back to Takahiro’s home in just under an hour and a half. Deputy Sharron had walked her to the door and inside the home. She could hear the shower going so she told the man to go on home because she would be fine. He left with a solid admonishing to lock the door, which she was going to do anyway.

After watching him drive off she went to the guestroom and started pulling off her day wear so she could take her own shower. With the suit jacket nicely hung she was just about to start on the top and the skirt when a very angry Takahiro stormed into the room.

Her eyes caught sight of the anger in his eyes but that wasn’t what had her struck silent. The man was standing there with a towel wrapped around his waist, water pellets dripping down his chest, a very nice muscular chest that she just wanted to go over to and lick him dry. God the man was hotter than hot, and he was standing there practically naked.

“You left here. No message, no call. I get the not calling from your office, but you have a burner cell phone that I got for you and you left it here.”

Had she really? Yeah, maybe she had forgotten it. She couldn’t think right now. “Sweet Jesus,” she uttered the words near breathlessly. The man was perfection personified.

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Was he still talking? She wouldn’t know because her mind was racing with things she wished he was doing right now and none of it involved talking…well, not in a conversational way anyway. God the man looked so deliciously good that she wanted to run her fingers slowly over every muscle in his body.

“Sheila,” he emitted her name with a lethal tone to his voice.

“Uh,” she shook her head no as she stood there open mouth looking at his chest and her eyes drifting lower and lower. “Deputy Sharron called in for approval.” She finally managed to say as her eyes widened and stayed glued to his body.

He sauntered toward her very angrily and caught hold of her arm pulling her close to his body, so close she could reach out and touch his six pack abs as much as she wanted, but she didn’t do it.

Her eyes were stuck on his lower regions when his fingers came beneath her chin and pushed it up until her eyes connected with his still angry eyes. “My eyes are up here, Sheila. Now answer me. I didn’t get a message that you weren’t going to be here until I called the station, frantic, and after several transfers found out you went to work. You went to work,” he said more angrily.

“Uh…huh…yeah,” her eyes darted back downward to his chest.

He growled which forced her attention back up temporarily.

“Um…the layout got messed up some more. Doesn’t look like it was hacked though so somebody probably just screwed up in the input and…something,” she breathed in the thick scent of his soap and his heavenly scent of man. “God, I just want to lick every inch of you.” She gasped that the words came out of her mouth. “I need a shower…a cold one.” She pulled away from him, marginally surprised that he let her escape him once again. She needed that shower or she was going to melt in a puddle of sexual frustration if she didn’t get away from the might as well be naked man right now.

She stripped off her clothes and was cognizant enough to lay them on the bench in the corner before turning on the water to a cool temperature. She looked up at the white and navy blue tile ceiling and closed her eyes. She couldn’t stand directly under the water spray and be comfortable so she stood just off from it so that water could cascade down her body without beating on it. She would admit that showerhead was worth coveting though. Nearly fifteen massage spraying option and a switch to shut off the water on the pump to conserve water without having to turn off the main handle and then wait for it to get back to temperature.

While she was standing there eyes closed she realized the water was suddenly getting warmer. Thinking about Takahiro was probably doing that, at least she thought it was until she turned and came face to lower chest with him. She took a step back and he put his hand around her arm and pulled her forward.

“The conversation wasn’t over yet, Sheila.”

And it wasn’t going to be over either as long as he stood there naked. Her eyes darted lower despite her mind telling her not to look.

“Seems naked is the only way you’re not going to run away from the conversation.”

Not run away?  Yeah right, he was out of his mind if he thought she could speak and look at any part of his body naked. Of course right now she was mesmerized by the growing lower region.

“If touching it would make you concentrate on conversation more feel free to touch it if you want.”

She gasped. The dirty little…well no, there wasn’t anything little about that thing. She stepped back once again and forced her eyes to look upward. “I um…I have to go.”

She darted out the shower, catching herself on the wall to keep from falling, grabbed a towel and ran back to the bedroom portion of the guestroom. She pulled out her cream and oil. Maybe she could focus on her own skin instead of his. Maybe he could go put some clothes on and then come back to talk to her.

She heard the shower turn off and she worked hard trying to get started on putting the lotion on herself down. If she ignored him just maybe he might go away, she had told herself. But he didn’t go away. He padded his stark naked behind over to her and stood in front of her. Eyes on her own body went out the window then.

“Lay down. This is my job.”

She couldn’t fathom a protest even though she really did mean to. Instead, she lay down on the bed, turning over onto her stomach and turning her head away from his body. She heard him chuckle. This was so not good. She had been getting a little aroused lately when he did this for her, but knowing that he was naked and doing it too was going to push her over the edge of control. She bit her lip and tried to remind herself not to go all hormonal cave woman on him, but God if she didn’t want this man in every way imaginable.

She wanted his hands between her legs, not just putting the lotion on them, but feeling her up. She wanted his mouth conquering hers. She wanted his body on top of hers. And she wanted him inside of her. She was ready to push those thoughts out of her mind when he did exactly that—straddled her body and continued to lotion her back down with the lemon scented concoction.

BOOK: Red Noon
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