Authors: Jennifer Simms
“I know you have my best interests in mind, Jordan,” she said, her English attractively accented. “You always have.”
The meeting wrapped up warmly. Thank God it was the last one. Even though my chair had plenty of cushioning, sitting for nearly eight hours on it would make anyone’s ass sore. I flashed through the events of the day, amazed at Jordan’s ability to charm every person he met. Was I was just another victim of his wiles? I shook my head at myself and smiled.
“What’s funny?” Jordan asked, eyeing me curiously.
“Nothing,” I answered quickly. “That was your last meeting for the day.”
“Ah, finally,” he sighed.
I stood up, eager to start typing my notes up.
“There’s just one last thing I want to ask from you,” he said, making me pause from gathering up my things.
“What can I do for you?”
“It’s short notice, but would you do me the favor of joining me at a charity ball Saturday? I don’t have a date and I thought you might enjoy it.” With the way I’d seen women act around him during today’s meetings, I found that last statement hard to swallow.
Would I go on a date with him? Uh...do chickens lay eggs?
“I’d love to but I don’t know if I have the right dress to attend a ‘ball.’ ” I banished a horrifying image of me asking my mother to ship my high school prom dress to me from my mind. I was mentally rifting through Sam’s closet when Jordan’s grin distracted me.
“The hard part was getting you to say yes. The easy part is the dress. We’ll just go shopping for one tomorrow, if that’s all right with you.” I bit my lip, weighing the cost of a new formal dress with what Sam expected from me in rent. Jordan leaned close to me, still smiling. “The dress is on me. It’s the least I can do since you’re agreeing to put up with me on your day off.”
I laughed lightly, wondering if Jordan was delusional. There was no possibility in the universe that I would ever just “put up with” him.
“Okay,” I said, smiling. “I look forward to it.”
“So do I,” Jordan said, grinning and rising to leave.
I strolled from the boardroom back to my desk, glowing happily at the thought of the next two days, as Jordan walked the opposite way. I hoped he was going downstairs to get something to eat. It worried me that he’d gone the whole day without any food. My huge breakfast, courtesy of Eric, had helped tide me over. That, and the granola bars I’d snuck between meetings.
I was hoping to knock out a couple of transcriptions before meeting up with Eric and Sam for dinner, as we’d planned. I’d used up dozens of pages in my notebook, my handwriting hopelessly messy. I squinted at one page, deciphering it word by word until the gist of the meeting came back to me in full force. I hurried to type it before I forgot the context again. I went through the notebook carefully, a few words illuminating the core issues well enough for me to record entire meetings.
I thought I was doing well until I heard my cell phone buzzing inside my desk. Reaching into my tote, I realized I’d missed one call from Sam and two from Eric. It was Eric who was calling me now.
“Lori, thank God I got ahold of you. Where are you?” His voice was full of concern. “Are you okay?”
“I’m still at work,” I said, my mind lingering on the meeting I’d been recording.
“Still at work? Lorikeet, it’s seven. Do you work for slave drivers?”
“It’s seven already?” I yelped, twisting around to glance at the clock. “Oh my God! I’ll leave right now.”
“We’re already at the restaurant. We weren’t sure what to do when you didn’t answer your phone.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said, feeling like an idiot. How could I lose track of time like that? “Give me the name of the restaurant and I’ll just grab a cab and meet you guys there.”
“Are you sure?” He sounded dubious. “Why don’t you just give me the address where you work and I’ll meet you with a cab.” I had to smile at his protectiveness. I rode the bus by myself to work every day. Of course I could take a cab to a restaurant.
“Yes, definitely.” I scrawled down the name he repeated to me on a piece of paper, then scratched it out and took the time to write it neater. How would I be able to tell a cab driver where to take me if I couldn’t read my own handwriting?
“I’ll be there in a little bit.” I said before hanging up. I saved my work and left the rest of my notes in my drawer to finish typing up tomorrow.
The cab ride was short—if I’d known where the restaurant was, I could have made the walk in about fifteen minutes. I was barely able to pull my hair back into a bun before I saw the restaurant’s glowing sign in the darkening evening. The days were getting shorter and shorter this time of year.
I chuckled as I saw Eric standing next to the valet, looking worried. What could he be so concerned about? It was equal parts amusing and endearing that he was anxious about what amounted to a five-minute cab ride.
“There you are,” he exclaimed, helping me out of the cab and paying the driver before I could even reach into my purse. I waved off the driver’s offer to give us back change and dragged Eric away before he could protest. Everyone deserved a nice tip every now and then.
“Before we go in,” he said, pausing as he held the entrance door open for me, “you should know: Sam brought a boy.”
I gasped, scandalized and completely interested all at once. “Who did she bring?” I demanded. “I thought this was supposed to be our little high school reunion.”
“His name’s Anthony.” He pushed a strand of my sloppily styled hair behind my ear. “She says they work together.”
“The shoes guy!” I exclaimed excitedly.
“The what guy?”
“She told me he keeps asking her out and the only thing she doesn’t like about him are his shoes. Well, that and mixing business with pleasure.” A wave of guilt shot through me as I said that. I was most definitely mixing business with pleasure. Hadn’t Sam said it always ended messy? I didn’t need to worry about that. It was already messy. Though I hoped it never ended.
“I don’t think his shoes are ugly,” he said so thoughtfully that I burst into laughter. He was so cute sometimes. Eric stared at me quizzically until he smiled and kissed me on the forehead. We walked into the restaurant, the feeling of his lips on my skin lingering too long for my liking. Sam waved from a table across the restaurant and a man who I could only assume was Anthony stood up.
As we approached the table, I assessed Anthony’s appearance. He was suave and very good-looking, his auburn hair carefully combed with a reasonable amount of gel. I sneaked a peek at his shoes and saw nothing out of the ordinary—simply clean, recently polished dress shoes. I looked at Sam, raising an eyebrow in question, and she rolled her eyes at me. Anthony stayed standing until I’d seated myself. His chivalry was old school, but I couldn’t pick out any reason why Sam shouldn’t be into him.
“Anthony, this is my roommate, Lori.”
“Lori,” he said, holding out his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” His hands were firm, dry, and smelled faintly of lemons.
“Likewise.” I smiled, trying, for the life of me, to figure out his fatal flaw. If he was this handsome, why hadn’t Sam gone out with him before? Better yet, why was she going out with him now? We’d all originally agreed to go out to dinner among friends. This had decidedly turned into a double date.
“So what was so important that you had to stay at work so late?” Eric asked.
“I had a lot of typing to do. I’m so sorry I was late. I completely lost track of time.”
“What do you do?” Anthony asked. I was ready to answer with something appropriately vague, but Sam cut in.
“She’s personal assistant to two billionaires. Our Lori’s in the big time, now.”
“Wow, I didn’t know you worked for billionaires,” Eric said, his eyes wide. I definitely didn’t want to talk about the Bishops now in front of Eric and Anthony. I gave Sam a meaningful look and she lowered her eyes in chagrin.
“Well, don’t we all, though?” she said quickly. “I work for my boss, he works for his boss, she works for her boss, and that guy works for a billionaire.” Sam took a sip of water and smiled winningly. “It’s kind of like the food chain, except no one’s eating one another.”
We all laughed, Anthony louder and for longer. He’d hung on Sam’s every word, but when he moved to touch her hand resting on the table, she immediately put it in her lap. I felt bad—Anthony was clearly more interested in Sam than she was in him, but I couldn’t peg her reasoning for not liking him. Was it really because of work?
The waiter stopped by and took our orders. I decided to try a pasta dish when Eric promised he’d switch me for his steak if I didn’t like it. At his urging, I ordered a glass of red wine. Sam asked for a refill on hers.
“So, food chain,” Eric said as I took a tentative sip of my drink. I didn’t drink alcohol very often at all, and the blossom of the wine’s flavor and body in my mouth was foreign. “That reminds me of a funny story from biology in high school.”
“Oh, no,” I said, giggling before grabbing Eric’s arm. “Please don’t tell this one. I’m still embarrassed.”
“I must, I must.” He patted my hand sympathetically. “Now, Anthony, you didn’t know Lori in high school, but she was sweet and shy—until you got to know her, of course.”
“When you got to know her, she became a foul, loud thing,” Sam joked. We laughed and I mimed reaching across the table to strangle her.
“She always followed the rules without fail,” Eric continued. “Until it came to biology, the day we had to dissect frogs.”
“Yuck.” Sam shuddered.
“Lori understood the learning experience that we were supposed to undertake. But she couldn’t reconcile that with killing the poor, defenseless frogs. So she tried to give the principal a petition signed by the majority of our class, but he said it was state curriculum and he had no power to overrule it. So that left only one option: sneaking in late at night and liberating the helpless amphibians.”
I snorted into my wine, laughing at Eric’s dramatic exaggerations. “Wait a second,” I said. “You have to tell this story right if you’re going to tell it. It wasn’t at night, first of all.” I directed my words at Anthony. “It was morning—before the bell rang for class.”
“The frogs were minutes away from their untimely deaths,” Eric said, wiggling his eyebrows up and down. I threw my head back, guffawing at his antics.
“Lori put all of the frogs into her backpack before the teacher got into the room,” Sam said, smirking at Eric’s clowning. “When the teacher got there, she was furious. Demanded to know who’d taken the frogs. Lori here can’t tell a lie. She stood up, said that killing the frogs was wrong, and that she’d taken them.”
“And then—and then—this is the best part,” Eric told Anthony, “Lori grabbed her backpack, which was ribbiting.”
“My backpack was not ribbiting,” I protested.
“She grabbed her backpack, which was ribbiting,” Eric repeated blithely, “and ran for it.”
“That part is true,” I said, laughing shamefully.
“Oh my,” Anthony exclaimed politely. “How far did you get?”
“All the way to the creek at the edge of school property,” Eric continued. “Freed them all, every last amphibious soul.”
“The backpack was never the same,” Sam added.
“And I got detention for a month,” I finished, just as the food arrived. “Let that be a lesson to anyone who was thinking about standing up for what’s right.”
Eric laughed and leaned over to nuzzle my cheek before kissing it. The warmth I felt at that moment couldn’t be explained away by my wine. As we tucked into our meals, Eric and I exchanged bites of our entr
es. I couldn’t help but feel sad that he was leaving in the morning.
I found myself wishing Eric was a lot closer to me than Binghamton.
“Promise me you’ll keep in better touch,” Eric said as he saw me out the front door of the apartment. We hugged, the embrace long and powerful. His arms felt so safe and it was almost hard to step away from them. I didn’t want to miss my bus.
“I promise. Be safe driving home.” I walked quickly to the corner, forcing myself not to look back. A prickle of tears surprised me at the bus stop when I thought of Eric leaving. I felt increasingly conflicted about our situation. It had been amazing to see him. I hadn’t realized how badly I’d missed him being in my life. He made me laugh constantly and was caring and kind.
However, I couldn’t ignore my excitement when I thought about going shopping with Jordan ahead of the charity ball. My sadness at seeing Eric off was soon replaced by anticipation. What would it be like to be on Jordan’s arm? I wouldn’t have to wait long to find out.
Once I was at work, everything was a blur. With Susan and Trevor still gone, I made a pot of coffee and finished typing up the transcriptions from yesterday. I checked the ledger to see what kinds of meetings I’d be attending today, but it showed that Jordan was out of the office for most of the day. Not wanting the coffee to go to waste, I made myself a small cup, putting lots of cream in. I noticed that many of the women in the office were in tailored jeans and flats. I made a mental note to ask Susan about the office’s casual Friday policy. The spirit of Friday seemed to be infused throughout Bishop Corp. As serious as these people were about their jobs, I could totally understand their eagerness for the weekend. I was eager for the weekend, too—just for a different reason.
I’d just finished shredding my handwritten notes—company policy, Susan had told me, after the transcriptions were safely on the computer—when I heard someone clear their throat. I turned around to see Jordan standing in the hallway, briefcase in hand. He was impeccably dressed, as usual, and the thought struck me that he probably had to get all of his clothes specially made. A man of his size and proportions probably had a hard time finding things that fit.
“Is it okay with you if we leave work a little early?” Jordan asked, looking at the clock. Its hands showed 4:45 p.m. “I think we both deserve it.”
“Sounds great,” I said, beaming and grabbing my purse. We drew more than a few curious looks walking out together. I hoped that most people knew who I was—the Bishops’ personal assistant—and assumed that it was business. Once we were out on the street, the familiar black limo pulled up. My breath quickened at the thought of what happened last time I’d ridden it with him and I squeezed my legs together a little, aching with arousal. I scooted over to make room.
“So how was your day?” Jordan asked, sounding so cutely domestic that I blushed. I could imagine coming home to him asking me that.
“It was pretty low key.” I pushed my hair behind my ears. “Are most Fridays like that?”
Jordan shrugged. “It really depends. Everyone’s been working really hard lately with the merger, so we’ve been trying to encourage a lighter atmosphere on Fridays.”
Was the “we” Jordan mentioned him and Trevor? It was difficult to picture a Trevor who encouraged wearing jeans and relaxing.
Although all day I had wanted to address the topic of our intimate encounter, there had never been a good opportunity to bring it up. We continued chatting about work. I learned that Bishop Corp. had only been around for about five years and had about eight hundred employees globally—a small number of employees considering how much money the company made. It had started with just him and Trevor and skyrocketed in success over the next few years due their use of innovative technologies and clever business strategies. They gained prominent financial backers and made partnerships that helped the company grow but also diluted some of the power the brothers had over the company.
Before long, the limo pulled up to a large building housing a mall in a part of the city I hadn’t ventured into yet. I’d have to ask Sam later if she could help me pinpoint where we’d gone. The shopping district seemed relatively new and very chic. I felt underdressed even in my typical skirt and blouse. I didn’t have to worry about people noticing me, though, not with the attention magnet I was walking with. Jordan either didn’t mind the stares or didn’t care. He continued to chat, asking me about my favorite stores and my tastes in fashion.
I answered him distractedly, watching women double and triple take as we walked by. These women dressed up nicer to go shopping than I would dress up for an opera. I always preferred going to the mall in a sweatshirt and sneakers. But these women—all of them pretty enough to model—ogled Jordan, and I was beyond certain that he could have any one of them he wanted. Why was he showering me with his attentions when he could have that one—or that one—or that one, a long-limbed creature who fanned herself ostentatiously as we walked by.
It felt good to be the one with him, but I couldn’t help wondering about his exact intentions with me. There I went, sounding like my mother. She lived for gleaning people’s attentions, especially when it came to me.
“Let’s try this place first,” Jordan said, cutting across my thoughts as he held the door open for me. I entered to find myself inside an absolute dress Mecca. Everything from minimalistic styles to haute couture were displayed on mannequins and hanging up on racks that stretched back to what I assumed were the dressing room. An older but extremely fashionable saleswoman was on us immediately.
“Jordan, what a pleasure,” she said, kissing him on both cheeks.
“Simone, it’s been a while. We’re looking for a beautiful dress for this beautiful woman by my side.” I grinned sheepishly and blushed. I’d never get tired of him calling me beautiful.
“What’s the occasion?” Simone asked, eyeing my body professionally and heading over to a rack with my correct size without even having to ask me for it.
“The Children’s Hope Ball,” Jordan said, putting his hand on the small of my back as we followed Simone across the store. I shivered at the pleasurable, protective contact. Jordan wrapped his arm around me, mistaking my trembling for me being cold. As always, being near him was like being next to a crackling fire. They could probably provide energy to part of the city with the heat he was exuding.
“I love that benefit,” Simone said. “Such a good cause, too.”
“That it is.”
“Let me pull some dresses.” She pawed through the hangers without looking up. “You all go get comfortable at the dressing rooms in the back. Ask Gerard for some champagne—we should have some on ice.”
Champagne while somebody shopped for me? Yes, please. Jordan and I settled in to a couch while Gerard poured us some champagne. The bubbles made me sneeze—I’d only tasted champagne once at a cousin’s wedding—and Jordan laughed and pulled me so close to him that another inch would have put me right on his lap.
“Why are you so cute?” he asked, tilting my chin with his finger before leaning down to kiss me. His lips were just as soft as I remembered.
“All right,” Simone said, staggering under a stack of dresses of all shapes and colors. “Showtime. I’ll get this young lady set up in the dressing room and then you all tell me if you need anything different size-wise. I’ve got some inventory to attend to in the back, so just holler.”
“Thanks, Simone,” Jordan said as I left the aura of his warmth.
Each dress was more beautiful than the next. I felt like a movie star—no, a princess, as I flounced out in each one, Jordan lavishing compliments on me. Finally, I tried on one that was special—I knew it from the moment I touched the soft black fabric. It hugged my body, giving me curves I didn’t know I had. My boobs looked magnificent. I squeezed them together in the mirror, bending forward to examine my cleavage with utter satisfaction. The material had a long slit up one leg. It sizzled. I piled my hair on top of my head with a few pins and left the dressing room to show Jordan.
His reaction was priceless. He spluttered in the middle of taking a sip of champagne, then set his glass down to applaud. “This is the one,” he said. “Don’t try on a single dress more. My God, Lori. Twirl again, you look incredible.”
I giggled endlessly, blushing like a schoolgirl at his running commentary. I felt, for the first time, as if I looked like I belonged on Jordan’s arm. I couldn’t wait for the ball.
I peeled the dress off carefully in the dressing room, hanging it on the hanger. A knock sounded on the door and I held a robe up to cover my nudity, sure it was Simone coming to collect my perfect dress. I opened the door and was stunned to see Jordan. He sidled in, grinning and holding his finger to his lips.
“It’s been a chore to resist you,” he whispered, pulling the robe from my arms and turning me around so we both faced the full-length mirror. “I can’t wait one more breath before tasting you.” I watched his hand trail up and down my body, pausing to cup one of my breasts before rubbing the space between my legs, kissing and nuzzling my neck all the while. My pulse was racing. What if Simone or Gerard caught us? Fear heightened my pleasure, and biting my lip was all I could do to smother my moans.
Jordan turned me around and lifted me effortlessly, pushing my back against the wall until my legs hooked around his shoulders and his face was between my thighs. Before I could savor the sight of us in the mirror, Jordan parted my lips with his tongue, darting between them gently before lapping at my hood, easing it away from my clit. The delicate operation rushed fresh juices to my pussy, and mingled with his saliva.
“You taste so delicious,” he murmured, his words puffs of breath against my sensitive skin. “I can’t get enough.” He dipped his head forward again, licking and teasing me wetly until I was on the brink of completion.
“Oh God,” I whispered, a scream threatening to tear itself from my throat. “Jordan, please. Please.” He wormed a finger into my eager depths, curling in a come hither motion while thrusting in and out. It wasn’t long before the dual stimulation from his finger and tongue wrenched an amazing climax from my body. I clapped a hand over my mouth, trying to stifle my whimpers of pleasure at the mind-blowing waves radiating from my core.
“Do you trust me?” he breathed, dropping his pants with one hand before lowering me to his waist.
I nodded, wrapping my legs around him. His cock was already rock hard and I sucked in a breath at witnessing its size again. He entered me before my climax had the opportunity to subside. The absolute bulk of his shaft stretched me suddenly and unexpectedly pushed—hard—against my G-spot. I gave a loud gasp as my body shuddered with a helpless second orgasm. The feeling went on and on, drawn out by his continued pumping. I gripped his back and collapsed into his chest. I felt like I was losing my mind with the endless pleasure, the necessity of being quiet, and the impossibility of my situation. I was having sex with my boss—again.
Just when I didn’t think I could take a single second more of pleasure, Jordan buried his face in the crook of my neck and came, exhaling explosively against my skin. I could feel the wet warmth of his seed inside me, his cock pulsating. Jordan held me against him tightly as our breathing calmed. He began to slowly withdraw, but the physical emptiness I experienced was just too vast. I drove myself forward, wanting to hold onto the feeling of fullness just one second more.
He chuckled softly. “There’s always next time,” he said, extricating himself gently before lowering myself to the ground. He kissed me on the forehead before ducking out of the dressing room.
The promise of more bliss with Jordan was enough to make me swoon as I attempted to get dressed.
We cleaned up with some tissues I kept handy in my purse. Sophie remarked on the glow I had when we brought the dress to her to purchase, saying she was glad to see I was happy with the decision. The dress was great, but the sex was even better.
I was on cloud nine as I floated out of the shop, Jordan's arm slung around my shoulder. We walked slowly, me feeling drunk in my dizzying afterglow. Weak in the knees, I was forced to lean against him for support. He didn't seem to mind, me on one arm and the bag containing my dress on his other arm. I looked forward to putting it on for him tomorrow.
The cost of it had made me hide my face as we stood at the counter. It was much more than I would’ve been able to afford, New York-sized rent to contend with or not.
"You deserve nothing less," Jordan had murmured against my hair, his low voice making me shudder.
We sauntered to the limo waiting at the end of the block, the sinking sun casting everything in shades of orange. I spotted a crowd of people in a strange cluster around a shop toward the entrance of the mall.
"What’s that?" I asked, squinting to discern what was happening. It looked like a very small riot.
"Paparazzi," Jordan said distastefully, steering me toward an alleyway. I'd momentarily forgotten that he was a billionaire and probably susceptible to the attentions of something I only read about in gossip magazines.
In the alley, he stopped long enough to trace my face from my hair to my jaw before snapping out his cell phone. "Meet us behind Kors," Jordan said, and I knew he was talking to the limo driver. Was this how all celebrities lived, constantly in need of an escape route?
A lone female form darted down our alley. "Jordan Bishop? Shit, who else would it be? You're enormous, as always."
A gorgeous woman stood in front of us, her hands on her hips. She was incredibly glamorous, a gigantic cocktail ring glinting on her finger and a patterned silk scarf around her neck. I cocked my head, studying her black mane of hair and blue eyes. Had I seen her in a movie or something? I wished Sam were here. She'd know.
“Did you drag that swarm of flies down here, Vanessa?” Jordan asked, amused.
“I can’t get away from them, darling.” She batted her eyes. She seemed to notice me for the first time. “And who’s this?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jordan said, stepping away from me. “Lori, this is Vanessa, an—.”
“Old friend,” she supplied.
“And Vanessa, this is Lori, my assistant.”
“Another assistant?” She raised her eyebrows and curled her mouth up at the corners as she eyed me critically. I had the impression that she could see straight through me and somehow knew Jordan and I had just had sex. “This one looks young. Please tell me she’s legal.”
“Jesus, Vanessa.” Storm clouds gathered across Jordan’s face. “You know that—”
“Oh, stop,” she said. “You know I’m only joking. Loosen up.” As she pouted at Jordan’s scowl, I shifted my weight from foot to foot, uncomfortable. What was she talking about? I felt like she found me pathetically amusing.
It suddenly dawned on me that this was Vanessa Price. I’d seen her gracing the cover of one of the many fashion magazines Sam got delivered to the apartment. “Hollywood’s Next Big Star,” the headline had blared, but she was coming off to be pretty unpleasant. If being abrasive was what it took to get Hollywood’s attention, she was doing it right. I wondered how Jordan and Vanessa knew each other.
“Listen,” Vanessa said, her eyes sliding over to me. “I’ve got something to discuss, something private.”