She straightened her desk, brushing off the lingering crumbs from the delicious lemon cake she had brought back with from the restaurant where she had lunch. It was after seven. Everyone had left. It was just the two of them. She wondered if she wait until he came out to tell her she was free to leave or if she should go in and tell him that unless he needed anything else, she was going to take off. They hadn’t spoken to each other much all day. She had been down in the dumps because he had spent most of the afternoon behind closed doors with one of their clients.
Jealousy surged through her as she recalled seeing him laughing with the beautiful Nicola Andretti. She was quite exotic and made her feel plain in comparison.
She had tried to hide her frustration by busying herself in her work but always, her attention was lacking and her gaze would inevitably drift over to the glass panel of his office through which she had a clear view of them. When they came out of the office, they were laughing and her grip tightened on the pen when she saw Nicola playfully touch Lucas’ arm before she sauntered off. What on earth does he see in her? She’s so superficial. She looked away when his gaze shifted to her before he went back into his office.
Presently, she got up from her desk and walked tentatively to the open doorway. He was standing at the window, arms folded, looking out. He turned when he heard her step. As she went closer to him, she was distracted by the fact that his shirt sleeves were rolled up at the elbows and several buttons were undone, exposing his chest. She tried to ignore the racing of her pulse and the pounding of her heart. She could feel his penetrating gaze on her and was afraid to raise her eyes to his face. But, unable to resist, she did and her mouth went dry when she saw the expression on his face.
“Why are you standing there?” he asked. “Are you afraid to come closer?”
She shook her head. “No. I was—I was wondering if you needed anything else before I leave.”
“What I need right now has nothing to do with work.”
“And—and what is that?”
“I need to know who the man was I saw you with.” He was moving away from the window and toward her. He reminded her of a panther—strong, magnificent and dangerous…
“It was Alan. He called this morning and asked me out to lunch.”
“You were gone for over an hour.”
“I’m surprised that you noticed that I was gone,” she blurted out before she could stop herself. “I mean you were so busy with Miss Andretti.”
There was a flicker in his eyes. “Did it bother you to see us together?” he asked, stopping a few feet away from her. His hands were in his pockets, drawing her eyes to his well-defined thighs.
She didn’t answer but her expression gave her away. He went closer. “Even if you won’t admit it, I will admit that seeing you with Alan bothered me,” he muttered tautly. “I was insanely jealous. I could hardly concentrate on my meeting with Nicola. She didn’t guess what was troubling me but she knew that something was. I saw when you returned and noted the time. Believe me, if Nicola were not there, I would have called you into my office and berated you for nearly driving me out of my mind. Instead, I had to sit there and suffer in silence.”
“You didn’t act as if you were suffering. The two of you were laughing when you came out of your office and I saw the way she flirted with you, touching your arm and you didn’t seem to mind. I guess it’s because she’s so beautiful.” She couldn’t hide the resentment that stirred in her at the memory.
“You are jealous,” he exclaimed. He moved closer, his eyes darkening. “You have no reason to be, Kendra. Nicola may be a very beautiful woman but I’m not attracted to her. She doesn’t excite me, you do. You have, since the day you walked into this office.”
She stared at him, hardly able to believe that he was saying these things to her.
“Am I shocking you?” he asked. “I’m merely telling you the truth. I wanted you the moment I saw you but I had to keep our relationship professional. Now, it’s really hard for me to do so. You have no idea how much I want you right now.” His dark gaze slid over her slim figure, the raw emotions on his face, making her head spin. She realized then that she wasn’t wearing her jacket over the violet top with the fine straps. He reached out now and gently caressed her right shoulder, making her shiver.
She closed her eyes when he bent his head and pressed his lips against the side of her neck. Then, he was kissing her feverishly and her hands went up and buried themselves in his thick hair, gripping it as she responded wildly and with total abandon to his kisses.
This lasted for a long time until she pulled away, panting for air. “We can’t,” she gasped. “Not here.”
He nodded, his face flushed and his eyes stormy. “Not here,” he agreed. “And not tonight.” He released her and raked his fingers through his hair. “It’s getting late. I’d better take you home.” He went over to his desk. He rolled down his shirt sleeves and buttoned them and the top buttons and then pulled on his jacket.
She turned and went to her desk, her legs trembling. With shaking hands, she put on her jacket and got her handbag. He stepped out of his office and locked the door. She followed him to the lift, still dazed and tingling all over from what happened a few moments ago.
In the car, he didn’t say anything at first but when they were pulling out of the parking lot, he said, “Have dinner with me tomorrow night.”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Now that you and I are going to be seeing each other outside of the office, it wouldn’t be presumptuous of me to ask that you don’t have lunch with Alan or any other man, would it?”
She shook her head. “And it wouldn’t be forward of me to ask that you don’t let Nicola or any other woman get touchy feely with you, would it?”
He grinned. “No, it wouldn’t be.” He reached over and kissed her long and hard on the mouth before he drove out on to the street.