I woke to movement in the bed. The room was dark, and my innate reaction was fear—until my eyes began to focus, and I remembered where I was.
Chase was flailing around and mumbling something in his sleep. The only other person I’d ever witnessed having nightmares was my brother, Owen, after the break-in. He would cry in his sleep. Some nights it became too much, and my mother would wake him and console him. I wasn’t sure if I should let Chase sleep through this or not. He was so restless and seemed so tormented.
It was hard to watch him suffer, so I decided to try nudging him a little. Maybe just enough to bring him out of whatever was going on in his head.
Reaching for his shoulder, I gently tapped. “Chase?”
I almost jumped off the bed when he abruptly bolted upright.
He seemed confused at first. “What? What? Are you okay?” He was breathing heavy, his chest heaving.
With my hand still clutched over my rapidly beating heart, I said, “Yes! Yes…I’m fine. I think you were having a nightmare.”
Chase raked his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry. You’re sure you’re okay?”
“I’m perfectly fine.”
Appeased, he blew out a deep breath and slipped from the bed, heading to the bathroom. He stayed in there a long time before the door opened again. The bed dipped when he returned, but he didn’t immediately lie down. Instead, he sat on the edge of the mattress with his elbows on his knees, head hanging low, and his back to me.
I reached out and touched his bare skin. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not really. I’ve just started having them again. Hadn’t had one in a few years before that. Not that I was aware of anyway.”
“Are they…about your fiancée?”
He nodded. “I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. My brother had them for a while after the break-in. I don’t want to push, but…but maybe it will help if you talk about it.”
Chase was quiet for a long moment. “I finally got you into my bed. The last thing I want to do is talk to you about another woman while we’re in it.”
I sat up and crawled to where he was sitting. Wearing only the panties I’d put on while he was in the bathroom, I straddled him from behind, wrapping my arms around his waist. My cheek pressed to his shoulder, and my bare breasts smooshed against his back. He still smelled so good—woodsy with a delicious masculinity.
“We’re not in your bed,” I told him. “We’re in my hotel room.”
“There’s no room for anyone else when it’s me, you, and any bed.”
My arms squeezed around his waist. “Well, I’m here if you want to talk.”
Chase twisted his body to face me. One large hand wrapped around my throat while his thumb stroked the hollow of my neck. He leaned in to run his tongue over a pulsating vein. “I don’t want to talk.”
“But…” I tried to argue, but his lips were already at my ear.
“Shh,” he whispered. “No talking. My mouth has other plans.”
Before I’d realized he was moving, he dropped to his knees and pulled my ass to the edge of the bed. What he did with his mouth after that was far better than talking anyway.
We arrived at the focus group ahead of schedule and worked together setting up the display. Earlier, we’d eaten eggs and fruit naked in bed while discussing some questions I’d been considering adding to the moderator’s list.
Elaine came to greet us, and even though I’d been the one to give her the list of things we’d decided to change, she still addressed her questions to Chase.
“What do you think about modifying question eleven to make it a yes-no response and then having the moderator talk about the question in group discussion to get oral feedback?”
I loved that Chase directed her to me for an answer. “Whatever Reese thinks. She’s the boss. Only brought me to carry her bags.”
While we worked through finalizing the changes, Chase’s cell rang, and he excused himself, leaving just Elaine and me in the room.
“Can I ask you a personal question, Reese?” she said.
“Are you seeing anyone?”
I had no idea how to answer. I mean, was I seeing someone? Chase and I had had sex three times since last night, but we hadn’t exactly put a label on it.
“Sort of. I mean…I recently met someone.”
“So it’s not serious?”
“It’s still very new.”
“Well…my brother just moved to New York, and I was hoping it would be okay to give him your number. Maybe let him buy you a drink or something? I don’t usually fix people up, but I think you two would get along.”
Luckily, the moderator came in and interrupted Elaine’s attempt at matchmaking. The participants for the focus groups had started arriving, and things got busy after that. I spent all morning on the other side of the one-way glass, listening, watching, and taking notes. Chase alternated between business phone calls, catching up on emails, and taking in bits and pieces of the study. At one point we were alone in the room, and I sat on a stool near the window.
Chase walked up behind me and cupped one of my breasts. Kneading it, he said, “I love one-way mirrors.”
I elbowed him. “Stop it. Someone might walk in.”
He wound my hair around his hand and tugged my head back to expose my neck. I’d noticed that seemed to be his thing. It was also fast becoming my thing, too. “I’ll lock the door.”
My eyes closed, succumbing against my better judgment. “We’re at work.”
“That’ll make it more exciting.”
A knock on the other side of the glass startled me, and I almost fell off the stool. Luckily, Chase steadied me, his hands catching my shoulders and keeping me upright as I bobbled. He chuckled behind me as Elaine held up five fingers, letting us know we would break for lunch in a few.
“No problem, Elaine,” he said, even though she couldn’t hear him. “I can be done in five minutes. I’m pretty sure Reese is wet already, anyway.”
“You’re such a perv.”
He spun my stool around to face him and took my face in his hands. “What do you say we go back to the hotel for lunch?”
I squinted. “To eat?”
I squirmed a little. “All this time I’ve been worried about what would happen at work when things end. I should have been worried about what would happen at work when things got started.”
“I see nothing but good things happening at work in our future.”
“Is that so?”
“It is. The first night we get back to the office, I’m going to bend you over my desk and fuck you from behind while you watch the city light up in the dark.”
I swallowed. “That’s probably a no-no in the employee handbook.”
“I’ll have to fix that promptly. You know what else I can’t wait to do with you?”
“I want you on your knees while I sit at my desk.”
“While you…sit at your desk?”
He nodded slowly. “I want to look down and watch your head rise and fall as you take my cock into your throat.” He tugged my hair. “I’m going to hold a fistful of your hair and keep you there until you swallow every last drop of my come.”
What probably should have been concerning to me about the state of my future employment was, instead, totally working for me. His dirty mouth totally worked for me.
“What else?” I breathed.
“The conference room table. I want to spread you on the top of the glass and lick your juicy little cunt until the entire office hears you moaning the boss’s name.”
I let out a shaky laugh. “I think you’ve lost it, Bossman.”
Chase’s back was to the door when it opened, blocking the view of anything going on between us. He leisurely unwound his hand from my hair.
“You two want to grab a bite to eat or order in?” Elaine asked.
Chase looked to me. I tried to hide my coquettish smile as I lied.
“Actually, Chase has a telephone conference he needs to do at lunch, so we’re going to head back to the hotel for an hour.”
“Do you want me to order you something for when you get back?”
“No, but thank you. I’ll make sure he gets something to eat at the hotel while he’s busy playing boss.”
For the rest of the day, Chase and I were busy but exchanged flirtatious glances all afternoon. Even though a part of me still worried it was stupid to get involved, I was starting to not give a damn about the consequences if it meant spending my days feeling like this. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d been this giddy over a guy, and it felt good. Really good.
At the end of the sessions, Elaine schmoozed us into having dinner with her. She was pushy and made it hard to say no. During drinks we sat around in the bar and talked shop, but then things turned personal.
“So are you single, Chase?” she asked.
My eyes immediately jumped to his. He responded to her while looking at me. “I’m not married, no. But I’m seeing someone.”
She nodded. “I swear I never play matchmaker, but I had a friend in mind for you, too.”
She had his attention now.
“Yes. I’m going to fix Reese up. My brother recently moved to the city, and I think they’ll hit it off.”
Chase’s eyebrows raised, and he looked at me. I had no idea what to say, so I just sat there. I couldn’t backtrack now without sounding like an idiot. I’d just figured I’d blow her brother off if she did have him contact me.
Chase had a different idea on the approach. He took a long draw on his beer and said, “I thought you were seeing someone, Reese?”
“Umm…I am…well, sort of. It’s new.”
“This new guy…he doesn’t mind you going out with other people?”
I wanted to smack him. He was enjoying how uncomfortable the conversation made me. “I don’t know, actually. We haven’t discussed it.”
He finished his beer. “I’d put my money on him having no plans to share you.”
His comment made me feel warm, though I should have known better than to expect him to stop there.
He spoke to Elaine with a straight face. “She’s dating her cousin.”
“They’re second cousins. Met at her great-uncle’s funeral last week.”
Elaine had no idea what to say. When she looked at me, she must have mistaken bewilderment for grief. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
I caught Chase’s grin as he pulled his ringing cell from his pocket. “Excuse me for a minute.”
When he came back, he was less playful, quiet even. I wasn’t sure if the call he’d received was on his mind or if Elaine fixing me up with her brother had actually bothered him more than he let on. But something was off. Elaine didn’t seem to notice it, though. We talked about marketing for most of the rest of the evening, which was usually one of my favorite things to discuss, yet I found myself preoccupied with Chase’s lack of participation.
At the hotel, things were pretty much the same. It was late, and we’d had one hell of a long day—beginning at four o’clock this morning. Chase took a shower in his room while I washed up and changed. He came into my bathroom while I was brushing my teeth. “Can I borrow your charger again?”
I spit out a mouthful of toothpaste. “Sure. It should be plugged in on the desk.”
I don’t know why, but I assumed when he asked me for the charger, he meant he was taking it to his room, not spending the night in mine again. So I was surprised when I found him plugging it in on his side of the bed. His side of the bed. Well, that happened awfully quick.
Grabbing my moisturizer, I sat on the chair at the desk and pumped it a few times, squirting the white cream into my hand.
I’d begun to rub it into my legs when Chase said, “Come here. Let me do that.”
I handed him the lotion and sat at the bottom of the bed, extending my legs in his direction. He stared at them while he rubbed, his fingers massaging more than needed to work in the lotion.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
He nodded. It wasn’t very convincing.
“Are you upset because of the thing with Elaine’s brother? Because she just caught me unexpectedly. I wasn’t really planning on going out with him. I would at least be up front if I was planning on dating someone else.”
He’d been working his thumb into my calf, kneading a muscle that was cramped from twelve hours in high heels, when his hand abruptly stopped, and he looked up at me. “You’re planning on dating someone else?”
“No. Well…I know we talked about not dating other people. But I wasn’t sure—”
“I’m sure,” he interrupted.
“I’m not sure how we got here or where we’re going. But I’m damn sure I don’t want to share you.”
He’d said exactly what I felt. “I don’t want to share you either.”
“Good. Then it’s settled?”
“It is.” I smiled and then motioned to my legs. “Now rub more…that feels good.”
Although the air between us was clear, I suspected something was still on Chase’s mind when he turned off the light. Pulling me onto his chest, he stroked my hair in the dark.
“The call at dinner tonight? It was the detective from Peyton’s case.”
I turned, propping my head atop my hands on his chest and looking up at him. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah. Since it’s technically an open case, she still comes around once a year and touches base. Told her I’d see her next week.”
“That must be hard on you.”
“Just odd timing. It had been a few years since I’d had a nightmare. Started happening again a few weeks ago. And then tonight she called.”
“Do they check in with you at the same time every year? Maybe it’s been in the back of your mind that it’s coming up, and that prompted your subconscious back into action.”
He nodded like it made sense. “Maybe.”
I crawled up his body and planted a kiss on his lips. “Thank you for sharing that with me. It means a lot.”