Travis was perched at the front desk flirting with the receptionist when I walked in on Monday morning. I’d slept at Chase’s last night, and we’d come to the office early together. Well, not actually to the office. We’d gone as far as Starbucks walking side by side. Chase wasn’t happy when I made him give me a minute’s head start after we picked up our coffee, but I didn’t want to stroll in together and raise suspicions. Finding Travis at the front desk, I was glad I’d forced the issue.
“You look especially smoking hot this morning.” He fell in step with me, draping his arm around my shoulder. “When are you going to let me take you out to dinner?”
Travis and I had become friends. His flirting was over the top but harmless and more of an ongoing joke than anything.
“Come on. Never is a long time.”
“You probably shouldn’t hold your breath.”
He laughed. “Lunch, then?”
“I told you, Travis. I don’t date people I work with.” Was that even a lie? More like a technicality. I don’t work with Chase, I work for him.
“Ah…read your email.” He winked. “You are having lunch with me today.”
“What are you talking about?”
“We’re having a team meeting at noon. Josh is bringing in lunch. So you’re having a hot lunch date with me whether you like it or not.”
Arriving at my office with Travis still in tow, I flicked on the lights and walked to my desk. “If the entire team is there, it’s not really a date, is it, Travis?”
“Maybe not. But I’m going to pretend it’s a date. I bet you secretly will, too. I think underneath all that negative vibing you’re throwing my way, you’re really into me.”
I was busy powering up my laptop, so the voice that came next surprised me.
“I believe we have a no fraternization policy.” Chase’s voice was terse. He stood in the doorway, a full head taller than Travis.
Because of the casual nature of the office, Travis probably assumed Chase was joking. But I saw the tick of Bossman’s jaw. There was an element of something else there. Jealousy, maybe?
Whether or not Travis thought Chase was serious, he took the hint to disappear when the boss stepped into my office.
But not before saying, “See you at our lunch date.”
Chase raised an eyebrow once it was just the two of us.
Instead of answering, I had a little fun. “I thought you were getting rid of that pesky fraternization policy, Mr. Parker?”
“I’ll get rid of it if you let me mark my territory here in the office.”
“Mark your territory? Is that like bite marks or a hickey?”
He stalked closer to my desk. “I was thinking more along the lines of you screaming my name while I bury my face in your pussy right there on that desk. But if you’d like a few bite marks, I’m happy to oblige.”
Chase inched closer to me. I put a hand to his chest, stopping him. “Keep it right there, Bossman. It’s only Monday. We’re not starting off our week like we ended it on Friday.”
Just at that moment, in my peripheral vision I caught Samantha walking by. Unfortunately, she’d seen us, before I saw her. Stopping in my doorway, she looked at us funny. I pulled my hand away, but we were still standing close. Too close. Chase was in my personal space, and he didn’t back up.
Her brows were slightly drawn as she read the unspoken clues. “Morning.”
“Hey, Sam,” Chase said.
I pulled my chair out and sat, anxious to put some breathing room between us. “Good morning.”
She spoke to Chase. “You have some time to chat this morning? I have some things I want to go over with you.”
“Calendar is open until afternoon,” he told her. Then turned to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Unless you were ready to pick up where we left off on Friday?”
I spoke through a forced smile. “No. Definitely not ready for that.”
Chase turned to Sam. “It’s your lucky day. I’m all yours, then.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ll come by in a half hour.” Sam was about to walk away until Chase stopped her.
“Oh! I forgot to text you. Anna had her baby on Saturday.”
“She did? Wow. Congratulations. Almost a month early. How is she?”
“A boy, right? Everything good?”
“Yep. Sawyer Evan. Ten fingers and toes and the lungs of his mother.”
She smiled warmly. “That’s great. I’m happy for them. I’ll give her a call next week. Did the Parker genetics dominate as usual? Sawyer looks like you and Anna?”
Chase looked to me for confirmation. “I think he does?”
Considering they were both staring at me, I had no choice but to answer. I wanted to kill Chase for what he’d just revealed.
I nodded. “Yes, he looks exactly like the two of you.”
Sam looked back and forth between us and nodded with a measured smile. “I’ll let you get settled in. See you in a bit.”
As soon as she was out of earshot, I whacked Chase with my notebook. “Are you kidding me?”
“What?” He almost looked like he didn’t know what I was talking about.
“You’re standing in my office, in my personal space, and just told the vice president of human resources that I went with you to the hospital to see your sister. Why don’t you just send out an email to the company announcing that we’re sleeping together?”
“I wasn’t thinking. Sorry.”
“No, you’re not. You did that intentionally,” I snapped.
He frowned. “I actually didn’t. But what’s the big deal? Sam and I are friends. She’s not going to care.”
“It’s not about her, Chase. It’s about me. I care. I don’t want people to know because it will make it really uncomfortable for me when we aren’t seeing each other anymore.”
Chase’s jaw flexed. He was obviously annoyed. “Wouldn’t want to screw up something you’re so sure will happen.”
“I’ll let you get to work.”
The rest of the day I felt like shit. Chase passed by our lunch marketing meeting, eyed Travis sitting next to me through the glass conference room windows, and didn’t bother to stop.
By late afternoon, I was unable to focus. After Chase exposed our relationship as something more than boss-employee to Sam this morning, I’d been intentionally hurtful. I knew saying when we broke up would piss him off. It had upset him the first time, when I’d said it without realizing.
I tried to put myself in his position. What if he’d said something similar in a different context? How would I feel if I overheard a friend asking him if he wanted to try out a new singles bar and Chase responded, “I’m seeing someone, but maybe after we break up.” Ooh.
For the past few weeks, I’d been worried about the fallout from something I felt was inevitable, based on my track record. I was afraid to believe that maybe, just maybe, us ending wasn’t the foregone conclusion to our story.
But I certainly didn’t want us to end. Chase had never even hinted that he wanted us to end. Just the opposite, he’d been confident and sure about us since things began—nothing like my previous office romance. So why was I so hell bent on convincing myself it would end badly?
I was staring at the screen on my laptop when the answer came to me. It was so clear that I realized there’s a reason obvious and oblivious are so close in spelling.
I’d been absolutely oblivious to not see it sooner.
Because it was obvious I was falling in love with Chase.
The thought terrified me, yet acknowledging it also brought new perspective. And I owed Chase both an apology and an adult conversation on the subject of making things public between us. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that, but at the very least, we should discuss it rather than going with my one-sided decision stemming from my own insecurities.
Holding a file so it would appear my visit was business-related, I walked over to Chase’s office. His secretary was coming out.
“Is Chase gone for the day?”
“No. He just stepped out for a while.” She looked at her watch. “He should be back soon, though. Want me to tell him you stopped by?”
“Umm…actually…I’m just going to leave this file and a note for him, if you don’t mind?”
“Go right ahead.” Smiling, she walked back to her desk where her phone was already ringing. Inside Chase’s empty office, I jotted a quick note and was about to walk back out when I changed my mind about my approach.
A half-hour later, I sat in my office responding to an email from Josh when I decided to click on Chase’s name. The light that had been red a little while ago— indicating he was not currently online—was now green. My nails clicked away on the keyboard.
To: Chase Parker
From: Reese Annesley
Subject: Lost and found
Do we have one here?
By the way, I’m sorry for being a jerk this morning.
I waited a few minutes until my laptop pinged, notifying me that a new email had arrived.
To: Reese Annesley
From: Chase Parker
Subject: Come here
Not that I’m aware of.
Apology accepted. Took you long enough. Get your ass to my office.
Fidgeting in my seat at just the dominating tone of his email, I typed back.
To: Chase Parker
From: Reese Annesley
Subject: You really need one
Without a lost and found, misplaced items can wind up anywhere.
Your office? Is there something you need from me?
I pictured Chase’s chocolaty eyes darkening as he thought about his response.
To: Reese Annesley
From: Chase Parker
Subject: What I need
What did you lose?
I need lots of things from you, starting with your mouth wrapped around my cock.
The sensible side of me should probably have been worried about whether the IT department scanned or read emails. But the part of me that was falling for the boss had lost her senses about a half hour ago. I responded with five words in the subject field.
Check your top left drawer.
My office door was closed, and I half expected it to fly open once Chase found my underwear in his desk. Instead my email pinged.
To: Reese Annesley
From: Chase Parker
They smell incredible. Get. Your. Ass. In here. Now.
I stopped in the bathroom on the way to Chase’s office to freshen up. I’d decided he was going to get exactly what he’d said he needed in his office—my mouth wrapped around his gloriously thick cock. Looking in the mirror, I found my cheeks already flushed with anticipation. I gave my hair a good fluff, unbuttoned the top button of my blouse to show a hint of cleavage, lined my lips with Dr. Pepper-flavored Chapstick, and popped a Listerine breath strip in my mouth before heading to the Bossman’s office.
Chase was on the phone when I walked in, but he didn’t need to say anything to me to reveal what he was thinking. His eyes followed my every step. Even though he didn’t move, I felt like prey being hunted.
My nipples hardened. What an extraordinary talent for a man to have—the ability to incite with only a look.
I walked to the concealed control panel and pressed the button to sheath the glass with the electronic blinds. Chase’s eyes blazed as he continued his conversation, his voice growing thicker and deeper as the blinds moved across their track, each inch blocking out more of the outside world. When I shut and locked the door, he rushed whoever was on the line off the phone.
Call ended, I took slow, deliberate steps toward his desk, one heel-clad foot in front of the other. Just as I reached the corner, there were two quick raps on the door, and someone attempted to open it.
I looked to Chase. Neither of us said a word, both hoping whoever was on other side of the door would disappear.
“Chase?” Samantha called as she knocked a second time.
No such luck.
He dropped his head and groaned before getting up. “Don’t move. I’ll get rid of her.”
That task didn’t prove as easy as he’d thought. Chase opened the door, but attempted to block the entrance to his office. That only made Sam more interested in what was inside.
“What are you doing in there?”
“Are you alone?”
“None of your business.”
She ducked under Chase’s arm and saw me inside.
Chase’s voice indicated that his patience was wearing thin. “What did you need, Sam?”
“I was going to see if you wanted to grab a bite to eat tonight instead of tomorrow night.”
“I have plans tonight.”
He hesitated, and Sam decided his response for him.
“That’s what I thought. I’ll join you. How about six?”
Chase grumbled something and let out a frustrated sigh. “Fine.”
Shutting the door, he turned back to me, shaking his head. “I’m sorry.”
I tried not to look panicked. “She knows. What are we going to say?”
He was suddenly serious as he gazed into my eyes. “You tell me.”