Sabrina’s eyes flew open and she quickly found the clock with her sleepy stare. She shot up in bed, holding the luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets up to cover her bare breasts. Her hand yanked through the tangles of her deep brunette waves as she realized she’d overslept. “Shit,” she breathed before bracing herself for the chill her naked body would feel as she left the comfort of the California King.
Near the bedroom door she found her clothes, where she had slipped them off the night before to form a fabric puddle on the floor. Her eyes flicked back to the bed when she heard him grumble. She clasped her hot pink bra and zipped up the black pencil skirt she had shimmied into. An exasperated sigh rolled out of her and she sent out a tiny prayer that no one in the office would notice her wearing the same clothes two days in a row. A walk of shame was one thing, but strolling back in to work in a rumpled version of yesterday’s pristine outfit was a low she never thought she would sink to.
“What’s wrong?” he moaned from inside the mess of blankets and sheets she’d just left. Sabrina took in the sight of him as he sat up and met her gaze. The tanned skin of his defined chest was enough to make her quiver, but the grin he let settle on his lips when he saw her in nothing but her bra and skirt would’ve been the death of her had she not been so rattled by the clock.
“I’m gonna be late,” she replied. She found her V-neck sweater and smoothed it out as best she could. Looking in the mirror above his dresser, she wiped at the flecks of day-old mascara under her eyes and tried to perk up her cheeks with a few pinches. Through the mirror she could see him sitting in bed behind her. He ran a hand over his short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and his grin turned into an arrogant smirk.
“I think the office can survive the morning without the one-hit wonder. Now get that beautiful ass back in my bed,” he said. Sabrina stopped and caught her own eyes in the mirror for a moment. How had he become so good at backhanding her with ancient history all while thrilling her with sideways compliments?
“I have a meeting with Charles. It’s important.” Her gut fluttered as she pulled her shirt over her head. It was half hangover and half unresolved guilt for not bending to him. He stood up, stretching his arms above his head, and she cursed herself for watching the muscles in his stomach twitch before letting her eyes linger south. He moved to her smoothly and wrapped his arms around her from behind, looking at her through the mirror while pushing his morning erection against the fabric of her skirt. He smelled like sex and cologne and Sabrina hated how badly those two things made her want him.
“Why don’t you just come work for me?” he asked, placing a kiss on the curve of her neck. That would go over well, she thought sardonically.
“I like my job, Beau. It’s not like I’m a secretary or something. I’m head of A and R …” Her voice disintegrated into midair as his kisses trickled down her neck and he began pawing at her sweater, coaxing her to take it off again. Her head swam as Beau’s strong hands slid under her shirt and smoothed over the skin of her abdomen and up to her breasts. A moan was waiting at the back of her throat. All she had to do was let go and submit to him.
Sabrina took a deep breath and stepped toward the dresser, pulling away from Beau. She spun, still barely in his grasp, and looked into his liquid copper eyes. He grinned and stopped his advances.
“I know you’re not a secretary, kid. You’re impressive and that’s why you should be working with me. You know enough about the business to easily transition into management,” he said, slowly drawing her near with his fingertips on her hips. Sabrina let her feet close the space between them. She looked up at him through her dark lashes and felt, as she often did under the weight of his stare, like a teenager. His proposal came as a shock to her. It had been years since he sounded that supportive of her. She couldn’t remember the last time he paid her a compliment that didn’t have to do with her body or how she used it.
“You mean that?” she asked, letting her hands settle on the ridges of his hard stomach. She loved the way her skin contrasted his. He had a naturally dark complexion—she was pretty sure he once said his mother’s parents were Greek—but spending a decent amount of vacation time in Maui was what kept him perfectly bronzed all year long.
His mouth lifted on one corner and his brows knit neatly together. Her eyes scanned his face for some sort of clue. She’d known him since she was seventeen years old but she still couldn’t read him. Maybe his offer was just a joke. Her stomach pitched and she looked at the clock again. Now she was really going to be late.
“Of course I mean it, kid. Go to your meeting and tell Uncle Charlie you’re moving on.” His voice was so smooth and confident. Her heart was pounding in her chest at the idea of working closely with Beau. Was this his version of commitment? Before her mind got any more wrapped up in the details his lips were pressed against hers roughly, melting away all of her thoughts. His tongue brushed against hers and she felt the butterflies in her stomach that had never gone away since the day she met him. Beau disconnected from the heart-stopping kiss easily and made his way to the adjoining bathroom.
Sabrina stood with her eyes shut for a moment, replaying his words in her head, willing herself to take him seriously and, more importantly, to accept his proposition. The sound of the shower woke her from her trance and she took one last look in the mirror. Good enough, she thought. She popped her head in the bathroom and grinned at the sight of his naked body behind the clear glass that had started to fog.
“Should I call you later?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah. If you want. I have a bunch of work to catch up on so…”
A wince flashed across her face at what she’d been expecting all along. The chill. She swallowed hard and told herself not to care, but it was too difficult. He always found a way to stifle whatever feeling he helped to bloom. It was the story of her life, in fact. Once upon a time, he’d been the one to help her flourish but it seemed like he’d spent the last ten years finding little ways to crush her.
“Okay,” she said, trying to hide the shaking in her voice. “I’ll see ya when I see ya.” She tried like hell to sound easygoing but she just ended up feeling like an idiot. Like the kid she knew he thought she was. Still.
“Yeah, see ya, Sabra,” he shouted over the water.
A shudder rolled through her and she wanted to blame it on the hangover.
“That’s not my name,” she muttered as she walked out of the bathroom.
Inspired by music, film, art and the wealth of stories she has heard through her career as a professional hair stylist, Kate Roth has been dreaming up love stories since junior high.
Kate’s first two novels, new adult romance The Low Notes and new adult paranormal romance Reckless Radiance were released by Rebel Ink Press in May of 2012 and September of 2013. Natural Harmony is her third novel and her first venture into independent publishing. She is hard at work on the next two novels in the Confession Records collection, as well as her first erotic romance, Last Resort. She is a small business owner and lives in Indiana with her husband, Adam and their dog, Sampson.
You can find more about Kate and her work on her website www.katerothwrites.com and stay up to date with all her news by following her on Facebook www.facebook.com/authorkateroth
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