Authors: Melanie Marchande
A VALENTINE FOR HIS SECRETARY
© 2015 Melanie Marchande
For exclusive content, sales, and special opportunities for fans only, plus a FREE upcoming romance serial for subscribers only, please sign up for
Fan of alpha billionaires, or just alphas in general? Can't get enough of hot men in suits who talk classy in the boardroom and dirty in the bedroom? Head on over to Facebook and join
This will be my third special-edition holiday short story, and the second where I've decided to donate the proceeds to a worthy cause. At the suggestion of a reader, and in keeping with the theme of Valentine's Day, I've chosen the heart center at my local hospital, who will use my donation to "open new doors in outstanding patient care, research, clinical education and community outreach." Please visit my website for more information.
This story is intended to be read after
His Secretary: Undone
, which gives a lot of the background to Meg and Adrian's relationship. It takes place between the final two chapters of the book.
I have a cold.
This time last year, I was looking at at a gray, dripping morning, fantasizing about a blizzard that would trap me inside and away from work. More specifically, away from Adrian.
But it was thirty-four degrees and raining. Cold enough to be miserable, but not cold enough for snow. I hadn't taken a sick day in three years, but I still couldn't justify lying. Not when he needed me so much.
Twelve months later, and I actually
sick. Lately, it's felt like all of the illnesses that I once kept at bay through sheer will power have finally caught up with me.
I roll over in bed when I hear the door creak open, ever so slightly.
"You're awake," Adrian says, sounding surprised.
awake," I grumble, pulling the covers back over my head. "Just didn't feel like moving."
"Well, I've got some tea. Drink it while it's hot." He sits down on the edge of the bed, letting his hand rest on my hip like a comforting anchor.
I pull down the sheets just enough to eye him suspiciously. "Why are you being so nice?"
"Because I've sustained massive head trauma. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." He smiles a little. "How are you feeling?"
"Exhausted." I think about pushing myself up on my elbows, then quickly abandon the idea. "Do you ever get sick?"
"Not really," he says. "I'm told it's unpleasant."
"I hate you," I groan, burrowing further under the covers.
He leans down and kisses my forehead, somehow. I wasn't aware I left anything exposed. I really am tired.
"Don't," I mutter. "You'll catch this...mutant death bug."
"I won't," he assures me. "But even if I was going to, I would've caught it already. You're the most contagious before you even know you have it."
I'm not sure how long I lie there in silence, but it's probably a while. Time is weirdly distorted right now.
"You have something planned for Valentine's Day, don't you?" My tone is accusatory, but in my defense, my brain is clogged with snot.
He's smiling. I can tell without opening my eyes. "Of course I do," he says, softly. "But I also want you to get better because I don't like seeing you suffer."
I would snort, if I could. "Good one."
"Seriously," he says. "Drink the tea while it's hot. Or at least breathe it in. You'll feel better."
He's right, of course. But right now, all I want is to sleep endlessly until this thing loosens its claws and lets me breathe again.
I just mumble something that I hope conveys how little I want to move right now. Sighing, he peels back the covers just enough to snuggle in next to me. He's already halfway done by the time I realize what's happening.
"No," I mumble.
"Why?" he asks softly, his arm snaking around my stomach.
"You'll get sick."
"I won't." He nestles against me, tightly. "You're so goddamn stubborn. Just let me love you."
In the midst of my fog, one thought cuts through, loud and clear:
What the hell is he planning?
"The blindfold doesn't really seem necessary."
I can hear him smiling. "No, but it's more fun this way."
Sighing, I stretch my legs out in front of me. "For who?"
His chuckle is low and warm. "Me, of course."
We're in a plane. That much I know, because it would be hard to miss while conscious. But he seems to think that I'll somehow intuit our destination if I can
, which seems...borderline insane. Even if he opened the window shades, all I'd be able to see now is clouds.
"Stop questioning my motives, darling. I know that's hard for you." There's a rustling sound as he stands up and walks...somewhere. I think his voice is coming from behind me, but the acoustics of the plane cabin are disorienting. "But really, really try."
"I don't actually think you have any idea how hard it is," I shoot back.
"This is important." His voice draws closer again. "None of this is going to work if you don't play along. So, you have to promise me you will. No matter how tempting it is to circumvent it, you have to play the game right."
"I promise." Sighing, I sink a little deeper into my seat. He knows it's difficult for me to follow instructions to the letter, especially if I'm sure I have a better way of doing it. It's one of the things that makes our sex life so interesting.
I'm not submissive by nature. I never was. Unlike some, I wasn't born with the urge to kneel. But it grew in me, fostered by doubt and insecurity, and now it lives in my head like an unwanted guest who sleeps on the sofa all day and refuses to refill the ice cube trays. When I first started working for Adrian, I hated how he rolled his eyes at everything and everyone, barked orders, and put me through ridiculous ordeals in the name of keeping him happy. But not as much as I
The whole dynamic between us fed something in me that I hadn't recognized until then. An enforced boundary, an understanding - I could push back, but at the end of the day it didn't matter. He was the God of Risinger Industries, and I was cast in the role of his loyal servant.
And there was an odd comfort in that. Though I often took the brunt of his foul moods when something went wrong, I knew it wasn't my fault. I'd never be held responsible for his mistakes. Sure, I spent my days being subservient to an obnoxious tyrant, but it could always be worse.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
For me, being in charge of something always feels like playing a slot machine. One part exhilarating, two parts terrifying, and with a side of obnoxious sound effects. Those used to take the form of Adrian criticizing absolutely everything I did, but nowadays he mostly keeps his mouth shut.
Now that we're a couple, the dynamic has grown into something else. Something deep and satisfying. My unwanted houseguest has become a welcome friend, reminding me that it's okay to like this. The sense of peace under his command, the sharp release of emotions when his hand connects with my ass. The pain and the pleasure together - sharp, bright, and almost obscenely arousing. I stumbled into it almost by accident, but it was no accident for him. I wonder how long he thought about spanking me before he did it. I can still see it vividly in my mind's eye. The game of keep-away with my panties that became much more than a game - the moment he yanked them out of his pocket, it was obvious how that night was going to end. I might've accidentally lost them on the dance floor, but you don't keep a girl's panties in your pocket unless you want her.
That was my signal. Our earlier encounter in the pool had been no accident, no momentary lapse in judgment. He wanted more, and he wanted it now.
We'd already gotten physical with the grabbing and dodging, so when he grabbed my arm and dragged me to the sofa it didn't feel like an invasion. He ordered me across his lap for a spanking and of course it was really an invitation, which I knew - we both knew. It was foreplay.
I could've said no, but I never would have forgiven myself.
Snapping back to the present, I realize he's been quiet for a while. Is he sitting across from me? I think so, but I can't be sure. The hum of the engines makes it difficult to pick up on more subtle sounds.
I feel the warmth of his body moments before something cold presses into my palm. He's suddenly very close, but when I shift towards him he pulls away.
It's a coin, I think. "Penny for my thoughts?" I guess.
He chuckles. "See, I knew this was going to be hard. How do you surprise someone who's smarter than you are?"
"Right." I think my voice sounds a little husky, because God help me, I can't stop thinking about that night. "Pull the other one."
He's back in his seat again, I think. "You see everyone and everything very clearly, except yourself. That's always been your problem, hasn't it?"
"Yeah, that's what they put under my high school yearbook picture." I shift in my seat, the lingering arousal from my memories surprisingly difficult to shake. "You ran a company, I ran coffee. There's no possible way of defining intelligence that puts me above you."
"You haven't answered my question," he points out.
"You didn't actually ask it."
"I don't have to." By the sound of his voice, he leans forward. "Tell me."
"Nothing," I lie. "I don't remember. As usual, you distracted me with your bullshit nonsense."
He laughs. "All right. Fine. We'll play it your way. But remember, you don't get what you want unless you ask for it."
I perk up. I don't know why, but I've been assuming sex is off the table until I fulfill whatever kind of game this is. But maybe... "Well, what's on the menu?"
"No, no, no. You answer your question first, then I might answer yours."
"I was thinking about the first night we spent together," I admit, my cheeks coloring slightly. I have no reason to be embarrassed, except that, once again, it means he won. "And I can only assume you're hassling me about it because I was obviously preoccupied."
"Only a little," he says. "You have this particular way of squirming when you think about something that turns you on."
"Okay, so you caught me." I sit up a little straighter. "Do I get...rewarded for my honesty?"
"...punished for my
"Your perseverance is admirable." Once again, he's very close to me. I can smell the new cologne he's trying out, something dark and heady with a hint of spice. I don't know if it drives me crazy or if it's just
, and it really doesn't matter. "You want to fuck?"
The bluntness of the question drives a spike of desire through me. He never says it like that. He asks me if I want him to fuck
, or occasionally if I want to fuck
- there really isn't a functional difference, although sometimes it reveals his moods more than I think he realizes - but never just...
I take a deep breath. "Yes."
Adrian chuckles, his fingers brushing the back of my neck. I shiver a little.
"You always want to fuck," he says. "Even on a plane, on our way to a lovely, romantic getaway. A whole weekend in a hotel with nothing but you, me, and a bag of tricks - you know I'm going to spend every waking moment finding new ways to make you scream my name, and yet..." He sighs, fingers trailing down to my back. I lean forward a little, but he doesn't go for the zipper of my dress. Disappointing. "...and yet you want to fuck
I'm covered in goosebumps. I don't know why, but something about the way he's talking to me - it's familiar, almost uncomfortably familiar, reminding me of what things used to be like between us. Maybe it's just the fact that I can't see him. But he sounds more like the old Adrian, the one who hadn't yet confessed that he loved me, the one who was still trying to pretend he didn't care.