Authors: Dena Garson
Cherie’s favorite work adversary, Mason, stumbles across her
in the midst of a humiliating “wardrobe malfunction”. She has to choose between
possible public embarrassment and exposing her secret undergarment obsession to
Mason. An obsession that could taint Cherie’s prim and proper office persona.
Thankfully Mason is willing to lend a hand in more ways than
one. He’s lusted after Cherie as much as she’s wanted him, and getting his
hands on her frilly silk leads to a hot, sexy hallway encounter.
contemporary erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
“Cherie, are you hiding from someone or is there something
of interest in that collection of fake plants I hadn’t thought of before?”
Mason Andrews. Goose bumps shot down all my extremities at
the sound of his voice. For some reason the man possessed the ability to turn
my insides to mush just by speaking. For the last two years I have tried to
understand why I had a physical reaction whenever I heard him speak.
Every time I heard his voice drop to those lower, more
intimate octaves, it didn’t matter if we were in the middle of a meeting with
twenty other people in the room, I lost the ability to think of anything except
licking him from his bellybutton to his Adam’s apple. With or without whipped
Thank God he never discovered the power his voice held over
me. At least I don’t think he ever figured it out. As I thought about it more I
realized he’d used that tone more often than I was comfortable with.
Maybe that’s why I couldn’t help but play devil’s advocate
whenever he was around. Mason was always an excellent verbal sparring partner
and seemed to relish the challenges I brought to our meetings.
When I bumped into him at the conference registration table
he seemed as surprised to see me as I felt seeing him. I was both relieved and
disappointed when I lost track of him in the crowd. It would have been
distracting to sit next to him all day when I was supposed to be listening to
some of the business world’s greatest motivational speakers.
Then somehow, in a crowd of thousands, he managed to find me
again. And at a most inopportune time too.
“I, uh, needed to make a call.” Sounded like a good reason
to hide behind a cluster of plants. I certainly wasn’t going to tell him the
“You know you get better reception near the windows.” He
pointed in the direction of the wall of glass about forty yards away.
“Yes, well,” I stammered, “I needed to make that call in
“I’ll leave you to it then.” He turned to walk away.
“Hey, Mason,” I called after him hesitantly.
He stopped and turned back in my direction, his eyebrow
raised in question.
“I, uh… I don’t suppose you have a safety pin on you, do
“No. Sorry.” He took a couple of steps closer. “Why do you
“Oh, just wondering,” I said with false cheeriness. “Thanks
He looked up and down the hallway then stepped behind the
fake plants. “What do you need a pin for, Cherie?”
“Nothing, it’s fine.” I felt myself turn pink. “I’ll figure
something out. Go on back to the conference.”
“Did something tear on your dress?” he asked as he looked me
over from head to toe.
“No, no. Nothing like that. Go on, really, it’ll be fine.” I
tried to persuade him.
“Okay look. I grew up with three sisters and a thrifty
mother. I’ve heard them talk about dozens of emergency repairs. What’s the
“I—” My voice failed me. I simply couldn’t bring myself to
tell him. Mason was my favorite opponent at work. We constantly challenged each
other, pushed each other to do more, to do better. And the company benefited
from the results.
It didn’t matter that I secretly lusted after him. But it
would never do for him to find that out. And it certainly wouldn’t do for him
to see my secret obsession.
Unfortunately that obsession had me in a bit of a bind right
I loved frilly underwear. The skimpier the better. It made
me feel sexy and confident and gave me a sense of power. Even if no one else
knew about it.
Most people would think it was no big deal. But at the
office everyone thought of me as a mousy girl next door who was really good
with numbers. I simply couldn’t let Mason catch even a glimpse of what I was
wearing under my suit.
“I don’t see anything wrong with your skirt or jacket. Did
the elastic snap in your hose? Did you break a bra strap? What?” he asked,
sounding a bit exasperated. “And why are you trying to fix it here in the
hallway instead of in the bathroom?”
Irritated by his pushy behavior, I finally snapped at him.
“Because the blasted ladies’ room they put at this end of the corridor is
closed and I wouldn’t have made it to the other one without embarrassing
“Oh.” His voice gentled. “Well, that kinda sucks, but I
still don’t get what the problem is.”
I gritted my teeth. “I’m not sure. I can’t tell what broke
or came undone without taking the whole thing off and looking. I just know that
something happened to my corset and now it and my stockings are sliding down.”
Mason looked as if I’d just told him space aliens had landed
behind the building and they were here to take over the world.
I ignored his look of disbelief and continued. “If I take
five more steps, not only will my stockings be slipping below my skirt but I’ll
be flashing everyone through this,” I tugged at the collar of my blouse for
emphasis, “thin, white blouse. I’d hoped to slip back here and fix the problem
enough to make it down the hallway before the crowd lets out on the next
“Okay. Corset,” he stammered. “Gotcha.”
If I hadn’t been so embarrassed, it might have been comical
that I’d rendered Mason speechless by telling him what kind of underwear I was
wearing. I made a mental note to remember that next time he annoyed me in a
“Well, let’s have a look.”
I narrowed my gaze at him, assessing whether or not he was
serious or just trying to cop a feel.
He nodded, “Okay, yeah, I’ll admit it’s a bit of a thrill to
see you in your undies, but I promise to take this seriously and try to fix the
“And you promise you won’t go back to the office and tell
He held up one hand. “Boy Scout’s honor.”
I grumbled, “You probably weren’t even a Cub Scout.” I
slipped off my suit jacket then turned to give him my back.
I felt him pull my shirt up out of the waist of my skirt.
He whistled. “White silk. Nice.” I could feel the warmth of
his hands through the silk where he held my shirt out of the way. “Where’d you
I swallowed hard and fought the urge to lean back, closer to
Mason. “I found a company online. They specialize in made-to-fit corsets. I’ve
bought several things from them. Their work is outstanding.” My nerves must
have made me babble.
“From what I can see I’d agree.” He ran one hand down the
length of the crisscrossed laces, sending a tidal wave of goose bumps down my
back and legs. “Ah. Here’s the problem.”
Happy for the distraction, I tried to look over my shoulder.
“The string that ties this thing together broke so it’s sliding
apart. Your skirt probably kept it from coming completely open.”
“Can you fix it?”
“Fix it how?” he questioned.
“Just grab the two ends where the string broke and pull,
even if a couple of the eyelets are empty. When you get enough string to work
with, tie it together again. I can go to the bathroom and fix it later.”
I felt the familiar pressure of the corset tightening around
my ribs and waist.
“There.” Mason said. “I think I got it.”
“Oh good.” I sighed in relief from knowing it wasn’t a major
fix and getting away from the warmth of his hands. “Thank you.” With my back
still turned toward Mason, I squirmed and rearranged the corset until it felt
comfortable again. It was a little loose at the bottom where the strings were
no longer laced but it would do.
I turned to face him then remembered to check my garters to
make sure my stockings hadn’t come loose. When I bent over, his swift intake of
breath startled me. I looked up too fast and stumbled. Mason slipped one arm
around my waist and pulled me against him. While I was thankful he kept me from
falling headfirst into the plant, I was unprepared for how good he felt. His
dress shirt did little to hide the well-defined lines of his abs and chest and
his growing erection was more than evident. Parts of me were giddy and begged
“You just keep coming to my rescue, don’t you?” I murmured
as I let myself lean against him. When I turned my head Mason’s lips brushed
against my ear, sending another wave of goose bumps down my spine.
“I do what I can.” Without letting go, he added softly,
“You, Miss Barnett, are a bundle of contradictions.”
“How so?” My fingers itched to touch the hint of razor
stubble I could see on his cheek and chin.
“At the office you’re very dedicated and serious. I was
surprised to find you here at what some people would call a frivolous waste of
a weekend. The company isn’t reimbursing the conference fee, so you had to want
to come on your own.”
I turned so I could face him but thankfully he didn’t
relinquish his hold. “I happen to like several of the speakers.” I shrugged one
shoulder. “That’s why I came.”
“But most people wouldn’t have guessed that about you.
You’re always very numbers driven, very analytical. It’s a nice contrast.”
I shrugged again, not knowing what else to say.
“Then there’s your attitude toward people.”
I frowned. “What about my attitude?”
“Again, you’re very analytical and serious. With most people
you’re very direct, right to the point. You don’t mind challenging anyone if
your data tells you something different. Some people find that unnerving.” He
tapped me lightly on the nose with one finger. “I, personally, find it
The frown melted into astonishment as I continued to listen
“I’ve seen you around Ruby and Gina when you’re laughing and
joking. It’s amazing. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be the one
to make you light up like that.”
My heart pounded against my chest. I couldn’t have torn my
gaze away from his if a herd of cattle stampeded down the corridor.
“I don’t light up,” I whispered hesitantly.
He leaned back so I could see more of his face than just his
lips. Which was probably a good thing since I was mesmerized by them at that
“You do,” he said with a smile. “It makes me wonder how much
brighter it would be if I were to see you when you came.”
I gulped. “I—”
This was Mason I was talking to, for God’s sake! My mind
kept telling me Mason couldn’t possibly care less about me except to the extent
that I challenged his conclusions or provided resources he needed to finish his
projects on time.
Mason lowered his gaze to my lips. I had to resist the urge
to lick them now that they felt like all the moisture had been sucked out. “I
bet sex with you is just another contradiction.”
Trying to act casual while I stood in the circle of his
arms, I shrugged noncommittally and asked, “Why do you think that?”
He leaned closer, close enough that his five-o’clock shadow
brushed against my cheek and my ear, sending a million goose bumps down my leg.
His lips were just a breath away as he whispered, “You have this wholesome,
good-girl appearance. But I bet that you’re as passionate in bed as you are
when you’re grilling someone on their data. I get a hard-on every time I hear
you talk about exponential growth.”
I gulped and pushed away enough so I could read the
expression on his face. “How—” That was the moment I realized Mason had
maneuvered us farther into the dark alcove behind the plants, out of sight of
the main walkway outside the conference arena.
Heat rushed through every part of my body when I realized I
was completely alone with Mason. It was a good thing he hadn’t removed his arm
from around my waist because my legs had turned to jelly.
“You don’t know that about me,” I exclaimed, hoping it
didn’t sound as much like a squeak to him as it did to me.
He smiled a devilish grin and reached up to tuck a stray
piece of my hair behind my ear. “No, I don’t, but I’d love to find out.”
One hand continued to hold me against him while the other
slid down the side of my neck, creating a new set of goose bumps on top of the
last. He continued to slide that hand down the front of my blouse, over one
breast, making both breasts tingle in anticipation. “Will you let me find out,
I was caught in his gaze, speechless as his hand finished
its descent down the front of my blouse then on down my skirt. When he’d
reached as far down as he could without breaking eye contact, he began to work
my skirt up until bare skin was exposed to his exploring fingers.
Something in the back of my mind told me I should tell him
to stop, that if I didn’t there would be no turning back. The devil on my
shoulder whispered that I shouldn’t let this chance slip by. I’d had a thing
for Mason for some time but was never bold enough to approach him. My “wardrobe
malfunction” may have turned out to be a fortuitous thing.
“I’m having trouble believing you, Mason.” Now that he had
seen what was beneath my blouse I had an urge to explore what was beneath his
dress shirt. And maybe even his slacks. “I didn’t think you had strung together
more than two thoughts about me.”
A pool of warmth had formed in my belly from the first
touch. It began to spread as I ran one hand across the solid plane of his chest
and over his shoulders.
“You’d be surprised how much I have thought about you.” He
dipped his head closer so that his lips were only a fraction of an inch away
from mine then whispered, “And what we were doing in some of those thoughts.”
Thankfully it was just dark enough in the alcove that I
doubted Mason could see the flush I was certain had just covered my entire
body. Given the fact that his erection was pressing against my belly, I doubted
those thoughts had much to do with numbers or data.
I knew that office romances frequently end badly, but at
that moment there was nothing I wanted more than to feel Mason’s lips on mine.
Even if nothing more came of it I’d have that memory.
Before I lost my nerve, I let my jacket drop to the floor
then slid my arms up and around his neck and closed the distance between our
lips. I felt his hand slip beneath my butt cheek as he pulled me even closer
against him. This was no timid kiss. His lips were as demanding as my own and
somewhere in the foggy recesses of my mind I wondered who was really in control
of that kiss. Our tongues danced and teased, creating fireworks in every part
of my body.
Everything around us melted away. The only thing I was aware
of was the warmth that radiated from Mason’s body, the solid, steady feel of
him holding me and the taste of mint on his tongue. My breath seized in my
lungs when he backed me up against the wall and kissed me with even more
intensity. His erection made it clear how much he wanted me.
He slipped one hand down my leg ’til he found my knee. He
pulled up and wrapped that leg around his waist as he nibbled the sensitive
spot on my neck. The sensation was too much and I had to force myself to
breathe. He slid his hand back up my now exposed thigh and I felt him tracing
the lines of my very skimpy undies between our bodies. I started to protest
when he broke our kiss, not wanting it to end.
“Please tell me your thong matches the corset,” he rasped.
Barely able to speak, I nodded and whispered, “Of course.”
“Damn, Cherie.” He groaned and tried to look down at our
seemingly merged bodies. “What I wouldn’t give to see you in this without all
the extra layers of clothes.”
He ran his hand farther up my hip, making me anxious for his
touch in the place I needed it most. Once more I was lost in his gaze as he
teased the edges of my pubic hair. When he cupped my most private spot in his
hand I had to bite my lip to keep from whimpering with need.
Mason teased me cruelly by alternating between putting
pressure on my clit with the heel of his hand and flicking his fingers across
the opening of my vagina. All the while he whispered in my ear, “Tell me the
truth, Cherie. Do you usually wear corsets to the office?”
“Not usually,” I said with a gasp as his middle finger found
a particularly sensitive spot.
“Really?” Even in my foggy state a note of disappointment
rang through. He nibbled my ear as he mumbled, “How unfortunate.”
“It was a whim. I didn’t think I’d see anyone I knew today.”
My legs were turning to jelly as he did wicked things to my increasingly wet
pussy. Some part of my mind registered that if he kept doing what he was doing,
he’d have a spot on the knee of his pants. “Mason, we shouldn’t—”
“Shhhhh,” he whispered. “Let me do this, Cherie.”
“But the conference—”
He cut off my protest by capturing my lips in an even more
insistent kiss than before. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t remember why
it was such a bad idea for him to be touching me the way he was.
The tempo of his fingers increased and so did his grip
around my waist as I got closer and closer to that brink of ecstasy. My head
spun with the smell, the taste and the feel of Mason. He managed to make me
forget that we were in a public place, at a conference that at any minute could
break for coffee, sending a thousand people into the hallways just ten feet
from where we stood. That someone could walk up and see what we were doing. Or,
God forbid, one of the arena security guards could find us and ask us to leave
At that moment none of it mattered. Only Mason and what he
was doing to me.
Finally I shattered in a burst of glorious release. Mason,
thankfully, had the presence of mind to muffle whatever sound I made then held
me as I sank against him, boneless. I vaguely remember him readjusting my skirt
then stroking my back tenderly as I leaned against him and trying to catch my
I buried my face against his chest and murmured, “Oh my
He chuckled and continued to rub my back. “Oh-my-God, good?
Or oh-my-God, bad?”
Unable to look him in the eye just yet, I kept my face
buried in his chest. “Just…” I waved one hand in the air dismissively. “Just oh
my God in general.”
He chuckled again then pulled away enough so he could push
my chin up with one hand. When I forced my eyes open he was grinning down at
“Are you okay?”
“You mean other than being mortally embarrassed that I just
had an orgasm in a hallway not far from a conference that has over a thousand
people in attendance, with a guy I’m not even dating?”
Laughter rumbled in Mason’s chest. “Yeah, other than that.”
“Other than that, I’m great.” I looked down at Mason’s
crotch. There was a considerable bulge there. I don’t normally spend a lot of
time looking at men’s crotches but I was suddenly fascinated by his. I was even
more fascinated by how I might be able to relieve him of what was most likely
considerable pressure buildup. “How are you?”
“I’ll make do. We need to get out of here before they stop
for the first break.”
“But you didn’t—”
Mason kissed me, silencing my protest. “Later.”
He looked down the hallway to see if anyone was coming while
I rearranged my skirt and blouse. He gestured that it was safe to step out of
On still shaky legs, I stepped in stride with him and headed
toward the arena where the conference was still going strong. I was surprised
when he took my hand and led us to two empty seats toward the top of the
section in front of us.
When we sat I took a moment to savor the experience of being
in Mason’s arms. I had no idea where this left our relationship. If there was
some kind of relationship between us.
His promised “later” left me both giddy and nervous.
Later tonight? Later this week? Just when was later? What
did he have in mind for later? And was I okay with later? Did I even want a
Okay, that was a stupid question. If later was half as
exciting as the incident in the hallway, of course I wanted a later. Who was I
The problem was I didn’t do one-night stands. If that was
all Mason had in mind I wasn’t sure I could have sex with him then continue to
work with him on a regular basis.
Not that we worked in the same department or anything.
Thankfully we didn’t even share the same reporting lines. We just ended up on a
lot of the same project teams.
I leaned over to whisper, “I really do appreciate your help
with my, uh, broken laces, Mason.” I felt myself flush.
“Tell you what. You can buy me lunch as a thank-you,” he
whispered back, his grin visible even in the darkened arena.
“Lunch comes with the conference, you know,” I said,
returning his grin.
“Well then you’ll get off cheap, won’t you?” He leaned over
and kissed me quickly on the mouth.
“I will make it up to you, you know,” I said softly.
“You have no idea how happy I was to help. Besides, you may
need me to fix your laces again before the end of the day, so you better save
your IOUs,” he said with a lecherous wag of his eyebrows.
I snorted then shook my head.
We sat quietly, hand in hand, and listened to the speaker.
Mason traced circles around my palm and made it hard for me to concentrate on
what the speaker was actually saying.
After a minute or two Mason leaned over again and asked,
“Can I ask one favor of you?”
“Will you wear something I can help with tomorrow too?”
I couldn’t contain the laugh that bubbled up. “I’m sure I
have something in my closet that would be suitable.”