Authors: Lisa Suzanne
© 2013 Lisa Suzanne
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
Printed in the United States of America.
This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters and events in this work are figments of the author’s imagination.
Dedicated to MUD.
I knew sulking in the corner wasn’t going to solve my problems, but I couldn’t help it. Nicholas Matthews, in all his gorgeous glory, was dancing with someone else when he should have been dancing with me.
It was the office Christmas party, and McMillan Marketing of Tempe, Arizona, didn’t go cheap on any aspect of it. From party favors featuring our products of the year to bonus checks, an open bar, and Karaoke, my company knew how to throw an amazing party. I just wished I was there as Nick’s date rather than as Travis’s “date.”
I loved Travis Miller to death, but he was my best friend. I was safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to go home that night to a romantic rendezvous, but that Travis would drop me off at my apartment before heading home to his own.
But I wanted a romantic rendezvous.
Since I had a designated driver, and since it was my Christmas party and I had already driven a drunk Travis home after his own office Christmas party, I decided that it wasn’t out of the question to get hammered that night, especially if I had to watch the guy I had been pining after for
nearly a year dance with someone who wasn’t me.
As I sat sulking, my eyes followed Nick on the dance floor. He was definitely The One; he just didn’t know it yet. I thought so from the moment that I laid eyes on
him, and I had been obsessing over him ever since.
I was lucky enough to score a job just after graduation at the company that I interned for in college. I was an account consultant at a marketing agency, and I loved it. Nick was a marketing executive, and he joined the crew about three years after I had started there. He had started working for the company the day we had returned from our Christmas vacation, and I will never forget that day.
I had come in hung over after a week of Christmas celebrations, and I was greeted with an email from my immediate boss, Josie, detailing a team meeting at 9:00 sharp. I glanced at the clock. “Shit,” I muttered when I saw that it was 9:01, so I grabbed my coffee and my iPad and ran to the conference room.
When I entered the conference room, everyone on my team was already seated and they appeared to be waiting for me. Our team was tight-knit and small; there were six account consultants per team, and one marketing executive over us. “I’m so sorry,” I said, walking over to the only empty seat and setting down my stuff. My face flushed a deep red as I sat, and I kept my head down as I turned my iPad on and opened my Notes app, taking a quick sip of my coffee in the process.
I felt like an even bigger loser when I remembered Josie’s warning to our team when I had first met her three years earlier: “If you’re going to show up late to a meeting, at least leave your Starbucks at your desk. It’s poor form to show up late when you had time to stop for coffee.”
“Now that we’re all here,” Josie said pointedly, my blush deepening, “I have several announcements to make.” I looked up toward her voice and was mesmerized by the man standing next to her. My mouth fell open as something deep down inside of me clenched just at the sight of him. He was gorgeous, maybe the most attractive man I had ever seen. Suddenly my hangover felt cured as my eyes feasted on the beauty of this man. I felt an awakening down low, and my body buzzed with energy.
He wore a sexy charcoal gray suit with a crisp white shirt and a black tie. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t make out the exact shade of his eyes. They looked somewhere between brown and green; maybe hazel. And I could see myself running my fingers through his sexy, messy black hair styled in the kind of way that made it look like he didn’t care when he probably really spent twenty minutes perfecting his look. His appeal was jarring. I automatically glanced down at his left hand and was pleased to find that his ring finger was devoid of any jewelry. And that’s also when I noticed how sexy his hands were, his long fingers punctuating his strong hands.
I wanted those hands on my body.
I realized that not only was I staring at this god, but I wasn’t paying attention to a word that Josie was saying, so I forced my eyes away from him, wondering who the hell he was and how the hell I was going to get him alone, because I
going to get him alone. I had to know what it would be like to kiss those full, sculpted lips. I wondered what muscles he had hidden underneath his serious business suit. I wondered what made him laugh, what kind of music he liked, which movies he preferred. And then I wondered if love at first sight was a real thing. A picture flashed through my mind of what his naked body might look like, and I realized that I was fantasizing about a man whose name I still didn’t know as I sat in a team meeting at work.
I forced myself to focus on Josie, but he was still distracting me in my peripheral vision; I did everything I could to understand the words coming out of her mouth.
“As you all know, McMillan evaluates the staff at each year end in order to maximize potential on every team. It’s a bittersweet day for me as I have loved working with each of you, but I have been promoted and I’ll be moving up a floor.”
I snapped out of it as I realized what she said. I was momentarily saddened to be losing my boss. I loved Josie; she was sharp, tolerant, and an all-around great boss. I knew I could go to her with my ideas, and she would help me tweak them and we would end up with an amazing product. But who knew what I would end up with now?
A round of congratulations was called out from various members of my team seated around the table. Josie smiled and then continued. “With that, I’d like to introduce you to your new boss. This is Nicholas Matthews, and he comes from one of our competitors. He’s highly recommended and he’s going to do a great job with our team. Nick, would you like to say a few words?” she prompted him.
He smiled, and I melted. Holy fuck, this gorgeous man was my new
? How the hell was I ever going to be able to concentrate on work again?
And, again, how the hell was I going to get him alone?
“Thanks for the great intro, Josie.” His voice was rich and deep and melodic and warm. I could get lost in that voice, listening to him talk forever. “Josie has told me so much about all of you. She has shown me what’s in the works, and I’m ready to help you all kick our team up to the next level. I’ll be working with each of you individually over the next several weeks both to get a good handle on your projects and just to get to know all of you.” My heart leapt at this announcement. One-on-one time with this guy? Yes, please! He glanced around the room, and his eyes settled on me. I felt a flutter deep in my belly. “My door is always open if you need anything.” I felt like he was talking directly to me. Oh, there was something I needed from this man for sure. But I got the feeling he was talking specifically about work.
Josie interjected, “Can each of you do a quick intro? Maybe just names and how long you’ve been here?”
She looked at Greg to my left, and he spoke first. “Greg Foster. I’ve been here five years,” he said.
Everyone looked at me next, and as I spoke, I realized my voice was shaky with nerves. “Julianne Becker. Three years.” Was it just my imagination? Or did Nick wink at me?
I barely listened to the rest of my team – Lucy and Holly, who were two of my best friends, Jake, and Malcolm – as they introduced themselves.
“That’s it for today,” Josie said. “I’ll be moved up by the end of the day, so if any of you have free time, I’d love some help packing.”
We were dismissed, and I hugged Josie on my way out of the conference room. “Don’t forget to visit us little people,” I said, smiling.
I returned to my desk feeling rejuvenated and excited about Nick. He was my new immediate boss, and he was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen. It was a great start to the New Year already, and I couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the year held in store for me.
He came by my cubicle about an hour after Josie’s meeting for a personal introduction. I was leafing through some paperwork, having just accomplished the enormous task of responding to emails after a week away from the office, when I felt an electric presence behind me. It was like I sensed him, and then I smelled him, this wonderful, masculine scent. He was wearing woodsy cologne that seriously did things to my libido.
I pretended like I didn’t know he was there, and then after a moment, he treated me to his beautiful, deep voice.
“Julianne Becker,” he said, like he was reading a name off of a checklist.
I turned slowly. “Nicholas Matthews,” I responded, mirroring his tone.
“Please, call me Nick,” he said, pulling up a chair to share my desk, which was basically a long counter that could fit four chairs across so I had design space. Nick looked good at my desk.
“Okay, Nick. How’s your first day going?” I asked, flashing him a winning smile.
He smiled back, as if it was contagious. His teeth were damn perfect, straight and white, and I had the sudden naughty thought of his teeth grazing unseen parts of my body.
“So far, so good,” he said. “I have this feeling it’s about to get better, though.”
Was he flirting with me? On the first day? “Oh?” I asked. “Why’s that?”
He shrugged and then leaned back in his chair and crossed his leg at the knee of his other leg, and then he folded his arms behind his head. He looked so sexy that I wanted to crawl into his lap and kiss him. But I didn’t. We were in an office, after all.
“Josie tells me that you are number one on this team. Is that true?”
Modesty suddenly overtook me. “That’s very kind,” I said. “I don’t know if it’s true. Why don’t you take a look at my portfolio and tell me what you think?”
“I’ve seen some of your work already. Josie showed me the entire team’s most recently completed projects, and I have to say, I was quite impressed with your creative vision.”
“Thank you, Nick. Josie is a great boss who inspires us to work hard. I expect that you’ll do the same?”
“That’s my goal. I hope to be someone you feel comfortable bringing ideas to. You mostly focus on print and social media, right?”
He had done his homework. “Yes. Traditionally we all share responsibilities for branding, graphic design, and PR depending on who is assigned what, but Greg, Lucy, and Holly specialize
in digital media, Jake and Malcolm team up on radio, television, and cold-calls, and I am the print and social media expert.”
“Sounds like a well-oiled machine.”
“It is. We each have our own projects, but we truly work as a team. Josie runs team meetings twice a week where we all share our current projects and throw out ideas for tweaks and improvements. I love those meetings because it’s just a mass of creative minds, and I always leave them inspired with innovative ideas.”
“She told me about those, and I think it’s a great idea. I’m considering expanding to more than twice a week, especially since you’re telling me that your teamwork is so vital.”
His eyes focused on mine when he spoke, and it was unnerving. It felt like he was looking into my heart, and if he could see what was written there, I wasn’t sure where this would go. I was developing a serious crush on my
after knowing him for a little over an hour.
“So tell me about
yourself,” Nick said.
“Well, as you know, I’ve been here at McMillan for three years. I interned here before I was hired on full time, and I love it.”
“It’s not a job interview, Julianne. Tell me about
Shit. I didn’t know where to start. Would it be inappropriate to start by telling him that I thought he was the sexiest man I’d ever laid eyes on?
“Okay. I live by myself in an apartment and I want a dog, but I’m not home enough to care for one. I love to shop, especially for handbags and shoes, and I like to read and see movies and travel. My best friends are Lucy and Holly and a guy named Travis who doesn’t work here, and I’m close to my parents. I have one older sister, Jamie, and she’s married and has a baby boy. They have a dog who I’ve sort of adopted as my own.”