Mastered by the CEO (Mastered By #4)


 

Rachel hurried off the elevator toward her office, her heart pounding. God, this was the worst possible day to be late.

Jay, her assistant, stood up as she approached, his eyes widening.

“There’s blood on your forehead,” he said.

She pressed her fingers to her aching head then stared at the red smear on them, still hurrying toward her desk. He followed her into her office and handed her a tissue as she pulled her compact from her purse. The nasty cut on her head still oozed blood. She pressed the tissue to it as she strode to her private bathroom and wet a washcloth. Jay stood in the door as she patted the cut.

He shook his head. “I get why you feel you need to be here, but you should have that looked at. You could have a concussion.”

“It was just a fender bender. Unfortunately, I had to stay until the police arrived to write up the insurance report.”

The other guy had insisted it was her fault, but once the police arrived, their report clearly stated the fault was his. In fact, they’d hauled him off to the station after administering a breathalyzer and determining he was inebriated.

Who the hell was drunk at eight in the morning?

But that was just the kind of luck she’d been having lately. On the one day she simply could not be late…she was. And no one would believe she was hit by a drunk driver on the way into work.

“How bad is it?” she asked as Jay applied a band aid to her forehead.

She didn’t mean the cut on her head and he knew it.

“Bad.”

“You know I would have told you if I could, but they just let senior staff know last night.”

It had been after nine when she and the other senior staff of Brenier Electronics had been informed that they were being taken over by Collier Industries. She was supposed to be here by eight o’clock for a meeting of senior staff to find out details before the rest of the staff was informed. Probably to find out how many staff had to be let go, and who they would be.

She’d missed that meeting.

At nine-thirty, Jay had texted her to tell her the staff had been informed and did she know what the hell was going on.

“Do you know who they’re firing?” he asked.

Oh, God, she knew Jay was worried about his job. He and his wife, Sandy, were struggling. Sandy had been laid off six months ago and wasn’t having any luck finding something and they’d just found out they were expecting a second baby. They had a mortgage and car payments, and if Jay lost his job, Rachel knew they’d probably wind up selling the lovely house they’d just settled into so happily.

Life sucked.

She rested her hand on his arm. “I don’t. But I promise you, I’ll do everything I can to make sure they keep you on.”

He nodded. “I know you will.”

Jay had been her assistant for over three years and they had become close. And he was excellent at his job. He often knew what she needed before she did, and he was exceptional at handling details. She knew her projects went off without a hitch largely because he ensured everything ran so smoothly all she had to worry about was the big picture.

She grabbed her journal. “I better get up to Mr. Baird’s office and explain,” she said as she started toward the door.

“No point.  All the executives left the building for an off-site meeting. So we were told. Currently, you’re the highest ranking executive here.”

Ah, damn.

“Okay, so call his cell phone and—”

“Already tried,” Jay said. “He’s not answering. Nor is the vice-president or any of the directors.  I tried everyone.”

“Text?”

“I’ve texted Mr. Baird to let him know you’ve arrived in the office. No response yet.”

He’d probably done it as soon as he’d seen her come in the door about ten minutes ago.

A tap sounded at her open door. She turned to see Craig Anderson, one of the tech guys standing there.

“Ms. Clark. Do you know who they’re planning to let go because… well, it’s pretty disruptive right now with…”

Jan from accounting walked by the office, wiping at her eyes, clearly upset.

“With what, Craig?” she asked.

He gestured in the direction Jan had gone.

“People are being called down to personnel and each one has been told they’re let go. It’s awful out there. Everyone’s just waiting for the next phone to ring, desperately hoping it’s not theirs. Randy’s wife called and he nearly snapped her head off, thinking he’d gotten the call.”

She turned to Jay and he nodded.

“I told you it was bad,” Jay said.

Rachel couldn’t believe they’d handle it like this. Pull all the executives away so they didn’t have to face the employees, then pick them off one-by-one.

“I need to talk to the staff.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea,” Jay said. “You don’t know anything.”

“I have to do something.” She turned to Craig. “Ask everyone to go to meeting room three.”

“Thanks, Ms. Clark.”

The staff usually called her by her first name, but clearly Craig was feeling a bit gun shy.

Five minutes later, she walked toward the large meeting room, Jay by her side.

“Wait,” Jay said, as they reached the door. “I just got a message from Mr. Baird. He said he wants you to head straight over to the Concord Hotel. He said not to talk to anyone and he wants you there in twenty minutes.” He glanced up from his tablet. “If I get you a cab right now, you’ll be there with five minutes to spare.”

She heard the murmur of conversation from the room. They were waiting in there. A lot of people… people she’d worked with for over three years… who were looking to her for answers. They were scared and feeling abandoned. She might not have the answers they needed, but she could at least stand by them.

She shook her head. “I can’t go.”

“Do you really think this is the time to defy management?”

Jay had worked with her long enough to know that she often didn’t follow the rules. If she didn’t agree with what she thought was a bad decision, she’d stand up against it and do what she could to make changes.

She compressed her lips. “They’re depending on me. I’m not going to walk out on them like everyone else did.”

“What will you tell them?”

“I don’t know, but at least I’ll let them know that someone cares.”

* * *

Rachel spoke frankly with them, telling them she didn’t know any more than they did. Still, they all seemed happy to stay in the meeting room, congregated together. They ignored the phones they heard ringing from the cubicles beyond the door.

Then people started receiving texts on their cell phones. One-by-one people were called away. One or two returned to say their good-byes, but most just disappeared. After an hour, she sat with the group of shell-shocked employees still left, all wondering if it was their turn next. By noon, the calls seemed to have stopped, but no one was motivated to return to work. Jay ordered in several pizzas, which Rachel put on her personal credit card, and they sat commiserating.

A lot of good people had been let go. Rachel had no idea how they would get business done with the handful that was left. Of course, Collier Industries would be integrating their own staff with Brenier’s.

Everything had changed in the blink of an eye.

“Things seemed to have settled down here,” Jay said as people drifted back to their cubicles in a daze. “You really should get over to see Mr. Baird.”

She nodded, wishing her head hadn’t started aching again. “You’re right. Call me a cab.”

“Already done,” he said.

He walked with her to her office, where she picked up her briefcase. They rode the elevator down in silence.

“I’ll let you know as soon as I can,” she said as she walked toward the glass door to the street. Her cab was waiting at the curb.

“I know,” he said. “At least I haven’t received the call. That’s good news.”

His cell vibrated and they locked gazes as he pulled it from his pocket. As soon as he glanced at the display, relief flashed across his face.

She smiled. “Still good news?”

He glanced at her. “For me, yeah. For you…” He shrugged. “Let’s just say that Mr. Baird is a little impatient waiting for you.”

* * *

Rachel sat in the cab, the movement lulling her softly. For the first time this morning, she had a moment to reflect on what all this meant to her.

Collier Industries wasn’t about to let go of their own executives, so if there were redundant positions, the Brenier people would be the ones they laid off. That meant her own job was in jeopardy. In fact, being one of the more junior executives, with less experience and only a few years at the company, she was bound to be on the chopping block.

Her stomach tightened. Before she got the job with Brenier Electronics here in San Diego, she’d been out of work for two years. Two long, scary years. She’d sent out resumes, taken courses, networked. But there simply weren’t many jobs out there, especially at her level.

Her whole team had been laid off from the last place she’d worked after only a few months and she hadn’t exactly received a glowing reference from her previous employer in Seattle. Not because she’d done a bad job, but because… well, first, it had been really stupid to sleep with her boss. Even though James “King” Taylor was the sexist man she’d ever met and made her heart palpitate so fast, she’d experienced hot flashes every time he was near. And even though she’d tried to keep it a strictly sexual relationship, avoiding any emotional or romantic entanglements between them.

And second, she’d been even more defiant with him than she was with other bosses. A part of her feeling he would give her more latitude. That when she defied him, he would at least try to understand her point of view and be a little sympathetic.

But that wasn’t King’s way. He knew what he wanted and he did not tolerate any variance whatsoever.

So she’d finally left. She sighed. Of course, she could have asked for a reference. Her pride hadn’t let her, but it might have saved her those two really tough, lean years.

Now she was just getting back on her feet, having paid off the money her parents had lent her, and even put a down payment on a small townhouse. A place of her very own, rather than living in that cramped apartment she’d rented before.

She didn’t want to go back.

But things didn’t look good. First, missing the meeting this morning. Then ignoring Mr. Baird when he’d summoned her to the Concord Hotel.

The cab pulled up to the hotel and she got out. After paying the driver, she glanced at her cell phone. Jay had texted her where she was to meet Mr. Baird. She walked to the Concierge desk.

“I’m looking for the Peacock meeting room.”

“That’s not a meeting room, that’s a suite, ma’am. It’s on the top floor. Are they expecting you?”

“Yes.”

“Very good. I’ll call up and let them know you’re here. Just take the elevator to the right rather than the central ones. Then turn left when you get off. You’ll see the double doors ahead of you.”

“Thank you.”

Was the whole executive up there in some posh suite while the employees were being treated like lambs sent to the slaughter?

She walked to the elevator and rode to the top floor. As promised, when she turned there were double doors ahead. Dark mahogany with brass door handles.

She knocked on one of the doors.

Mr. Baird opened it. He scowled, his bushy eyebrows slanted disapprovingly and his lips puckered under his equally bushy gray moustache.

“About time,” he grumbled. “Why didn’t you make the meeting this morning?” he demanded as he stepped back to let her in.

“I sent you an email. I was in a car accident.”

Her explanation did nothing to calm his expression.

“You should have found a way. It was important.”

She followed him into the suite. Sunlight filled the large, open space, streaming in the huge windows overlooking the city. There was a large sitting area with two couches and several chairs. Enough to sit at least ten people comfortably. She glanced around but no one else was in the room. There was a large dining table that could double as a meeting area, and a bar beyond.

He led her to the table and sat down. She sat across from him.

“Since you missed the meeting where the executive met the new owner, I had to arrange this special appointment so he could meet with you. That was awkward enough, but then when you refused to come, delaying several hours…” His mud-brown eyes locked on her. “Why do you always have to be such a pain in the ass?”

She pushed her shoulders back. “You don’t know what it was like there for the staff. They were—”

“I don’t give a shit about the staff. I called you, you should have come.”

“But that’s not really Ms. Clark’s way. Is it Rachel?”

Shivers danced down her spine at the sound of that voice. Smooth as silk but iron hard.

She turned to see the last man on earth she’d expected.

King Taylor stood in the doorway leading to a hall which she assumed lead to the bathroom. And probably a bedroom.

She rose to her feet, her stomach clenching.

God, if King was the one who’d bought Brenier Electronics, then she might as well walk out the door right now. He was never going to keep her on. Not after their history.

“You know Ms. Clark?” Mr. Baird asked in surprise.

“Yes,” King said as he strolled into the room. “She used to work for me.”

Baird’s gaze flickered to her, his bravado fading. Clearly, he didn’t know whether to be worried or not. If she was in King’s favor, he must worry that she would use her influence to make it worse for him.

He had nothing to worry about there.

“Baird, we have a lot to do. I suggest you get back to your management team and start things in motion. In the meantime, Ms. Clark and I will have a chat.”

“Of course, sir,” Mr. Baird blustered as he stood up and gathered his notes, then tucked them into his briefcase.

Rachel stood frozen as the man hurried across the suite and out the door.

Mr. King walked toward her and she felt heat wash through her. His broad shoulders and trim waist still filled out a designer suit magnificently. His dark glossy waves of hair, full and thick, framed his handsome face, accentuating his charcoal eyes that always intimidated her. Even when they’d slept together. Theirs had been a tumultuous affair, his blatant masculinity overwhelming her.

Not that he’d ever exerted any pressure on her. It was more like she’d practically thrown herself at him. It had been after a late dinner meeting, where they’d consumed a lot of wine and he’d been a gentleman, insisting he see her home. But as soon as he’d stood up to walk her to the door, fearing she’d lose the opportunity, she’d kissed him, made brave by the alcohol in her system.

He had let her down gently that night, later telling her he wouldn’t have taken advantage of her in that state. But the following Friday, he’d called her into his office at the end of the day and talked frankly to her. Telling her he wanted her every bit as much as she wanted him. And that had been the start of their clandestine office romance, both of them agreeing to keep their relationship a secret.

Now as he walked toward her, she couldn’t help but remember how it had felt to be in his arms. To feel his lips on hers, demanding, taking everything she was willing to give.

And his naked body against hers as they made love. She tried to push away the memory of how big his cock was, how good it felt sliding into her depths. Of how excruciatingly electrifying his lovemaking was, giving her the most spectacular orgasms she’d ever experienced.

And now he was walking toward her. Her body, recognizing him, flared to life, every cell quivering with need.

Was he going to touch her? Goose bumps danced along her skin.

Take her in his arms?

Kiss her?

But he walked past her and continued to the bar. He opened the ice bucket and placed ice into two glasses.

“Drink?” he asked as he poured himself some scotch.

“No, thank you.”

He poured water from a small bottle into the second glass and handed it to her, then walked back across the suite. “Join me.” He settled on one of the couches.

She sat on the couch across from him, clutching the icy glass in her hand.

He sipped his drink and his gaze locked on her. Then he frowned.

“Your head is bleeding.”

She swiped her hand over the band aid and felt moisture. It wasn’t bad, only a small smear on her fingertips.

“Yes, I was in a car accident this morning.” She shoved her hand in her jacket pocket in search of a tissue, but no luck.

“An accident? Then what the hell are you doing here?”

Her eyes widened. “I was under the impression I didn’t have a choice.”

“Rachel, you were hurt in a car accident. No one expects you to carry on as usual.”

“Mr. Baird does. Especially today.”

He stood up and moved to her side, pulling a handkerchief from his own pocket. He dabbed at her forehead.

“Did you have someone look at this?”

“My assistant looked at it when I got to the office.”

“I meant a medical professional.”

She didn’t like him being so close. Didn’t like reeling from the affect of his masculine presence.

“You look a bit woozy,” he said, concern lacing his eyes. “Let me get you to a doctor. You might have a concussion.”

She straightened her back, forcing herself not to lean away from him.

“No, I’m fine,” she insisted.

His expression was doubtful. “We need to have a discussion about what’s happening with the merger, but I’m not going to do it with you in this state.”

“I’m not in any kind of state, I—”

“Hush, I’m not going to argue with you.” He pressed his hand to her back and guided her to her feet. The feel of his fingers against her sent her totally off balance. He slid his arm around her waist and led her to the door.

She felt like an idiot. She could walk on her own. And she certainly didn’t need Mr. King Taylor, multi-billionaire and new owner of the company she worked for babysitting her by taking her to the hospital.

The elevator doors opened and he guided her inside.

“If Mr. Baird finds out I didn’t finish the meeting with you—”

“Don’t worry about Baird.”

His arm was still around her waist, and his body was too close for comfort.

She frowned. “You don’t have to see me downstairs.”

“I’m not just seeing you down, I’m taking you to the hospital.”

The doors opened.

“I can take a cab to the hospital,” she insisted as he walked her across the busy lobby. “You don’t need to come with me.”

“I’m not going to abandon you to a cab in your condition.”

A woman passing by turned around, her gaze dropping to Rachel’s stomach. God, the woman must think she was pregnant.

“I’m not in any condition,” Rachel growled between grated teeth.

“Stop fighting me. You know you’ll lose.”

She sighed, knowing he was right. So she allowed him to whisk her to the hospital in his private car, the driver dropping them at the emergency entrance. When King tried to get her to sit in a wheelchair at the entrance, she flatly refused.

He handled checking her in, filling out the paperwork, asking her questions when needed. Then they sat in the busy waiting room together. The women around them eyed her handsome companion, who clearly stood out in the crowd.

She was called in quickly and thank heavens they didn’t allow him to follow her in. A woman came into the examination room and introduced herself as Doctor Kregg. After she shone a light in Rachel’s eyes, asked a lot of questions, and checked her out thoroughly, including tending to the cut on her forehead, Dr. Kregg led her to an office. She sat down behind the desk and gestured for Rachel to sit in one of the chairs across from her.

A moment later, a nurse brought King in. Doctor Kregg stood up. She might be a doctor, but Rachel could see the feminine interest in her eyes as she gazed at King.

“Hello, I’m Doctor Kregg. You’re the one who brought in Ms. Clark?”

“Yes.” He shook the doctor’s hand. “I’m King Taylor.”

“Pleased to meet you.”

In fact, she seemed absolutely delighted.

But King’s gaze turned to Rachel as he sat down beside her, assessing, then back to the doctor.

“Is Rachel okay?”

Doctor Kregg had sat down again and resumed her business-like attitude.

“She might have a mild concussion—nothing to worry about—but I would suggest someone stay with her for the next day or so and keep an eye on her. There are a few things to watch for.” She slid a sheet of paper across the desk to him.

He scanned the page quickly, then turned it over and read the other side.

“Thank you, Doctor Kregg. I’ll make sure she’s taken care of.”

“Good.” She stood up again. “Bring her back if you have any concerns.”

Rachel was a little perturbed that everyone was talking as if she wasn’t even there, but she was also thrown off by the fact the doctor actually said she might have a concussion. That her brain might have been smooshed against her skull in a bruising blow.

The thought made her feel a little nauseous.

“Rachel, are you okay?”

At King’s sharp voice, she realized her eyelids had fluttered closed.

“Yes, I’m just…” She blinked, not quite sure what she’d been going to say.

He tucked his arm under her elbow and drew her to her feet, then slid his arm around her waist.

“Come on. I’m going to get you home.”

She’d felt perfectly fine before. Well, maybe a bit lightheaded during the morning in the office, and she’d had trouble figuring out what to say to people, but she’d put that down to the stressful situation. But maybe she did have a concussion.

She didn’t protest as King helped her to the doors, then guided her to the car waiting at the entrance. As they drove, she settled back in the comfy leather seat and let her eyes close.

“Rachel. Wake up.”

Her eyelids snapped open. King leaned in close, staring into her eyes.

“Do you know who I am?”

“What? Yes, of course. You’re King.”

“And what’s your name.”

She frowned. “Why are you asking—?”

“Just humor me, okay?”

Of course, he was checking that her brain wasn’t shutting down.

“I’m Rachel Clark and I live at…” she glanced out the window as the car stopped in front of the Concord Hotel. “Hey, this isn’t my townhouse.”

“Of course not. First of all, you didn’t give me your address before you fell asleep. And second, I’m not going to leave you on your own. Doctor Kregg said you need someone to keep an eye on you.”

“So you’re taking me up to your room?”

“I can’t think of a better solution.”

He guided her through the lobby again and up to his suite. She knew she should protest, but the truth was that she didn’t want to be left alone, and she didn’t have anyone she knew who could come and stay with her on short notice.

The double doors of his suite loomed ahead.

She couldn’t believe she was going to spend the night with Mr. Taylor. Even when they’d been having their affair, they’d only spent the night together once, when they were on a business trip together. Usually, they’d had sex on the couch in his office. Or his desk. Or the credenza. Or even against the wall.

God, she’d loved it when he’d taken her against the wall. It had been so passionate and raw.

His arm tightened around her waist and she realized she’d swayed, probably because she’d gotten a bit dizzy thinking about it. Or was it the concussion?

He opened the door and closed it behind them, then swept her up in his arms.

“What are you doing?” she asked as her arms went around his neck.

“I’m making sure you don’t fall and hit your head again.” He settled her on the sofa. “I’ll order some food. You must be hungry.”

She frowned. “This is very strange for me. You just bought the company I work for. You’re my boss’ boss’ boss.” There were definitely more layers of management in there. Like a shooting star, his success had carried him to the higher echelons. “But here you are babysitting me.”

“I’m more than just the man who bought your company. You and I have history.”

“I know but even then… when we were together… you were my boss. You never would have taken me home and looked out for me like this.”

“You don’t know that.”

The solemn look in his charcoal eyes set her wondering. Could he have wanted more back then? Had she been the one putting out the distance vibe?

He walked to the dining area and dialed room service, then after he’d placed the order, he filled a glass and placed it in front of her. It was a tumbler full of ice and amber liquid.

“I don’t really want a drink, thanks.”

“It’s just apple juice. Don’t worry, I’m not going to offer you liquor in your condition.”

“Not even a little wine with dinner?”

He smiled and sat across from her. “Not even.”

She sipped the juice. He seemed in a good mood.

“So you met with the executive today and Mr. Baird set up a special appointment for you to meet with me. May I ask what—?”

“No, you may not.”

“But—”

“I’m not going to start a conversation about work. It’s important not to stress you.”

Her head had started to ache anew.

“But not knowing what will happen is a big stress. If you just tell me…”

But the dark cloud shadowing his expression stopped her in her tracks. She was getting the distinct impressions that when he did talk to her about it, it was not going be good news.

“Mr. Taylor, I know that as your employee you considered me headstrong and a little difficult, but—”

“Rachel, I told you I won’t discuss it with you now, so stop pushing.”

“But—”

“Another word and I’ll put you in the bedroom and lock the door.”

She frowned. “That would be kidnapping.”

He chuckled. “I doubt you’d make the charge stick. So let’s just relax and spend a quiet evening together.”

* * *

King eyed Rachel as she sipped her juice again. He couldn’t help watching her full, pouty lips, glistening with juice as she put the glass down. When her pink tongue glided over those lips, his groin tightened.

Her long, chestnut hair was bound at the back of her head with a clip, all the ends neatly tucked in. It was longer than he remembered. Her hair had been too short to put up when they’d worked together, but he’d always told her how he’d love to see her with long hair.

Her eyes, green with specks of gold, remained fixed on her glass. He’d commanded her to be silent and she’d actually obeyed, as much a shock to her, he was sure, as it was to him.

Heat washed through him. He liked the feeling of her following his orders. But then, he’d always known he would.

When she’d called him Mr. Taylor, his heart had leapt. Of course, she always called him that in a professional setting…but here, when they were alone… His heart pounded. If she were to call him Sir, he’d probably burst at the seams.

As he gazed at her now, however, memories of the hot, sensual sessions they’d shared in his office had him longing to hold her in his arms. Longing to feel her naked body against him, her soft sensual murmurs whispering in his ear. To glide his cock deep onto her warm, welcoming body.

His cock swelled, but the band aid on her head reminded him she was in no condition to even walk straight, let alone have wild, savage sex like they used to.

An even deeper craving swelled through him… to do something he’d never done with Rachel. Something he’d yearned to with a force so strong he’d had to hold himself back with an iron fist.

To dominate her. Totally and completely.

But if he’d even tried, he’d been certain she would have run for the hills. Most of the time, she wouldn’t even do what he told her as her boss. Trying to command her as his lover… Well, that was doomed to fail.

She lifted her gaze from her glass briefly, then dropped it again when she found he was watching her. At her uncertainty… the slight confusion in her green eyes… protectiveness surged through him.

He loved the fact she needed him right now. Loved that she’d agreed to stay the night so he could watch over her.

The predatory male in him couldn’t resist her frailty. Not to take advantage of her, but to take care of her. To know she was his woman and he would protect her.

Even if only for one night.

A knock sounded at the door and he walked across the room to answer it. A waiter rolled in the cart of food and placed the covered platters on the table, along with the condiments, a basket of bread, and coffee service. He signed the check and the waiter left.

Before he could return to the couch, Rachel was on her feet. He strode to her side and slid his arm around her.

“I can walk on my own,”

He ignored her protest as he guided her to the table and pulled out her chair, then waited until she was settled before he sat down at the head of the table, kitty corner from her. He lifted the lids off the platters. He’d ordered both of them seafood pasta, which he knew she loved.

He smiled when he saw the way her eyes lit up at the sight of it.

He poured her a glass of water and watched her poke her fork into a fat scallop and raise it to her lips.

God, he’d missed her. She might be defiant and strong willed, but she was also sweet and feminine. And he knew that very defiance and strong-willed nature made him want to dominate her even more.

“It’s very good,” she said. “I love seafood.”

“I remember.”

“You do?” Her inquisitive look seemed incredulous.

Did she really think their relationship had been so superficial to him that he wouldn’t?

“That’s why I ordered it.”

“Oh… well, thank you.”

He ate a plump shrimp, the succulent flavor bursting in his mouth.

“I know you’ve been with Brenier Electronics for three years now. Where did you work before that?” he asked.

He risked her wanting to talk about the merger again, but he wanted to know how she’d been these past five years.

She stared at her plate, pushing around a shrimp. “After I gave you my notice, I moved to Granger Intel.”

“Yes, I remember. But I did some business with them a few months later and I heard you were no longer there.”

He had specifically asked. In fact, he’d insisted she be put on the consulting project they’d proposed to his company. He’d thought if he could spend more time working with her, maybe he could convince her to continue their relationship.

She toyed with her food a little more. “I… was self-employed for a while.”

“You left Granger Intel after three months to be self-employed?”

She bit her lip, a sure sign she was lying.

“Rachel, tell me what happened.”

She sighed. “They hired me because they’d bid a big project for the government, but the funding dried up and they didn’t continue after the first phase, so they laid off the entire team.”

“That’s unfortunate. Where did you go after that?”

“I… well, I said I was self-employed.”

Oh, fuck. “You couldn’t find anything, could you?” He knew how tight things had been. “How long were you out of work?”

She gazed at him, her sad eyes telling the story.

“The whole time until Brenier hired you?”

She nodded.

“I’m sorry. It must have been a tough time for you.” He shook his head. “Why didn’t you call me? I would have hired you back in a heart-beat.”

She shook her head. “I couldn’t. Not after I’d walked out like I did.”

His heart ached knowing the financial difficulties she must have faced. How being out of work like that must have shattered her confidence.

“But you’ve done well,” she said, pasting on a smile. “You’ve gone from being president of a medium sized company to CEO of a huge corporation in only five years.”

“I’m happy with my progress.”

“And Collier Industries is an even bigger entity now that you’ve bought Brenier Electronics.”

He sipped his water. “We’re not going to talk about it.”

He knew she was edging to talk about the merger.

He stood up and cleared away her empty plate, then poured her a coffee. He’d ordered decaf because the instructions the doctor had given him said to ensure she got lots of rest. She added sugar and cream. He picked up the two cups and carried them to the sitting area. She followed him into the room before he could go back to help her to the couch.

He knew he was being overprotective—she could walk on her own—but he didn’t want to take any chances.

He said nothing and sat down beside her on the couch. He pressed a button on the remote control sitting on the side table and the large television mounted to the wall came on. He selected a movie, some current romantic comedy he knew she’d probably like, and settled back in the couch.

She sipped her coffee and placed it on the table, then settled back, too. After twenty minutes, her head was drooping sideways. She was going to get a sore neck that way, so he slid his arm around her and drew her close to his body, her head resting against his chest.

She felt damned good there.

When he knew she was sound asleep, he scooped her up and carried her to the bedroom. As he laid her on the bed, he realized he shouldn’t leave her to sleep in her clothes. She wouldn’t sleep comfortably in a snug, straight skirt, a bra binding around her chest and garters pinching her thighs.

He smiled. She probably wasn’t actually wearing garters, but a guy could fantasize.

He unfastened the top button of her blouse. When his fingers moved to the second button, his gaze lingering on the newly exposed skin, just barely showing the swell of her breast, he hesitated.

What the hell was he doing? Once he got her blouse off, would he unfasten her bra next, exposing those beautiful breasts of hers? His cock swelled at the mere thought of seeing them again. Then would he strip off her skirt and take off that garter belt she might or might not be wearing?

And would he stop there, or would he peel away her panties and gaze at her sweet pussy? Would he be able to stop himself from touching her? From waking her up and seducing her?

He couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t be right. She was in his care right now and the one thing he seemed to need to protect her from the most was himself.

He squeezed her shoulder. “Rachel, wake up.”

She turned her head to the side, her soft breathing still slow and steady.

“Rachel,” he said a little louder.

“Hmmm?” She turned to him and her eyelids fluttered open. “What?”

“You fell asleep. And that’s good. You need to get a lot of sleep. But right now, you should change into something more comfortable.”

She glanced around the room. “Oh,” she said sleepily, “I don’t have anything here.”

He stood up and grabbed his pajamas from the dresser drawer and set the top on the bed beside her.

“Here, put this on.” He helped her sit up. “Do you want help?”

She shook her head. “I can manage.”

“Good. I’ll be back in five minutes to make sure you didn’t fall asleep in your clothes again. Okay?”

She nodded and he headed for the door. He timed exactly five minutes, afraid she’d just roll over and go to sleep again, but when he tapped on the door, she called for him to come in.

When he stepped inside, she was sitting on the bed wearing his silk pajama top. His gaze fell to her long, shapely legs, then to her shiny, chestnut hair cascading over her shoulders in soft waves. He longed to run his fingers through it.

While he’d waited, he’d changed into the pajama bottoms and it didn’t escape his notice that her gaze fell to his naked chest. He smiled as he saw heat flickering in her eyes.

“Good. Now get some sleep.”

“Where are you going to sleep?” she asked, looking a little nervous.

“Right here.”

He almost laughed at her widened eyes.

“But—”

He walked toward her and her eyes widened more, but he simply grabbed the extra throw on the end of the bed and walked to the fireplace.

“In the chair,” he said as he sank into the easy chair and rested his feet on the ottoman. “Good night.”

Then he turned off the light.

* * *

Rachel was intensely aware that King was sleeping only a few yards away. She didn’t think she could fall asleep knowing he was so close… afraid he’d climb into bed with her… Wishing he’d slide in beside her and wrap her in his big, protective arms.

God, she’d missed him.

But she was an idiot. She couldn’t start up with King Taylor again. He’d bought her company. He was surely going to fire her. Why wouldn’t he?

She’d always been a frustration to him. The sex between them had been great, and that’s probably the only reason he had put up with her. But if she’d stuck around long enough for that attraction to burn out…

She’d done both of them a favor by leaving when she had.

But that didn’t stop her from longing for him. From dreaming about him. Wishing she could experience even one more time in his arms.

Idiot.

She stared at the ceiling, trying not to think about their naked bodies entwined. The feel of his lips on her neck… gliding down her chest to her breast… his tongue gently nudging her nipple.

She rolled over. Too suddenly. Her head began to ache.

“Are you all right?” he asked in the darkness.

“Fine, thank you. Just rolling over.”

She closed her eyes, knowing she’d never fall asleep.

She drew in deep a breath. Relaxed her body. Felt her limbs grow heavy. Imagined the darkness cocooning her in a soft blanket of sleepiness…

* * *

“Rachel?”

Rachel started to wakefulness. It was dark and it had been a man’s voice saying her name.

“Who is it?” She wasn’t sure where she was. She could make out a shadowy shape in front of her as her eyes grew accustomed to the scant light in the room.

“Do you know who I am?” the voice asked.

“King?” Of course it was King’s deep, smooth-as-silk voice.

“What’s my last name?” he asked.

She frowned. “Taylor.”

“And what’s your name?”

“Why are you asking me my name?”

The bedside light turned on and King grasped her shoulders gently.

“You were in an accident and have a concussion. Do you remember?”

“A concussion?” The car accident. “Yes.”

“So answer the question.” His charcoal eyes were filled with concern. “What’s your name?”

“Rachel Clark,” she answered obediently.

“And where are you now?”

“I’m in your suite. At the Concord Hotel.”

In fact, she was in his bed. And he was sitting beside her, his broad, naked chest so intensely masculine she could barely stop herself from stroking it.

“Good girl.”

She liked him calling her that. She gazed at him, wishing he’d reach out and stroke her hair. Wishing he’d touch her.

Kiss her.

His eyes blazed with heat and for a moment she thought he might.

But he leaned back. “Now you can go back to sleep.”

Was he kidding?

He turned off the light and moved away in the darkness.

She lay back and closed her eyes again, her head aching with a dull thudding pain. But the sleepiness from her traumatized body overtook her and she drifted off again.

* * *

King settled back in the chair, but sleep didn’t come. The thought of Rachel in the bed only feet away… naked under the loose-fitting silk top…

Was the heat he’d seen in her green eyes actually there or just wishful thinking?

He watched her in the soft moonlight, struggling with his fully alert and aroused body as he tried to calm down and sleep. If only he could pump his cock to release, then maybe he could sleep, but he wouldn’t do that with her in the room.

He finally did doze off, only to be awakened by the sound of a woman whimpering. His head jerked up and he glanced toward the shadowy shape of Rachel’s reclining form in the darkness.

She tossed her head to one side, her body arching.

“Oh, King,” she moaned. “Ohhh…”

Fuck, she was having a sex dream. A wide smile claimed his face. About him.

He couldn’t help himself. He pushed aside the blanket and stood up, then walked toward her, his heart pounding.

Her soft moan thrummed through him, setting his body pulsing with need.

“Yes… Oh!” She sucked in a breath, then moaned again.

Fuck, was she actually going to orgasm?

He slid onto the bed beside her.

Could he really just lay here and watch her? He was mesmerized by her sweet face, so beautiful in her blissful state.

His hand fell to his cock, wrapping around the aching column as need throbbed through him. If she came, he wouldn’t be able to help himself.

Maybe he should just wake her up right now. She might be a little embarrassed, but he wouldn’t let her know he knew what she’d been dreaming.

He pulled his hand from his aching member and grasped her shoulder. “Rachel, wake up.”

She murmured a protest as he tried to pull her from sleep.

He moved close to her ear. “Rachel.”

Her eyes opened and the way she gazed at him, her eyes blazing with desire, took his breath away.

“King.” She smiled. “I was dreaming about you.”

“Were you?”

She nodded as she snuggled closer. She pressed her hand to his chest, her delicate fingers sending goose bumps across his skin.

“It was a very hot dream.”

Her hand glided across his chest, over his nipple—sending need spiking through him—then moved downward. He clamped his hand over hers as it approached his hard, aching cock.

“Rachel, do you know where we are?”

She glanced around. “We’re on a business trip together. In your room.”

“We don’t work together anymore. Remember?”

“We don’t?”

“No. You stopped working for me five years ago.”

Her eyes flickered back and forth in confusion.

“We had a meeting today, but you hurt your head, so I brought you back to my suite to keep an eye on you.”

Her eyes widened and she shook her head as things fell into place.

“You bought Brenier Electronics,” she whispered. Her eyes, still wide, but now filled with pain. “You’re going to fire me.”

His stomach tightened. He wanted to reassure her, but what could he say?

At his hesitation, she frowned. “I know. We can’t talk about it yet.”

His heart ached and he pulled her close to him.

* * *

A part of Rachel wanted to pull away and run. To get as far away from him as possible.

But his strong arms felt so good around her. So comforting and warm.

She couldn’t blame him for wanting to fire her. He had to do what he felt was best for his company. The fact she needed this job wasn’t his problem.

Damn, she didn’t want to think about any of that. In fact, with his solid body tight against her, she could barely think at all. Her body was already fully aroused from her dream. Blazing with need for him. She’d longed for him for the past five years, never really getting over him.

How could any man ever live up to King Taylor?

She let the worries slip away as she melted against him, letting the soothing feel of his arms around her calm her. The heat of his hard, muscular body triggered her arousal anew. Her breasts were pushed flat against him, the nipples aching.

In the dream, his hands had been all over her. His lips and mouth exploring her most intimate places. Then his big, thick cock had glided inside her, making her moan out loud.

Oh, God, had King heard her moaning in her sleep? Did he know she’d been dreaming of hot, primal sex with him?

She snuggled closer to his chest, realizing that right here, right now, she didn’t care. She slid her hand down his stomach again. Her fingers glided over his thick bulge before he managed to stop her this time.

He pulled her hand away, but… God… his cock was hard as iron.

He wanted her too!

She pressed her mouth to the base of his neck, feeling his pulse against her lips. She nuzzled, then kissed under his raspy chin, loving the feel of his stubble against her cheek, then under her lips. She dragged her teeth across it.

“Rachel…”

She wrapped her hands around his head, his silky hair gliding through her fingers, and drew him to her, then planted her mouth on his.

He drew away. “Rachel, we can’t…”

But she’d found his cock again, squeezing him gently, and he groaned.

“I want you, King,” she murmured.

He covered her hand, but didn’t pull it away, clearly struggling.

But when she stroked him, he grasped her wrist and drew her hand away.

She wouldn’t let that deter her. She wanted one more time with him. Wanted to feel his big body over hers.

In hers.

She sat up and unbuttoned the pajama top.

“Rachel, don’t…”

But then she dropped it from her shoulders, baring her breasts to him, and his charcoal eyes burned like hot embers. She took his hand and pressed it to her breast.

* * *

The feel of her firm breast cupped in his palm was too much for him. So soft and round. He wanted her… so badly it was excruciating to hold back. His cock throbbed with the need to be inside her.

But he couldn’t. She’d been hurt. She was vulnerable. He couldn’t take advantage of the situation for his own pleasure.

Seeing the need in her eyes, though, he knew he couldn’t just walk away. So he cupped her head and drew her in for another kiss. His tongue swept into her mouth, seeking the sweet warmth. Her tongue met his and the two danced together as he pulsed inside her. Then he drew her tongue inside him and suckled. She moaned softly.

He drew his mouth away and gazed into her eyes.

“I want you to make love to me,” she murmured, her eyes burning with need. “I want to feel you inside me.”

He shook his head as he stroked her hair back. “I won’t do that, sweetheart. It wouldn’t be right.”

Disappointment washed across her face, followed by determination. She wanted what she wanted.

But before she could take the lead, he pressed her back until she was lying down, her luscious breasts pointing at the ceiling. He gazed at them, a long, lingering perusal while she watched him avidly.

“But I will do this.” He pressed his mouth to her neck, loving the feel of her silky skin under his lips. He planted light butterfly kisses down her neck, feeling her body quivering beneath him.

He traveled up the swell of her breast until he found the luscious bud at the tip. He opened his mouth around it. The feel of her in his mouth, her nipple swollen like a small, sweet cherry, triggered a hunger in him so deep he didn’t know if he’d be able to hold back. His cock twitched painfully.

He suckled, drawing the small cherry deep, the pebbled flesh of her aureole against his lips.

She forked her fingers through his hair, pulling him tight to her. He suckled and licked her delightful nub until she was moaning softly. Her lips played against his head, her soft breath sending his hair fluttering. He lifted his head and captured her lips, deepening the kiss until she was pressed flat to the bed, his body over hers, his tongue deep in her mouth.

God damn, he wanted this woman.

He released her lips and captured her other nipple, then sucked in deep pulses.

“Oh, yes.”

He licked her, a heavy stroke with the flat of his tongue.

Then he asked, “What was it you called me earlier?”

“King?” She looked confused.

“No. When we were taking business.”

“You didn’t let me talk—”

He sucked hard on her nipple and her words stopped abruptly.

“The only other thing I called you,” she said breathlessly, “was Mr. Taylor.”

“Yes, that’s the one. Call me that now.”

“You’re kidding.”

He gazed at her, his eyes sizzling. “Do I look like I’m kidding?”

“Uh… No, Mr. Taylor.”

A slow smile spread across his face. “Good.”

He cupped her breast, her hard nub driving into his palm, then he slid his fingers underneath the soft flesh and stroked her cherry-top with his thumb.

“Oh, yes.”

He pressed his mouth to her ear. “Yes, who?” he whispered, squeezing her nipple between his fingertips.

She sucked in a breath. “Yes, Mr. Taylor.”

The move was designed to put a little distance between them, but the hotness level just rocketed up several degrees.

He cupped both her breasts, savoring their softness, then stroked one hand down her flat stomach. When he reached her panties, her breathing was erratic. He gazed at the tiny scrap of fabric and smiled.

“Such a small barrier to a luscious treasure.”

Then he tucked his fingers under the elastic and peeled them away. Now her pussy, so sweet and completely shaven, was exposed to him. He touched the outer flesh on one side, gazing at her in awe.

“Open your legs for me, sweetheart.”

Her thighs parted, exposing more of her folds. He touched the soft flesh—on the outside only—gliding his finger down one side, then up the other.

“Do you like me touching you like this?”

“Oh, yes.”

His laser gaze locked on her. “Yes, what?”

She drew in a breath, gazing at him as if he was someone totally different. But heat simmered in her eyes.

“Yes, Mr. Taylor.”

He smiled, despite the painful ache of his cock. Hearing her call him that was a powerful aphrodisiac. Not that he needed one with her splayed before him, ready and willing to give him anything he wanted.

He parted her folds with his thumbs and stared at the slickness glistening on the small petals inside.

“Damn but your pussy is so pretty.”

Then he touched the wet flesh with his fingertip. He stroked down, then up. She murmured softly. When he drew his finger away to look at it, it glistened with her juices. He couldn’t help himself. He put it in his mouth and sucked. The taste of her jolted his body to a hyper state of arousal. He had to use all the control he could muster to stop himself from climbing on top of her and sinking his hard, aching cock into her velvet depths.

Slowly, he eased his finger from his mouth, keeping tight control of his body. He parted her folds with his thumbs, then glided to the hiding place of the special little bud. He drew apart the flesh, exposing her clitoris. He stared at it so long—taking in the lovely sight of it—that she started to squirm.

“Do you want me to do something?” he asked, dragging his gaze from the small button to her face.

“Yes, please.”

At his frown, she added, “Mr. Taylor.”

He rewarded her with a small lick across her bud. Her eyelids fell closed and she moaned.

“What do you want me to do?” He loved this. Her calling him Mr. Taylor. Her doing what he told her. Without argument.

She licked her lips. “I want you to… uh… Mr. Taylor, would you please…”

He took pity on her and covered her clit with his mouth. She moaned as his tongue toyed with her, dabbing and licking. Then he suckled softly and her moan deepened.

“Oh, please, Mr. Taylor. I want to feel you inside me.”

At her request, he pressed his finger to her opening and slid inside. He knew it wasn’t what she really wanted, but it would have to do. He slid a second finger inside and stroked her velvet passage.

“Oh, yes, that feels so good, but please… I want your cock—”

* * *

Rachel’s request died on her lips as he suckled her clit again. His fingers started to pump inside her and she squeezed around them. His mouth moved on her bud… suckling… licking… squeezing…

She arched. Loving what he was doing. Wanting more.

Pleasure coiled inside her… tightening into a spring ready to release…

His fingers stroked deeper, moving in a steady rhythm. She sucked in air, riding a rising wave. She arched against him, his mouth tight to her, his tongue cajoling her. Bombarding her with delightful sensations.

She clung to his head, threading her fingers through his waves of hair, pulling him tighter.

He curled his fingers, stroking the walls of her canal, and she felt a surge of pleasure. He suckled her button as he continued to stroke inside. Her body seemed to swell into an expansive state of bliss. Flowing and ebbing to another level of consciousness. Euphoria washed through her. She sucked in a breath, then wailed loud and long as her body shuddered in orgasm.

Then she… gushed. Liquid flooded from her in a wash of heat.

Still she moaned in ecstasy.

Finally, she slumped back on the bed, drained, but excruciatingly happy.

Until she remembered the flood of liquid.

She stared at him, her cheeks burning with embarrassment.

“Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. I’ve never—”

But his face beamed as his lips captured hers.

“What are you sorry for? I’ve never seen a woman ejaculate like that before. It was amazing.” His broad smile lit his face. “My God, you are so fucking sexy.”

* * *

King led her to the shower, still pumped about what had just happened. God, seeing that liquid flood from her…feeling it flow around his fingers in a wash of heat… had been the biggest turn on of his life. And her passage, already velvety soft, had felt like pure heaven.

He turned on the water and when the temperature was right, guided her under the spray. He picked up the small bar of soap and rubbed it until his hands were foamy, then he stroked over her silky skin. Her breasts filled his palms as he caressed them, then he glided down her stomach and between her legs, washing away the remains of her slickness.

Her gaze never left his as he soaped her body. Then she pressed close, wrapping her arms around him and their lips met. Her tongue pressed into his mouth and swirled. He backed her up against the tile wall and only sheer strength of will stopped him from driving his achingly hard cock right into her.

“Mr. Taylor,” she said in a low seductive voice. “Did you know that your cock is swollen thick and long, and it’s as hard as marble?”

Her fingers wrapped around him and he couldn’t find the strength to pull her hand away. She stroked him and he groaned. Fuck, he was on a hair trigger right now.

When she moved it toward her pussy, though, he found the strength to step back. But her gaze locked on his.

“Let me do something about it,” she murmured.

“I’m not going to fuck you, Rachel.”

“Okay. Then let me do this.”

She sank to her knees in front of him and wrapped her hands around his thick shaft. Then her lips brushed his tip and he groaned.

She opened and took him inside, her lips gliding down his cock slowly. Her hands encircling him at the base.

Fuck, his cock was so warm and cozy in her care. Her hands tight around him. Her mouth moving deeper on him. Her cheeks hollowing as she sucked.

He forked his fingers through her long, glossy hair.

“I’m so close, baby. I—”

She sucked harder and he groaned. She gazed up at him, her green eyes wide. Then she slipped his cock from her lips.

Her fingers stroked his length as she said, “Come in my mouth, Mr. Taylor.”

“Fuck!”

Her mouth covered him just in time. He erupted deep into her throat, pleasure burning through him as he groaned his release. Her mouth moved on him. Pumping him. She drew out every last drop he had, until he was panting.

Then she drew her mouth slowly up his shaft. She slipped off the end, but held him in her hands, then licked his cockhead thoroughly. Then lapped at his shaft. Finally, she released his cock and stood up.

He tugged her against his body and captured her lips, driving his tongue deep. Wanting to be inside her so badly.

Fuck, why had he ever let her get away.

* * *

In the morning, Rachel woke up in King’s strong arms, her head resting against his solid chest. After their shower last night, he’d sat her down on the chair and stripped away the sheets, remaking the bed with spare sheets kept in the large bedroom closet. Then he’d ushered her back to bed and into his embrace.

He’d woken her up two more times during the night and asked her questions, ensuring she was cognizant.

She felt so cared for. She smiled and pressed her lips to his chest, kissing his satin flesh, stretched taut over the muscles beneath.

“Morning,” he said groggily.

“You must be tired. Having to wake me every few hours didn’t really allow you a good night’s sleep.”

He smiled warmly. “I’m fine.” He kissed the crown of her head, gave her a light squeeze, then rolled away. “I have pushed the timing, though. I’ll have to get a move on.”

She sat up and started to follow him, but he stared her down. “No. You stay there. I have to work today, but you don’t.”

Her heart stopped. “Is that because you’re giving me the day off? Or because I’m fired?”

His lips pulled tight and he returned to the bed and sat on the side. He stroked her hair.

“Sweetheart, you’ve been in a car accident. I just don’t want you worrying about anything right now. Just stay here and get better.”

But when he stood up and walked across the room, she wrapped the sheet around herself and got out of bed, too. He might be happy to walk around naked—and she appreciated the view of his sexy, tautly muscled body—but she needed the small barrier the cloth afforded her.

He headed into the bathroom and she pulled on her clothes. Then she went into the dining room and ordered breakfast. A few minutes later, he stepped out of the bedroom, freshly shaven and looking devastatingly handsome in a crisp, new suit.

“I told you to stay in bed.”

“I ordered breakfast,” she said, ignoring his frown at her defiance.

He glanced at his watch. “I doubt I’ll have time. Room service will take too long.”

A knock sounded at the door and she hurried to answer it. King raised an eyebrow as the waiter set the plates and coffee on the table.

“I asked them to put a rush on it,” she said.

He signed the check and the waiter left.

She lifted the cover off the plates and poured the coffee. “I ordered western omelets. You used to like those.”

“That’s perfect. Thank you.” He joined her at the table, sitting at the end just like last night.

They ate in silence. She wasn’t really sure what to say, but hoped that he would finally tell her whatever he had intended to say when he’d met with her yesterday. Finally, she couldn’t take it any longer.

“You have to talk to me sometime.”

He sipped his coffee, then glanced at her.

* * *

King’s chest compressed. He really didn’t want to have this conversation with her. It was going to be difficult, to say the least.

When he’d seen her name on the list of executives of his newest acquisition, he’d known he’d have a hard decision.

She was right. She had been difficult to work with. She’d so often second guessed his decisions, pushing him to reconsider. She always had a reason… based on streamlining a process, making a better work environment for the employees… always somehow improving things. He respected that.

What he didn’t like was that she didn’t trust his judgment. That she’d never seemed to realize that sometimes she just didn’t understand the big picture as well as he did.

At the same time, she’d been a delightful workplace affair.

Fuck, after last night, he knew she’d always been more than that to him. That’s why he’d tried to get her back on contract, and found she no longer worked for the company she’d moved to. He knew back then he should never have let her go.

But he couldn’t keep her on as an employee because he liked to have sex with her.

And he couldn’t have someone who worked for him who wouldn’t do exactly as he said, when he said it.

“We do need to talk.” Maybe he could figure something out. He didn’t know what, but—

His cell phone vibrated. He tugged it from his pocket and glanced at the text.

It was from Candace Danner, the one he’d charged with handling the details of the merger. He’d texted her yesterday, telling her he’d be unavailable until ten this morning, so he knew it had to be important for her to contact him sooner.

“Damn, I have to take this.” He dialed her number. “What is it?” he said when she answered.

“Sorry to bother you, Mr. Taylor, but the way Mr. Baird handled the layoffs yesterday was a total disaster. I’ve sent you an email detailing what went on. Some of the other executives of Brenier are screaming about it, blaming us…well, me. Demanding I be fired. I will, of course, tender my resignation if you feel I haven’t handled things appropriately, but right now all hell’s breaking loose and… It would help if you were here.”

“I’ll be right over. And Candace, don’t worry about this. It wasn’t your fault.”

“Thank you, sir.”

After he hung up, he opened his email and found the message from Candace. Fuck, Baird was an asshole. He remembered overhearing Rachel’s words yesterday when she was talking to Baird.

You don’t know what it was like there for the staff.

His answer was, I don’t give a shit about the staff.

That was certainly clear from this email. At the time, King had been focused on the fact Rachel was being her usual difficult self, but now he realized she was doing what any good executive would have done. She was standing with her staff in the trenches.

“Rachel, yesterday… the layoffs. How bad was it?”

Her eyes widened. Then her lips compressed. “It was awful. The way it was handled was just…” She shook her head. “The staff were all so frightened for their jobs.”

He noticed the sheen in her eyes.

“The phones kept ringing,” she continued. “Finally, they all huddled in the meeting room, waiting to see who would be next.”

“Fuck!” He jerked to his feet. “I have to go.”

“But wait. We were going to talk.”

He sucked in a deep breath, and released it. “I know. I’m really sorry.”

“But can’t you just tell me—”

“No, I can’t, Rachel, but we will have this discussion. I promise. I just have to deal with this first.”

Damn, was he being just as inconsiderate as Baird had been?

But it wasn’t simple. He needed more than a minute or two to talk to her. Anything less wouldn’t be fair to her. Even if he had to keep her on tenterhooks until then.

He grabbed his briefcase and strode toward the door.

“Just stay here and we’ll talk when I get back.”

* * *

Rachel stared at the door King had exited. She couldn’t believe he’d leave her hanging like this. He wanted her to just sit here and wait?

But it’s not like she didn’t understand. If he was going to fire her, at least he seemed to want to do it in person.

She finished her breakfast and sat back, then sipped her coffee. Well, she was not just going to sit here like an invalid waiting for him. Until she was actually fired, she still had a job to do.

She set down her cup and walked to the buffet, where King had moved her briefcase. She picked it up and headed out the door.

Twenty minutes later, she got off the bus and walked into the lobby of her office building, then stepped onto the elevator. It was eerily quiet when she got off at her floor, walking past empty cubicles to go to her office. The staff that were left worked quietly at their desks. No chatting or socializing in the coffee room. Everyone was hard at work.

Shell shocked.

Jay noticed her walk down the aisle and stood up, then followed her into her office.

“Good morning,” he said. “Any news from your meeting yesterday? Is the worst over?”

“I don’t know. I met the new owner, but when he found out about my car accident, he insisted I go to the hospital. He refused to talk business with me.”

“Well, that’s… nice.”

“It was great he was concerned, but it means I still know nothing about what’s happening. Even this morning…” Oops. She hadn’t meant to let that slip. Damn her less than functional brain.

“This morning? You met with him again or you spent the night with him?”

She and Jay had known each other long enough that he didn’t pull punches.

She sighed. “I know him. King Taylor. I used to work with him. He went to the hospital with me and when he found out I have a minor concussion—”

“A concussion? You should be at home.”

“A minor concussion. Anyway, the doctor wanted someone to keep an eye on me.”

“And so he stayed the night with you?” Jay grinned. “Well, it seems you’ll be fine.”

She wanted to curtail his knowing look with a protest, telling him there was nothing between her and King. But she wasn’t that good an actress.

“I wish you were right, but when he wouldn’t even ease my anxiety over breakfast by telling me I still have a job…” She shrugged. “I have a really bad feeling.”

“You’ll be fine. I’ll go get you a coffee and you’ll perk right up.”

Jay left her office. The mail room guy arrived a minute later and dropped her mail in her inbox. She sorted through it and found an envelope marked confidential. She opened the flap and pulled out the contents.

“Good Lord, you’ve gone white as a ghost.” Jay put her coffee cup on her desk.

She glanced up from the papers in front of her, her eyes growing bleary. “They’re termination papers. I’ve been let go.”

* * *

Rachel clinked her glass against Jay’s. Her second since they left for an early lunch. Not that they were really eating, other than a plate of nachos. Jay hadn’t been fired… yet. But they both assumed it was coming. Jay had overheard that whatever executive they fired, they let the assistant go, too.

“I’m sorry you’re out of a job, Jay.”

He shook his head as he chewed the cherry from his drink. “Don’t be. You’ll get a new job and hire me back.”

She poked her straw in the slushy, colorful drink. “That’s not so easy. It took me two years to find this one.”

Jay rested his hand on her sleeve. “Don’t talk that way. You’ll find something great. By this time next month, you’ll be on top of the world.”

“Rachel. What the hell are you doing here?”

She glanced up to see King scowling down at her.

“I’m having a celebratory drink.”

Jay removed his hand from her arm and stared up at the large, intimidating man standing beside their table.

“Oh, Jay, this is James Taylor. But he goes by King. Or Mr. Taylor to those of us who work for him.” Then she smiled. “But then, we don’t anymore. Or at least, I don’t. So I’ll call him King and you call him Mr. Taylor. Okay?”

King’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean you don’t work for me anymore?”

She tugged the envelope from her purse and waved it in the air. “It’s okay, King. You don’t have to pussyfoot around anymore. I got my termination papers. I’m officially fired.”

She sipped her drink again.

Jay sat silently watching the two of them.

“I want you to come with me, Ms. Clark.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh, Ms. Clark.” She gazed at Jay. “I’d think I was in trouble, but…” She waved the envelope again. “Already fired.”

“Rachel,” King’s voice was a deep rumble, brooking no defiance. “Come with me.”

She found herself rising to her feet. “But Jay…”

“It’s okay,” Jay said. “It’s time for me to go back to the office anyway.”

Because he still had a job. For now. And maybe if she appeased King, she could talk him into finding a position for Jay.

She nodded and followed King from the restaurant to his car, which was waiting by the curb.

“I told you to stay in the suite,” he said as soon as they were both settled in the back seat.

The driver pulled away from the curb into the city traffic.

“I wasn’t going to sit in your suite like an invalid. Waiting around all day. I had a job to go to.”

“No job is more important than your health.”

“Easy to say from someone who doesn’t have to worry about a job.”

They arrived at the hotel and he escorted her to the suite.

“Why did you bring me here? I don’t work for you anymore and you’re not responsible for watching over me.”

He gestured for her to sit down. She sat on one of the armchairs and he sat across from her.

“Those termination papers… they’re not what you think.”

Her eyebrow arched. “I haven’t been let go?”

“Your employment with Brenier Electronics has been terminated.”

She already knew it, but something in her had held out hope when King had walked into the restaurant to find her that it had just been a mistake.

“But if you’d waited here for me to return, I would have told you that everyone is being terminated. The executives were sent their termination papers today and the employees will get theirs a little later, once things settle down and they can be informed about the details. After that, we’ll be offering new contracts for Collier Industries. It’s a paperwork thing. It’s easier this way because of benefits and to ensure everyone is working under the same pay scale, and so on. And for the record, Collier’s rate of pay is higher than Brenier’s, so most people will be getting a raise.”

“So all of us are being hired back?”

His lips compressed. “No, not everyone. Not all of the executives will be offered positions. They will be given a fair compensation for their years with Brenier, however.”

“And me? Am I one of those going or staying?”

As soon as the words were out, she felt every muscle in her body stiffen as she waited for his reply.

But the distress in his somber eyes sent a clear message even before he opened his mouth.

“Rachel…”

She shot to her feet. “Okay, well, there you have it. I understand. Thanks for breaking it to me gently. Now that’s done, I’ll be on my way.”

“Rachel, sit down.”

She shook her head. “Why? What’s the point?”

“Do you see what you’re doing right now? You never do as you’re told. You always make everything so difficult.”

She frowned. “I’m sorry if my getting fired makes things difficult for you.”

She hated the sour tone of her words. Almost petulant. But her feelings were a little too raw right now.

“Rachel, sit.”

At his authoritative tone, she sank back into the chair without a thought.

“That’s better.” He leaned forward. “Look, I would love to keep you on, but you know the two of us don’t mesh well in the office. I need someone who is going to follow my instructions. Who’s not going to argue or push back all the time. I’m sorry this leaves you without a job, but I’ve arranged a very generous severance package. It’ll give you a good six months of income and benefits, allowing you lots of time to find another job.”

“Are you kidding? Have you seen the job market? With no recommendations…the black mark of being laid off… I was out of work for two years last time.”

Oh, God, she couldn’t believe she’d said those things out loud. She didn’t want him to feel sorry for her and, damn it, he’d already indicated that he’d given her preferential treatment.

“I’ll up it to a year, then if you still don’t have a job, let me know and we’ll figure something out.”

She glared at him, angry despite the fact he was being so generous. Or maybe because of it.

“I don’t want your charity. I want a job.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

She blinked. Staring at his sympathetic, but uncompromising expression.

Her heart compressed. Oh, God, it was just starting to really sink in. She’d been guessing all along that she’d be fired. Had read it in the fact King hadn’t just reassured her. But even when she’d gotten the termination papers, it hadn’t quite hit home. She’d still held out hope that maybe… that the fact that King still seemed to care about her…

But it hadn’t been caring, had it? Maybe on a superficial level. He was a good man and cared about people. He wouldn’t just let her wander away on her own with a concussion.

And the sex… Well, that’s all it had been between them. Sex.

But now. She knew her job was gone.

Tears welled and she blinked them back, determined not to let them fall.

“I thought I was good at my job.”

“You are. You’re a wonderful asset. You just don’t fit my management style.”

“I don’t do exactly what you tell me.” She frowned. “But… what if I did?”

“If you did what?”

“If I promised I would do exactly what you tell me. Without question.” She locked gazes with him. “Every time.”

“No matter what? Even if you disagree?”

She nodded.

He shook his head. “You wouldn’t be able to do it.”

“Try me. At least give me a chance.”

“I’m not going to offer you a contract with Collier Industries on the off chance this might work. Especially when I don’t believe it.”

“Okay, then give me a different trial. Let me work as your assistant for a week. No pay. Just to give me a chance to prove that I can do it.”

* * *

King watched Rachel’s expression. She’d gone from near tears to total determination.

Her proposal that she would follow his commands to the letter was a non-starter. She couldn’t do it, no matter how much she tried. It wasn’t in her nature.

“I’m not going to let you work for no pay,” he said. “And how would it look, you an executive being demoted to my assistant? If I did re-hire you after that, no one would take you seriously.”

Distress filled her pretty green eyes. “You’re right, that was a bad idea. But please, King. Give me some way to prove to you that I can do it.”

All his protective instincts came out full force.

He didn’t want to hurt her. And firing her would hurt her beyond measure. He could see that. Her confidence in herself would be shattered.

But keeping her in a position that just wouldn’t work… that wasn’t helping her. And firing her later would be even worse.

It was too bad, because he wanted strong executives who could stand firm and make their own decisions. But she carried it too far. She had to learn how to bend. She had to learn how to take orders.

She stared at him, her big green eyes pleading.

Beautiful eyes that had gazed at him with passion and desire last night.

Memories of her in his arms… of her calling him Mr. Taylor and obeying his commands…

Fuck, was that the answer? He’d always assumed she would bolt if he ever even suggested he dominate her in the bedroom, but last night she had actually fallen into step. Having her follow his commands without question had been wildly exciting.

What she needed was to be trained as a sub. To learn to follow commands without even thinking about it. To trust the one commanding her.

Clearly, they’d never developed that kind of trust and that’s what hurt the most.

But now she had to prove herself, so maybe that was the answer.

“I have an idea, but I doubt you’ll go for it.”

Hope lit in her eyes. “I will. I’ll do anything to prove to you that I can follow your orders.”

He smiled. “Good. What I’m proposing is that you become my sex slave for a weekend. You’ll stay with me 24/7.  You’ll do everything I tell you without hesitation. If you do that, then we’ll see.”

“I… uh…”

“I thought so.” He stood up.

Panic flashed across her eyes. “No, wait. I’ll do it.”

* * *

To Rachel’s relief, King sat down again. She’d feared she’d blown her last chance.

It was unorthodox, and the whole idea of surrendering to him as his sex slave was a little scary… but also wildly sexy.

“You understand there’s no guarantee,” he said.

She bit her lip, then nodded. “No guarantee. I understand. But may I ask one favor?”

His eyebrow arched. “You can ask.”

“If I do this, no matter whether I succeed or fail, would you promise that my assistant Jay is hired?”

She could be risking everything just by asking, but she had promised Jay she’d do everything she could.

“He excels at his job,” she continued. “You can ask any of the executives. Many of them have tried to lure him away from me.”

He frowned. “I think you should concentrate on your own situation right now.”

“But if I do everything you say? No questions asked?”

He sighed. “It's not that simple. There are nuances to this kind of thing. I can’t give you absolutes. Sometimes a sub will push limits knowing there’ll be consequences.”

Consequences? Was he talking punishment?

She knew he would never do anything to hurt her. Even if he bound and gagged her, she could totally trust him. In fact, she was sure everything he did in the bedroom—including ordering her about—would result in amazing pleasure for them both.

“A sub has subtle ways of showing her Dom where her limits are,” he continued. “I’ll push you hard and there’ll be things you’ll need to decide if you’re okay with. And you’ll need to decide how to communicate those things to me. You have to do that all without dropping out of your role as slave. All of that will factor into whether I think your new attitude is working, and if it is, if it’ll translate back to the office.”

“It sounds complicated. Are you sure I can’t just blindly follow your commands?”

He chuckled. “No, I’m not. That’s why we’re doing this.”

“I meant—”

“I know what you meant. I’m just teasing. Don’t worry. Just do your best and stay focused on the fact that no matter what happens, you’ve ensured your assistant has a long and happy future with Collier Industries.”

That little ray of sunshine took the edge off her anxiety.

She nodded. “Thank you.”

* * *

Two days later, on Friday, Rachel arrived at the door of King’s huge vacation house about an hour outside the city. His driver had taken her home after King made the proposal and picked her up again today. Although King lived in Seattle, he had a vacation home near San Diego.

During the whole trip, she’d been anxiously fretting over exactly what King would require of her. He’d said he would push her hard and she believed him. But she could survive anything for one weekend.

As apprehensive as she was, however, for the past two nights she’d been dreaming of being with King. Sometimes kneeling in front of him with his big cock in her mouth. Sometimes bound and gagged with him pounding that hard cock into her.

She couldn’t believe how arousing this whole situation was.

The driver opened the door and carried her luggage inside. She glanced around in awe at the huge foyer, a glittering crystal chandelier hanging two stories above her. A spiral staircase led to a second floor, complete with a loft overlooking the living room beyond. The floor of the foyer was gleaming black marble and the rooms beyond had cherry-brown hardwood floors, but despite the dark colors, the house was filled with sunlight beaming through the skylights.

“Just go through that way, ma’am,” the driver said, pointing down a hallway. “Mr. Taylor is waiting for you in the kitchen. I’ll take the bags upstairs.”

“Thank you,” she said, then walked down the hall. Her stomach clenched, uncertain what to expect.

She walked through an arched doorway into a large kitchen with a six burner stove, an oven built into the wall, a wine fridge and various fancy appliances sitting on the black granite countertop. A delicious aroma greeted her and she breathed it in.

“Hello, Rachel.”

King stood up from the table by a window looking out over a lovely backyard beautifully landscaped with exotic flowering plants, lush greenery, and even a stream with a small bridge. Off to the side was a swimming pool designed to blend in with the natural setting, including a waterfall flowing over large rocks.

“You have a lovely home,” she said.

“Thank you. Come and sit down.”

She walked to the table and sat down.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes. You told me not to eat before I came here.”

“That’s right. Very good.” He walked to the stove and spooned some noodles onto two dinner plates, then scooped something from another pot and poured it on top of the noodles.

“May I help you?” she asked, standing up.

His gaze locked on her. “I said sit.”

She dropped back into her seat. “But I…”

Damn. She stopped herself before she said that she only wanted to help, because he’d probably consider that arguing.

“Of course,” she said. “Whatever you say.”

He nodded, then continued serving dinner, placing the plate in front of her, then a serving bowl with asparagus wrapped in bacon and a basket of freshly baked rolls. He sat down across from her.

As she gazed at the lovely meal, she pushed her hair behind her ear. He had told her to leave it loose and flowing.

“Pour us some wine,” he said.

She picked up the bottle of red wine that was already open and poured some into the two stemmed glasses sitting by their plates.

He started to eat and she wondered if she was supposed to wait or not. After a moment, she reached for her fork. He shot her a sharp glance and she drew her hand away. She waited several more minutes, her stomach rumbling.

Was this a test? Was she supposed to do something?

Finally, when he was almost halfway done, her hunger got the better of her.

“May I start eating yet?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you.” She didn’t know why she said it, but it just seemed appropriate.

“How should I address you?” she asked. “Should I call you Mr. Taylor?”

He’d had her call him that during their night together. And it had been sexy.

“Or Sir?”

“No.” He sipped his wine, his charcoal gaze playing over her face, gauging her reaction. “Call me Master.”

The fine hairs on the back of her neck bristled to attention. She would never willingly call a man Master.

Ordinarily.

But this was a special circumstance and she’d do whatever he instructed her to do. She knew it. And he knew it.

“Yes, Master.”

Oh, God, a little thrill raced through her. She couldn’t really be excited by calling him Master. But the shocking truth was she could feel the start of a melting slickness between her legs.

She pushed her fork through one of the small strips of beef and a few noodles and put them in her mouth. The delightful taste made her mouth water for more. She was so hungry she ate quickly, but not fast enough to catch up to him by the time he finished his plate.

“Take the plates to the sink,” he commanded.

“But I’m not—”

At his censuring stare, she stopped short.

“Yes, Master.” She stood up and stacked her half-eaten meal on top of his empty plate and carried them to the counter beside the sink, longing to steal a few more bites.

“Just leave them there and return to the table.”

She returned and hesitated, wondering if she should sit or not.

“Sit down and drink your wine.”

She sat down and sipped the glass, which had been half full but he’d refilled it.

He watched her expectantly, downing his.

She sipped again, then again, until the glass was only half full. She stopped and took a deep breath. But his steely gaze remained on her.

“May I stop now?” she asked.

“No. Finish your glass.”

While she took another sip, he poured himself another glass and she was afraid he’d refill hers, too.

But he didn’t.

When he sipped his wine leisurely, she relaxed. So he didn’t expect her to gulp it down.

She wanted to ask what he had planned for the evening, but a slave wouldn’t question things like that, she assumed.

Finally, she tipped her glass back, finishing the last of her wine, and set it down on the table.

“Would you like another?” he asked.

“No. Thank you, Master.”

He smiled. “Okay.” He stood up. “Come with me.”

She followed him out the door of the kitchen and down a hallway.

He opened a door and led her into a large room. It could be straight from the Fifty Shades movie, complete with floggers on the wall. She halted, a tremor quivering through her.

Was he going to beat her?

He opened a drawer and pulled out something black leather. He handed it to her and she realized it was a bra and panties. Or rather, a thong.

“Put that on.”

He sat down in a large, burgundy leather armchair watching her.

She glanced around. “Is there somewhere for me to change?”

“Right there is fine.”

She pursed her lips, then set the leather lingerie on a narrow, padded wooden bench beside her. Then she unbuttoned her blouse.

His gaze followed her fingers as she released each button, revealing more and more of her skin. She slipped the blouse from her shoulders, then unfastened and pushed down her skirt. It fell to the floor around her ankles and she stepped out of it. She reached behind her and unhooked her bra, then self-consciously dropped the straps off her shoulders and peeled it from her body. His gaze locked on her naked breasts as her nipples swelled from the cool air… and his frank male attention.

She drew in a deep breath, then quickly pushed down her panties, before she lost her nerve.

It’s not like he hadn’t seen her naked before, but not often. Usually when they’d had sex at work, they’d unfastened their clothes, but not shed them completely. When they had gotten naked, including in the shower in his suite the last time they were together, she’d felt a bit uncomfortable.

Now she was standing before him, totally nude. And he was taking in every inch of her.

She quickly picked up the leather thong and pulled it on. Then she slid her arms through the straps of the bra and tucked her breasts into the leather cups. Try as she might, though, she couldn’t get it fastened behind her.

“Come here. I’ll do it.”

She walked to him and turned around, intensely aware of the fact that her ass was totally exposed in the leather thong.

He scooped her long hair to one side, then his fingers played across her back, sending tingles through her body. The bra tightened around her.

“Turn around. Let me look at you.”

She turned and stood before him, so close her knees almost brushed his. Would he tell her to kneel in front of him and pull out his thick cock? She could see it straining against his pants.

He ran his hands down her sides, his fingertips gliding over her ribs. Goose bumps danced across her flesh. His hands slid over her hips and over her naked behind. He cupped, squeezing a little. Then he pulled her closer. His knees widened and her legs were cradled between his muscular thighs. Her breasts were just below his eye level and he stared at them.

He ran his finger over the swell of one breast, trailing lightly over the leather. Then in a sudden movement, his hand jerked downward. A tearing sound split the air and cool air surrounded her breast. The leather had been attached with Velcro and he’d torn it away.

He leaned forward and his lips brushed her hard nipple. Then he licked it. She couldn’t help arching forward.

He tore off the other cup and leaned back to stare at her naked breasts, the nipples peaking forward.

“Touch them.”

“What?” She wasn’t sure what he meant.

“Touch your nipples. Toy with them. Make them harder.”

Heat flashed across her cheeks and chest as she thought about touching herself in front of him, but she obeyed. She stroked the nubs, then squeezed them lightly between her fingertips.

“Very good. Now kneel down in front of me and sit back on your heels.”

She stepped back and lowered to her knees, then rested her bare ass on her heels, as instructed.

“Legs wide.”

She opened her thighs, exposing the leather crotch of her panties.

“Now rip off the leather covering your pussy, just like I did on your bra.”

She shivered at the thought of her private place bared to him like that. But she reached down and found the edge of the leather and tugged it away. The ripping sound of the Velcro seemed to echo through the room.

His hot gaze on her naked folds sent heat thrumming through her. She was uneasy yet intensely aroused.

Here she was almost totally naked, yet he was still fully clothed. She felt vulnerable and exposed.

She couldn’t believe she liked the feeling so much.

“Touch your pussy.”

Her cheeks burned, but she pressed her fingers to her flesh. It was slick and hot.

“Are you wet?”

“Um… yes.”

“How do you address me?”

“Yes, Master.”

His sexy smile almost melted her on the spot.

“Finger yourself. I want you to make yourself so dripping wet that my thick cock will slide right in with no effort at all.”

Her hand trembled as she moved her fingers over her moist flesh. No one had ever watched her masturbate before and it was a strange feeling. Embarrassing.

But as she watched his charcoal eyes flare to burning embers, her excitement grew. He liked watching her. That was clear. It was turning him on.

She pushed her fingers deeper inside, stroking her passage.

“Touch your clit, too.”

She brought her other hand to her pussy and found the little button hidden in the folds. She ran her fingertip over it and pleasure jolted through her.

“Do you like that?” he asked, his voice husky.

“Yes, Master.”

* * *

Fuck, King could barely stand it any longer. His cock ached at the sight of her fingers pushing in and out of her tight pussy, her other finger fondling her clit.

He hadn’t fucked this woman in five years and he thought he’d die if he didn’t drive his cock deep inside her melting heat right now.

He stood up and unzipped his pants, then dropped them to the floor. He stepped toward her, pulling his cock from his boxers, then brushed it against her cheek. She turned toward it and licked the tip, then opened her mouth. The feel of her warm tongue rasping over him was like lightning jolting through him.

He pressed into her warm mouth, filling it with his cockhead. She suckled, driving him wild with need. He pushed further in. Slowly. Letting her grow accustomed to his thickness. She pushed forward, taking him deeper than he expected.

He drew back, then glided deep again. He cast his gaze down, but couldn’t tell if she was still stimulating her pussy.

“Are you still touching yourself? Making yourself wetter?”

Her gaze turned up to his and she nodded.

“Good.”

His voice sounded calm—a testament to his self-control—but tension vibrated through him. He needed to drive his cock inside that wet pussy soon.

She squeezed his cock as he glided into her mouth again.

Her breathing was accelerating and he could tell she was bringing herself close to orgasm.

“Stop touching your pussy and stroke my balls.”

Disappointment flickered in her eyes, but then he felt her slick fingers stroke his testicles.

Fuck, it felt amazing.

He drew back, gliding his cock from her mouth.

“Suck them.”

Her green eyes turned upward, meeting his gaze. She looked so sweet and innocent. Which made the feel of her fingers stroking his balls intensely more exciting. She leaned forward and licked his balls, then drew one in her mouth. It was so warm and melting hot there as she suckled him softly, he moaned.

He couldn’t stand it any longer. He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to her feet. In two strides, he walked her backward to the wall and crushed her against it with his body. He ran his hand down her belly, then glided his fingers over her dripping pussy. Fuck, he had to be inside her.

He wrapped his hand around his cock and pressed it to her opening, then drove inside. She gasped, his body crushing her against the wall, his big cock fully embedded in her.

“Do you like my big cock inside you, slave?”

“Yes, Master,” she whimpered.

“How much?”

“I… I think I’d die if you pulled it out.”

“Why?”

“It’s so big and thick. It’s stretching me so much I feel like I’m splitting in two.”

He loved hearing her talk about his cock inside her.

“What else?”

“It’s so long I feel—”

He drew back and thrust deep.

“Yes?” he demanded.

“I feel like it’s reaching into my soul.”

He thrust harder.

God, she was so wet and warm around him. Her passage so welcoming.

He was going to come fast and hard. Any minute. But he wanted her right there with him.

He leaned in close and murmured against her ear, “I want you to come.”

He thrust deep.

“Oh, yes,” she murmured.

He could feel her body quiver in his arms.

“Are you close, baby?”

She nodded.

“Tell me,” he insisted. He wanted to hear her voice.

“Yes, Master.” Her voice quivered with need.

He drove in harder and she moaned.

“Ah, fuck, baby. I can’t hold back any longer.”

He drove deep again, feeling the burn coil in his belly. One more thrust and…

He groaned as pleasure blasted through him, his cock erupting inside her like an angry volcano.

Her passage tightened around him and she shuddered as she clutched his shoulders. Her moan filled the room, rising with each thrust as he continued to pound into her. Her moan turned to a wail, then a shrill cry. He kept going, riding her until her voice gave out and she was gasping for air.

* * *

As soon as King’s cock erupted inside her, Rachel catapulted to ecstasy. He rode her, thrusting hard and fast until she could barely stand. But she rode the wave of pleasure until it finally crested, then slowly faded to a glowing ember of delight.

She fell back against the wall, panting.

His gaze fell to hers and she saw something poignant in his gleaming eyes.

“Thank you, Master,” she murmured.

His eyes blazed with heat and he captured her lips, his tongue driving deep. Consuming her.

“You are a fucking hot slave. I wish I’d known five years ago that you were a natural sub.”

His words confused her, but before she could ask what he meant, he kissed her again, driving all thoughts from her head. He swept her into his arms and carried her from the room, down the hallway, then up the stairs. Soon he had her tucked into his bed, his arms around her, trapped in the delight of his embrace.

* * *

Rachel woke up in the darkness, her stomach rumbling. King had rolled onto his back and was breathing deeply. She watched his big, muscular chest rise and fall in the moonlight.

Her stomach rumbled again and she remembered that she hadn’t finished her dinner. King had stopped her halfway through.

She slid quietly from the bed and found a robe in King’s closet, then slipped from the room. Once in the kitchen, she found her plate on the counter. She picked up a piece of the cold beef and nibbled it. Even cold, it was still delicious. She ate a few more pieces, then turned to the large bowl of fruit on the island and picked up a banana. Once she finished that, she decided to clean up a little.

As she washed the dishes, she thought about the wild, intense sex she and King had shared earlier. She’d thought they’d had intense lovemaking five years ago, but that was nothing compared to the savage, primal sex of a few hours ago.

Was it because she acted as his slave, drawing out more of his potent, masculine sexuality?

“You didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to do the dishes.”

She turned, startled by King’s voice.

He stood leaning against the door jamb, wearing only boxers, the sight of his sculpted chest and arms leaving her weak in the knees.

“I’m sorry… uh… Master.”

He smiled and shook his head. “Don’t worry. Consider this a time out.”

He walked to the cupboard and retrieved a glass, then filled it from the water dispenser in the front of the fridge.

He leaned back against the counter. “I’m curious how you’re feeling about all of this.”

She placed the last dish in the drainer, then dried her hands, using the time to consider.

Finally, she turned to him.

“I don’t know what you want me to say. What we shared was amazing.”

“I agree. But what about the role you played. I was surprised that you were so willing to call me Master.”

Her gaze dropped as her cheeks heated. “I really have no choice. It’s part of our deal.”

“You always have a choice.”

“If I’m willing to suffer the consequences,” she practically snapped. Then covered her mouth with her hand.

Oh, God, she was going to ruin everything. That was exactly the kind of behavior he hated from her.

“I’m sorry, King… I mean, Mr. Taylor.” Her fingers balled into fists. “Oh, God, I don’t even know what to call you.”

He walked toward her, his charcoal eyes unreadable, and suddenly she found herself in his arms, his mouth meshed with hers. The kiss was firm and giving, his arms around her comforting.

“Don’t stress, sweetheart. You can call me anything you want while we’re between roles. And during our role-playing, you know what to call me.” He kissed her again, a light brush of lips this time. “And don’t worry. You’re doing fine. In fact, I’m very impressed.”

* * *

As Rachel lay in King’s arms, she thought about his words.

I wish I’d known five years ago that you were a natural sub.

She pushed aside the concept that allowing herself to be slave to a man was a part of her nature but wondered if this is what King needed from a woman to be fully engaged in a relationship. He’d always been so distant back then, but if she’d been amenable to being dominated by him, then maybe they would have had a chance together.

A part of her wondered if they might have a chance now. The reason she’d agreed to this was to keep her job, but if she could have a chance at a relationship with him, too…

She drew in a deep breath. That was more than she could have possibly dreamed. But would she have to give up herself in the process? Become something totally foreign to her?

But in their past relationship, King hadn’t even tried to dominate her. Was that because he didn’t care? Or because he didn’t think she’d go for it?

The latter was a reasonable assumption. But she wished he had tried.

And equally, she was glad he hadn’t because, on some level, being so eager to submit to him scared the hell out of her.

“Rise and shine, sleepy slave. It’s time for you to serve me again.”

The drapes opened, spilling bright sunshine across her face. She covered her eyes with her arm, wanting a bit more sleep.

“I want you out of bed right now.”

His tone had her rolling off the side of the bed and standing up immediately. The approval gleaming in his eyes at her quick obedience sent satisfaction humming through her.

Last night had been compelling and sexy. She would never have believed she could enjoy obeying a man so completely, putting aside her own wants and needs. Yet those needs being met beyond her wildest expectations.

Is that what he’d meant about her being a natural sub?

She didn’t know or care right now. She was standing naked in front of him and all she could think about was how she wanted to feel his cock inside her again.

Right now.

She didn’t know if she was allowed to ask for something, but her need was so great, she was willing to risk it.

So she walked closer to him and knelt down on the floor in front of him.

“Please, Master. I want to serve you. But may I humbly ask a favor?”

He frowned. “What is it?”

“I want to suck your huge cock until it’s solid as a rock. Then I want you to fuck me so hard, I scream your name.”

A slow smile spread across his face. “Really?”

“Yes. Oh, please, Master.”

He dropped his pajama bottoms and stepped closer.

She wrapped her hand around his thick member. It was already growing with need and it pulsed in her hand. She slid it between her lips, the head filling her mouth. As she pulled him deeper inside, one hand wrapped firmly around his shaft, she tucked the other under his balls and cradled them in her palm.

She rocked her head forward and back, gliding over his hard flesh. Then she slipped off and held his shaft flat to his stomach while she licked his balls, lapping over them again and again. Then she drew one into her mouth. He groaned. As she drew the second inside, suckling and squeezing them together, he stroked her hair from her face.

“Fuck, baby. That feels so good.”

Satisfaction wafted through her at his words.

She licked his balls then released them from her mouth and pulled his cock down again. She took him deep this time, nearly gagging. Then she glided forward and back.

“Stand up,” he commanded.

She rose immediately.

“Turn around and lean over the bed.”

She wanted to protest. She wanted him to lay her back in the bed and settle his big body over hers.

But she obeyed without question. He grabbed a pillow and tucked it under her stomach, then she felt his body press against her ass. His cockhead, hot as a branding iron, rubbed over her slick flesh.

Then suddenly he drove deep. She groaned at the blissful invasion.

“Oh, God, Master.”

“Tell me.”

She knew what he wanted from last night.

“I love your thick, hard cock inside me.” Her voice quavered with pleasure.

His cock dragged along her opening, almost pulling free… then he pulsed forward again. His cock drove deep inside her.

His body was leaning over hers. His hand cupped her breast and he nuzzled her ear.

“Toy with your nipple. I want to feel your fingers against my palm.”

She tucked her hand in the warmth of his and brushed her fingertips over her nipple. Tingles danced through her body, from her nub to her pussy. His free hand found her other breast and he squeezed her nipple, then pinched it. It hurt, but in an intensely exciting way. He tweaked it again and she moaned at the exquisite sensation.

Then his cock pulled back and he drove deep again.

“Oh, yes. Please fuck me, Master.”

He thrust again. “Is that what you like, slave?”

“Yes. Oh, yes. Please. More.”

He thrust two more times. Her passage ached as it clutched at his cock, trying to draw it even deeper inside her. Her body quivered with building need.

“Fuck me!” she squealed. She needed more than the meager thrusts he was teasing her with. “Oh, please fuck me hard.”

He drove deep again. Then again. She sucked in air as the world blurred around her. Her eyelids fluttered as she longed for more.

His lips nuzzled her temple. “Slide your hands to your ass and squeeze it together for me.”

Without thought, she slid her hands over her backside and squeezed the cheeks together. He started to pump within her.

“Oh!”

Squeezing her ass tightened her passage around him, intensifying the feel of his cock sliding in and out.

He thrust faster, filling her with his marble-hard shaft. Sending pleasure rushing through her like an electrical surge. She gasped as an orgasm flooded through her. Sudden and unexpected.

Effortless.

He thrust as she moaned.

“Who’s making you come?”

“Oh, yes! Oh, M…M…M…” She could barely catch her breath. “Master,” she finally wailed as she shattered in a cataclysmic blast of euphoria.

She drifted on a cloud. Her cells exploding one by one. Filling her with delightful, bursts of ecstasy. Then she imploded, sucking in a breath, then wailing at the top of her lungs.

She felt him burst inside her, heat filling her and carrying her to a new high.

Finally, she collapsed, realizing her torso rested on a soft bed, her Master’s big body resting on top of her. He was heavy and she was crushed to the mattress, but she didn’t want him to move away. She wanted to be beneath him forever, his huge cock inside her. His body possessing her completely

* * *

That morning, he ordered her to make breakfast, then clean up after while he read. When she was finished, he instructed her to sit on the couch across from him naked.

“I want you wet and ready for me at all times,” he said. “I want to see your nipples hard and straining. And I want your pussy visibly wet.”

“Yes, Master.”

She tweaked her nipple with one hand while she moved the other to her pussy. She stroked the folds.

“Open your legs so I can see.”

She widened her legs. The embarrassment from yesterday was gone. Right now she wanted him to look at her.

She pinched her other nipple, tugging on it hard so it would sprout forward. Her fingers dipped inside her vagina and she stroked the silky flesh inside.

“Are you wet?”

“Yes, Master. Would you like me to show you?”

“Yes. Open your pussy lips. Let me see.”

She did as he said. The heat in his eyes warmed her. She could imagine her folds glistening with her slickness.

She longed for him to come and touch her, but instead he returned to reading his book. She sat, open to him. Longing for him. But time ticked by as he ignored her.

After half an hour, he looked up again.

“Your nipples aren’t hard.”

Anxiety rippled through her at the thought she’d disappointed him.

“I’m sorry, Master,” she said as she tweaked her nipples aggressively, making them harden and elongate.

“It’s too late for that.”

Oh, God, had she failed? Did this mean he would send her packing?

At that moment, she realized she hadn’t thought about her job or what this weekend meant toward gaining it back for her. All she cared about right this instant was that she didn’t want this weekend to end.

“Please, Master. I’m sorry. I’ll do better.”

He ignored her pleas and stood up.

“Follow me.”

She followed him down the hall, back to the room he’d taken her to last night. The one with the floggers. He grasped the back of her neck and guided her to the padded bench she’d stood beside yesterday.

“Bend over,” he commanded.

She bent over until her torso rested on the padding. He stretched her arms downward and bound them to the front of the bench with straps affixed to the wooden surface. Then he crouched behind her and she felt her ankles strapped into position.

He walked to the wall and selected a flogger—pink suede. As he walked toward her, he stroked the long, flat tails. She watched them glide through his fingers like silk.

He walked behind her and she tensed, expecting a stinging blow, but instead, the suede tails glided over her back in light strokes. Then they rippled from side to side. Soft. Caressing.

She relaxed, soothed by the lulling gentleness.

Then the soft fabric lifted from her skin, and connected sharply, stinging a little. But quickly soothing again in a soft caress.

Then a stinging contact again, a little more than last time.

Another gentle stroke.

Her heart pumped faster as the flogger lifted again. This time it came down harder and she gasped.

Then the strands glided over her ass. Ripples of awareness jolted through her. He pressed the handle, which felt like a series of stacked balls, against her ass and dragged it between her cheeks. The tip pressed against her anal opening and pushed against it.

She gasped. She’d never had anal sex and… Oh, God was he going to push that inside her?

To her shock she arched her ass upward, as if inviting him to do it.

He chuckled, but glided the handle over her slick folds. She felt the tip push against her vagina. It pressed in a little.

Oh, God she wanted him to drive it deep into her. She wanted to squeeze it inside her. To feel every bump and ridge of it.

He pressed in about an inch… not enough… then he glided it over her soaking wet folds.

Suddenly, the tails whipped against her ass, making her gasp.

They swirled lightly over her stinging skin.

Then they whipped against it again.

She cried out.

“Do you want me to stop?”

His words jarred her. Her ass burned. Another stroke would hurt even more.

But she realized she didn’t want him to stop.

“No, Master. Please. I want more.”

He seemed to hesitate, then finally the flogger whipped against her ass again. She cried out.

Then she felt hot flesh push against her opening. She whimpered. At the sound, he thrust deep into her. She contracted around him, wanting him to stay buried inside her body.

The flogger stroked over her back again. He swirled it back and forth over her skin, as he dragged his cock along her passage. When he thrust in again, the flogger slashed across her skin.

“Ohhhhh!”

The burning pain and pleasure combined in an iridescent shimmer of delight.

He thrust again, whipping her again. She moaned long and loud.

Then she felt the slick tip of the flogger handle push against her ass. The pressure increased until it pushed inside. Just a little, but she moaned at the unexpectedly delightful sensation.

He pumped into her, his big cock gliding deep and slow, filling her thoroughly, while he pulsed the slick handle in her ass in equally slow, but short strokes, never going in more than an inch.

Her ass seemed to blossom. Relaxing and opening to him.

“Oh, more, please.”

“More what, baby?”

“I want…” She wiggled her ass, trying to articulate. “Inside my ass. More…”

He stroked her ass with his hand and eased the rod in deeper.

“Oh, God, yes.”

Then he thrust his hard cock into her. Picking up speed. He held the handle in place, concentrating on fucking her now. She squeezed, her back channel, tightening around the ridged handle and her vagina clamping tight around him.

“Ah, fuck, baby. I want you to come right now.”

As if his words alone had the power to make her climax, an orgasm exploded inside her, battering her senses with pure ecstasy. He plunged deeper and faster, driving her pleasure higher.

Then he groaned, his heat erupting inside her. She burst into another orgasm.

Finally, he slumped on top of her, the action driving the handle in her ass a little deeper. She moaned with pleasure.

He stood up and stroked her ass.

“You like this, don’t you?”

“Yes, Master.” Her words came out breathless.

He pushed it deeper inside her, drew it out, then pushed it deep again. Her whole world wobbled. An orgasm was only a breath away.

Then he pulled it free.

“Oh, noooo. Please.”

He smacked her bottom with his hand.

“Sorry, baby. I love that having something shoved up your ass turns you on so much, but if you’re going to come that way, it’ll only be if I’m inside you. Understand?”

“Of course, Master.”

* * *

That afternoon, King could hardly contain himself. His cock was hard non-stop. He longed to strip her bare and drive his thick cock right up her ass. To feel her tight canal strangle his thick member while he drove into her.

But he needed to calm down. So he’d commanded her to dress and do some work in the backyard. Unfortunately, watching her denim clad ass as she leaned over, pulling weeds, only aggravated his need.

Fuck, Rachel was the perfect sub. He’d been sure she’d balk at calling him Master and that she’d show some resistance along the way. He’d actually expected a lot of resistance, even if passive. He knew she would try to hide it, because she really wanted her job.

But he could tell that she wanted him to command her. She loved him taking total control of her.

She was a natural sub.

He stood up and walked outside, then stripped off his clothes and dove into the pool. When his head broke from the water, he saw her watching him, a weed dangling from her hand.

She dropped it on the ground and walked toward the pool, shedding her clothes as she walked. Her top fell to the ground, then she stripped away her bra. His cock swelled at the sight of her full breasts. Her jeans and panties dropped to the ground, then she walked down the steps into the water and swam toward him and right into his arms. Her lips found his and her soft, naked body pressed against him as her tongue thoroughly explored his mouth.

“Master, I want to please you. I want to make your body sing.” Her hand wrapped around his growing column. She stroked him and he swelled within her grip.

She dove under the water and he felt her hot mouth consume him. The feel of her warmth around his cock in contrast to the cool water around the rest of him made his head spin.

She sucked and stroked for a moment, then came up for air.

“That was delightful, slave, but I sense you want something.”

“Only what I know you want, too.” She turned away from him and leaned against the side of the pool, presenting her ass to him. She widened her legs, exposing her slick folds. Then she grasped her ass cheeks and pulled them wide, exposing her little puckered opening.

“Please fuck my ass, Master. I need to feel you there so bad.”

The desperation in her voice shocked him. And his cock throbbed with the need to be inside her.

“Fuck, baby. I need to go get some lube.”

She ran her fingers over her pussy, then held them up. “Isn’t this good enough?”

He groaned and closed the distance between them. When he pressed his cock to her slick slit, she pushed back against him, taking the tip of his head inside. He drove forward, filling her slick passage in one stroke.

He was so dizzy with need he could just keep on pumping, then climax within seconds.

But he pulled out and pressed his cockhead to her ass.

* * *

Rachel felt the pressure and tensed a little, nervousness catching her off guard. All she’d been able to think about ever since their encounter in the flogger room was the feel of that beaded handle inside her. Stimulating her. How it felt when she squeezed around it. As soon as her Master said that if she came with something in her ass it would be him, she couldn’t stop thinking of his big, fat cock driving deep inside her there.

The whole time she’d been pulling weeds from the garden, she’d imagined her hand was wrapping around his cock rather than the stem of a plant. That she was pulling him toward her. She’d purposefully faced away from the window, so every time she leaned over he’d see her ass.

Now he was here and his big cock was pressing against her puckered opening.

“Fuck, baby, you’ve got me to hot, I’m not thinking straight. But I’m not going to rush this.”

He took her hand and pulled her from the pool, then led her into the house at a trot. He didn’t seem to care that they were wet and dripping all over his floors, even as they hurried up the carpeted stairs.

Once in his bedroom, he opened his dresser drawer, then pulled out a bottle. He flipped open the top.

“Oh, please, Master. Let me.”

He handed her the bottle and she squeezed the clear gel into her palm. She rubbed her hands together, spreading the lube over both palms, then she wrapped them around his thick, long cock.

“Oh, man, that feels so good,” he said.

She stroked his cock, spreading the glistening liquid over his whole pole. Then she turned and leaned against the bed.

He stepped behind her and pressed his slick cock to her ass again. As much as she wanted it, though, she tensed as he started to push inside.

“Relax, baby,” he murmured softly against her ear. “It’ll feel good. I promise.”

Her Master’s voice soothed her and she instantly relaxed. The pressure of his cockhead against her increased and her opening stretched around his tip.

“It’s going to be a little uncomfortable at first, but once I’m inside, it’ll get better. Okay?”

She nodded. His cock pushed in very slowly, giving her time to adjust. He stretched her, slowly moving deeper.

The discomfort became almost unbearable.

But she didn’t want him to stop.

“You okay, baby?” he asked.

She nodded. “Please don’t stop.”

He smiled against her cheek. “I won’t.”

She groaned as the thickest part of his corona pushed inside, stretching her impossibly wide. Filling her so full she thought she’d burst. She felt dizzy with excitement.

He held still, letting her get used to the feel of him. His cock thick and hard inside her. Her canal gripping him firmly. Finally, she couldn’t take it any longer.

“Please. I want more.”

He glided deeper and she sucked in a breath. He was so thick. Her canal was so tight around him and she couldn’t help squeezing.

He groaned. “Ah, fuck, love. I’m hanging on by a hair.”

She drew in a deep breath as he slid back, then slowly glided deep again. Her breath caught.

Then his fingers found her clit and he stroked. She moaned loud and long.

“I’m going to fuck your ass now, baby. If you want me to stop, say so. That’s an order. Understand?”

“Yes, Master,” she said on a quivery breath.

“Good.”

He began to move. His cock gliding in and out. It was an incredible feeling. Intense. Tight.

She felt so full.

His fingers teased her clitoris, driving her pleasure higher. Intensifying every sensation.

“Oh, God!” The orgasm swelled through her, building as he pumped into her faster. She gasped, then moaned so loud she was afraid she’d burst his eardrums.

But he kept on pumping. Then he jerked forward. The feel of his hot come filling her ass sent her over the edge again. She wailed her release.

“Oh, baby, I love hearing you come,” he murmured against her temple.

She shuddered in his arms. He tightened them around her, holding her snug to his body.

Slowly, she realized they weren’t moving anymore. Her body, still pulsing from the incredible pleasure, slumped back against him. He turned them around and sat down, his cock still up her ass.

She shuddered again as pleasure pulsed through her one more time. Then he rolled her onto her side. His cock slipped free and he drew her close. She snuggled against him, wishing they could do it all over again.

* * *

On their last night together, King made love to her sweetly and with passion. His big cock driving deep and hard. His kisses fueling her need to an electrifying level.

When they came—simultaneously and explosively—she cried out his name. Not Master. Not Mr. Tayler.

But King.

Now she lay in his arms in the darkness, knowing the truth.

Knowing she was fully and hopelessly in love with him.

She bit her lip. What kind of idiot was she? This weekend wasn’t about them as a couple. It was about her proving that she could follow his orders. That she could be a good executive.

She didn’t even know if she’d succeeded in doing that, with the many mistakes she’d made. If she was very… very… lucky he might offer her a position with Collier Industries.

But even if he did, and that was a big if, she was sure he probably wouldn’t want to start up a relationship again. It was complicated enough the last time and… what was she even thinking? He lived in a different city. Her job would be here in San Diego, whereas he worked out of the corporate headquarters over a thousand miles away.

No, this weekend was all she had. She might be able to hope for the occasional weekend if he was in town... but a relationship? That would never work out.

In the morning, she got up early and made breakfast for them both. After they finished eating, he dragged her off to the shower for one more sensual romp.

As they sat over coffee, a smile on his face, she hesitated, wanting to ask the question forefront on her mind. But a slave didn’t ask questions.

But the need to know burned through her.

Finally, she sucked in a breath and spoke. “Master, may I ask a question?”

He rested his hand on hers, then drew it to his mouth and pressed his lips to her skin.

“The weekend’s over, Rachel. You don’t have to call me that anymore.”

“Okay, I… may I ask you a question?”

He smiled. “Of course.”

Now that she had permission, she wasn’t quite sure how to ask.

“I was wondering… I mean… how did I do this weekend?”

“You really have to ask? You were sensational.”

“Thank you, Master.” She coughed. “I mean King. But what I want to know is…” She gazed into his charcoal eyes. “Were you happy with my performance?”

At his grin, her cheeks flushed.

“I mean, may I keep my job?”

His lips compressed and her heart stopped as he shook his head.

“No, I’m afraid not.”

She couldn’t breathe. Shadows closed in on her and she felt faint.

“But I…” Arguing with him was the last thing she should do. “Please, I’ll do anything you want to keep my job.”

“Yes, you’ve already proven that.”

“But…” Her eyes welled with tears, but she blinked them back. “Wasn’t I good enough?”

“Well, that’s just it.” His enigmatic gaze locked on hers. “You’re too good.”

“I… don’t understand.”

“I mean, you’re better than a junior executive position in a small branch office. You can do better than that. I’m not going to let you settle for something beneath you.”

That was easy for him to say. Better jobs didn’t just pop up because she wanted one.

“Please, King—”

He held up his hand to stop her words. “Rachel, stop. I’m not giving you your job back.”

She sucked in a shaky breath as he took her hand and kissed it.

“And don’t beg.” His lips turned up in a slow smile. “Because the only thing I want you begging me for is sex.”

His words and actions mystified her.

“As I said, I’m not giving you your old job back, because I have a better offer. I want to promote you to a position at headquarters. There are several positions I think you’d be happy with so we’ll discuss it in detail. You’ll be making a lot more money, of course.” He drew her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm. “And we’ll be in the same city.”

“Are you offering me this position so that I’ll keep having sex with you?”

He smiled. “Well, I do want you to keep having sex with me. In fact, I want you to submit to me totally in the bedroom. But I want you to clearly understand that I’m offering you a higher level executive position because that’s where you belong. You are an excellent executive. I’ve always known that. And now that I know you won’t fight me at every turn, I have no qualms about hiring you at the level you belong.”

She just stared at him in shock.

“I rather expected a more enthusiastic response.” Then he frowned. “Is moving a problem?”

She shook her head. “No, that’s not it.”

He squeezed her hand. “Then what is it?”

She was befuddled and… confused. The realization of what he was offering was barely seeping through. She was happy and a little nervous about the job offer. It was a big move up, but she knew somehow she would handle the increased responsibility.

What she wasn’t sure she could handle was being involved with King again in an office-only romance.

“You said you want to keep having sex with me,” she said.

“Yes, about that. This time I’m not going to settle for a clandestine affair in the office only. I want you in my bed every night. I want you to move in with me and be my woman. People at the office will know we’re a couple. We’ll go out to dinner and attend social functions together. We’ll have a romantic relationship. And when we’re at home…” His eyes gleamed. “You will submit to me totally.”

Her breath caught.

“Now, just say ‘Yes, Master’.”

She sucked in air, her heart pounding.

“Yes, Master.”

He laughed, then tugged her hand and pulled her onto his lap. His arms came around her as his mouth captured hers. She surrendered to his plundering mouth, melting against his hard, muscular body.

“Good. And just in case you haven’t figured it out yet…” He smiled warmly, his charcoal eyes mesmerizing. “I love you.”

Joy surged through her and her heart fluttered.

“Really? Oh, my God, I love you, too. So much.”

He laughed, a joyous sound. Then he scooped her up in his arms.

“I think we should go and celebrate that love right now.”

She gazed into his glowing eyes, her heart soaring.

“Yes, Master. Anything you say.”

# # #

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Excerpts

If you would like to read more Opal Carew stories, here are some recommendations.  For more hot BDSM stories, you could try the rest of the series, or either of the novels , or .

If you enjoy short, quick reads, Opal recommends her series, which consists of four pairs of stories, the first pair being . or her series, about the private fantasies of five woman

If you like rough and ready tattooed bikers who love to share their women, you will probably really enjoy her biker erotic romance series, which consists of (novella), (novella), (novel) and (novel).  These can each be read independently, but Opal recommends the above order.

Here are short excerpts from the next book in the series, , the series, and ...