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That old song about the difference a day makes is right on…or maybe it’s just that my perception has changed. Either way, I’m not going to let worry over that color these few stolen moments with Ethan.

He’s on the phone when I walk in, but he immediately smiles when he sees me. At least until he notices the blender I’m carrying.

“I’ve got to go,” he tells the person on the other end of the line. “Something’s come up.”

Then he’s walking around the desk to get to me, everything about him just a little more predatory than I remember from yesterday.

“Hello, Ms. Girard,” he says as he shuts the door.

“Hello, Mr. Frost.”

He takes the heavy blender from me, drops it on the corner of his desk. “I thought we took care of the whole present thing yesterday.”

“Maybe you took care of it. I certainly didn’t.”

“What’s the big deal? It’s a blender.”

“Exactly.” I smile as I repeat his words back to him. “What’s the big deal? It’s a blender.”

He narrows his eyes at me. “That mouth of yours is going to get you in trouble one day.”

I play coy, glance up at him through my lashes. “I thought it already had.”

He groans then, pulls me into his arms. “I missed you last night.”

“I missed you, too.”

He bends his head, nuzzles my neck. “Tonight you’re staying with me.”

“It’s customary to ask, you know.” It’s my turn to moan as he pulls the high collar of my blouse out of the way so that he can lick at the bruises on the side of my throat. Despite my determination to keep things professional during business hours, my head lolls to the side in an effort to give him better access.

“I asked yesterday and all it got me was an empty bed. I’m not making that mistake again.” His hands wrap around my waist, his talented fingers sneaking inside my waistband to rub against the sensitive skin of my stomach. At least, that’s what I think he’s doing until it registers that he’s playing with my belly chain.

“You’re wearing it,” he says, his voice rife with satisfaction.

“I said I would.”

“But you won’t keep the blender.”

“It’s a different thing entirely.”

His hands slip under my skirt to palm my ass, his fingers skating down to toy with my sex. I’m wet already, just from the feel of his lips on my neck, and I moan as he slips first one finger and then a second inside me.

“How is it different?” he asks as he pushes his fingers in before slowly sliding them back out. In and out. In and out.

I moan and spread my legs for him. “How is…what different?” Suddenly I’m having a difficult time keeping up with the conversation.

Ethan’s thumb glides through the tender folds of my sex, finds my clit, circles around and around it in a lazy rhythm that has my eyes closing and my breathing turning ragged.

“The blender,” he murmurs, even as he bends down and presses hot, open-mouthed kisses to the sensitive spot behind my ear.

“What blender?” My voice and my body shatter as he bends the fingers he has inside me so that he’s rubbing gently against my G-spot.

“Forget the fucking blender,” he growls right before he sinks his teeth into the tender skin of my shoulder. At the same time, he twists his fingers deep inside me, a move that intensifies my orgasm and has me screaming his name. Thank God his office is soundproof.

He draws out my climax, pulling every single ounce of sensation from me that he can. Only then, when I’m little more than a puddle of satisfied mush, does he grab on to my panties and yank.

They’re lace, so it doesn’t take much to rip them right off my body. I gasp and he groans, even as he unbuttons his custom-tailored suit pants and slips on a condom I never even saw him open. Then he’s palming my ass again, lifting me up. Wrapping my legs around his waist.

And then he’s inside me, his strong hands lifting and lowering me in a rhythm that has my eyes crossing and need building inside me all over again.

“Fuck,” he gasps as I tangle my hands in his hair and drag his mouth down to mine. And then there are no more words as I lick and suck and bite at his mouth, desperate for him despite the orgasm that just rocketed through me.

Whirling around, Ethan takes a few steps to the right and suddenly my back is against one of his office walls. “You okay?” he demands, one hand still on my ass while the other comes up to squeeze and pet and stroke my breasts.

“Yes,” I gasp, rising to meet each of his thrusts. “Please, Ethan. Please.”

“Please what?” he snarls, his hips pistoning against my own with so much power that I figure I’m going to be adding a few fairly spectacular ass bruises to my collection. But that doesn’t matter now; nothing does but the desperate, clawing need currently tearing through me.

“Let me come again,” I whimper. “Please. I can’t—”

He bends his head down then, bites at my nipple through the thin fabric of my blouse, my bra. At the same time, he reaches between us and pinches my clit. It’s the edge I need, the tiny little pinprick of pain that sends me hurtling over the edge into oblivion.

Seconds later, Ethan follows me, his strong, powerful body shuddering in my arms as he pours himself deep inside me. I hold on tight through it all, determined to keep him in my arms as long as I can. I don’t ever want to let him go.

“Damn, baby,” he says after he gets his voice back. “I’m sorry that was so fast.”

“Do I look like I’m complaining?” I smile up at him, trail a hand over his neck. Relish the flare of heat in his satisfied eyes.

“You look like you’ve just been fucked,” he murmurs in my ear.

“Why, how convenient considering that’s exactly what happened to me.”

He leans down, captures my mouth with his, then groans when the intercom on his phone buzzes. “Ethan, your eight o’clock is here.”

“I need to get going, too,” I tell him as I straighten his tie. It amuses me no end that we’ve just had hot, sweaty, wall-banging sex and yet his tie is barely askew. “I have a bunch of research that’s calling my name.”

He pulls away reluctantly, both of us gasping a little as he slides out of me and disposes of the condom. “I have an overfull schedule that’s calling mine.”

Still, he takes the time to fix my skirt for me, to tuck in my blouse and smooth a hand over the rioting mass of curls that is my hair.

When he starts in on his own clothes, I take the opportunity to pick up my purse from where it fell to the floor during his very enthusiastic greeting. I pull out an envelope filled with little presents and mementos—including the panda penny I made for him at the zoo—and slide it onto his desk without him seeing.

Then I’m brushing a kiss across his cheek and breezing toward the door. My whole body is lit up from the inside from the orgasm he just gave me—and the feelings for him that grow stronger every moment we’re together. “Have a good day,” I tell him on my way out the door.

“I already have.”

That puts a goofy smile on my face, one that lasts all morning, despite an escalation in Rick’s less-than-friendly campaign against me.

I ignore him like I did all of last week, focus on doing my work instead. I’m still on the Trifecta case, and while it makes me sad to think of a family losing their business the way they are, I can’t help thinking about those men at the VA hospital. Can’t help wondering if the disputed patents will somehow help Alejandro and the others to heal faster, better.

At eleven o’clock, one of the interoffice messengers drops by a package for me. Surprise, surprise, it’s the blender, only this time it’s filled with a strawberry and pineapple smoothie.

I open the note attached. Now it’s been used, so it’s nonreturnable. Enjoy.

I can’t help it. I throw my head back and laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s a good feeling.

Chapter Twenty-five

I start Tuesday morning in Ethan’s bed. He tries to convince me to spend the whole day in it—with him, of course—but there’s no way I’m calling in sick my second week of work.

“You’re a bad influence,” I tell him as I climb out of the world’s fastest shower. It’s a good thing I only live a mile away from here, because otherwise I’d be late for work. I got up in plenty of time but…well, Ethan is a powerful distraction when he wants to be.

“Only because you’re such a good girl.” He starts to wrap his arms around me from behind, but freezes halfway there.

“It’s okay, you know. I’m not that fragile.”

He drops a kiss on my nose. “You’re not fragile at all. But I never want to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

“Really?” I ask, brows arched. “Because this whole hickey thing is getting out of control.” I gesture to the new love bites that cover my breasts and throat and hip. “Yesterday I caught a couple of the guys I have lunch with staring at them. I was very uncomfortable.”

“You’re mine.”

I wait for him to say something else, but he just smiles at me before climbing in the shower. Which leaves me trying to figure out what those two words mean. I’m his, so he likes seeing signs of that on my skin? Or I’m his and he wants to make sure all the other guys know it? I’m not sure I like how possessive either of those interpretations sounds, but then he turns in the shower and I see the scratches I made on his back last night. And I have to admit, they turn me on a little bit. This physical representation that he belongs to me and only me.

Yeah, maybe I should cut the guy some slack, considering the fact that in my own way, I’m not any better than he is.

I shimmy into my yoga pants and tank top, then stick my head into the bathroom, where Ethan is still in the shower. “I’m taking off. The interns have their Tuesday morning meeting today and I am not going to be late this week.”

“If you wait a second, I’ll take you.” He starts to rinse out the shampoo in his hair.

“It’s fine. I could use the run.”

“You sure?”


“Be careful.”

I roll my eyes at him. “It’s a mile. In La Jolla. I think I can somehow make it without getting mugged.”

He doesn’t laugh. “Call me if you need me.”

“I won’t.”

“Chloe.” He sounds more serious than he has all morning, and it’s all I can do not to roll my eyes again. But I restrain myself to just blowing him a kiss and then I’m out the door. On my way to my apartment and the rest of my life, which suddenly feels very far away from where I’m at. And where I’m going.

* * *

At ten minutes to noon, a note from the desk of Ethan Frost arrives at my cubicle. Can I take you to lunch?

Maybe I should tell him no—it’s not like he gave me any notice, and he can’t take the fact that we’re together to mean I’m available to him anytime he wants me. But at the same time, I am free for lunch. And I want to see him. And I hate, absolutely hate, playing the games that some couples do with each other. That’s not what I want for my relationship with Ethan.

So I text him back Yes, then wait for him to tell me where to meet him. Nothing comes, though, and I’m about to send him another text when I realize that the whole floor is buzzing about something.

I stick my head out of my cubicle just in time to see Ethan turning the corner toward me. He’s wearing a perfectly tailored black Anderson & Sheppard suit with a dark turquoise shirt that makes his eyes look like the ocean.

My heart beats faster just watching him walk toward me. Not just because of the way he looks, but because of the way he looks at me. Like I’m everything to him, the same way he has so quickly become everything to me.

He stops outside my cubicle. “Hi, Chloe.” He’s smiling so wide his cheeks are creased.

“Hi, Ethan.” I bend down and get my purse from my bottom drawer. “You didn’t need to come all the way over here. I could have met you at your car.”

“I’m a big believer in picking up a woman when I ask her on a date.”

He doesn’t speak loudly, but he doesn’t make any attempt to lower his voice, either. And considering half the floor is currently eavesdropping on our conversation, I figure any hope we had of keeping this thing between us quiet just went out the window.

A conclusion that is only reinforced as he wraps an arm around my waist and guides me through the cubicles to the elevator.

“You know, you’re not doing a very good job of being discreet,” I tell him once we’re in the parking lot, walking toward his car.

He turns to me with a frown on his face. “I didn’t realize I was supposed to be.”