Amber Dolors knows better than to get involved with her boss. Devastatingly handsome in his sharp suits and sexy beyond belief, he possesses an air of command that fuels her darkest fantasies. But she’s worked too hard to get this job, and keeping it will lead to a brilliant future. She won’t cross that line-even if his way of giving orders and demanding her best performance gives her delicious warm shivers.
Alexander Knight prides himself on his integrity and self-discipline. After all, he hasn’t risen to the position he enjoys by indulging his whims over ambition. He also isn’t blind. He’s certainly noticed his sharp, young assistant is hot as hell. His self-imposed sexual hermitage doesn’t stop him from watching her. And endlessly fantasizing.
The day Alec’s cool reserve cracks and Amber catches a glimpse of something simmering beneath his apparent indifference is the day everything between them changes. Alec gives her what she’s been looking for sexually-as masterful in the bedroom as he is in the boardroom. He finds himself in the grip of an affair that tests even his boundaries, while Amber’s new role as willing student pushes them both past any consideration other than mutual longing.
Here’s a little excerpt, from before Alec caves…
On Monday, she went to work with renewed resolve to focus on her career.
No more mooning over Alec Knight. No more sex fantasies. You’ll meet the right guy when you’re supposed to.
She’d spent Sunday giving herself a series of pep talks—in between nursing a prodigious hangover, napping, eating leftover pizza and bingeing on chick flicks. As a result of falling asleep at the humiliatingly early hour of eight-thirty, she’d popped awake at five. Considering it an omen from the universe, she took the time to eat a healthy breakfast, iron her best suit with the pinstriped pencil skirt, and put her hair up in a hopefully chic and sophisticated French twist.
Settling into her cubby before seven and enjoying the quiet of the empty offices, she began by filtering Alec’s emails, so they’d be sorted by the time he arrived. Though Joe had returned, he’d been happy enough to leave the task to Amber. It might be a little creepy, but she liked doing it for Alec. It didn’t count as mooning. Never mind that it gave her a sense of closeness to him, to glimpse his daily correspondence, like catching a whiff of his aftershave when he passed her in the hall.
Like window shopping when you were broke. Didn’t hurt to browse.
Several documents needing his signature had come through over the weekend so she carried those in to leave on his desk, feeling briskly efficient and making it three steps into the room before she realized he was already sitting at his desk.
Startled by her abrupt entrance, he glanced up without that frosty barricade he’d erected between them, gaze intensifying as it swept over her, before he cooled it, transformed it into a generic smile, only slightly forced. “Good morning, Ms. Dolors. Aren’t you the early bird?”
“Delivering the fresh worms just for you, Mr. Knight.” She set the documents on his desk. Felt like fleeing immediately, but made herself stay. If he could handle it, so could she. They could talk to each other as normal people did. “Did you have a good weekend?”
“Fine, thank you. And yourself?”
Aren’t we so polite? “It pretty much sucked.”
A laugh burst out of him, along with a more genuine, sensual smile, as he sat back in his chair. “I admit I wasn’t keen on mine either. Thus the pair of us at it early on a Monday morning.” His expression dimmed slightly, as if he suddenly realized he shouldn’t have referred to them as a pair of anything. Or that he’d admitted to too much. She had no intention of letting him off this particular hook.
“Why wasn’t yours good?” She edged a hip on his desk, making it clear she planned to hold him to a civil conversation.
His gaze traveled to her mouth before he yanked it away. “Disappointing. On a number of levels. Such is the off-work fate of the foreign single man in your city.”
Disappointing. Amazing how completely that one word summed it up, especially with his particular cadence, that made it sound so spiked. “Well, this single-girl native shares your fate.”
He tapped a pen on the desk, glanced out at the empty hall and back to her with a wry smile. “I find that hard to believe. I’d think they’d be lining up to buy you drinks and so forth.”
“Back at you. Aren’t the women of New York falling over themselves for a shot at you? I could name half a dozen on this floor alone.”
“Please don’t.” He leaned his forearms on the desk, laced his fingers, checked the hall again. Seemed to gather himself and met her gaze. “Surely you know if I wouldn’t cross the line for you, I wouldn’t for anyone.”
Her heart tripped into a faster beat at his quiet confession. One that oddly made her feel better. Funny that they’d been so carefully formal with each other, not referring to that very frank conversation they’d had. Pretending it had never happened. But it had and he’d wanted her, too. He continued to watch her with that somber concern, waiting for her reply.
“I didn’t know that. So thank you for telling me.” And now she felt that she owed him something in return. “The thing is…see, yes, they want to buy me drinks and take me out and so forth.” She said it the way he did, deliberately teasing him with the imitation, enjoying their shared amusement over it. It helped steady her nerves, get her through what she needed to say. “But, I don’t want just anyone. I’m looking for something more specific, a particular kind of relationship. Do you know what I’m saying?”
“I do, yes.” A shadow crossed his face and he stared down at his laced fingers.
“The worst part of all this is, I think I could have had that with you.”
“Possibly.” His knuckles tightened and it hit her suddenly that he was concentrating on not touching her. But he hadn’t kicked her out of his office, or invoked that icy reserve to shut the conversation down.
“I could look for another job.” She threw it out there in a rush. “What if I—”
“No, Amber.” He looked up then and his face had filled with bitter regret. “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself. I won’t pretend it’s not torture to be around you, to see you every day…but I’m getting a handle on that. This is too good an opportunity for you.”
“There are other jobs, other good companies.”
“As good as this? No,” he continued, answering his own question. “We both know it. You’ll stay here and we’ll be grown-ups about this. Now, if you’re uncomfortable around me, I—”
Her turn to interrupt. “I’m not. You seemed like you didn’t want to talk to me.”
With a sigh, he unlaced his fingers and sat back in the chair. “I was trying to give you some space. So you wouldn’t feel pressured. And so forth.”
She smiled at his emphasis. “It seems to me that part of the point of both of us observing the lines here is so that we can continue to work together. I want to be able to do that. Without it being weird.”
“We won’t let it be weird then.” He looked both sad and affectionate, gaze wandering over her face more freely, along with the teasing grin as he pronounced weird with an exaggerated American accent. “You’re absolutely right that the entire point is doing what’s proper for your career and for the company. Don’t ever be concerned that I’ll cross the line with you again. And if I do make you uncomfortable—” he held up a hand to stop her protest, “—if I ever do, by word or deed, say so immediately. Either to me or to Human Resources, or someone you trust here. I insist on it.”
“I would say it to you.” It seemed painful somehow, the idea that she’d go around him.
“I hope you would. I’d…I’d like to think that we could have enough of a friendship for that. If not friendly, then at least collegial.”
“I’d like that. I’m glad we had this conversation. I’m sorry that I got all emotional before. It’s not really my style to lose it.” Mostly.
He picked up the pen again, rolled it between his palms. “Understandable. It wasn’t easy for me either. I think you’ve been handling things with considerable poise. One of the many qualities I find admirable about you. As a colleague,” he added, with a meaningful tip of his head. “To reinforce that, and keep things on that level, I think it’s time to give you a bit more responsibility. And not only because Lily has been poking at me about it.”
“Poking at you?”
He shook his head ruefully. “She’s got this idea that I’m not giving you enough of a chance because you’re female, plus she has a hole in her team with Curlew’s abrupt departure. If you prefer to work with her, naturally I’ll agree. But it feels to me like…”
“Exactly.” He cocked his head. “But one I’m willing to make, as I believe the fault here has been mine. Your decision.”