Hotshot Boss

Chapter One

 

Octavia

 

Horse dung and blowflies the size of Texas are not my ideas of a fun time. Whoever convinced management that this would be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon should be shot. My Vizzanos don’t have the same red bottoms as shoes triple their price, but their sentimental value means they don’t deserve the manure burial they’re about to face if I don’t get my heel free from the deluge. 

 

This is my punishment for being short with my Uber driver. He wanted to take a west on Prichard. Everyone on this side of the country knows you never take a west on Prichard. You’ll be in gridlock for hours—and then I would have been subjected to the driver’s creepy gawk for longer than our forty-minute trip.

 

My request for him to lift the rearview mirror back to its original position when I slid into the back of his car already had me one step away from hitchhiking to Emerald Race Fields, so you can imagine how much more dire things became when I insulted his map-reading abilities. 

 

He probably would have dropped me off at the front entrance as planned if I hadn’t mumbled under my breath that maps went out of fashion around the same time people stopped using lamb intestines for protection. Alas, my mouth gets me in more trouble than the inappropriate length of the miniskirt Jess convinced me to wear. 

 

It’s been this way since I was a kid. My father said it would get me in shit, and it appears as if he was right for once. I’m heel-deep in a massive pile of poo, and despite the desperate wiggle of my foot, I can’t get free. 

 

The horse picked well when choosing a patch of grass to defecate. The ground underneath its droppings is extra soft, meaning its poo didn’t simply absorb the heel of my favorite red stiletto when I was almost trampled by a sweaty horse and its even hairier guardian, but it swallowed my foot as well.

 

“Please,” I beg to no one in particular. “If I miss this meet-up, I’ll be benched for the rest of the year. You don’t want that, do you?”

 

I stop stupidly waiting for the horse dropping to reply when a crack rips through my ears. It isn’t solely the sound of my heel breaking away from my shoe. It is my heart breaking at the realization a piece of my Vizzanos is about to go to horse-poo heaven. 

 

My heel is no longer attached to my shoe, and as much as I’ve loved and admired it over the years, there is no way I’m going to fish it out from a pile of brown goop that smells worse than Caleb’s early morning rituals. 

 

Caleb is my cousin. He’s a six-foot brute of a man with a face many women have loved at one stage in their life but with the dreadful bathroom habits of a ninety-year-old geriatric who eats prunes every day to keep regular. 

 

“I’m sorry, but you can’t come with us,” I whisper to a piece of my heart before attempting another tiptoe through the poop-riddled grass I once unwisely believed was a shortcut.

 

I make it halfway to freedom when my heel becomes lodged for the second time. 

 

Thankfully, this time around, it’s minus stinky horse dung. 

 

I thought the rain last night was a godsend. Now, I’m cursing it to hell. Although my heel is stuck solely in muddy goop, my anger isn’t any less notable. “Come on! It’s thirty feet if that. You couldn’t let me walk a measly thirty feet without forcing me to swim in horse poo?”

 

The one time I’m not anticipating an answer, I get one. “It could have…” The man’s deep timbre is laced with unconcealed humor. “If you had used the footpath designed for such travels.”

 

After rolling my eyes at his poor attempt of banter, I sling my head to my accoster. It’s one of many poor choices I’ve made today. His inky dark hair, chiseled cheekbones, and a rigid jawline I’m sure Caleb would consider tracing with his tongue at least once shouldn’t belong to a man whose tailored suit showcases every impeccable inch of his body. 

 

His hands are shoved into his trouser pockets, so why does the bulge in his crotch still appear so large?

 

Talking about crotches, stop staring, Tivy, before you find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit. 

 

Mortified, I snap my eyes to the stranger’s face in just enough time to witness a smirk that exposes he noticed my gawk at his crotch. 

 

“Your zipper is undone,” I lie, willing to say anything to get me out of this sticky situation unscathed.

 

“No, it isn’t,” he replies, his voice still laced with humor. “But I will tell my tailor that you appreciate the high thread count of my zipper’s stitch the next time I see him.”

 

When I angle my head, certain there’s a flirty edge to his reply, he drops his eyes to my stuck foot. “Do you need help?”

“Depends.” My one word doesn’t have quite the same level of insinuation his voice had, but there’s definitely an edge of playfulness to it. “Are they pricy?”

 

When I jerk my head to his polished black shoes that gleam as brightly as my cheeks when he has to rock his hips back to take in his fancy footwear, he mutters, “Not particularly.” He returns his eyes to my face. They’re even more flirty now. “But even if they were, I have another half a dozen in my closet, so I’m sure I can face the injustice if they go to horse poo heaven.”

 

His reply reveals that he’s been watching me longer than a couple of seconds, but before I can drill him about his stalker ways, he pinches the crease in his trousers, then heads my way like the half-inch leverage he gave his pants will save them from being ruined by manure.

 

I’d hate to tell him he’s wrong. I am wearing a miniskirt, but I’m still on the verge of checking it for splatters of mud and poo.

 

“When you next see your tailor, can you please keep my name out of your mouth?” I request when his slippery scoot across the sloshy terrain almost sees him landing butt first onto a steaming pile of poo. “The last thing a fashionable lass wants is her name muttered in disdain while discussing fabrics.”

 

“I could.” He skates another two sloshy steps before locking his eyes with mine. They’re somewhat tormented but still gleaming like a kid at a toy store with an unlimited budget. “But I’d have to know your name to do that.”

 

“Smooth,” I murmur, smitten by the hope in his voice but also successfully concealing that fact. “Does that line often work for you?”

 

His shy grin—Kill. Me. Now. 

 

It could only be hotter if it were flashed while his head was between my legs. 

 

My highly inappropriate thoughts detour when he answers, “Not at all.” He twists his kissable lips to lower the leverage of his smile. “But I’ve never given it a whirl while dodging horse secretions as if they are landmines.”

 

“Secretions? In my part of the country, we just call them poo.” I make sure my Jersey girl heritage rings true in my tone during the second half of my reply. It is weird of me to do, but alas, today seems to be a day of extraordinary weirdness. First, the miniskirt.

Now, flirting with a stranger like I have nothing to lose. 

 

After sidestepping a grassy landmine, the handsome stranger bands his arm around my waist then tugs me into his body. I knew he was fit from the way his tailored jacket couldn’t hide the ridges in his dress shirt, but I had no idea it would be this impressive. “What makes you think your part of the country isn’t also my part of the country?”

 

“Your Rolex,” I blurt out before I can stop myself. It was either keep our conversation alight or dig my nose into his neck and take a long whiff of his expensive cologne. I went for the one that wouldn’t have my wrists slapped with handcuffs. My family name has enough controversy staining it. I don’t need to sling more mud at it. “You also don’t have the accent for my side of the country.”

 

“Ahh… I learned to flatten my tongue right around the time I hit puberty.” I grin like a fool when his reply comes out with a twang I’ve stupidly missed the past three years.  “Does this sound more authentic? Once I get you out of here, we should go for cawfee.”

 

The Jerseyite delivery of his last word has me scanning the area, certain the goop coating the bottom of my shoes is from the muddy sands of Plemont Bay instead of a horse’s bathroom. 

 

When I fail to find another Jersey native in sight, I focus on the stranger wrangling my pump from a muddy grave. His slide, yank, and pull maneuver is loosening my shoe from its tight confines.

 

The same could be said for my legs. 

 

I’ve never had a man as handsome as him fondle my thighs without an introduction, but instead of my body opposing the idea of strangers getting freaky, it relishes it.

I guess sometimes it’s okay not walking in a straight line.

 

What?

 

Needing to divert this wreck from imminent disaster, I ask, “Why do you hide your accent?” I have a good reason to keep my family lineage on the down-low, but he doesn’t seem like the type to be drowning in controversy. 

 

He grunts and groans before he eventually spits out, “For what I suspect is the same reason you went over instead of around.” When he peers at me through a strand of black hair that has fallen in front of his almost as dark eyes, he mutters, “Sometimes it’s easier to avoid an interrogation than welcome one.” His final word comes out with a grunt. He isn’t frustrated about the inquisitive bomb his tone set off in my eyes. Well, I don’t think he is. I don’t know him well enough to read his invisible ‘fuck-off’ prompts. He merely seems more appreciative of the removal of my stiletto from the sloshy ground than annoyed about my line of questioning.

 

“Woah. Okay.” I cough to clear my voice of a need it shouldn’t have before trying again to announce that I have legs so the stranger doesn’t need to carry me like a husband ushering his bride into the honeymoon suite on their wedding night. “I can take it from here.” When he strays his eyes across the measly ten feet I trekked without his help, I gulp before pushing out, “But what kind of damsel in distress would I be if I didn’t let your feet get a little muddy?”

 

A helicopter’s rotator gobbles up any reply he’s planning to give. I’m not talking about one of those cute dome helicopters where the pilot and his passenger get chummy no matter their sexual preferences. I’m talking about a multiple-seat monstrosity with three blades and an engine powerful enough to whip up horse poo like it’s confetti.

 

While wiping away a chunk of gunk from my cheek, I grumble, “You can put me down now. I’m more than happy to die here. It will be nicer than any burial I could face if I turned up at a work function reeking of horse secretions.”

 

The stranger murmurs something under his breath as he continues skating across the no-longer-poo-riddled land, but he’s too quiet for me to hear. Perhaps it is in appreciation that the giant landmines have been swept away, even with half of them entangled within my hair. 

 

I’ve always wanted to know what I’d look like as a brunette. Now I know. I could totally pull it off—if my stomach would stop churning in protest about the smell.

 

“Ahhh…” I drift my eyes to the promotional tent I was racing for when the stranger takes a left upon exiting the livestock lavatory instead of a right. “I took a shortcut through Death Valley for that.” I point to the tent during the ‘that’ part of my comment. “I can’t be late. We have a very special guest arriving today… if he hasn’t already arrived.”

 

My eyes roll skyward when the stranger mutters, “He can wait.”

 

“You can say that because you look like you can afford to lose your 401K. I cannot.”

 

If he grips my butt cheeks any firmer, I may have to reconsider my belief that pain is a no-go zone for me. “You have nothing to worry about. He hasn’t even arrived yet.”

 

I wait for him to enter the door a man in a pristine black suit is holding open for him before asking, “How do you know that? Do you have x-ray vision?”

 

With nothing but glossy tiles under our feet, he could place me down, but he keeps my body plastered to his like he appreciates my curves while strolling through the race club’s suites as if he is the owner. “I was looking for him when I stumbled onto you. Why do you think I was in that area of the track in the middle of a race meet?”

 

“I thought you were as tardy as me, but clearly, that isn’t the case.”

 

His tone is as witty as mine when he mimics, “Clearly.”

 

I shoot my eyes around an elegantly decorated office when he barges through a cracked-open door without knocking. Considering the less desirable conditions outside, the inside of the race suites is far more elaborate. The big desk the stranger is striding toward has the latest Mac sitting at the side, a leather-stitched planner open to today’s date, and the window stretching from one wall to the next has a prime view of the finish line of the track.

 

Suites like this would be charged at a premium, but the stranger appears disinterested in the spectacle occurring outside. He strides don’t falter when he pushes a button on the wall to draw the blinds closed, then he continues for the desk. 

 

“Are we allowed in here?” I ask, suddenly put off by the eerie quietness.

 

The stranger answers me by dragging his forearm not curled around the not-as-generous-as-I’d-like curves of my backside to clear the desk of its wireless keyboard, tablet, and writing instruments that look like they belong in the historical era. 

Once they’re discarded on the floor along with the planner, my backside takes their place, and then he gets super handsy with me again. 

 

I’m either too shocked about the sparks shooting through my body to respond to the gentle sweeps of his hands as he clears brown blobs from my skin or too horny to care. Since there are no butterflies fluttering in my stomach, I’d say it is most likely the latter. It’s been a while—and by a while, I mean not since Pete Reynolds won the talent show at a state fair five years ago. 

 

My breathing shallows when Mr. Dark and Dangerous’s hands slide from my forearms to my thighs. The change-up isn’t solely to blame for the sudden influx of restlessness bombarding me. It is the fact no man will ever spark more interest from me than one willing to walk around with poop-scented hands just to make sure my skin is secretion free. 

 

It won’t matter how hard he scrubs, shit sticks then lingers for years on end. 

 

I learned that the hard way, but since my miniskirt is representing a belt, and I’m not the only one noticing, I’ll have to save that story for a more appropriate time.

 

After tugging down my skirt to a more appropriate length, I switch my focus to my poo-dotted shirt. We work in silence for several long minutes, the tension as teeming as the heat of the stranger’s hooded gaze raking my body. 

 

The way he peers at me beneath lowered lashes sets my skin on fire, and it takes everything I have to remember we’ve only just met.

 

I don’t even know his name for crying out loud, so none of the inappropriate thoughts streaming through my head should seem like a good idea, but for some inane reason, they’re presented as ingenious.

 

When I can’t hold back the desire to clench my thigh muscles together for a second longer, the stranger’s eyes lift and lock with mine. They’re even darker since we’re in a square box with no natural light and brimming with lust. 

 

I’m confident my expressions mirror his. The energy zapping between us is intense, and for once, it isn’t bad friction.

 

After a reminder that we’re perfect strangers, I ask, “Do you think we could get away with calling that a bronzer streak?” 

 

Our eye contact holds strong until I chicken out first. His eyes eventually follow suit when I lower my hooded gaze to the brown streak smeared down my inner thigh. I only know this because instead of his heated gaze scorching my face, it does wickedly naughty things to my insides. 

 

My body has never responded to a man like this before. 

 

Not once.  

 

“I am overdue for a spray tan, and the hipsters these days are all about natural products.” I swallow to soothe my suddenly parched throat before muttering, “And that is about as organic as it gets.”

 

It’s only when he endeavors to clean up the mess I’m referencing do I realize I returned the focus to my microskirt instead of veering away from it. The tip of his index finger is a mere inch from my panties that grow damper the longer his girthy fingers mop up the goop.

 

After several womb-tingling seconds, he mutters, “It’s a stubborn little thing, isn’t it?”

 

The tension turns blistering when he pulls a tissue out of his pocket and spits into it. The stain is a determined smudge that will require some wetness to force it to move on, so a spit-covered tissue makes sense, but to my woozy head, its sweeps across my heated skin represent something far more sinister than a stranger aiding a stranger. 

 

It’s a man taking care of his woman in all meanings of the word, and it has me one step away from begging like I’ve never begged before.

 

Skip that. 

 

I’m already there. 

 

The tension is too much to bear. 

 

“Please.”

 

My plea is barely a whisper but obviously loud enough for the stranger to hear. Hot air whizzes out of his nose as the tissue slips from beneath his hand. When his thumb treks over the flushed skin high on my thigh, it grips the skin more than it caresses it, proving his body temperature is as roasting as mine, his veins just as molten. “Did you say something?”

 

I shake my head, denying the pleas of my body, but my mouth has other ideas. “I said please…” Too pigheaded for my own good, I quickly add, “… let me do that.”

 

He snatches up the tissue before I can and tosses it into a bin at the side of the desk like he’s intimate with the floorplan. “It’s done. You’re clean.” He steps even closer, forcing my legs to part like a big wedge of wood won’t stop him from aligning our crotches. “Almost.”

 

I’m on fire. Everywhere. My skin is bubbling with blisters. That’s how hot the liquid ecstasy rolling through my body is from him cupping my ankle and raising my leg into the air. I’ve read books when the dominant alpha male curls his woman’s leg over his shoulder before going down on her in public, but I’ve never experienced it. 

 

Before my five-year hiatus from sex, my scarce number of bed partners were adventurous but selfish. They loved receiving head, but reciprocating wasn’t really their forte. 

 

Feeding off the tension instead of the niggle of doubt in the back of my head, I tilt back to ensure the handsome stranger has room to explore. I’m seconds from my damp panties being exposed when a crack sounds through my ears. It could be my libido breaking through the wall I built around it years ago, but my intuition is warning me not to be so stupid. A travesty has occurred, but instead of it being my senseless wish to get freaky with a stranger, it is my second Vizzano pump’s torturous crawl to shoe heaven. 

 

The stranger snapped off the remaining heel, my mouth gaping to the point it would be fruitless to act as if I couldn’t take a man of his size between my lips. “What the hell?” I snap back to a seated position, then snatch my poor, defenseless heel from his grasp. “Why did you do that? What did my shoe ever do to you?”

 

With my mind blinded by both grief and a rampant horniness I’ve never experienced, I hook my foot onto my lap, then endeavor to return the heel to its rightful spot.

 

When not even the goop coating it can save it from imminent death, I toss it into the bin housing the tissue, then fold my arms under my chest. “I would have hobbled. Any girl this side of Jersey would choose to hobble over wearing flats.” I gag like the stranger’s pricy aftershave hasn’t overtaken the scent of horse poop. “But nooo… you had to ruin a perfectly good shoe just so it looked exactly like the other one…” 

 

My words trail off when the stranger doesn’t respond to my rant. 

 

He’s so still, I’m not even sure he’s breathing. 

 

I’ve been told my death stare is killer, but I had no clue how potent it was until now. 

“Sir…” 

 

I stop talking for the second time when my eyes lock with his lidded gaze. His chest is as unmoving as mine, but he is very much alive because try as I may, I can’t miss the bulge in his pants that requires a functioning heart to keep inflated. He’s hard and staring at my damp panties—my unhidden lace panties since my ankle is hooked on my thigh and my skirt has disappeared into the abyss of an unflattering stomach roll.

 

Horrified, I tug on my skirt while muttering, “Sorry—” 

 

He interrupts my apology with the same confidence he used when he caught me staring at his crotch. “No, you’re not.” As he licks his lips, his eyes slowly lift to my face. “But I am.” Before I can ask what in the world he has to be sorry about, he relieves me of some of my confusion. “Because as much as my brain is screaming for me not to do this, I’m going to do it anyway.”

 

An unladylike moan rolls up my chest when he grips my thighs, drags me forward until my damp panties are hidden by the massive rock beneath his zipper, then he spears his tongue into my gaped mouth.

 

Sweet lord. He tastes good—a hint of mint and a refined liquid you’d only find on the top shelf of a bar in New York. It’s a scrumptious palette I lock away for future use before I mimic the hungry movements of his tongue and lips. 

 

We kiss for several panty-wetting minutes, our embrace only ending when his wandering hands have my breathless lungs demanding an influx of air.

 

His fingers are no longer stroking the seam of my damp panties. 

 

They’ve slipped beneath them. 

 

When the stranger’s eyes lock with mine under a curtain of dark hair fallen in front of them, I bob my chin, permitting him to do all the wicked things streaming through my deviant mind.  

 

Mercifully, he answers the wordless screams of my body even quicker than my mouth can articulate its needs. He slides a thick digit inside me, groaning into my neck when it presents as slippery as my outer bits.

 

“Christ,” he murmurs, his breath hot. “This could get me sued.”

 

You wouldn’t believe he was worried about how fast he pumps his finger in and out of me. He pushes my race to climax within an inch of the finish line admirably fast, and even quicker than that, our freight train of destruction derails the tracks.

 

Not because I climax, but because we’re interrupted by a friendly yet highly suspicious voice. “Oh, goodness. I’m so sorry. I thought you were trackside.”

 

As a pretty lady with short blonde curls and a tiny button nose darts her hand up to cover her eyes, the stranger yanks his finger out of my vagina, snaps my panties back into place, then tugs down my skirt as if he knew where it disappeared to all along. 

 

The situation goes from bad to worse when the interrupter’s sixth sense has her focus returning to us. She isn’t drinking in my flushed cheeks, wide eyes, and sweat-dotted neck. She’s staring at the brown dots splattered across the stranger’s pricy suit, her brows pulling together more the longer she stares.

 

Oh god, I hope she doesn’t think I have a scat fetish!

 

My panic has me on the verge of heaving, but despite the numerous churns of my stomach announcing that I’m about to barf, the stranger refuses to relinquish his grip on my wrist. He circled it a second after a demand to run filtered through my brain, which was a nanosecond after we were interrupted. 

 

Our interrupter jumps to the command in the stranger’s voice like he’s the Crowned Prince of Denmark when he snaps out, “Have Moses bring one of my suits.” As she races for a cell phone on the large walnut desk I almost desecrated, he adds, “And a dress for Ms…”

 

I can’t tell if it’s humor tugging his lips or another emotion, but whatever it is, his smirk has me filling in his wordless request with only the slightest bit of hesitation. “Henslee. Octavia Henslee.”

 

What? He had his finger in my vagina mere seconds ago. It is too late to play hard to get. 

 

“Ms. Octavia Henslee?” Now I can’t mistake the curl of his lips. It is ninety-nine percent possessive with the final one percent reserved for the panic that he almost finger-fucked a taken woman on a rando’s desk.

 

“Yes, Ms.” I fight my smile for almost three seconds before it wins. “Although it may not be for much longer. A thirty-second feel-up borders on a committed relationship these days, so imagine the shackles that come with a three-minute…” I let the rake of my teeth over my lower lip finalize my reply. We still have an audience, and although shame is often associated with my family’s name, it isn’t an emotion I voluntarily force on others. 

 

Like all men scared of the C-word, Mr. Dark and Daring frees my wrist from his firm yet arousing grip before shifting on his feet to face the woman hanging off his every word. 

 

I’m doing the same, but dribble is pooling in the corner of my mouth, whereas hers only has wrinkles. 

 

Our interrupter is attractive, but I don’t think they’re messing the sheets. Mr. Handsy During First Meets would be in his late twenties to early thirties maximum, whereas she appears to be mid to late sixties. 

 

She bows her head like a servant when the mysterious stranger demands, “Have a dress couriered for Ms. Henslee. Size ten. If the bodice is fitted, perhaps a size larger.”

 

I skirt around him before foiling his personal assistant’s wish to jump to his command mid-dial. “A size ten is perfectly fine, thank you very much.” Recognizing she doesn’t deserve the wrath of my stink eye, I shift my attention back to the suit-clad man. “Adjustments aren’t needed for certain regions of my body.” If my tone doesn’t hint at what I’m referencing, I drag my eyes down his still pricy-looking suit, even with it being dotted with horse dung. “I thought you’d know that better than anyone?”

 

With my sassiness too high for me to rein in, I peer at the middle-aged woman’s frame that isn’t blocked by his wide-girthed shoulders before asking her directions to the closest bathroom. 

 

I don’t sprint when she announces a bathroom is three doors down, but I am on the verge of power walking. If I don’t scrub my face free of controversy, I’ll shove it into Mr. Dark and Moody’s crotch. Since that would have desperation entering the equation, an air stiletto wobble must do because there’s no way in hell I’m walking away from a man as devastatingly handsome as him without the sultry hip swing that comes from wearing a sexy pair of heels.  

 

XX

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