Authors: Lauren Jameson
|Surrender to Temptation Part VI: Tempted to Possess|
|Penguin Group US (2013)|
Surrender to Temptation
Part I: Tempted to Submit
Part II: Tempted to Rebel
Part III: Tempted to Obey
Part IV: Tempted to Entice
Part V: Tempted to Reveal
Part VI: Tempted to Possess
Surrender to Temptation
Tempted to Possess
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TEMPTED TO POSSESS
An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author
InterMix eBook edition / February 2013
Surrender to Temptation
copyright © 2013 by Lauren Jameson.
copyright © 2013 by Lauren Jameson.
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Waiting on my desk for me the next morning when I arrived at the office was a small package wrapped with exquisite attention to detail. I knew it was from Zach before I opened the card.
My inner voice told me to hurl the small gold-wrapped box down the building’s garbage chute. Miserable as I was to be apart from him, I had had enough of Zach’s games.
The night before had left me a mess. It was Friday, but I had an entire day to get through before I could be finally, blessedly alone. And after the way in which Zach had collected me from the office the previous morning, I knew that I was about to be the subject of gossip everywhere I went, some benign, most malicious.
“Fuck.” Slumping down at my desk, I poked a finger into the curled ribbon that adorned the box. If I wasn’t going to throw it away, then I should probably open it before my coworkers arrived for the day, before the office was filled with eyes eager for more details in the saga of Devon and Zach.
My hands trembled as I pulled the ribbon off the parcel, then slit the tape with my nail. Inside the paper was a velvet jeweler’s box—and even though I knew better by now, hope ran through me in a torrid rush. What was this?
Holding my breath, I opened the box. A handful of silver and blue fell into my palm, catching the light of the room and shining brightly.
It was a bracelet, made of delicately etched platinum holding a stream of small blue stones. Each stone was opaque, and when the light caught it at the right angle, I could see a white star trapped inside the sapphire blue.
Clutching the bracelet tightly in my fist, as if I couldn’t bear to let it go, I opened the card. The pen had bitten into the paper under Zach’s heavy hand.
The blue of these star sapphires reminded me of the beautiful slip that you wore for me last night. The bracelet is a thank-you for the time that we have had together, which I will never forget. I’m more sorry than you know that I can’t give you what you need.
Sitting back in my chair, I closed my eyes tight and tried to compose myself. I didn’t even want to think about the strings that he must have pulled to procure this bracelet sometime between when we had gotten back to the city and my arrival at work.
I couldn’t keep it. I wanted to, not only because it was beautiful, but also because it seemed like it just might be the only reminder I might ever have of our time together. Now that we were over, he had finally surprised me and revealed a sentimental side that I’d always suspected lurked beneath his dominance when we were together.
Yet if I held on to the thoughtful gift, I knew that I would never fully be able to let him go.
My fingers felt thick and clumsy as I carefully tucked the bracelet back into its small box. A shudder wracked my body as I opened the top drawer to my desk and slipped the box inside.
“Morning, Devon.” Looking up with a start, I found Tony on the other side of the desk. I felt myself tense, uncertain of my welcome here in the office, after the scene that Zach had made the day before.
“Morning.” My voice was tentative, soft. Tony seemed pleased when I managed to work up a smile, though he couldn’t have known that I didn’t feel up to it at all.
“I brought coffee.” My eyes flicked down to his hands, each of which held a paper cup. He held one out for me, and I could have wept with relief at the normalcy of the gesture.
“Thanks, Tony.” A hint of genuine warmth crept into me as I accepted the steaming cup. He smiled back, a bit sheepishly, then turned toward his own desk, and I felt my feelings toward him change, just a bit, as I realized that he wasn’t going to mention yesterday’s scene.
Being in the same department meant that I couldn’t date Tony. Moreover, I didn’t want to. I didn’t have feelings for him in that way. But it was definitely nice to have a friend.
“My office please, Miss Devon Reid.”
Mrs. Gallagher’s voice broke the clatter of midday business in the office. Startled, I backtracked to the glass door to her lair, which I had just passed.
“Yes, Mrs. Gallagher?” I eyed her warily as I entered her office. Her reading glasses were perched down on the end of her nose, and her expression was stern.
Whatever she was about to talk to me about, I didn’t want to hear it. It had been a pisser of a day.
“Close the door.” Her voice was firm, and I groaned inwardly but did as she asked, resentment burning through my veins.
I was sick of being told what to do. When I left Sacramento, I had decided to explore parts of myself that I had never known before. Now it seemed that I was back in the same rut I used to live in—Devon the biddable, Devon the sweet.
Devon the good girl.
I couldn’t quite mask my scowl as I flopped into one of the seats across the desk from where Mrs. Gallagher sat. I raised my eyebrows, gesturing for her to start.
The look she gave me in return was pointed, but she didn’t comment on my rudeness. Instead, when she spoke her voice was gentle, a far cry from how she normally spoke to her employees.
“Devon, what is going on with you?” I huffed out a laugh that held no mirth, my mind whirling over the vastness that that question encompassed.
The night before, Zach had ignored my insistence that I call Charles to come get him, and that I drive back by myself. His fury had been so overwhelming that I hadn’t been able to make even a dent in it, though I wanted to scream at him that love was a gift, even when it wasn’t returned.
His anger went far beyond what I thought was reasonable for what had happened between us. His reaction hurt me beyond compare. Add to that the stress of almost being run over, and the never-ending ride home with Zach, who tensed every time another car came anywhere close to us, and my nerves were about to snap.
“Devon.” The unexpected kindness in the older woman’s voice snapped the frayed thread of my control. Tears began to well up in my eyes, and I stared at Mrs. Gallagher, openmouthed and mortified to be losing my composure in front of her.
“Oh, honey.” Picking up a remote, she pressed the button that frosted the windows to her office, then handed me a box of Kleenex. I accepted one gratefully and used it to blot my eyes. I had no idea how to respond to the woman our entire department feared. She was acting so out of character.
It was tempting to spill the entire story, just to share the burden with someone. I bit my tongue because I knew how much trouble I could get into. Even if there wasn’t an official rule about it, I knew that confirmation of how far my affair with Zach had gone would make my life here at Phyrefly miserable.
Despite Tony’s kind gesture that morning, I hadn’t yet decided if I wanted to stay here. I did, however, know that I wanted the choice to be my own.
“I understand what you’re going through better than you think.” Leaning back in her chair, Mrs. Gallagher took off her glasses and rubbed her temples before leveling me with her stare. I was struck again by what an attractive woman she was, once she dropped the stern demeanor.
“I also understand why you don’t want to talk about it. So let me lay out what I think has happened.” That penetrating gaze pinned me in my seat, and I squirmed uncomfortably.
“You and Mr. St. Brenton became involved before you became employed here. He secured the job for you.”
Shame welled up in me once more, and I bit my lip, the tears threatening to fall over.
I sounded like a harlot.
“I—it’s not what you—” She shushed me, and I stared at the floor.
“Now before you go getting all upset again, know that he would never have given you a position here if you weren’t fully capable of benefitting his company. He didn’t become a billionaire by being stupid.” I looked up at the sound of a desk drawer opening. To my utter shock, Mrs. Gallagher set a bottle of amber-colored liquid and two plastic cups on her desk.
It was early afternoon. At the office. This was Mrs. Gallagher, the woman who disapproved of everything.
“Drink this.” She poured two fingers of scotch into the cheap tumbler and pushed it across the desk toward me. Stunned, I picked up the cup, sniffed, then coughed over the fumes.
Since she seemed to be expecting it, I sipped. The liquor burned a scorching path down my throat and into my gut, heating me where I had been chilled since the night before.
“Now. I don’t know the man beyond the monthly department-head meeting. But I know from my own experiences, that a man with as much power as he has can play some wicked games with a woman’s heart.” Slamming back the rest of my scotch in a great gulp, I found my interest piqued.
“Your experiences?” I didn’t feel bad about asking, because the woman had opened herself up by calling me into her office for this discussion.
Mrs. Gallagher nodded, and her eyes went flat and cold. “I used to work for another big company. I had—well, the owner was nearly as enigmatic as Mr. St. Brenton. Rich, worldly, handsome, and he paid attention to me. I was young. It didn’t end well.”
I felt a surge of pity at the bitterness in the other woman’s voice, and at the same time my heart sank.
If her affair hadn’t ended well, why would mine?
“So. You’ve gotten involved with one of the most eligible bachelors in the world.” I nodded miserably.
She pinned me with her gaze. “Not the brightest idea.”
“I’m sorry. Really.” Suddenly I wanted to leave. I wanted to go home. And yet, I had no idea where home was. “I— please don’t fire me. I like it here.” At least her words had cleared up one dilemma for me.
I didn’t want to leave this job, this city. It might not have felt like home without Zach, but I wasn’t done here yet.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Mrs. Gallagher snapped the words, then stood. Awkwardly, I followed suit, uncertainty shadowing my every move.
“The way that Mr. St. Brenton behaves around you is worlds different than the way my lover once treated me. Initially, I intended to warn you off of him, but it’s easy to see that he cares about you. Deeply. More than that, you’re a bright, determined woman. You can change his mind.”
I stared, dumbfounded. This conversation was incredibly one-sided, and I wasn’t sure I could keep up.
“Now, you have a decision to make. It might be easier to walk away now. And you’re strong enough that you can. But do you want to, Devon?”
I found I couldn’t answer. My mouth was dry, my head swimming as I shook it slowly. “No. No, I . . . I don’t need him. But I
I wanted him with every fiber in my being, even if he didn’t want me the same way.
“Well, then. Show him what he’s missing.” Standing, Mrs. Gallagher gathered her purse from beneath her desk and hoisted it onto her shoulder.
“I’m going for a late lunch. You may stay here for a few minutes if you need to make a private call.”
The woman was halfway out the door of her office when I found my voice again.
“Thank you.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I was still reeling at the unexpected turn of events. The last thing I had expected was for my cold boss to show me such uncharacteristic concern.
Without any further conversation, just a half turn and a nod in my direction, she left her office and sailed on to the bank of elevators, leaving me alone to think.
My fingers were cold and clammy as I shut the office door behind her, then moved to the other side of her desk.
Then, slowly, I picked up the phone.
I nearly dropped the phone in a surge of anxiety when I heard the sexy rasp of Zach’s voice on the other end of the line. I ached at the sound, wishing I were there next to him so that I could reach out and run my hands over his skin.
“Hello?” His voice was irritable, and though it made me shiver with nerves, I also felt a tendril of hope curl through me. He sounded every bit as miserable as I felt.
“Bini, what is it? I have someone in my office.” My world came back into focus. He’d answered the phone because he thought it was one of his department heads.
I could only hope that he wouldn’t hang up when he learned that it was me.
“It’s not Bini.” The silence on the other end of the phone was weighted . . . I felt certain that he recognized my voice, but he didn’t hang up.
Show him what he’s missing.
This might be my last chance.
“I wish your cock was inside of me right now.” I breathed out the words before I could lose the nerve, then reeled, shocked with myself.
The silence on Zach’s end of the line stretched out, deepened, and I cringed.
“I have someone in my office.” Finally he spoke, and his words were carefully measured. Still . . . he didn’t tell me to go.
I was terrified, for so many unspeakable reasons. I had no idea what I was doing. Yet what did I have to lose?
“Do you remember the first time you had me in your office? You flipped up my skirt and used the martinet on my bottom.” I heard his sharp intake of breath, and worried that I had gone too far.
“I do.” He was playing along. Joy surged through me, followed quickly by arousal. I felt as though his eyes were on me at that moment, intent, gauging my body’s response.
Before he could think better of it, or tell me to stop, I continued.
“If I was in your office right now, I would take off my skirt, my sweater, my panties and bra. You would be seated at your desk, like I imagine you are now. I would walk over to you, unzip your pants and pull your cock into my hand. It would feel so good for you, your erection so hard that it needed to be free from restraint.” I sucked in a great mouthful of air, my face flushing with both arousal and embarrassment. It felt so wrong to say these things aloud. I had never done anything like this before.
I tried to stand, to ease the sudden ache between my own legs, but the sound of his voice caressing my name had me dropping back into the chair.
“I want to sit on the edge of your desk, then bend over to take you into my mouth. I would be able to taste you as I sucked on your cock, deep in my throat. You would groan, then you would pull my hair with one hand and spank my bare ass with the other, just to show me how much you want me.”