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Fake: A Fake Fiance Romance by Rush, Olivia (1)

Chapter 1

Bryce

The second she stepped into the small elevator, my cock nearly tore through the soft fabric of my Tom Ford suit. I was the CEO of this company—never one to be given pause by anything or anyone. But something about her made me need to grab onto the bar on the back wall and sink my perfect, white teeth into my lower lip.

“Morning,” she said, tossing her curly, cocoa-brown hair over her shoulder and fixing her cat-like, grass-green eyes on me for just long enough to give me a quick, professional greeting.

As soon as she turned back toward the front of the elevator, my gaze slowly made its way down and around her figure.

She was dressed in a white blouse, the fabric just thin enough to afford me a glimpse of the black silk bra she had on under it. The shirt was tucked into a gray pencil skirt, the gold medal of the zipper seeming to cry out to me to grab it and give it a quick yank down and allow me a glimpse at the almost-certainly perfect heart-shaped ass underneath.

I imagined the matching thong she wore, the dark silk a gorgeous contrast to her fair, vanilla-ice-cream-colored skin. And the sheer pantyhose she wore made her legs look so shapely and slender that I could easily imagine the feel of them against my hands.

Hell, my face.

The doors slid shut, the din of the office beyond replaced by the low droning of the air conditioner mixing with the light, corny jazz being piped in through the speakers. The music was such a ridiculous pairing for what I was feeling looking at her. I needed less mellow sax and more thundering orchestra.

“Where are you going?” she asked, her tone still crisp and professional.

“Top floor,” I said.

She nodded, her curls bouncing slightly, then pressed my button then hers. The elevator rose slowly, and I closed my eyes to take in the lovely scent of her perfume. It was a scent I wouldn’t mind waking up to, a scent I’d love to have lingering on my pillow after she’d left my bed.

About thirty seconds into the ride up, however, the elevator stopped. It lurched still, the girl stumbling a bit on her black pumps and falling backward. My hands shot up and grabbed hold onto her, her slim frame bumping into my solid chest.

Goddamn, she felt as good as she looked.

“S-sorry,” she said, glancing up at me with those emerald eyes.

“Not a problem,” I said, helping her back to her standing position.

The two of us said nothing, both of us looking around in the now-stopped elevator, as though a little elf might pop out of the walls and give us a quick update on what was happening.

“Are we seriously stopped?” she asked, a sliver of impatience in her tone.

“It looks like we’re very seriously stopped,” I said.

She shook her head, as though this was yet one more frustration that she had to deal with today.

“You’d think for how fancy this skyscraper is, it’d run a little better,” she said, placing her hands on her shapely hips.

I raised an eyebrow. She was taking quite the tone with me, considering who I was.

Wait a minute, I considered. Does she not know that’s my name on the front of the building she’s badmouthing?

I decided to let her go on, with a little push from my part.

“There’s been some construction going on in the last few weeks,” I said, acting like I was just some other drone in the building—a drone wearing an eight-thousand-dollar suit, that is.

“No kidding,” she said, pulling her ink-dark purse close to her body in a quick, frustrated jerk. “I’ve been hearing the workers pounding through the damn walls all morning.”

I glanced around the elevator, which remained as still as could be. These incidents had been occurring with annoying frequency, though this was the first time I was the one dealing with it. I made a mental note to give one of the foremen a talking-to, letting him know in no uncertain terms that any work on the elevators would be done after business hours.

Then again, considering the company I was in here with, maybe a “thank you” would be more in order.

“I thought this building was supposed to be one of the most high-tech in the city,” she said. “But now I’m wondering if I’m going to be spending the rest of the workday stuck in an elevator.”

She was right—I’d designed the headquarters of my firm, Carver Holdings, to be the new crown jewel of the San Francisco skyline: a tall, gleaming tower that cut into the blue skies above like a knife. I wanted it to represent the power and wealth of the organization I’d built with my own two hands. A building that would make the entire city aware of the new player on the scene.

But she was right—instead of that, I was now wondering how much time and money I was going to be wasting stuck in an elevator.

“I take it that means you’re new to the company?” I asked, wanting to know more about this impossibly gorgeous woman standing tantalizingly close to me.

She let out a frustrated sigh, as if she couldn’t believe that I was pestering her with such questions. She turned on her heels and leaned back against the opposite side of the elevator.

In this new position I got a good look at her. Her face, which I’d only so far seen in striking profile, was stunning. Her eyes were narrow, her nose was a pert button, and her blood-red lips were the Platonic ideal of a Cupid‘s bow. Her features seemed hand-carved by a careful artist, and were framed by her thick, curly hair. Her breasts strained the fabric of her shirt as they rested practically on top of her crossed arms.

“You want to have small talk right now?” she asked.

“Beats standing around staring into space,” I said.

Really, I wanted to get to know her better without her realizing exactly who she was smarting off to.

“I suppose so,” she said, looking around. “You been stuck in one of these things before?”

I shook my head. “Not personally, but it’s been known to happen during this last phase of construction. Never heard it to last more than five to ten minutes, at the most.”

“So damn annoying,” she said. “Sorry—I mean the elevator, not you.”

I smirked. At least she had some tact. “And… you’re new?” I asked, reminding her of the question.

Before either of us could say another word, the elevator lurched skyward. For a split second I thought this meant the error had been resolved, but the car jerked quickly to a stop. The halt was so sudden, in fact, that it caused the cup of coffee in the woman’s hands to smash against her chest. The milky brown brew splashed all over her blouse, seeping through the fabric.

“Shit!” she cried out, realizing what had happened.

My eyes locked right onto the stain. The sheer fabric, which was already rather thin, was now totally see-through. I could make out the clear shape of her bra and the round, shapely breasts underneath. It took all I had not to ogle like a horny teenager taking a peek down his attractive teacher’s shirt.

The woman, on the other hand, made an expression indicating that this was the last straw.

“Damn, damn, damn!” she said, examining the damage.

“You OK?” I asked. “That was a whole cup of coffee you just splashed on your t—your chest.”

“It’s fine,” she said. “More cream than coffee. But it freaking figures that something like this would happen on a day like today.”

She seemed ready to rant, and I was eager to let her. I slipped a handkerchief out of my inner suit jacket pocket and handed it over. She began dabbing her breasts, but there was too much to sop up. “You were saying?” I asked.

And then we were off to the races.

“Yeah, I’m new,” she said, shaking her head at the hand fate had dealt her. “First day at this faceless monolith of a company. Already feeling like a good little worker bee flitting around the hive. Just another part in some massive conglomerate run by a no-doubt-heartless CEO.”

“Hope I’m not speaking out of turn,” I said. “But that’s not the kind of attitude I’d expect from someone who was just hired. I’m assuming that no one put a gun to your head and made you work here?”

“There was no literal gun involved,” she said. “But there might as well have been.”

Now I was curious. I furrowed my brow a bit, wordlessly encouraging her to continue.

She let out another sigh, as if she’d been waiting for the chance to get something off her chest.

“I had a company,” she said. “A tech firm. Emphasis on the ‘had’ part of that sentence. It was this little organization I’d founded with a couple of other classmates of mine in college—Illimitable Technologies.”

I said nothing, curious to hear more.

“But…I shouldn’t really be saying anything about this,” she said. “You couldn’t possibly care.”

But I did. “Go ahead,” I said. “You need to get something off your chest, some random employee here’s the best person to do it to.” My eyes drifted down again for a quick second. Speaking of chest...

“We weren’t much—just me and the two owners and a couple dozen employees. But it was my company.”

“You and the two other owners.”

She nodded and glanced away, conceding the point. “If it was up to me, I would’ve founded the company all on my own. But damn, it’s hard to start a business here in San Francisco. One of the owners is a rich woman and had the start-up capital. The other is one of those weirdos who loves networking and knew all the ins and outs of getting us off the ground.”

“And you?” I asked.

“I had the actual tech skills.” Another sigh, this one less haughty and more defeated. “But as much as I loved running a business, I didn’t know a damn thing about the behind-the-scenes stuff. Give me a good team and I’ll write you the best damn software you’ve seen in your life. But the other two managed all the rest.”

She went on, and I did my best not to focus on the way her lips moved when she spoke, how they might look wrapped around my—

“I thought we were on the same page, that we all had the same entrepreneurial mindset, you know? But then, out of nowhere, the two of them bring me into one of their offices. Tell me that they got an offer from Carver Holdings, wanting to pay us big bucks to add our work—my work—to their tech department.”

“They did this without your consent?” I asked.

She gave me a look that seemed to say, “I know, I know—I‘m an idiot.”

“Like I said, I didn’t know anything about the fine print. Turns out they wrote into the contract that they could make decisions like this with a two-person majority vote. Told me that they could send me off with a big payout and no more say in the company, or that I could stick around and stay with my team and my work. But take less money.”

“And you chose the latter, I see.”

“You’re damn right I did,” she said, strength returning to her voice. “No way I’d let my handpicked team go just like that. And my work is my baby—god knows what they’d do with it here without my attention.” Her shoulders slumped. “I never thought I’d work in a place like this,” she said, her eyes downcast. “I’d always imagined myself leading my own company, away from this sort of environment.”

I was initially focused on her looks. But all this talk about making something on her own was certainly something I could empathize with. After all, I’d built this company from the ground up.

“So, now you’re here, stuck in an elevator venting to some guy you’ve never met before.”

She let out a soft snort and shook her head, a wry smile spreading across her face. “I guess I figure, with how huge this company is, that I’ll never see you again. But then again, judging by that fancy suit, you’re probably an exec. So, maybe I just signed my death warrant. Oh well.”

I brought my thumb and index finger to my mouth, making the “key-in-lock” gesture. “I get it,” I said. “You’re making a rough adjustment. And being stuck in a box like this doesn’t help.”

Her features softened with relief. “At least there’s one of you guys up on the top floor that’s not a total bloodsucker,” she said.

“I’m going to choose to take that as a compliment.”

She smiled, her features brightening enough to make my cock twitch again. Her face was angelic—no other word to describe it.

Before either of us could say anything else, the elevator lurched to a start and we were back on our way up.

“God, now I feel like a total idiot,” she said. “You promise to keep this under your hat?”

“Word is bond,” I said, raising my fingers in a “scout’s honor” pose. “Besides, not like I have your name.”

“It’s Chelsea Lane,” she said. “Tech department.”

The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened silently.

“Thanks for letting me vent, fancy-suit-man,” she said.

“Pleasure was all mine,” I said.

She flashed me another half-smile as she stepped out of the elevator. My eyes did one last pass over her body before the doors shut again.

I considered the conversation I’d just had, the image of Chelsea fresh in my mind.

She’d do perfectly.

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