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Bedding the Billionaire by London Hale (1)

The first week Sloane had started working for me six months ago, she’d implemented weekly project reports on Monday mornings. She’d sit across from me, hair pulled back in a harsh ponytail, black-rimmed glasses perched on her nose, while reading details from her ever-present iPad. Which was exactly what she was doing now. Absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary.

Except the fact that I’d fucked her four times Saturday night, only to wake up to a cold, empty bed when I’d gone looking for round five.

Now she sat in the office at my estate, pretending none of it’d happened. Pretending I hadn’t licked chocolate from her breasts, drunk champagne from the hollow of her stomach. That she hadn’t screamed my name as I’d fucked her nearly off the bed. Then again in the shower. Then again bent over the kitchen counter. I’d fisted the hair now so perfectly styled and tugged until she’d looked back at me, begging me to fuck her deeper. And I had. As deep and hard as she’d wanted.

Yet here we were. Her giving me details for the coming week—all the while pretending the whole goddamn night never happened—as I sat behind my desk, hard as a fucking rock.

“The second floor’s been opened to create the promenade effect, though we’re waiting on a steel shipment to finalize the reinforcements and open what’s to be the grand foyer. The Chinese manufacturer is difficult to deal with according to your local liaison, Frank, but they’re our only option. I’m staying up on the order to make sure it’s on the water in time.”

Despite being sexy as hell when she was in business mode, her ignoring Saturday night pissed me off, though that irritation did nothing to deter my erection. Truthfully, I should’ve been thrilled at this outcome. Fucking a subordinate wasn’t something I made a habit of—or did…ever—so I’d been strategizing since I’d found my bed empty, wondering what I’d need to do to keep her on this project.

Because there was no other option.

Sloane McLaren was the best at what she did, and I needed the best. Had offered her an exorbitant amount to get her ass on the island with me, too. In addition to her obscene paycheck, I covered her lodging at the local bed-and-breakfast, even though I had a twelve-thousand-square-foot estate I’d never use even a quarter of. But it was worth it, because her reputation hadn’t been exaggerated, and I needed the multimillion-dollar investment of the mixed-use facility to go off without a hitch.

And yet seeing her sitting there, all prim and proper and completely fucking professional, totally ignoring everything that’d happened between us, did nothing but make me want to mess her up. Undo her ponytail, take off those librarian-fantasy glasses, and ruck up her skirt. Bend her over the desk and lick her pussy. It did nothing but make me want her more. Which, to be honest, I hadn’t thought possible.

“Exterior landscape design is finalized,” she said, eyes still glued to her iPad. “I sent the sketches to you last night. We’ll need to do some concrete work to accommodate the trees, which I’ve already scheduled for early spring so we stay on target.”

I leaned back in my chair, twirling a pen between my fingers while she pretended I wasn’t in the room. If I weren’t paying attention, I would’ve missed the slight flush on her chest and the color pooling in her cheeks. Interesting. Seemed she wasn’t quite as unaffected as she’d have me believe, considering she’d walked in at eight o’clock on the dot, calm as hell. She hadn’t even given me a second glance. Just said good morning, took her typical seat at the chair in front of my desk, and dove into the reports.

I glanced down at the shirt she wore—light gray with a modest neckline—beneath her typical business suit. Absolutely nothing like what she’d worn to the holiday party on Saturday. Though, to be fair, she hadn’t worn a shirt at all. Instead, she’d taken her office attire and turned it into the wardrobe for a CEO and subordinate porno—just a business jacket, buttoned right below her breasts. Practically serving them up on a platter. And I’d wanted nothing more than to have a taste.

“All I need is your approval on the parking garage refurbishment options, and we can get back to work. We’re down to the final days before the holiday shutdown.” She kept her eyes on her iPad, her fingers flying, always working. After long moments of silence, she finally looked up, her head cocked to the side. The first time she’d met my eyes all morning. “Colin? Are you listening?”

“I am.” I studied her, holding her gaze so long she shifted in her seat. Finally, a crack in her facade. I could play it safe. Take the easy way out and not say anything, just thank my luck she’d shown up at all this morning. But I hadn’t become a billionaire by thirty-four from playing it safe. “I’m just wondering how long you’re going to continue with the meeting while pretending you didn’t sit on my face over the weekend.”

She let out a sharp cough and adjusted her glasses. “I didn't feel that particular…task needed a discussion. The fact that Chinese New Year is quickly approaching seemed far more vital to project completion.”

“Yes, and you’ve done an excellent job keeping me abreast of the situation.” My cell buzzed with an incoming call, and I dismissed it without glancing at the caller ID. “Is there anything else we need to go over?”

“No, I think we've covered everything.”

“Good.” I leaned forward, bracing my elbows on my desk. “Then we can discuss why you ran out in the middle of the night without a word.”

She straightened her shoulders, her jaw ticking once—the only sign of her irritation. “I don't think that's a good idea. There's a lot of work to do to keep this project on schedule, and neither of us needs distractions. Let's call it what it was—a lapse in judgment—and move on.”

Bullshit. She was completely full of bullshit. It was almost insulting she thought I’d fall for it, considering how closely we’d been working together for the past six months. I could smell a lie a mile away, and she certainly didn’t have the poker face to try to slip one past me. She wanted me, wanted more of what we’d done over the weekend. She just didn’t think she should.

So I pushed. “Which time, exactly, would you call the lapse in judgment—when I fucked you in the kitchen or the shower?”

The flush on her cheeks and chest grew, and she darted her eyes away, but not before letting her gaze drop to my lips. “I believe we could go all the way back to the second bottle of champagne.”

My eyebrows shot up. I didn’t recall her being drunk on Saturday—if she had been, I’d never have taken her to bed. Tipsy, yes. Relaxed enough to slip out of Business Sloane mode? Hell yes. But drunk? “Are you saying you were too intoxicated to realize what you were doing?”

She shook her head before I’d gotten all the words out. “Not at all. But partaking of that bottle was a mistake considering…”

“Considering the fact that I’m your boss?”

“Considering the mess we're finding ourselves in,” she said, harsher. The tone I referred to as her pit-bull voice—the one she used when dealing with vendors and contractors. The one that said she took no shit.

Too bad.

“I think you’ve worked with me long enough to know I don’t do lapses in judgment. Nor do I believe in regrets, and I rarely make mistakes. So I’m going to have to disagree with you. I think the second bottle was the perfect ending to the night.” I cocked my head to the side and met her eyes. “Or the perfect start to it, anyway.”

Her fingernail tapped her iPad screen, something she did when she was nervous or uncertain. Like I said, no poker face. She was an open book, if one was to look close enough. “Colin, I work for you, and we have a very big job ahead of us that could cost you millions and me my career if anything goes south. What happened over the weekend needs to stay in the weekend.”

I studied her for long moments, taking in the stiff line of her shoulders and the set of her jaw. Sloane tended to reach a point when she’d had enough. I’d seen it happen in countless meetings. She was definitely there now. Time to pull back and reconsider my options.

With a short nod, I conceded. “I’ll drop it”—for now—“if you tell me one thing… Do you want to forget about the weekend because you don’t want it to happen again, or because you don’t think you should?”

She froze, her entire body going stiff as she locked her eyes on mine. “I’m not sure the difference is important.”

“I see.” I tapped my pen twice on my desk. Getting her back in my bed was going to be a challenge, but I’d never been one to shy away from them. “If that’s all, then?”

Her mouth dropped open, and she blinked before seeming to snap herself out of it. “Yes. That's all.”

“Good. Will you be in your office the rest of the day, or on-site?”

“I'll be on-site until lunch but will close out the day here.”

I gave a brief nod and picked up my phone, using the time to pretend I was checking the calls and emails I’d missed during the meeting—something I always did once our weekly progress reports were winding down. In actuality, I was using the time to plan. “I was hoping you’d say that. I’d like to make a trip there today, as well.” I glanced at her. “We can ride over together.”

Her lips pressed together in a poor imitation of a smile. “Of course. I was planning to leave on the hour.”

“I’ll have George ready.” I shot a quick message to my driver, letting him know to have the car around front in twenty minutes. Time to play hardball. “I’ll also want a detailed inventory of the expected shipment on my desk before you leave for the evening.”

Her lips pulled down at the corners, her brow creased. “Those numbers come from China. It’ll be quite late before I have access to them.”

That worked just fine for me. “Then I guess it’s going to be a long night.”

She nodded stiffly. “Whatever you need.” She clutched her iPad to her chest as she stood. “If that’s all?”

With a nod from me, she took her cue and turned to leave, her ass swaying more than usual. Goddamn, that ass. Shapely, round, and perfectly fucking biteable. And I had, too—spanked it and bit it and dug my fingers into it as I’d taken her from behind.

My cock ached, but I wasn’t going to get relief anytime soon. I had an unplanned trip to the project site this morning and arrangements to be made for tonight.

One of the things that made Sloane excel at her job was her straightforward approach, which was why her reaction threw me. She gave off all kinds of signals, and I needed to figure out which were the genuine reflection of her desires. If she truly didn’t want anything more to happen between us, that’d be that. I’d respect her wishes and continue on as if the best sex of my life didn’t reside between those shapely legs of hers.

But if she did want it? That was a different story entirely. And fortunately, I wasn’t one known for giving up.

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