MERRY CHRISTMAS! The first two pages of chapter one of FIGHT WITH ME... (original post date Tuesday, December 25, 2012)
Chapter OneLate Spring I love my job. I love my job. God, sometimes, I hate my job. I read the terse email from my boss, Nathan McKenna once again and swallow hard.Friday, April 26, 2013 13:56From: Nathan McKennaTo: Julianne MontgomerySubject: Working Late Julianne,I need you to work late with me tonight, possibly into the weekend. Please gather all the files on the Radcliffe account and meet me in my office at 6:00 pm.Nate Damn it! For eight long months I’ve managed to steer clear of my boss, and I know I’ve been incredibly lucky that I haven’t had to work alone with him after-hours, but we recently lost the other junior partner in our department, and that leaves just me and Nate.Large, beastly butterflies have taken up residence in my stomach.Since that one night last summer, Nate and I have maintained a level of professionalism that I’m very proud of, despite the fact that whenever I see him I feel a pull of electricity that makes my thighs clench. I did invite him to double-date with Nat and I on the night of one of Nat’s husband, Luke’s movie premieres, but I managed to keep that night completely platonic.It almost killed me.Since then, it’s been for the greater good of keeping a job that I enjoy that I steer clear of Mr. Sex-on-legs. Not that he’s been clamoring to get me back into bed. The morning after The Best Sex In The History of Mankind, after I snuck out of his bed, he had been pissed. He’d called and texted, wanting to know what the hell happened, and I’d avoided him like the plague for a good two weeks, telecommuting from home and taking vacation time.Then, he just stopped. All personal communication halted, and when we are together during business hours, he is the epitome of cool professionalism.There are days that it pisses me the hell off.And now, because the moron who had been in our department couldn’t take the demanding schedule of our job quit, I have to work alone with Nate.Fuck.I sit back in my chair and look at the time. Five thirty. I pull my glasses off and toss them on my desk and hang my head in my hands. So much for spending the weekend with a pint of ice cream and a good book.I can do this. Pull it together, Montgomery. I’ve posed naked in magazines. I’ve had dinner with gazillionares and hung out with movie stars. I have four older brothers who tease me incessantly, and taught me how to kick ass.I can handle the sexiest man I’ve ever seen in my life for a few hours without ripping my clothes off and having my wicked way with him.I think.Probably.I pull myself together, check that all my calls and emails are set to forward to my iPhone, and go to the bathroom to prepare myself for this evening.I’m happy with what I see in the mirror. My long light blonde hair is still holding the loose curls I rolled into it this morning. My makeup is subtle and professional, setting off my blue eyes. I smooth on a fresh coat of nude lip gloss, straighten my simple cranberry-colored dress and skim my eyes over my slender figure. I was blessed with excellent genetics. I’m not as sexily curved as Natalie, but I was blessed with decent boobs, a perky ass, and a figure that got me onto the pages of Playboy magazine. Three times. I work out hard to maintain my shape.Content with my reflection, I walk briskly in my black Louboutins to my office, gather the files Nate requested along with my phone and walk down the corridor to his office. His personal assistant, Mrs. Glover, is sitting at her desk. She’s an older woman with grey hair and shrewd brown eyes. Her smile is deceiving. She scares the hell out of me with her sharp efficiency and her crazy ability to anticipate Nate’s every move.“Hello, Ms. Montgomery, you can go on in.”“Thank you.” I nod at her and smile and head for his office, knocking twice and then opening the door.“Come in, Julianne. Thanks for staying.” Nate looks up from his computer and nods, his face completely blank.“Sure.” Nate’s office is vast, with large-scale, dark office furniture. The chairs sitting in front of his desk are plush, black leather. There are shelves from the floor to ceiling with hundreds of books and files, meticulously in order, no doubt by the efficient Mrs. Glover. Behind his desk are large windows with a view of the Space Needle and the Sound.It’s beautiful.I’m not sure Nate even pays attention to it.I perch at the edge of one of the black chairs and set the files on Nate’s desk, expecting him to get right to the point.“How are you?” he asks, his voice soft.“Um… fine, thank you.” What the hell?“I’m sorry about the short notice.” He leans forward and braces his elbows on his desk, lacing his fingers, and keeps steady eye-contact. God, those gray eyes are distracting. Almost as distracting as his hands, and the delicious way he…Enough.“It’s part of the job.” I open a file and try to pretend that my cheeks aren’t flushed. “So, what’s up with this account?”“How are Natalie and Luke?”“They’re fine.” I sit back in the chair now and eye him speculatively. Why are we having a personal conversation? “Natalie is due in just a few weeks.”“That’s great, good for them.” Nate grins, that elusive, sexy, melt my panties grin and I find myself returning it. His hair is pulled back off his face, as usual. His chiseled jaw is freshly shaved, and he’s wearing a black suit with a black shirt and blue tie. He never takes his jacket off to roll up the sleeves, and I briefly wonder why, then remind myself to get back to the conversation at hand.“Yeah, they’re excited. I’m hosting the baby shower next weekend.”“I promise not to make you work next weekend,” he winks at me and I about fall out of my chair.Who is this man, and what has he done with my boss?“So, about the account?” I ask as Mrs. Glover knocks on the door.“Dinner’s here, sir.”“Thank you, Jenny, bring it in.” Nate rises and takes two large bags out of Mrs. Glover’s hands. “That’s all for today. I’ll see you on Monday.”“Have a good weekend, sir. Ms. Montgomery.” She nods to both of us and then exits the office, closing the door behind her.“I had Chinese delivered. I got you your usual.” He smiles and resumes sitting in his chair, unloading bags. He seems very happy with himself this evening, much more approachable and friendly than he has been since last summer.What’s his game?“Thank you,” I reply, realizing that I’m starving. I load a plate with rice, sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls and we dig in, eating in silence for a few minutes. I feel Nate’s eyes on me, so I decide to put my big girl panties on and just take the initiative.“So, what’s up with this account?” I ask again and take a bite of chicken.“I don’t have any idea, I just wanted to have dinner with you, and this is the only way I can see you.”Holy fucking shit.I stop chewing, my eyes wide, and I just stare at his perfectly sincere face. “Excuse me?”“You heard me.”I frown and set my plate carefully on his desk. “So, we’re not working on this account?”“No.”“I don’t understand.”Nate lays his chopsticks down, wipes his mouth with a napkin and sits back in his chair, watching me carefully.“I just wanted to share dinner with you, Julianne.”“Why?” And why does he insist on calling me Julianne?He frowns again. “Do I have to spell it out?”“I guess so.”“I like you. I enjoy your company.” He shrugs, looking lost and a bit insecure. I’m so not used to seeing emotions on his beautiful face.“But you’re my boss.”“So?”“So, we could both be fired.”“It’s just dinner, Julianne.”“You’re not looking at me like you just want dinner, Nate.”He cocks his head to the side and a smile kisses his lips. “How am I looking at you?”“Like you’d like to fuck me on this desk.” Holy. Fuck! Did I just say that?Nate’s smile disappears and his eyes narrow. “Watch your mouth.”I swallow hard and blink rapidly.“There are many places that I’d enjoy fucking you, including this desk, but right now, I simply want to enjoy a meal with you.”“Watch your mouth.” I whisper and his smile is back.