Cally’s smile grew sunnier now she had it all sorted out in her mind. No matter what unaware, innocent young woman Mr Stone might think he was getting, she would have everything under control.
She pushed through the double glass doors which whooshed briskly closed behind her and passed an unmanned reception desk. Jake Stone’s name was clearly outlined on a plaque on his door – he loved his gold plaques – so she knocked sharply and entered.
Sitting across the room, behind a huge mahogany desk, was a man. Not an older man, like Mathers. About mid-30s. Not an ugly man either. Rather gorgeous, actually. Her heart skipped a beat. And she was still only looking at the top of his head. Thick, dark hair, short, well groomed. He hadn’t even looked up yet.
She cleared her throat. ‘I did knock,’ she explained.
He failed to acknowledge her. Cally began to feel a little uncomfortable. She wanted to fill the silence that grew around her while he continued to read the papers in a folder on his desk. ‘Shall I wait outside?’
Her left her standing there feeling more and more awkward.
Cally tried to make the decision for him. ‘I can see you’re busy.’ Geez, the least he could do was say something. Anything.‘I’ll wait outside.’
She got to the door. Just as she opened it to leave, he spoke. ‘Shut the door.’
She presumed he meant behind her and tried to slip through the opening.
‘How dare you enter my office without permission?’ His tone was cool, modulated. Dangerous. Sexy as hell.
‘I’m sorry –’
‘I have not given you permission to speak.’
Cally was startled. She had never been addressed that way in her life. Even by Mathers. She wanted to tell him to drop dead, but the words hung on her lips.
He had the sexiest pair of deep brown eyes she had ever seen in her life, and they were looking straight through her. And she wanted the job. The other one. She knew what she had to do to get it.
‘Sorry,’ she repeated. Her heart pounded.
‘Let’s get the first lesson out of the way, Miss Hammond,’ he said, rising. ‘You speak when I say you can and not until then. Are we clear?’
She was just about to affirm verbally when his raised eyebrows, stopped her. She closed her open mouth.
‘Good.’ He rose and paced slowly toward her. ‘Learn to please me quickly. I expect no less from my personal assistant than that she pleases me.’
Cally swallowed down the lump that was building nervously in her throat, choking off her breathing, as he towered over her. The way he said pleases left her in no doubt as to what he was alluding. Sex. Everything about Jake Stone screamed sex. Hot, hard, and his way. No wonder his PAs didn’t last too long.
‘In everything,’ he added, cranking up the tension. Hers.
The tone of his last remark, no less than the remark itself, had Cally wishing she could bolt for the door. But he had circled around her like a seasoned predator and was standing between her and her only means of escape. She stepped into the room a little more to widen the gap between them.
‘Stand still!’ he commanded. ‘I have not given you permission to move.’
The sound reverberated in her ears, over and over. He left the remark hanging for at least a minute, in which Cally’s heart started to thump seriously now in her chest. Slow and heavy and deadly.
‘Lesson two,’ he announced. ‘You don’t speak without my permission and you will stand in one place all day, unless I give you my permission to move.’
Cally was as still as a bronze sculpture.
‘Is that clear?’ Each word was ground out, easy, his mouth so close to her ear she could feel his hot breath waft the long, blonde hairs at her temple and shiver over her skin.
What was she to do? Answer him? Say nothing? Her head began to spin with the complexity of it. This wasn’t what she was expecting at all.
He waited, standing behind her, which increased her anxiety, as she wasn’t allowed to turn around to watch what he was doing. She could feel his eyes roaming all over her figure as if they were his hands and found herself warming in anticipation of the latter.
Gradually the silence, the unspoken control he wielded, ratcheted up the pressure in the room. Her lips were desert dry and she put out her tongue to lick them.
Suddenly he was standing before her. He was large. He loomed over her. She felt fragile, delicately feminine in a way she had never felt before around a man.
He rubbed a thumb roughly over her moistened lips, making her start. ‘You moved,’ he told her quietly. ‘And now you have made me angry.’
He didn’t seem to Cally to be any angrier than before, but she wasn’t taking any chances. She froze again.
‘I will be the one who decides if your lips are to be moistened,’ he continued.
A wild throbbing began between her thighs, with a pulsing that matched the steady, deep beat of her heart, in unexpected excitement at this game of control. Who knew?
‘Perhaps I might permit you to lick your lips. Or perhaps I would choose to lick them myself.’ Jake Stone leant in, without touching her anywhere else, and ran his tongue slowly over her swollen, sensitised skin.
Cally found herself shudder with the shock. He had invaded her personal space. He had touched her. Licked her. She was stunned by experiencing a feeling of growing need. A need to press her tingling lips tightly back to his. A need to put her hands between her thighs, to relieve the tension building there.
‘If you are to be acceptable as my PA, then you must learn that your body belongs to me. You don’t touch it unless I instruct you to.’
It was as if he could read her mind. Knew the cravings that were building inside her. Or perhaps he could see the minute little twitching movements she could not prevent her hips from making, in order to ease the sexual demands of her own body.
‘Take off your pantyhose,’ he whispered softly, making her flinch. ‘I do not permit my PA to wear such unattractive garments. If I employ you as my PA, you will wear stockings or keep your legs bare. I will tell you when each is required.’
Cally’s eyes widened. Was she going to do as he demanded? She would not be able to remove them without pulling her tight skirt up to her waist. She hesitated.
‘Not good enough,’ he informed her. His hands reached round her waist and briskly snapped open the button, drawing the zip downwards. He yanked her skirt down and let it drop in a pool around her feet. ‘When I tell you to do something,’ he ground out, ‘I don’t mean think about it, I mean do it. Straight away. Do you think you have a choice in the matter?’
Already she knew she wasn’t expected to answer him. He had yet to give her permission to speak. She felt foolish standing before him in a blouse, panties, pantyhose. And stilettos. And it wasn’t those that had her all off-balance.
Jake had stepped back, settling his hip on the desk as if to get a better view, while she complied. His body language told her he expected no refusal. Yet she could refuse, she told herself. She didn’t need his stinking job. She could go back and tell her real boss that Jake Stone was a jerk, impossible to work for. She would have to prove herself capable of being a good reporter, some other way. With Mathers.
Cally took a steadying breath. He couldn’t berate her for breathing. She wasn’t prepared to throw in the towel quite so soon. She was made of sterner stuff than that. In fact, she didn’t want to have to go skulking back, to tell Mathers she wasn’t quite up to the rigours of investigative journalism and have him say “I told you so”, while he stroked her bottom sympathetically. She shuddered at the thought.
Her fingers were already in the waistband of her pantyhose. She eased them off her hips and down, revealing skimpy, white, lacy underwear. She wished she’d put on less revealing lingerie that morning.