Tangled Page 7

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In a nutshell: I control my dick. My dick does not control me. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for the last hour and a half.

See me there, at my desk, mumbling like a goddamn schizophrenic off his meds?

That’s me reminding myself of the tenets, the sacred beliefs that have gotten me this far in life. The ones that have made me an uncontested success in the bedroom and in the office. The ones that have never failed me before. The ones that I am dying to throw out the f**king window. All because of the woman in the office down the hall.

Katherine Everyone-Calls-Me-Kate Brooks.

Talk about a frigging curveball.

The way I see it, I could still go for the gold. Technically speaking, I didn’t meet Kate at work; I met her in a bar. That means she could forgo the label of “coworker” and retain the “random hook-up” status with which she was originally designated.

What? I’m a businessman; it’s my job to find loopholes.

So, in theory at least, I could definitely nail her and not undermine my own personal laws of nature. The problem with that strategy, of course, is what happens after.

The longing glances, the hopeful eyes, the pathetic attempts to make me jealous. The supposedly “accidental” meetings, the questions about my plans, the seemingly casual walks past my office door. All of which would inevitably escalate into disturbing semi-stalkerish behavior.

Some women can handle a one-night stand. Others can’t. And I have definitely been on the wrong end of those who can’t.

It ain’t pretty.

So, you see, no matter how badly I want to, no matter how hard the little head is trying to lead me down that road, it’s not the kind of thing I want to bring into my place of business. My sanctuary—my second home.

It’s not going to happen. Period.

That’s it. End of discussion.

Case closed.

Kate Brooks is officially scratched off my list of potentials. She is forbidden, untouchable, a no-way-never. Right next to my friends’ ex-girlfriends, the boss’s daughter, and my sister’s best friends.

Well, that last category is a bit of a gray area. When I was eighteen, Alexandra’s best friend, Cheryl Phillips, spent the summer at our house. God bless her—that girl had a mouth like a Hoover vacuum. Lucky for me, The Bitch never learned of her friend’s two a.m. visits to my room. There would have been hell to pay—I’m talking fire-and-brimstone-of-apocalyptic-proportions hell—if she had.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right. I was explaining that I have come to the unequivocal decision that Kate Brooks’s ass is one that I, sadly, am never going to tap. And I’m okay with that. Really.

And I almost believe myself.

Right up until she shows up at my door.

Christ.

She’s wearing glasses. The dark-rimmed kind. The female version of Clark Kent’s. They would be geeky-looking and unattractive on most women. But not her. On the bridge of that tiny nose, framing those long-lashed beauties, with her hair swept up in that slightly loosened bun, they are nothing short of full-out sexy.

As she starts to speak, my mind is suddenly filled with every hot-teacher fantasy I’ve ever had. They’re playing out in my mind right next to the ones about the seemingly sexually repressed librarian who’s really a leather-wearing, handcuff-bearing nymphomaniac.

While all this is going on in my head, she’s still talking.

What the f**k is she saying?

I close my eyes to stop myself from staring at her glistening lips. So I can actually process the words coming out of her mouth:

“…father said you could help me with it.” She stops and looks at me expectantly.

“I’m sorry, I was distracted. You want to sit down and run that by me again?” I ask, my voice never betraying the horniness inside me.

Once again, to the ladies out there—here’s a fact for you: Men pretty much have sex on the brain twenty-four-seven. The exact figure is like every 5.2 seconds or some shit like that.

The point is, when you ask, “What do you want for dinner?” we’re thinking about screwing you on the kitchen counter. When you’re telling us about the sappy film you watched with your girlfriends last week, we’re thinking about the  p**n o we saw on cable last night. When you show us the designer shoes you bought on sale, we’re thinking how nice they would look on our shoulders.

I just thought you’d want to know. Don’t shoot the messenger.

It’s a curse, really.

Personally, I blame Adam. Now there was a guy who had the world by the balls. Walking around naked, a hot chick to satisfy his every whim. I sure hope that apple was tasty, ’cause he really f**ked it up for the rest of us. Now we have to work for it. Or, in my case, try desperately not to want it.

She sits in the chair across from my desk and crosses her legs.

Don’t look at the legs. Don’t look at the legs.

Too late.

They’re toned, tan, and smooth-looking as silk. I lick my lips and force my eyes to hers.

“So,” she begins again, “I’ve been working up a portfolio on a programming company, Genesis. Have you heard of them?”

“Vaguely,” I answer, looking down at the papers on my desk to stem the flow of indecent images the sound of her voice calls forth from my deviant mind.

I am a bad, bad boy. Think Kate will punish me if I tell her how bad I am?

I know. I know. I just can’t help myself.

“They posted three million EBIT last quarter,” she says.

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