Off Limits(10)

By: Lola Darling

“Tempting as it may be, I don’t mix business and pleasure,” I reply evenly.

“Tell that to the new girl at the front desk.” Marcus smirks. “What’s her name? D-something—no, wait, that’s her cup size.”

“It’s Hannah,” I interrupt. “And she’s not really my type.” Too much giggling and following me around the hallway all day for my taste. But I don’t need to add that. Clearly the guys already noticed. Great, I wonder how long this rumor train will last. Couldn’t be any worse than the time Marcus told half the office I was hooking up with that girl Melanie in accounting who wouldn’t stop interoffice mailing me Sweetheart candy, at least.

That was a new personal low.

“If she’s not your type, you’re either a zombie, or you’re more into Marcus here,” Jim replies, jerking a thumb at Marcus, who has chosen this moment to stuff a fistful of loaded fries into his face.

“Pass.” I push back my chair. “I’m going for another round, anyone else?” They both nod, so I head up to the bar to order three more. The pub is quiet tonight. It’s a tiny little hole-in-the-wall a block from our office—a shit hole, really, with sticky floors, a weird smell that I’m pretty sure is still lingering from back when you used to be able to smoke inside dives like this, and only one bartender slash server, the gruff old Irish guy Seamus who runs the joint.

In other words, exactly the dive we always need after a long day of bullshit.

As I collect our beers, Seamus slides me a shot glass filled to the brim with what smells like Jameson.

“Look like you could use it,” he says.

I toss back the shot. Great. Even the bartender can tell I’ve had one of those days.

And all thanks to Chloe goddamn MacIntyre.

The more I review the files, the more annoyed I get. This case is going to need a lot of attention, and she only wants to slot me in for 15 minutes? I’m going to spend half the day tomorrow working on this, and she’s acting like it’s just another normal case. Not one with a celebrity that could land us more attention than anything I’ve worked on in my career here so far.

Not to mention her attitude in the meeting today. I mean, yes, okay, it was kind of sexy the first couple times she death-glared at me. But after a while that disdain gets old. I know exactly what she thinks about me, like it or not.

Suck it up, Davis. Ignore her attitude. Ignore her shapely ass. Ignore your constant mental images of tearing that silky blouse off of her body and pushing that tight skirt up her legs, leaving the garter belt and her glasses on.

Ignore the constant throb of your cock every time you fucking think about her.

After this case, if I can prove myself, Anthony has already hinted at giving me a lot more freedom. I’ll be able to pick and choose my own cases, select the ones that I think will take me the farthest career-wise. Hell, he’s even hinted, in his roundabout, somehow-still-insulting way, that I could be on a partner track, if I step up my game now.

This is no time to let a little thing like one colleague throw me off. If anything, I just need to look at her as a new challenge.

A challenge I need to avoid conquering. Much as I might want to get my hands all over her sexy curves, Chloe is now a no-fly zone.

Forbidden fruit.

I slide back into my usual seat at our usual table and hand out the usual orders: Guinness for me and Jim, and Corona for Marcus, because he’s a chick.

Small favors—it seems like the topic has shifted while I’ve been away. Thank fuck.

“Keep hearing rumors about it,” Jim is saying, “But nothing confirmed as of yet. At least, nothing that fucking Rubin is going to tell me, since he’s had it out for me since the day I started reporting to him.”

“I heard it’s starting next month.” Marcus shrugs.

“What’s starting?” I wrap my fist around my second beer. The glass is cool, sweating against my palm.

“The restructure,” Jim says, with one of those Did you seriously not know about this looks that he gets.

I blink at the two of them for a minute before the term settles into my skull. “Hang on. What restructure?”

Did I seriously miss an office rumor of this magnitude? Christ, I really am losing my edge.

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