The Favor:A Marriage of Convenience Romance(10)

By: Suzanne Wright

I left the kitchen and made my way to the door. Opening it wide, I smiled at Tucker. The guy was at least six foot seven and built like a linebacker, but he was a gentle giant.

“Hi, Vienna,” he greeted, polite as ever.

“Hey, Tucker.”

“Is Ashley here?”

“She is. Come in.” I closed the door once he’d stepped inside. “She’s in the kitchen.”

He thanked me and then headed to the kitchen, closing the door behind him. I sat on the sofa in the living room to give them some privacy. I could hear their muffled voices talking curtly, but then those voices softened. I had to smile. They reminded me a little of Melinda and Wyatt. My foster parents argued over the weirdest stuff sometimes, but they were a tight and happy couple.

My intercom buzzed. I frowned. Apparently, I was a popular girl today.

I headed to the wall-mounted control panel and jabbed the intercom button. “Hello?” I said into the microphone.

“It’s me,” rumbled a deep, distinctive voice that seemed to vibrate with testosterone.

I almost jerked back in surprise. Not once in the four years I’d worked for Dane had he ever come to my home. Ever. So, yeah, this was new.

“We need to talk,” he quickly added.

Yeah, he’d informed me of that earlier, but I hadn’t realized he’d meant we’d do it here. He’d left o-Verve at 4 p.m. and still hadn’t returned by 6 p.m. Figuring that we could postpone the discussion until tomorrow, I hadn’t lingered at the office.

Curious about what was so important that it couldn’t wait, I pressed the button that would unlock the main door to the complex. It wasn’t long before he arrived at my apartment. Spying him through the peephole, I opened the door.

“Dane,” I greeted simply, ignoring how my feminine parts woke right up and did a cheer. It wasn’t fair that this attraction I felt toward him was so damn unrelenting. I was too susceptible to him. Too helpless against the one-way chemistry that wouldn’t back the hell down.

I’d read once that chemistry couldn’t possibly be one-sided, but my situation was evidence that theory was complete bullshit. The undeniable, inexplicable force always pulsed in the air around me whenever I was near him; always made my nerve-endings tingle and my body feel so very aware. But it was abundantly clear that my boss was totally unaffected.

His eyes drifted over me, and I was suddenly unbearably conscious that I was dressed in my sweats with my hair tied up in an unruly knot. He’d never seen me in anything other than business attire, and I always styled my hair into a sleek, professional bun for work.

I stepped aside, allowing him to enter. His all-knowing eyes swept over our surroundings, and I fought a blush. At work, I was hyper-organized. At home? Not so much. Probably because I needed a little break from being hyper-organized throughout the majority of the day. I kept my home super clean, but no matter how many times I decluttered, I never managed to keep everything in their designated places.

Piles of unopened mail, books, and papers were untidily stacked on the coffee table. Change, receipts, and stray cosmetic items littered the fireplace mantel. Jackets had been tossed over the back of the armchair. My e-reader, blanket, and a half-eaten box of chocolates had been slung on one side of the sofa.

Dane took it all in and then lifted a brow at me.

I shrugged. “I was playing a game of Jumanji—it tends to get messy. So, why are you here? Is something wrong?”

Just then, my neighbors came strolling out of the kitchen hand in hand. They both halted at the sight of Dane. Tucker seemed to stand a little taller—he often did when men sniffed around me, like the protective big brother I’d never wanted.

“Dane, these are my friends and neighbors, Ashley and Tucker. Guys, this is my boss, Dane Davenport.”

Tucker inclined his head, even as he narrowed his eyes. “Good to meet you.”

Ashley fanned her face. “Vienna didn’t tell me you were hot.”

Tucker glared at his girlfriend. “I’m right here.”

“It was just an observation.” Ashley smiled at me and wagged her fingers. “See you tomorrow, Vienna. Bye now, Dane.”

He didn’t respond, but I said my goodbyes and then locked the door shut behind them.