He watched her walk out, noting the curve of her ass, his c**k responding without thought, his hand reaching for the phone, dialing the number before he had good mind to rein it in.

And when he found out who she was, his smile widened with the discovery of the forbidden.

Brad stopped by Rebecca’s office, stepping inside and shutting the door.

She looked up from her computer with raised brows, plucked to perfection. “Wow. That didn’t take long.” She glanced at her watch. “Four and a half hours. Hell, I’m surprised you made it that long.”

He stuck his hands in his pockets, glaring at her in a way that would cause most to tremble. “What are you talking about?”

She met his glare head on, her beauty not affected by her two hundred and fifty pound figure. “Cut the bullshit. I know you’re here about her.”

“Who?”

“Julia she’s-an-intern-so-forget-about-her Campbell,” she said the name with a smug smile, entirely too happy with herself.

“Who?”

She snorted. “Oh please. Give me one other reason you are in my office with the door closed.” She waited expectantly, her brows raised. “Well? Spit it out.”

He furrowed his brow, searching for a case name, a menial errand, anything to shut her up, but came up blank. He pulled out a chair and sat down. “Fine. You know me. Now give me the goods.”

She pulled open her file cabinet, her fingers deftly dancing over the tabs until she stopped, yanking out a file and holding it to her ample br**sts. “What’cha got to offer?”

“Your job,” he said pointedly.

She scrunched her mouth to the side and looked at the ceiling. “Nope. You couldn’t sharpen a pencil without me here. Something else.”

“Is there anything in there I even want?” he drawled out, leaning forward and looking into her eyes.

She leaned forward as well, her mouth curving into a playful smile. “Ohhhh yeah, De Luca. But you already know that or else you wouldn’t be darkening my doorstep.”

“Fine. A day of PTO.”

“Three days,” she countered.

“Two,” he said with a wry smile. “Though I don’t know who will sharpen my pencils during that time. Now speak.”

She flipped open the file, a glossy 4x6 staring out from the pages. He inhaled without thought, the brunette beauty devastating with her glasses off and hair down.

“Yep,” Rebecca said smugly. “No wonder Broward snatched her up. Word in the halls is that they almost didn’t accept her, given her looks, but Broward said he would handle it—keep your paws at bay and her safe and sound.”

He frowned, flipping over her photo and picking up the application. Fucking with Broward’s intern wasn’t the best idea for office politics, not when combined with his rocky past. The right thing, the smart thing, would be to forget he saw her and move on. “Impressive GPA,” he remarked, noting her Dean’s List standing and numerous accolades. “She a bookworm?”

“More like brilliant,” Rebecca said. “Going off her Facebook page, she’s got an active social life. So she either lives off no sleep, or doesn’t have to work hard for that 4.0.”

“A boyfriend?” He looked up from the file to meet her eyes.

“Does it matter?” she said, with the voice of a disapproving parent.

“I’m not in here asking about her because I need a new file clerk. Answer the question.”

“It isn’t in her application,” she pointed out.

“Neither are her Facebook status updates.” He gave her a hard look.

“Fine. She just ended an engagement,” she said flatly. “So she’s vulnerable. Not looking for someone to waltz in and f**k with her head.”

He shot her a wounded look. “You give me no credit.”

“Wrong, Mr. De Luca. When it comes to f**king, I give you all the credit.” With that, she snatched the folder away, shutting it and pushing it to the side. “We’re good, right? You’re going to behave? Keep to this wing and let her keep to hers?”

He regarded her carefully, his eyes unfocused, and pondered the question.

the chase

Thursday: two days later.

He couldn’t get away from this girl. She was a vice that followed him around, from her Tuesday appearance in the East Wing to the Wednesday early morning call. A call from his cousin, digging for information on Julia for a man named Bob. A call that had stuck with him, the forbidden fruit becoming more enticing the more he discovered.

Broward’s intern, who apparently hid a sexual fire beneath that sweet cardigan. Another man hot on her trail. Calling around, asking questions. Competition.

He had gone straight to the office after the call, finding her in the west kitchen, butter on her lips, the scent of fear coming off her skin. But she’d had bite, shrugging off his advances, pushing away despite the attraction that flickered in her eyes.

It was there. Heat between them. And when he had pulled up to her in the garage? Ordered her to get in the car and go to lunch? She had obeyed, as she should have. He was a senior partner, she an intern. She should have wiped drool off her mouth and scampered in, ready to assist him in any way that he deemed necessary.

But she didn’t behave. She was unimpressed, sarcastic. Not swooned by Centaur’s grandiose entrance or the restaurant’s exorbitant prices, she had looked him in the eye when she spoke and called him out on his bullshit. She had been, simply put, fascinating. He wanted more, wanting to know what made her tick, what her story was, if she was a local college slut or the innocent that her flushed cheeks portrayed. And what he really wanted, what he thought about every time she put a piece of meat into her mouth, or sipped the glass of white wine, was putting his hands and c**k on every part of her body. Making her quiver, making her grip his skin and scream his name.

And now, the third day of her spell, he was stepping into Kent Broward’s wing, glancing at his watch. He had ten minutes, max, before the staff started to arrive. Ten minutes to talk her into a second date.

She wasn’t alone in her office, and he stared at the pair, Julia nervous, her gaze flitting from him to the man, then back again. The man also quaked, his hand shaking as it smoothed down the hair on his soon-to-be balding head. This must be the man whom his cousin had called him about. The accountant who was head over heels obsessed with the intern who would soon be Brad’s.

What did she see in this weakling? His pressed suit, fresh haircut, and girly scent practically screamed whipped. Maybe she liked that, maybe she wanted to run over her partner, have him scurry around whenever she barked. He met her eyes, seeing the flash in her depths. She had fire. He liked fire.

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