“I said I’m fine!”
The fury in his voice stunned Pippi, making her take a wary step back. What on earth was his problem? Their gazes clashed, Pippi’s blue eyes filled with a mixture of hurt and indignation at his rudeness while his dark gaze was…
Nurturing reflexes – honed for decades in a household filled with love and laughter – kicked in, and she unthinkingly reached up, having to tiptoe a little just to touch his forehead. He yanked away with a curse, but it was too late.
“You’re burning up,” Pippi gasped.
Even more, it didn’t look like his fever was of the ordinary type, with Acheron Simonides suddenly bending down and throwing up what seemed like his last meal (salmon, seemed like it)…at her feet.
She nearly gagged, her face contorting with distaste and revulsion at the sight and smell of his vomit. Don’t puke! Pippi had to repeat the warning to herself, but this time for a different reason.
She saw him start to stagger, and Pippi knew she had to pull herself together. Where Acheron Simonides was concerned, letting him fall face flat on his own puke was definitely grounds for termination.
“G-Gotcha!” She caught him just in time, her knees nearly buckling under his weight. The scent of his cologne was nice, but it was easily overpowered by the stench of puke. It caused Pippi to alternately gag and grit her teeth as she half-dragged, half-carried the CEO to the nearest couch. She tried to be gentle as she laid him down, but when she lost her footing on the edge of the rug, all Pippi could do was let out a little shriek –
And then she was lying on top of him, her breasts squashed against the hard wall of Acheron Simonides’ chest, and the sensitive flesh between her legs pressing right on top of his crotch.
Embarrassment ate her alive as she scrambled off him as fast as she could. No more than three seconds had passed surely, but every moment of it seemed indelibly printed on her mind. She just could not forget how incredibly hard –
A low groan escaped the CEO, and she quickly shook off the shamefully lustful fantasies that were doing its best to corrupt her mind.
“Mr. Simonides?” She peered down at him, torn between worry over his health and awe at just how amazingly long his lashes were. Another groan, and worry turned into anxiety. “I think you’re seriously ill, sir. I’m going to call—”
What did he mean ‘no’? Or maybe he was already delirious with fever? “Sir—”
“If…you call 911…you’re…fired.”
Hoarse as his voice was, it did not make his words any less coherent – or commanding, and Pippi could only gape, unable to believe what she was hearing. Was this man truly threatening to terminate her employment because she wanted to keep him alive?
His eyes had closed before he even finished speaking, and by the end of it, he was already unconscious. The lines that marred his forehead gradually faded, the rigid tension easing from his handsome face. It made him look so much younger and approachable, almost like a black-haired angel –
WHOA, Pippilotta Jones!
She gave herself a little slap, thankful to have put the brakes on such thoughts before they could get even more dreadfully fanciful.
Acheron Simonides is a rich man, and therefore off limits!
Pippi took a deep breath.
Recalling the CEO’s last words, she gingerly bent down to take his iPhone from his pocket and felt like a thief as she used his finger to unlock the device. Wickham turned out to be the #1 on his speed dial, and it took only one ring before someone on the other end of the line answered.
” Mr. Wickham?”
“Who are you, and why do you have Mr. Simonides’ phone?”
The voice was a menacing mix of low and heavy, and Pippi wondered if maybe she had ended up calling John Wick instead. Clearing her throat, she said, “I’m at his apartment. He’s sick, but he told me to call you instead of – hello? Hello?”
Fifteen minutes later, and Wickham turned out to be a big, bad, bald man in his forties with the same aura as military veterans and ex-convicts. In other words, she thought absently, someone who wouldn’t think twice about killing if the situation called for it.
Fortunately, the man turned out to be a lot nicer under his gruff and grizzly exterior, and upon making certain Pippi hadn’t anything to do with his employer’s condition, he had immediately turned into the soul of kindness.
He was a bit of the chatty type, too, or so Pippi mistakenly assumed, when Wickham revealed to her how “the boss” had picked up a virus after his secret trip to a remote location in Africa. Apparently, he was building a school there, one he didn’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry to know about.