“You know what?” Merry’s bright red lips formed a sneer. “I think you’re lying.”

And I think you’re being a bitch, Jane thought. Both of them now knew Jane was lying her ass off. What she didn’t get was why Merry saw the need to rub it in.

This was almost the same scenario as last year, Jane realized uneasily. Then, she had been unable to understand the need for cruelty and viciousness—-

And she had made the mistake of speaking up.

Never again.

Jane faked a vague smile. “I don’t get you.” She stepped back. “I need to go. Happy Employee Appreciation Day.” She turned and walked away.

And that’s why you don’t get your Disney moment, she heard an imaginary Jaike sigh inside her mind.

I know. Jane wanted to sigh herself.

And she was so busy wallowing in her self-pity that she didn’t see that she was walking straight—-

Bam!

Oh my God, had she bumped into Iron Man or something? That effing hurt!

She looked up.

Her jaw dropped.

“Baby?”

Behind her, Merry echoed disbelievingly, “Baby?”

“Baby.” The British stranger-who-wasn’t-really-a-stranger flashed a heart-stopping, devilish smile at Jane—-

Oh wow.

—-just before hauling her into his arms for an open-mouthed kiss.

OH WOW.

Her toes curled hard, and her mind shut down. His tongue was moving in the most amazing way inside of her mouth, the strokes familiar and so, so exciting—-

When he lifted his head, she could only say dazedly, “Baby.”

And then everything came crashing down as she heard Merry say sweetly, “Hello, you must be Jane’s plus one.”

Jane paled, and she immediately tried pulling away from the British stranger. Unfortunately, this only made him put an arm around her waist before firmly drawing her close to his side.

Shit.

“Your girlfriend—-” Merry’s hard green eyes bored into Jane’s. “—-says you couldn’t make it.”

SHIT.

“That’s right.”

Merry’s jaw dropped ungracefully even as Jane’s head snapped towards the British stranger.

“I wanted to surprise her.” Her stranger-turned-savior smiled down at her. “And were you surprised, pet?”

“Quite,” Jane said weakly. And then her mind started working. “But the security—-” This was a by-invitation-only party, not to mention the fact that only authorized AMC personnel would be able to get past the amphitheater’s security.

“I thought you would never ask.” He touched her nose. Jane knew it would look like an affectionate gesture, but the way the man’s azure eyes gleamed told her it was all he could do not to laugh at her.

He was definitely enjoying seeing her shock.

Jerk.

“I’m friends with your CEO.” The words were spoken so casually, it was like he was telling them he had a pet named Jack.

“Is that so?” The sultry note in Merry’s voice had Jane’s attention snapping back to the other woman. Shit. That calculating look on Merry’s face was bad news.

“Christian, by the way.” He offered his hand to Merry, but the other woman ignored it with a laugh.

“Oh, hon, you’re being too formal. If that’s a British thing, it’s really cute, but you should loosen up a little…” Stepping forward, Merry pressed her lips to Christian’s cheek, whispering, “Like this.”

The damn kiss seemed to last forever.

I’m right here, Jane wanted to yell.

Merry finally pulled away, and Jane’s gaze flew to Christian. She feared and prepared herself for the worst, but to her shock, the only thing she saw on his handsome face was contempt.

“If that was supposed to make me choose you over Jane—-” This time, Christian’s British accent was in full force, turning each syllable into a shard of ice. “Don’t hold your breath.” Christian’s gaze moved to her slack jaw. “You’re going to catch flies with that.”

A strangled gasp escaped Merry just as Jane choked.

“Now, if you’ll excuse us.” Christian’s tone was impatient. “I need to speak to my girlfriend in private.”

They walked away, and for the first few minutes Jane struggled with her shock – and the rather disturbing sensation of having his arm around her waist for such a long time.

If he kept his arm around her too long, Jane had a feeling her waist would eventually disintegrate and he’d end up cutting her torso in half.

She stole a look at him.

Still enthralling, Jane thought absently, but terrifyingly unreadable.

When they walked all the way out of AMC headquarters, she thought faintly, I’m going AWOL. Today was still a work day, after all, never mind if they had only been asked to go to work to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day.

One of the valets brought his car around – a staid, black BMW – and Christian opened the door for her.

“Thanks.” Jane’s voice was awkward. She wasn’t used to having the door held for her.

She tried to contain herself as Christian started driving, but the silence was driving her crazy, and she finally coughed, several times, until the man finally took the hint and glanced at her.

“Where are we going?”

“My home.”

And then nothing again.

She coughed.

Christian slanted an amused glance towards her. “You don’t need my permission to talk, pet. Just talk.”


Tags: Marian Tee Romance
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