“Not making progress quickly enough with Risa?” I lifted my eyebrows and my lips firmed into a tight line.

“Not as quickly as she might like.”

I clenched my jaw. His words sliced through me like a thousand little knives. How could he change this way? Had he always been this cold? I took a breath and prepared myself for the fight.

“You can screw whomever you want, but stay away from my employees.”

“You seem to be taking a pretty liberal stance on workplace relationships.”

“I don’t know how many times I need to tell you, James and I are friends.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes,” I insisted. I didn’t know why, but I really wanted him to believe it.

“Looks to me like he’s hopelessly in love with you.”

I swallowed hard. “So now you’re using Risa and Sophia to get back at me, to make me jealous? Is that it?”

“Are you?”

He came closer, trapping me between him and the end of the desk. I backed up against it, feeling unsteady.

“How long was I supposed to wait for you, Erica? Or did you just come here to get off.” He slipped a hand up my thigh and reached for my panties.

I slapped his hand away. “I didn’t used to hate you.” I swallowed against the tightness in my throat.

The cold look in his eyes changed. They darkened with emotion. “Loving me wasn’t enough. You’ve made me desperate.”

I shook my head, confused.

“No? Maybe it wasn’t love then.” He canted his head slightly.

“Blake—” I winced at the insinuation. How could he ever doubt it?

“You could barely say it, Erica.”

My mouth opened but the words caught. I wanted to tell him I loved him, hated him, and missed him desperately. Explain how so very tired I was of this painful and draining separation.

“Say it,” he bit out. “If there’s anything worth waiting for, I need to hear you tell me now.”

Unshed tears burned my eyes. “Why would you wait for me?”

“Because I can’t fucking help it,” he snapped. He raked his hands through his already messy hair. “Jesus Christ, did you really think I’d just stop wanting you? Just like that? Flip a switch and everything would change? That I’d feel nothing?”

I squeezed my eyes closed, though I could feel his gaze burning into me. He cupped his hand behind my nape, bringing our faces so close. My eyes flew open at his rough breath against my lips. My heart pounded against my chest. His expression tightened, painted with all of the anger and frustration I’d spurred.

“Whatever it is that took you away from me, I’ll fix it, I promise.”

“You can’t fix this, Blake.”

“Like hell, I can’t. I’ll do anything to get you back. Do you understand? Anything.”

The tears burned and streamed down my cheeks. The asking in his intensely green eyes took hold of me, enveloping everything. The pain behind them penetrated my soul. His expression softened, and he wiped away my tears, kissing the path they’d made down my face.

“You’re the only one, Erica. There’s never been anyone else.”


“Not Risa, not Sophia. No one comes close. Believe me, no one ever will. If we can’t make this work…” His grip on me tightened slightly. “I can’t even think about it. God help me, I’ll keep trying until I break you down. Say it. Baby, please.”

The softly worded plea shredded me.

“Say it,” he whispered, kissing me sweetly.

“I love you.” The words came out in a sob. I swallowed down the urge to breakdown completely, strengthened by the pressure that lifted slightly by saying the words. “I love you so much.”

He answered by lifting me up to rest on the edge of the desk. “Then don’t give up on us. Love me, damn it. Please, baby. Let me love you.”

He slid his hands up my thighs, bunching the fabric of my dress as he went. He silenced any thoughts of refusing with another deeper kiss, devouring my mouth with hungry, urgent strokes. I linked my hands behind his neck, meeting his resolve.

“Jesus, I need you,” he growled and pulled away. In one swift movement he yanked off his shirt and divested me of my panties, careful to ensure that my heels stayed on.

“Blake, the office,” I whispered, vaguely aware that we were breaking an unwritten rule of not fucking in his office.

“Don’t give a shit. I need to be inside you more than I need to breathe right now. I don’t care who knows it.”

With one arm, he swept the contents of the desk behind me to the floor. Everything landed with a loud crash. He pushed me back, crawled over my body, and wrapped my legs snuggly around his waist. He covered me with fevered kisses, sucking my neck until my skin prickled with heated desire. He tugged down the top of my dress, freeing my breasts. He took my nipple in his mouth, circling the tender tip with the pad of his tongue and repeating the motion on the other.

“I thought I’d lose my mind seeing you walk away from me last night.”

“I didn’t want to leave you, Blake.”

“I couldn’t sleep from wanting you so badly. Wanted to bury myself so deep in you, hear you scream.”

I whimpered, desire thick in my veins. I shifted anxiously beneath him, desperate for more contact. I scrambled for his belt, unfastened it, and pushed down his jeans to free his cock. Frantic for him, I lifted my hips, meeting him as he shafted easily into me. He ground his hips, staking his claim inside me as I stretched around him. He filled me so completely. His ragged breathing matched my own.

No one had ever made me feel this way, and no one ever would.

He took my mouth, his tongue seeking mine with deep velvet strokes until I could scarcely breathe. I moaned as he pulled back and then plunged deeper.

“Say it again.” The command left his lips in a strangled groan.

He gripped my hip and thrust again, so deep.

“I love you, Blake.” I sobbed from the pleasure of it. “Oh God, you feel so good. It’s so good.”

As if something invisible snapped, the thin veneer of control slipped from his features. No longer could I make out the familiar lines of restraint on his face. Only his intense animal need to possess me. He pumped into me rapidly. The friction of his fierce movements made me wild. I grasped at anything—his hair, shoulders, the edge of the desk. Anything to ground me when I slipped perilously into oblivion.

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