“True, but it doesn’t stop them. In fact, I feel like it made me more approachable. I get hit on twice as much as before.”

“I think you need to bring it up with management,” Darla suggested.

“I will.” I wanted to kick Joseph in the shins.

Chapter 7

Joseph

I made an excuse to leave the group for a moment. I ran to the breakroom area, I heard my name, and the next thing I heard fucking crushed my soul. I was grateful that I didn’t walk in there or I would have been mortified, which pissed me off. Straightening my shoulders, I went to my lunch meeting and ate very little. I’d been shrewder than normal, but it saved me ten million in the deal. Maybe that fire and burn in my chest wasn’t as bad as it felt.

There was nothing left for me to stay here for. As soon as the lunch meeting was over, I checked out. Thankfully, the lunch had gone over longer than I expected, so Rachael was already gone for the day.

The ride home was deafening in the silence. I stepped through my quiet, six-bedroom home, wondering why I bought it. I didn’t have anyone to share it with, and until I saw Rachael, I hadn’t even thought of a woman in here.

I had built up like three years’ worth of vacation time, maybe I needed a few days away somewhere. I shook that thought off because I would still be alone wherever I went.

Grabbing a beer from my fridge, I popped it open and took one long drink before slamming it down on the island. I needed Rachael. There was no doubt about that. She was single, so I just had to figure out why she hated me, which was easier said than done.

~~~~

Over the past three months, I became a stalker and a complete slacker. At least once a week I came to the hotel to see her and use my pull to claim I was monitoring the hotel. I was in love with her and she hated me. It came to the point that the moment she saw me she’d roll her eyes and avoid

looking at me all day. It was going to stop very soon.

I had to know why she hated me, but then again, I had to go to the new properties Jacob purchased to make sure everything was running smoothly. My brother Julian and I were under the impression that Jacob had a reason for rushing the build. With my need to travel, I wasn’t going to have time to see her until we got back next week. It was going to be the longest time I’d gone without seeing her and I was going to fucking lose it.

The fact that she was an employee wasn’t the only obstacle. I had a secret, an embarrassing one that no one knew about. At twenty-eight, I was still a virgin. Years of trying to be the most successful and most respected businessman had left me with little to no time for women. Until I met her, I didn’t know I had a lot of testosterone. Since her, all I thought about was coming inside her and in every different way. I turned into a teenage boy overnight. Daily, I ended up stroking myself until I passed out from exhaustion. It came to the point that I was no longer able to get off. Nothing was going to work for me except Rachael.

“Are you ready to deal with Jacob?” Julian asked, hopping out of the car. I didn’t realize that we were already parked at the hotel. My thoughts were all on Rachael. The pain in my chest had been growing since she admitted to not liking me and wanting me to die. What the hell had I done that was that bad?

Did she know I was the one to have their uniforms changed?

Chapter 8

Rachael

When Denise asked me to take her place at the hotel, I thought it would get me away from Joseph and I could breathe, but all I felt was alone. I missed him beyond the point of understanding. It made no damn sense to me that I was still obsessed with a man who looked to find fault with everything I did. A part of me hoped that he wasn’t looking for a problem and that he was just as obsessed as me, but then I was reminded that I had been on probation and Roxie happened to show up that same day to set up a meeting for Joseph in the same conference room. She rubbed it in that Joseph wouldn’t have to waste his time monitoring the hotel now that the trouble would be gone.

It was my second day at the small hotel and I was chatting it up with Harley. I really liked her. She was super sweet and was going to be marrying Jacob Middleton. I was surprised, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise. It appeared that Joseph came along for the ride. He was here, too. Our eyes connected and I wanted to storm right out of the place. What was he trying to do to me?

Every day, I had to hold it together because I was so madly in love with him. It was hard, and here he was to drive me insane. It took me a moment to realize he’d been just as surprised to see me as I was him. So he didn’t know I was here, but it didn’t change anything. This position was temporary and then I was quitting completely. There were plenty of jobs I could get in Texas while I finished school. I was only doing this because I was on break for the summer.

I didn’t know how long he was going to be here, but this wasn’t going to work for me if he played that game here, too. Shortly after they left to inspect the buildings, Harley asked me to help with the wedding. Having been there during much of the party planning my mother did back home, I took up the offer. Plus, it would keep jackass Joseph out of my hair.

And it managed to work. For the next three days, I was able to avoid him.

Chapter 9

Joseph

What was she wearing? This was my brother’s impromptu wedding reception and it had been three days since I’d seen her. She’d done everything she could to avoid being around me. I walked up to her not caring anymore what the consequences were. I was in love and nothing was going to stop me from claiming her.

“Excuse us,” I hissed to the pipsqueak talking to her. I took her wrist and tugged her to the corner of the room.

“What is your problem, Mr. Middleton?” she asked, yanking her wrist out of my hold.

I stepped closer, invading her space. My gazed moved up and down her body, taking in what she was wearing, before I said, “My problem? I’ve got a lot of problems when it comes to you. First, this fucking dress. Is it even a dress? It’s so short.”


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