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Okay, enough of me stroking my ego on my GIMP skills... let's talk about Lucien's story. I love, LOVE, LOVE this story. And probably not for all the reasons that I'm hoping y'all will. Lucien's book marks a milestone for me--a huge one. One that dragged me kicking and screaming into the next phase of my world domination scheme. I call it, Kicking the Writer's Block to the Curb. Don't worry, this isn't going to be the blog where I wax philosophical about my journey back from the cave with the elixir. I just wanted to record for posterity that it's this book that brought me back from the abyss and with (what I'm expecting to be) a vengeance.
Okay, so enough of that. Y'all want a snippet of Lucien's book and a chance to get to know his lovely heroine, Elise Hamilton? Well, all right then--let's get this show on the road!
(PS--Keep reading to the end of post to find out how to win your very own FREE copy!)
Elise Hamilton cringed as thunder boomed outside Andersen Corporation and the phone line crackled. “Um, Raven, could you repeat that? And do it slowly.”
“Thirty thousand dollars.”
Her eyes bulged and the pen cap she’d been gripping bounced from the desk to the floor. “Oh my goodness,” she breathed in horror. She swallowed hard and forced herself to ask her brother, “Raven, where in the world are we going to get thirty thousand dollars?”
“I don’t know, Elise.” Raven cursed under his breath. “I called Dad and… well, you know how Apollo is about money.”
“Yeah, I know.” Apollo, Raven’s father, was as confused with money matters as their mother, Moonbeam. “I’ll call my dad. He’ll help.” I hope, she added silently.
“Elise,” Raven said in his semi-patient but wiser and older brother tone. “If it were you who needed the money, I’d say ask, but Wyndemere won’t stroke a check for more than a couple of hundred without asking why. And if your father finds out that his money is being used to save Moonbeam’s neck, he’ll re-enact page three hundred and twenty-six of The Seven Blades of Death.”
“I don’t even want to know what happened on that page,” she muttered miserably. Skimming the blurbs on the back of her father’s novels was enough to make Elise sleep with all the lights on for a month. She’d rather curl up with her worn copy of Pride and Prejudice or watch The Parent Trap for the six hundredth time than experience the bone chilling fear her father’s graphic books detailed.
Raven sighed. “I just left Mom and she’s—as always—in another world. Moonbeam swears The Guiding Light of Gaia will bail her out of this one.”
“The Church said they’d help her,” Elise asked incredulously.
“Not in a way that’ll help. Moonbeam and the head priestess are discussing the proper herbs and chants to use for their super-duper, whammy of a money spell. Her words, not mine.”
Elise fell back in her chair and groaned. “Thirty thousand dollars. I don’t have thirty thousand dollars. My car isn’t even worth a fourth of that.” She closed her eyes and racked her brain for possible sources of fast cash and came up with one and only one source. “I’ll sell my car.”
“Elise, if you sell your car how do you plan on getting to work?”
“Raven, it’s either sell my car or my body.”
“Sell the car,” her older brother said quickly. “I’ll find you a scooter.”
Elise managed to chuckle. “Thanks. Nice to know I won’t have to thumb for a ride every day. What are you planning on selling? Your body?”
“No.” He hesitated. “I… my babies.”
Elise bolted upright in her chair. “Your babies? Are you out of your mind? Insane? You can’t sell your babies! How will you work? I’d rather sell my body than let you sell your cameras,” she practically shouted into the phone.
He growled loud enough for her to hear it from his studio across town. “Elise, if we’re gonna keep Moonbeam out of trouble, we’ll have to come up with a helluvalot more than thirty thousand. That—my sweet, little sister—is just the beginning.” Saracsam dripped from his voice along with a heavy dose of anger which Elise suspected Raven directed at himself.
“Explain,” she ordered. “How bad is Mom’s situation?”
“Bad. Moonbeam didn’t forget to file, she flat out refused to pay her taxes. The first estimate has her in the hole for about a half a million and—”
“A half million?”
“Don’t shout, Elise. My head is killing me.”
“Oh, sorry,” she murmured. “Go ahead.”
“Thank you. Moonbeam didn’t pay her taxes during the Reagan administration. She was making a statement about something Reagan said in one of his movies. I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. And—don’t,” he ordered when she drew in a sharp breath, “shout—thirty grand is just a roundabout number of what we’ll need to retain the attorney and pay the fees to keep Moonbeam from being arrested for charges of tax evasion.”
“Holy Mama Mia,” she breathed. “Moonbeam’s going to the slammer.”
“No,” Raven said sharply. “She is not. I am selling my babies. All of them. Including my… bike,” he finished in a pained tone.
It took her a moment to speak. Sell his bike? “Oh, no. Raven, you can’t sell your motorcycle. She’s your baby. You built her yourself. You spent years finding all of the parts and… you can’t sell her.” Her eyes welled with emotion. Raven’s 1951 Series C Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle was his pride and joy. His first love. He never went anywhere without Aphrodite—the name he’d given his bike when she’d been a tarnished skeleton of a motorcycle.
“I have to. Mom doesn’t have the money. She can’t sell the house without losing money. You don’t have the money.” He swore violently. “Hell, Moonbeam is depending on moon magic to save her. I’d rather sell my cameras and my… bike than let her lose everything.” Elise knew Raven didn’t put a lot of credence in their mother’s beliefs, but she also knew when push came to shove he would give his life to spare Moonbeam a moment of pain.
“But how will you work? You can’t be a photographer without cameras,” Elise whispered.
“Ken—the guy I did the last shoot for—said he’d buy them from me. He’ll let me borrow the cameras, as long as I do the Sandy Springs layout and a couple others.”
“Oh, Raven. I wish there was more I could do. Selling your cameras is one thing, but Aphrodite…? Once you sell her, you’ll never get her back.”
“I know. I know. But if you’ve got a better idea, I’m listening.”
Elise closed her eyes and braced herself as she asked, “When do we have to have the thirty thousand by?”
“We’ve got two weeks. And Elise?”
“Don’t even think about selling your body.”
“Ha, ha. Very funny. Like anyone would pay thirty grand for an overworked, undernourished executive assistant like me,” she muttered.
“They’d pay, but not for your typing skills,” he replied jokingly. “I say we both skip town. We’ll run away when they come for Moonbeam. Can’t feel guilty over something you don’t see.” She heard the smile in his voice as he added, “I heard of a good convent who’s recruiting down in South America. You meet all of their requirements.”
Elise smirked and shook her head. Raven took his brotherly responsibilities too far sometimes. Trying to lighten her mood and keep her chastity belt in place were but two of many. “All but one, Brother Raven.”
“Which one,” he demanded. “I haven’t seen you out with anyone since the dork from—”
“I’m not Catholic and David wasn’t a dork. He was a… very nice person.”
Raven laughed. “He was a dork. He only wanted two things from you and when he got the first… he ran screaming for his mommy.”
“Raven,” Elise snapped. “I still haven’t forgiven you for introducing David to Wyndemere.”
“Me? Wyndemere wanted to meet him. I didn’t do anything, but introduce them.”
“You know very well what you did.” Elise clicked her tongue in annoyance. “Telling Dad that David was writing a book with me as the heroine—”
Raven chuckled. “Not just any heroine.”
Her frown bordered on a smile. “Oh, how could I forget? I was to be Sasha, the sex crazed, man-slaying nymph.”
Raven cleared his throat pointedly. “You know that dork wasn’t good enough for you. I did you a favor by getting rid of him.”
Elise glanced at the six inch stack of folders her boss had dropped on her desk before lunch and her mood soured. “How about getting rid of Luc? He’s drowning me in paperwork.” She slid out her desk drawer and scanned it for potential weapons. “I’ll hold him down for you and we’ll tag team him. I’ve got… eight rubber bands. We’ll put his hands behind his back and… we can smother him in Post-it notes.”
“I’ve seen your boss, Elise. You’re not strong enough to hold him down.”
“I’ll lock him in his office and guard the door. You can take him, Raven. I know you can. He’s no match for you. Please. He left me with a mountain of revisions for his big meeting and… please, Raven. I’m begging you.”
Her brother laughed. “Forget it, Elise. I’ve seen your boss. Rubber bands won’t hold him long enough for me to load the stapler. Now, if it had been the dork, rubber bands would have sufficed.” He paused. “Besides, I’d rather waste my time mixing herbs for Moonbeam’s super-duper, whammy of a money spell.” Raven sighed. “Do what you have to, Elise. If you come up with an idea before the end of the week, let me know. Ken’s bringing over the check on Friday.”
“I will. I’ll call you when I get home tonight—if it’s not too late by the time I get out of here.”
“Make sure someone walks you out to the car. I don’t want to have to worry about you, too.”
“Luc always does. Later, Raven, and try not to cry too much.”
Raven grunted and hung up.
Elise stared at the phone and replayed the conversation in her mind. The longer she thought about it, the angrier she became.
Rain pelted the roof of Andersen Corporation’s building and the windows shook as thunder boomed overhead.
Elise picked up a spare pen cap and toyed with it before clamping her teeth down on it and gnawing it to death. “This bites big wankerdoodle,” she complained into her cluttered cubicle. “What was she thinking not to pay her taxes?”
She picked up a folder from the top of the stack she had to muddle through before clocking out and arranged the papers on the tray next to the monitor. “I’ll tell you what she was thinking. ‘Government, I don’t need no stinking government.’”
Elise threw down the mutilated pen cap and grabbed a fresh one. “Ha! It’s all that nonsense preached about at The Guiding Light of Gaia which has brought the tax police down on her.”
She moved the mouse and clicked open the file where she kept all of Luc’s notes on the computer. “Well, Moonbeam, let’s see Gaia get you out of this one.”
A bright burst of lightning flashed outside the window and the lights in the building died as a resounding explosion rocked the corporate office. From somewhere in the middle of the cubicle farm, a co-worker’s blunt, explicit curse reverberated between the walls.
Papers slipped from the tray and floated down into her lap as Donna in the cube next over asked, “Elise, do you smell smoke?”
Lights flickered and the air conditioner groaned back to life.
Elise’s jaw dropped as a tuft of smoke unfurled from her computer. “Oh my goodness.” She looked straight up and said fervently, “I didn’t mean it, Gaia. Honest I didn’t. I’ll never say another bad thing again. Just let me keep the hard drive. Please. I was so close to being finished,” she finished in a pathetic whisper.
“Elise,” Lucien Masters, her boss, called from behind her. “Have you finished the notes from this morning?” He was back from lunch and, more than likely, ready to dictate more changes to his plan for the financial reconstruction of Andersen Corporation.
She swiveled in her chair and gazed up into his clean shaven face. The fear she felt must have been written all over her expression, because his blue-green, grayish eyes moved, looking over her shoulder to the sizzling computer. She cringed inwardly as his relaxed appearance transformed into his patented Lucifer look. His attention fastened on her face and his jaw tensed, along with his shoulders, his hands, and in all likelihood the rest of his body.
“Tell me it’s not as bad as it looks,” he ground out.
She hesitantly lifted her shoulders and picked up the papers from her lap, holding them with a white knuckled grip. “It’s not as bad as it looks. We’ve still got the hard copies.”
There was a loud crack from behind her, then a hiss.
“It’s gonna blow,” Donna cried.
Luc lunged forward and yanked Elise bodily out of the chair. “Someone get a fire extinguisher before the sprinklers go off,” he ordered. He snatched up the folders from the desk and thrust them into Elise’s arms. “Not a word,” he warned.
Her knees shook and she clutched the folders to her stomach then sank to the ground. Her mother owed five hundred thousand dollars or more to the government. Her brother was selling his motorcycle. Her computer was on fire. Her boss was mad at her. And Elise had lost six months’ worth of work on a project which Luc had informed her yesterday would be completed within a few days.
Life couldn’t get much worse than this.
“Elise, where are the notes from the meeting with Hayworth?”
On my fried computer, she nearly answered aloud. “They’re under that stack over there,” she said, pointing to a pile on the corner of his desk.
“I looked there,” he said. Luc ran a frustrated hand through his chestnut brown hair and cursed under his breath. He pushed back his chair and surged to his feet, then leaned over the desk to rifle through stacks of folders.
Elise set aside his laptop computer and went to help him. “I put it with the files from your Tuesday talk with Smithers.”
Luc spared her a glance. “In the same folder?”
“No,” she explained patiently. “It’s in one of its own. I know I brought it in here. It was on my desk before Gaia destroyed my computer.”
“It wasn’t Gaia. It was lightning. And it wasn’t your fault,” he muttered. “So don’t start apologizing again. You heard Jim explain why it happened to your computer and no one else’s.”
“I heard, but that doesn’t mean I believe him,” she retorted sharply. Jim, the computer guru, had assured Elise that the destruction of her computer hadn’t been her fault, but the result of a direct hit to the transformer outside the building. Jim had gone on to say that since her computer was the first one set up on the network, it’d been the first to go. And the only one. Jim had called it luck. Whatever.
Elise knew it’d been Gaia’s revenge. She’d been singled out by Mother Nature for doubting Her ability to help Moonbeam. Rule number one when dealing with Pagan gods and goddesses: Don’t irk them. Pay back is heck. None of this waiting around mumbo jumbo. They were swift and direct. Elise was paying for her blasphemy and then some. Having to work with a grumpy Luc was a punishment all unto itself. She wished he would just go home and take a nap. His bad mood was rubbing off on her.
The tab of a vanilla folder peeked out from underneath a mound of papers. “There it is. Lift those and—” Elise touched the folder and the precarious stack on his desk shifted. “No!”
Luc uttered a curse and scrambled to catch the pile as it slid for the floor. “Got it. Pull out the folder. Do it slowly, Elise.”
She sucked in a deep breath and eased the Hayworth notes out. “Luc, it would be safer if I just went home. Gaia is punishing me.”
“As much as I’d like to send you home, you can’t leave yet. We’ve got to organize this mess. Tomorrow I need you to sit in on a meeting with Andersen.” He righted the stack and held out his hand for the notes. “Just go over there and sit down. Next time I ask where something is, point.” He must have noticed her annoyance, because he added in a sugar sweet, Southern drawl, “Please.”
Elise glared at him, then spun on her heel and stalked back to her seat. When Lucien Masters resorted to his country boy charm, she knew she was in trouble. In trouble of melting. When she’d been asked to move from Roger Dill’s boring office to Luc’s temporary one, Elise had been an idiot to agree. Luc was an overachieving, work-a-holic. Oh sure, he was vocal in his appreciation of her help, but the work was grueling. Not only that, but he was tall, lean, and sexier than he had a right to be. And he knew it. Arrogant man. He didn’t flaunt his sex appeal. Luc didn’t need to. It showed in the way he carried himself. The confidence in his walk, the breadth of his shoulders, the angle of his jaw, the arch of his brow, the knowing gleam in his sinfully wicked eyes, the firm, sensuous lines of his mouth, the velvety roughness of his… voice.
Elise swallowed hard and summoned forth an irritation she no longer felt. It did little to erase the heat her errant thoughts had caused. Blasted man. Thinking about him as a man instead of a boss never failed to elicit a response which both excited and mortified her. Having an infatuation for Luc was one thing, but being attracted to a man who was engaged to another woman was completely unacceptable and downright annoying.
She plopped the laptop onto her thighs and settled her fingers over the keyboard. “The next time you ask for something, I’ll draw a danged map.”
Luc sighed and dropped into his seat. “Do that.” He swiveled his chair and returned to pounding numbers on his keyboard.
Her fingers flew over the minuscule laptop and she stifled an exclamation each time her fingernail hit the wrong key then snagged in a groove. The wretched thing was out to rip her nails. She wouldn’t be having this problem if Luc would let her use a computer which was normal sized. But noooo, she drawled sarcastically in her mind, Luc was afraid she might summon up another electrical storm and blow up another computer. That and every twenty minutes he made her save the file to a flash drive and hand it to him. Glancing at her watch, it was almost time for another annoying, ‘Save it, Elise.’
She didn’t need Raven to take out Luc. She’d do it herself. Working her like a… lowly minion of hell. Maybe he didn’t have a personal life, but she did. She had a stack of books at home waiting to be read along with countless shows recorded on the DVR that were probably no longer on the air.
He was so smug and arrogant and… demanding. Elise get me this. Give me that. Make a copy of this. Did you call for that? She conveniently left out the fact that he’d remembered her birthday with flowers and he’d taken her out to lunch several times to thank her for helping him.
Her nail snagged in the keyboard and ripped. “Damnation,” she uttered with feeling.
Elise was more upset with herself for ignoring his good deeds—such as, walking her out to her car every night they worked late, listening to her comments on his project, complimenting her on her efficiency and accuracy when typing up his notes, bringing her breakfast on those early mornings before a day full of meetings, and, probably the best of all, noticing when she bought a new dress, or earrings, or trimmed her hair. As much as she would like to make him into the evil boss she wanted him to be, he wasn’t. He was, she sighed to herself, the best darn boss she’d ever had.
Luc snickered. “Damnation?”
“Yes. As in eternal damnation and hellfire.”
“Another Lucifer reference?”
Elise barely managed to refrain from groaning. “No. I am not going to give you the satisfaction of another Lucifer reference.”
“Too bad. Some of them weren’t half bad. What was it you called me? Hell’s overlord who wields his lucky pen like it’s… what was that last part?”
Her good opinion of him disappeared and her irritation returned full force. “I don’t remember,” she lied.
Elise remembered the incident clearly. The blasted man had overheard every word of a private gripe session after a particular grueling day during the first month of their master-minion work relationship. He’d snuck up behind her in the break room and listened to her hushed mutterings when he was supposed to have been in his car and on his way back to his lair.
Luc repeated the phrase, trailing off at the part she wished he’d forget. He knew exactly what she’d said. He just wanted to hear her say it again. Well, she wasn’t about to repeat the words. Suffering another bout of Gaia’s wrath would be easier than to recall those mortifying words she’d hissed in a fit of real temper.
He tapped his pen—his lucky pen which had put the fear of termination into every employee at Andersen Corporation since its arrival—against the desk. He knew it annoyed her. Just as Elise knew her habit of chewing on pen caps irritated the daylights out of him. Oh, but how she longed to get her teeth on his pen and gnaw it to death.
“Hell’s overlord who wields his lucky pen like it’s…?”
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Enough! Elise’s tolerance disappeared in a sulfurous cloud of smoke. “Hell’s overlord who wields his lucky pen like it’s his staff of masculinity,” she ground out, then lowered her head and furiously pounded on the laptop’s keyboard.
Luc laughed and the hairs at the nape of her neck prickled. “Staff of masculinity. How could I have forgotten that? You could have just said—”
Her cheeks burned red hot. “I made that up before I knew you liked to beat your lucky pen against the desk.”
He turned in his seat and smiled the smile that never failed to raise her body temperature a hundred degrees. “And it was that particular phrase which made your habit of sucking on pen caps all the more bearable.”
She glared at him and his smile widened. “Don’t make me get up and come near your desk, Lucien Masters.”
“Getting up and coming near my desk are the least of my worries,” he replied in a husky, Southern rumble.
Her whole body flushed and she stammered for a retort. He always did this to her. A look, a phrase, a casual brush of their arms and she was a useless female being trampled by a stampede of butterflies in her stomach. “Gaia should punish you for that.”
“She is, Elise. She is,” he murmured and her innards liquefied, pooling down into the center of her body.
His gaze held her captive, his eyes burning with a hunger she felt. Her mouth went dry and she licked her lips. Big mistake. His attention dropped to her mouth and she shivered. “Don’t look at me like that, Lucien. You’re a happily engaged man.”
The fire in his blue-green eyes dimmed and a muscle worked at his jaw. “Just engaged, Elise. There’s nothing happy about it,” he said so softly she barely heard it. But she did and it both thrilled and shamed her to the center of her soul.
Why couldn’t she have met Luc before his engagement to Margot, who was the complete physical opposite of Elise? Where Margot was tall, Elise was short. Well, not short. She preferred to think of herself as petite. Five feet and four inches was lacking when standing next to Margot’s five feet and eleven inches. Margot was tall and willowy, which was the nicest way Elise could describe Margot’s slender body. Margot’s figure could take a month long binge of ice cream and still be cellulite free. Whereas, Elise had a posterior that required Buns of Steel twice a week and a chest that required a new bra every other month—if she was lucky. Not that she was top heavy. Elise liked to think of herself as petite and voluptuous. Or curvy. She was proud of her hour glass figure, but if only she had someone like Luc to impress with it. Instead, she had day dreams and nightly fantasies that made it increasingly difficult to work with the blasted infernal man.
Luc continued to stare at her as if imagining her naked and on the desk. Or so she thought.
Elise tried unsuccessfully not to become flustered and lose her concentration. Her attention flickered to a precarious stack on the corner of the desk and she heard his sharp intake of breath.
“I could clear the desk,” he told her softly.
“Margot would mind.”
“After months of this, I don’t give a damn if Margot does care,” he replied roughly.
Elise considered it. Seriously considered giving herself up to the chemistry that’d begun the day she’d been assigned to help him. His eyes seem to beckon her to him and her fingers wrapped around the laptop, gripping it tightly. “No,” she whispered.
“After my job here is done,” he half asked and stated.
“No.” If what Luc had said earlier was true, he would be her boss for another week at the most. Then he would disappear from whence he came and her life would return to its normal, dull routine of typing memos for boring, unexciting, married for fifty years Roger Dill. No more teasing or electric eye contact or verbal warfare or… it wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair. Why couldn’t she have met him before Margot?
“No,” she repeated more firmly. “You’re engaged. Soon to be married.”
He stared at her like a man who knew exactly what he wanted on the menu for the night.
Elise swallowed hard and sharpened her tongue against her canines. “Forget it, Luc.”
The air conditioner clicked on and a stream of cold air blew down from the vent over the door. Paper rustled in the background and from the corner of her eye she saw the precarious stack on the corner of his desk shift.
Elise watched Luc.
One by one, folders slid for the floor.
Luc watched her.
The stack plopped onto the floor. Folders opened, papers scattered in the wind, floating to the ground in a graceful rocking motion.
A slow, sinful smile slid across his face. “Do you think Gaia’s trying to tell you something?”
“No. Gaia is a moral goddess. She wants to punish me.”
His laugh was soft and husky and… made her want to crawl out of her skin. “At least I’m not the only one.”
It just wasn’t fair! Why couldn’t she have met him before his engagement? This was unbearable. It had to stop. Now, before she tossed aside her willpower and gave in to the urge to do more than just gnaw his lucky pen to death.
Elise tore her eyes away and drew in a deep breath. This was madness. It had to stop. Right now. She moved the laptop off her thighs and pushed her hair back from her forehead, arching the tired muscles in her back. “You had your chance. You could have sent me home.”
“Not without me.” He held up his hands defensively and rolled his chair backwards when she glared at him. “You know what I meant,” he added when she pointed a warning finger at him. “Elise, stop giving me the Mother Superior look. You know I can’t get through this mess without you.”
Elise ceased glaring at him against her better judgment. The Mother Superior look never failed to make him squirm in his seat. It gave her the rush of confidence she needed to move within arm’s reach of him. “How you ever managed to create a successful company on your own without me to take care of you, I’ll never understand.”
Luc smirked. “Fishing for compliments again?”
“No. Making a point.” She knelt down beside the desk and started the long process of gathering up the papers. “This is probably the worst day of my life.”
“Look on the bright side,” he said as he came down beside her to help. “I was about to ask you where the Jenner notes were.” Luc picked up a folder and tossed it onto his seat. “Now I don’t have to.”
“Isn’t there another innocent soul you’d rather be tormenting? A convention of hell raisers you should be attending?” She crawled underneath the desk to chase a rogue memo. “A baby who needs his candy stolen? A poker game down at the boys’ club which needs moderating?”
“I wouldn’t miss this show for anything,” he said softly from right behind her.
She froze and scowled at him over her shoulder. The wretched man’s attention was fixed on her posterior. Her eyes narrowed and she opened her mouth to deliver a sermon.
He held up his hands and fell back on his haunches. “I can’t help it, Elise. I try, but you got the nicest… pair of eyes I’ve ever seen.”
“Lucien Masters, if you don’t—”
“Luc, have you been here all night?” Footsteps pounded on the ground.
Elise jumped as Margot’s whiny voice grated on her last nerve, causing her to bang her head on the desk drawer. “Shhi-ugar,” she muttered with feeling, reaching for the top of her head.
But Luc beat her to it. His touch was gentle as it probed-slash-massaged her scalp. “You okay, darlin’?”
“I’ll live. I think.” Elise started to back out from underneath the desk and Luc kept a hand on her head, keeping her from banging her head a second time.
“Luc,” Margot demanded, marching through into the office and up to the desk. Elise was momentarily distracted by the sparkles in Margot’s Day-Glo purple platform heels. Where on Earth did she find that color? “I’ve been trying to— Oh-my-God!”
Luc cursed as Elise banged her head again then scampered backwards on her hands and knees, slamming her bottom right into his rock hard thighs. Long fingers wrapped around her hips and held her still. “Uh. Evening, Margot.” He gave tortured groan as Elise wriggled against him. “Darlin’, don’t move,” he rasped.
Margot gasped. “Darling? Darling?”
“Margot, this isn’t—” Luc stopped.
Elise nodded emphatically for him to continue and explain. She couldn’t do it. Her tongue was frozen and she knew if she managed to thaw it, she’d scream. Scream at him. At Margot. Scream because her head really, really hurt.
His fingers flexed around her, locking her against him, and his jaw worked, but no sound came out.
Elise closed her eyes and groaned. She did not need this. What a fine way to end the day. Caught in a compromising position with her boss by her boss’ fiancée. Just great. Absolutely wonderful. Thanks, Gaia. Life wouldn’t be complete without this little scenario. Elise dropped her aching head in to her hands and felt tears burn behind her eyes.
“Isn’t what,” Margot shouted. “Isn’t what it looks like? Isn’t what it is? If you’d asked me to play kinky sex games in the office, I wouldn’t have minded, but this…? I can’t believe this! She’s short and fat. How could you choose a short, fat slut over me?”
Elise’s head snapped up and anger pushed back the tears and pain. Fat? Slut? She renewed the struggle to be free. “How dare she call me fat. Let go, Luc. I’m going to snap her—”
“Elise,” he begged.
“I can’t believe this,” Margot cried. “All this time you and your precious Elise have been—”
“Margot,” Luc interrupted in a cold voice.
Margot ignored him and gave a watery snort. “Daddy told me marrying you would be a mistake. He said I’d never be able to trust you and… that you were only marrying me because of…,” Margot trailed off in a whimper.
“Tell her this isn’t what it looks like, Luc. Tell her. Now.”
Luc said nothing, but stared up at Margot.
“I hope she’s worth it, Luc.” Margot slammed her hand against the top of the recently cleared desk. “You can take this piece of junk back. I wouldn’t take your precious Elise’s seconds for all the money in the world.” A sparkly purple platform heel pivoted on the carpet and stormed out the way it came, taking Margot with it.
“Why that overbearing, obnoxious weed,” Elise fumed. “Lucien, let go of me. I don’t care if she is your fiancée, I’m gonna use that move Raven showed me and… Lucien, let go. Now.”
I hope you enjoyed that sneak peek into the trials and tribulations of Manipulating a Master--Lucien style! It's available on Kindle for $3.99 (US) or FREE to Amazon Prime members!
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