Tobie Mendez is driven. He wants to make VP in five years and nothing will distract him from attaining his goal. Except, perhaps, his lust for the hunky new head of the Acquisitions department, Malcolm Jones.
Malcolm is impressed by Tobie's brilliance and wants to train him for a senior position. Tobie becomes his personal assistant on a promotion track, but Malcolm doesn't anticipate the attraction that flares between them, and how badly he wants to get Tobie between the sheets. He knows it’s inappropriate, but he can’t help himself.
Finally, after a long trip overseas, Malcolm confesses his attraction to Tobie, who reluctantly admits to feeling the same way. Even though they both know it’s dangerous to become involved, their feelings won’t be denied. Things take a sexy turn, but is the risk to their jobs worth the climax?
I had removed my tie a while ago, and Mal was in his shirtsleeves, cuffs rolled up. The veins in his forearms made my fingers tingle. I wanted to trace each one, lick them, and follow their trail. Should’ve stopped at one beer. I sighed heavily.
“What was that for?” Mal asked, studying me. I leaned back and rubbed my hands over my face and hair. I was sure some of the black strands were standing up.
“I’m just exhausted. Fuck, it’s been a long week.”
“It has, but you did really well. I sent off the report to my superiors, and they’re impressed.”
“Thanks,” I replied, looking away from Mal.
“What’s that for? Are you blushing?”
“You are blushing.”
“God, I’m a dork.”
“No, you’re not. You’re just tired and apparently not used to compliments. Why is that?”
“Never thought about it, I guess. Too busy working to think about things like that.”
“What do you do to relax?”
I finished my beer before I answered. “Watch movies, or read. I like mysteries and suspense or crime dramas. I have a backlog of books to catch up on. I’m in the middle of a Jack Reacher novel right now.”
“Oh man. Which one? I just finished the third book in the series.”
“No way! I’m on book number six. It’s really good. I have to force myself to put it down so I actually get some sleep at night.”
“I’m the same way.”
I looked at Mal and noted the way he watched me, like he wanted to say more but wasn’t sure how to approach it.
“You know, Tobie, I wish we could --”
“Wish we could what?”
Mal sighed. “I can’t go on like this.”
Confused, I said, “I don’t understand.”
He leaned back in his seat. “Maybe it’s the beer talking, but I have to say this. I wish we weren’t working together.”
Oh crap. “Did I do something wrong? I mean, you just said --”
“No! No, I just…How do I say this?” He looked so conflicted, far from the self-assured man I’d gotten to know this past week. I wanted to soothe him somehow.
“Mal, what has you so wound up?” He looked away for a second, then pierced me with those brilliant brown eyes of his.
“You do.” I gasped.
“No! No way. It can’t be true.”
Mal leaned forward. “Yes, it is true! I can’t fight it anymore, and it’s killing me not to be able to do something about it, because you work for me.” Okay, that’s --
“I ... I didn’t know.”
“Well, of course you didn’t. This isn’t all about you, you know.” Stung, I looked away. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mal reach out to touch my hand, but he pulled back at the last second.
“Tobie, look at me.” Reluctantly, I faced him. “I’m sorry. I’m tired and punchy."
I closed my eyes, briefly. “It’s okay.” After I took a deep breath, I said, “Since we’re being honest with each other, and we’ll probably blame all this on alcohol in the morning, you have me kind of wound up, too.”
“What do you mean, 'you know'?”
“You try hard to hide it, but I know.” Damn it.
“What are we gonna do about it? It’s inappropriate, I know, but I want you so bad, I can’t see straight.”
Fuck. Me. “This is too much. I can’t process this right now.”
“Or you’re just afraid to try.” Nail on the head. I shook my head and got up. Taking out my wallet, I threw some bills on the table and grabbed my luggage.
“I need to go.”
“Tobie, come on. Talk to me.”
“No. It’s getting late and I don’t want to do anything I’ll regret in the morning.”