“Good, because that’s not even an option for you.”
He snorted scornfully and gave her a pointed and scathing once-over, not missing a single detail of her dishevelment.
“This was different,” she said defensively. “You didn’t demand anything I wasn’t willing to give.”
“I would never ask for anything you’re not willing to give, because, fortunately, I know exactly what you want.” The arrogant proclamation was so typically Dante that it took everything she had not to chuck something at him.
“I don’t think either of us tried very hard to resist temptation today,” she said, and he nodded his agreement. “But I want you to know that as of this very moment, this thing between us is over, and if I’m really not here to simply service you while it’s convenient, then prove it by allowing me to start at Mr. Whitman’s office tomorrow, sir.”
He took an excruciatingly long moment to respond. He straightened his tie and ran a hand through his hair, making it worse. He reached for his desk phone and dialed.
“Whitman,” he barked into the mouthpiece after a moment, keeping his eyes glued to hers. “Miss Knight will be starting in your office tomorrow morning. Have your current secretary show her the ropes.”
He hung up without so much as a good-bye, still holding her gaze captive.
“The rest of your day will be spent finding an adequate replacement for Donna, someone who will last the entire six months. Look in-house, but if that doesn’t work, call a temp agency. You do not leave this office today until you have someone to replace you tomorrow. Entender? If she’s incompetent, you’ll be answerable for that.”
She raised an eyebrow at his staccato commands.
She finally managed to lever herself out of the chair, their conversation having killed any residual desire she might have felt toward him. It wasn’t exactly sexy to go from the most intense and intimate lovemaking experience of her life directly back to discussions about nondisclosure agreements, office dynamics, and displays of colossal male ego. Thankfully, it seemed to have had the same effect on him. She had just reached the door when his voice stopped her.
She paused, her hand on the doorknob. She didn’t turn to face him, merely waited for him to say whatever was left to say.
“I would prefer someone older. Someone less like you.”
Now what the hell did that mean? Someone less like her?
“You know,” he said lamely when she turned to face him quizzically. To his credit he looked as confused as she felt.
“Nope. Don’t have a clue.” Her voice was so icy that her words practically froze as they left her lips.
“Someone with more experience. With less personality.”
“You talk too much,” he said pointedly. “Your attitude is too familiar and too sarcastic.”
She opened her mouth to say something, and he held up a finger to stop her.
“And that was before everything that happened in Tokyo. You’re completely irreverent and have a bizarre sense of humor. I also have no wish to hear about reality television shows, pop music, manicures, Brangelina, Star Trek, or anything that’s trending on Twitter—not even secondhand through whispered telephone conversations when my assistant thinks I’m not paying attention.”
Well, he’d certainly been a lot more attentive during those half hours in the mornings than she’d given him credit for. But one thing struck her as odd.
“Star Trek?” she repeated. She loved the new movies but hardly ever publicly discussed them.
“You’re constantly talking about how sick you are of the Cardassians,” he elaborated uncomfortably. Her eyes widened and she stifled a laugh.
“Different kind of Kardashian,” she corrected. It would be hopeless to explain it to a man who clearly had no interest in pop culture—even while every model or actress he was publicly photographed with inserted him into the very scene he was so scornful of. Quite frankly, she was impressed that he even knew about the Cardassians in Star Trek, which attested to a level of geekdom that she would never have suspected of him.
“So you’re looking for the anti-me?”
“It shouldn’t be so hard to find the complete opposite of you. You are quite . . .” His brow lowered as he tried to find the correct word. “Singular.”
“Thank you,” she said, ridiculously flattered until a closer glance at his straight face told her that it hadn’t been a compliment. Her fledgling smile died, and she once again—as she often did in his presence—fought the urge to roll her eyes.
“Okay, so you’re looking for an old, boring, and competent assistant,” she itemized, and his lips thinned but he said nothing. “I’ll get on that right away, sir.”
The hot sex of earlier was all but forgotten beneath the surge of dislike and irritation she currently felt. She was determined to find him the best assistant she could because she would be perfectly happy never to see him again.
Dante watched her leave, waiting for the door to swing shut behind that tight little ass before throwing his head back against the chair and groaning. What the hell had he been thinking? Fucking her in the office was completely unacceptable and—for him—completely unprecedented. He had been so cool and collected when she’d walked into his office that morning, but all the excruciatingly polite sirs had started to annoy him, and then when she’d brought his coffee and mail around the desk, she’d smelled fantastic—her shampoo, soap, perfume, and her unique musk had combined into an irresistible cocktail designed to lead a man straight into temptation. Added to that, her skirt clung to her every curve, and that soft blouse draped over the barely there mounds of her breasts—he had gone from zero to rock hard in less than thirty seconds.