Impulse control had gone straight out the window, and he had bent her over his desk and had lost complete control right there in a place that should have been sacrosanct. No personal complications had ever dared intrude in here before. Now he would never again look at his desk without picturing her bent over it, legs spread, skirt up over her back and adorable little panties down around her knees. He groaned again and stared down at his ridiculously keen cock, which once again stood at attention, begging for more.

“Never going to happen again,” he said out loud. Asking her to find an assistant by the end of the day was nearly an impossible request, considering his exacting standards, but really anybody would be better than Cleo right now. He just didn’t trust his ability to stick to his resolve not to touch her again if she was working in close proximity to him. He knew this weakness was only because he hadn’t gotten her out of his system yet, and they should probably allow this thing to run its course between them—but he also knew that if he went cold turkey, it wouldn’t take long to forget about her. She wasn’t irresistible, just the flavor du jour, so to speak. She was there, he was horny, and they were good together . . . when they weren’t forced to make conversation.


But it was over now. Time to move on.

Cleo found Dante’s “old, boring, and competent” new executive assistant with time to spare that day. Mrs. Clarke was a kind middle-aged woman with a sharp intellect and frighteningly exacting standards. Cleo unashamedly lured her to the Dark Side from her nice, safe position as personal assistant to the accounts manager with the promise of a flattering introduction to the middle-aged and supposed lifelong bachelor Mr. Peter Whitman, to whom, it seemed, the widowed Mrs. Clarke had taken a shine. After that it had just been a matter of stepping back and watching Mrs. Clarke do her thing. The woman very quickly arranged a competent replacement to fill her own position for the next six months, managed her own immediate superior beautifully (the man seemed a little frightened of her, to be honest), and then all that was left was introducing her to Dante.

Dante, however, proved to be frustratingly elusive for the rest of the day. He had left the office soon after their ill-advised little liaison that morning and hadn’t returned. His phone kept going to voice mail, and he wasn’t responding to any of his messages. By the end of the day, she shrugged, leaving him a succinct memo detailing the pertinent facts regarding Mrs. Clarke’s temporary transfer from accounts to his office.

A quick glance around confirmed that she hadn’t forgotten anything, and with not even a twinge of regret, she powered down her computer, gathered up her things, and left.


“Dante, my man, you’ve been scarce. I figured you were probably busy after your trip to Tokyo last month.” Dante grimaced, keeping the phone pinned to his ear and grateful that his longtime friend couldn’t see the guilt on his face. Being busy had nothing to do with the reason Dante had been scarce.

“Lucius, great to hear your voice. I’ve been thinking about you.” Not a lie. He had been thinking of the man, wondering if Cleo had let anything slip about what had happened between them. In truth, he’d been a little reluctant to call his friend because he’d feared that the other man’s reception would be cool or hostile. And that would have been . . . disappointing. He enjoyed Luc’s companionship. He didn’t have many other friends to do “guy” things with, and even though he and Luc came from completely disparate backgrounds, they’d become fast friends.

While they rarely saw each other these days, Dante still valued the friendship they’d forged in college when Dante had been new to the country. Most of the other so-called new friends he’d made in that first year had started hitting him up for loans, making him pay for drinks and food almost immediately upon discovering that his family was one of the wealthiest old families in Spain, and if not for Luc’s undemanding, steady friendship, Dante would probably have become a complete recluse.

“Yeah? Have you been thinking about that beer you owe me?” Luc asked, his voice alive with humor. Dante’s brow lowered.

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“Rugby match, two months ago?” Luc prompted.

“You’re actually serious? I know nothing about rugby. I never stood a chance of winning that bet, and you knew it,” Dante protested, grinning like a kid. He was just so damned relieved everything seemed normal with Luc, and if Cleo kept her end of their agreement, it would remain that way.

“Easy pickings,” Luc agreed smugly. “But you should never have taken me up on it. Look, come over for dinner tonight, and we can watch the La Liga game afterward. Barcelona versus Real Madrid. You bring the beer.”

“Blue doing the cooking?” The woman was a fantastic cook.


“Then it’s a deal.” Football, food, beer, and a good friend with whom to enjoy it all. Dante couldn’t think of a better way to spend the evening.

“So, do you enjoy life in the HR department?” Blue asked Cleo, efficiently chopping up onions and peppers.

“It’s only been a month, but I’m finding it quite rewarding. I’m learning a lot.” Cleo sat at the ancient kitchen table as she watched her brother’s fiancée slice and dice her way through the dinner preparations. Blue was incredibly efficient at cooking. She was efficient at a lot of things, but Cleo—who was useless at cooking—particularly envied the other woman’s prowess in the kitchen. She had popped into the ramshackle, sprawling old Knight family home in Hout Bay after work, hoping to score an invitation to dinner. She’d been feeling a bit under the weather lately and hoped that some of Blue’s good home cooking would help her feel better.

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