“Hell, yes, I want some honey,” he ground out, and Cleo dimly apprehended that he was responding to Winnie the Pooh’s “Hunny?” question on the back of her boy shorts. He hooked a thumb into each side of the shorts and dragged them down to her knees, before kneeling behind her. Cleo held her breath, hoping his intention was what she was anticipating, and sure enough . . .

“Oh God,” she moaned when his tongue immediately went to work. She’d gotten so used to him doing this for her that she no longer felt self-conscious about the act, which had always embarrassed her with other guys. She curled her fingers against the surface of his desk and blindly stared at the rapidly cooling mug of coffee about a foot in front of her. She moved her upper body lower and lower until her torso and chest were flat against the desk and her cheek was pressed to the coolness of the surface. She spread her arms out on either side of her and just surrendered herself completely to him. She was on the verge of coming when he stopped, and she cried out in frustration until she felt him step between her thighs. She heard the sound of his zipper, the crinkle of a condom wrapper, and then . . . dear God—complete bliss when he finally penetrated her. He had her so primed that he barely had the tip in before she went up onto her toes, her back arching like a cat’s, as her orgasm took her.

His hands on her hips held her still, and he waited until her climax had waned before resuming his slow and thorough conquest of her very willing body. She was building up to her third orgasm when the phone rang, adding a reckless sense of exhibitionism to their excitement that had only been hinted at before. The complete and utter inappropriateness of the setting added a titillating edge to the sex that rushed her headlong into another climax so intense that she actually blacked out for a couple of seconds. She came to moments later, in time to hear him groan, the first time she’d ever heard a sound from him during one of his climaxes. He was usually completely silent, just a catch of the breath followed by a long exhale. This soft groan was new, as was the whispered expletive that accompanied it. He went completely limp, his full weight descending onto her back for a few short moments before he stepped back and removed himself from her both physically and emotionally in one smooth movement. He gently pulled her panties back up and lowered her skirt, covering her up with such care that Cleo felt almost cherished. The feeling disappeared when he moved away hastily, leaving Cleo to push herself up with arms that felt like jelly. Her entire body felt wobbly, and she sank into the chair opposite his desk, not sure how to cope with this.

Dante staggered back to his side of the desk, lowered himself into his chair, and immediately swiveled it around until he faced the window. She stared at the back of his head, feeling wounded and completely rejected by the unmistakably dismissive gesture. If he wanted her to leave, he’d have to wait a few moments until she got her breath and motor functions back.

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Neither of them said a word as their breathing gradually returned to normal. Cleo, her body still feeling like it could go back up in flames any second, moved gingerly in her chair, wondering if she would ever be capable of leaving the room again.

“I guess you’re going to need another nondisclosure agreement.” She quickly grasped the horrific consequences of their stupidity. His shoulders tensed and he shook his head, still not turning to look at her.

“The other one has it covered. Past and future sexual encounters, if I remember the wording correctly.”

How terribly optimistic of him, she thought caustically.

“Not optimistic,” he countered, and she grimaced when she realized that she’d spoken aloud. “Realistic. We have some crazy chemistry. A bit of backsliding was inevitable.”

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“No more after this, though,” she said adamantly, and she watched his shoulders rise and fall in a sigh.

“No. I didn’t mean for this to happen. It’s probably just a remnant of our . . .” He paused, unable to find the correct word.

“Affair?” she suggested.

“No. Our . . .” Another pause.

“Relationship?”

“No, will you stop trying to complete my sentences?” He sounded wholly exasperated, and he spun his chair around to glare at her. “Our thing in Tokyo.”

Cleo was too busy taking in the state of him to harangue him for his weak choice of words. How had his hair gotten so messy when she hadn’t run her fingers through it? And his tie was undone, another thing he must have done himself. His shirttails were out and . . . God, he had another impressive hard-on. The damned thing was tireless.

“I think you should transfer me to Peter Whitman’s office tomorrow. I could apprentice with his current secretary and learn the ropes from him or her.”

“What should I do in the meantime? I don’t have a replacement for you.” He sounded annoyed and put out by her suggestion.

“All I ever do is water your plant, make your coffee, and send your e-mails. Any idiot can do that.”

“But I don’t want any other idiot, I want you, until I find a more qualified person for the job.”

“Is this because of my special uh . . . skill set?”

He looked confused by her question.

“We have already established that your skill set is not suited to the job,” he reminded her.

“Not that . . .” She leaned forward and waved a hand back and forth. “This. Us.”

“There is no us.”

“Okay, sure . . . but—”

“Cleo, if you’re suggesting that I’m trying to keep you here so that I can have you around to fuck on demand, then I have to tell you, you’re mistaken.”

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