I barged into Deacon’s office at eight o’clock that evening. Since his silver Lamborghini
was one of the few cars left in the parking lot, I wasn’t too concerned about interrupting a
He looked up from his computer when I stormed in, and a smile quickly replaced his scowl.
“They let you in without clearance?”
I plopped down in the seat across from him, trying not to notice how tempting he looked
with his sleeves rolled up and no tie on. “The receptionist who usually guards your castle left for
the day, and the security guard at the front desk has a crush on me, so he didn’t ask any
He frowned. “Which security guard is that?”
I spotted a stress ball on the corner of his desk. I doubted he used it; it looked like a promo
item Alabaster’s gave away. I whipped it at his chest. “You’re not serious.”
He laughed, catching the ball before it hit him. “You have a pretty good arm.”
“Shut up, Deacon!” The nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me I was talking to
my boss, but I told her to mind her own goddamn business and go back to sleep. “I’m pissed at
He leaned back, kicking his feet up on the desk as he tossed the ball from one hand to the
other and squeezed it. “Do tell.”
“You told Eleni about us.”
“So you had no right to do that!”
He seemed totally unfazed by my anger, which only incensed me further.
“She’s my friend. I should have been the one to tell her, when—or if—I decided there was
anything worth telling her.” That got his attention.
When he pinned me with that hot gaze, I feared he would demand I bend over the desk and
take my punishment like a brave girl.
“I asked you not to tell anyone, including Eleni. You didn’t, and I appreciate that. Now that
you’re single, I’ve decided it’s time your best friend know about our… relationship.”
The way he said relationship made me feel as though he had been seeking a different word
but come up short. Arrangement, perhaps? Was that what this was to him?
Not willing to let him have the last word, I said, “We’re not in a relationship. We’re still
getting to know each other. If I like what I see, I might agree to date you, though not exclusively.
I’ve been tied down too long to get serious again so soon.” I swallowed, averting my eyes when
the thin skin across his knuckles turned white from the pressure he was inflicting on the ball.
“Let me get this straight. You might agree to date me—though not exclusively?”
I was almost afraid to push him further, but if I backed down, that would set a precedent for
all future arguments. “That’s right. If you have a problem with that, we can part ways now and—”
He planted his feet on the floor and made his way around the desk slowly, like a panther
preparing to devour its prey. He gripped the armrests of my chair, his face a fraction of an inch
from mine. I held my breath—waiting, praying, and trying to predict what he might do next.
Pushing him had been a very bad idea.
“You really think that’s an option?” he whispered.