Edited to add Victor’s cover, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Continuing the free read Lie to You, Victor’s prequel. (Part 1)
Warning: BDSM and sexual content.
After last night’s activities, his bad knee hurt worse than usual, compounded by an assortment of bruises and marks on both thighs. Scowling, Victor straightened his legs out beneath his desk. Tendons torn years ago pulled and burned almost as badly as the day he’d blown his knee. The steady ache did little to improve his mood, which admittedly was always bad the morning after he indulged his sadist.
The intercom lit up and made an annoying chime. He stabbed the button. “Yes?”
His secretary had a hesitant squeak of a voice that made him think she was asking questions every time she spoke. “Mr. Connagher?”
He was so not in the mood for timid creatures today. If he wasn’t careful, his VCONN partner would yell at him for scaring off another worthy office manager, but good God, couldn’t he find someone with just a little backbone? He fought for a gentler approach rather than throwing open his door and bellowing. “What is it?”
“A new hire is here to see you? Shiloh Holmes? Ms. Kannes sent her to meet you?”
Rubbing his knee, he tried not to sigh like a martyr. “Send her in.” I’ll try not to scare her off on her first day at VCONN.
He stood to round his desk in welcome, but his damned knee was stiff and fragile, as though too much weight on it would make the whole joint shatter. He settled for at least standing politely in front of his desk as the door opened and the new hire walked in.
She marched straight up to him and held out her hand. “Pleased to meet you, sir.”
Surprised by her bold manner, he shook her hand, taking in her wide smile and warm brown eyes. She met his gaze unflinchingly, which he knew was no small feat. He decided to push just a little and see how much it would take to make her drop her gaze. He kept his fingers firm on hers, his gaze as steady and deep as though he sought her deepest secrets.
One brow quirked. Then the other, her eyes widening with surprise. The corners of her eyes crinkled and he suspected she might be laughing silently at him, but he didn’t look down at her mouth to find out. Her eyes warmed to molten chocolate, sparkling like she had a dozen secrets all bottled up just waiting for him to yank them out one by one.
She made a soft little sound, barely more than an indrawn breath, but it made his inner demon perk up with interest. It was all he could do not to step forward, bury his hand in her tawny hair, and jerk her mouth to his so he could punish her lips for that delicious little moan.
Too late, he remembered that this woman was supposed to be his new employee. The CEO of the company had no business testing his female employees, and for what? To see if he could break her? He already knew he could. He always did sooner or later.
Abruptly, he released her hand and whirled away. “Welcome to VCONN, Ms…”
Damn it, he couldn’t remember her name and pain knifed through his knee at the sudden movement. He was forced to limp the few steps back to his chair and sat down heavier than usual.
“Holmes, sir.” She replied evenly, not upset in the least by his macho dramatics. “Shiloh Holmes. Are you hurt?”
He jerked his gaze up to her face, but saw only open and honest concern, not ridicule or speculative interest. “Old college football injury. I tweaked it last night and it’s hurting today.”
“Ah, that explains all the trophies I saw downstairs.” She gave him a little chuckle of admiration and interest that tightened a fist in his chest where his heart used to reside. Dressed in a velvety suit that matched her eyes, she sat in front of his desk, alert and eager as new employees usually were, but without any hint of nerves or shyness. “Are they all yours?”
“From my glory days. But that was a long time ago.”
“Where did you play?”
He settled back in his chair, amused at how easily she’d turned the tables on him. Who’s interviewing who? “Texas A&M for four years. What position do you think I played?”
Her lips quirked. “Definitely quarterback. You’re the kind of man who’d lead the whole team down the field, refusing to settle for someone else calling the plays.”
“Oh, I always call the plays.” Damned if her eyes didn’t smolder. Didn’t she have any idea what sort of man she was playing with? “But I think you must have taken notice of the photographs, too. Maybe you even had time to read one of the clippings in the case.”
Her left eyebrow arched. “Not at all.”
She lied and she knew that he knew that she lied and she didn’t care, not by the widening smile she gave him. “Really?”
“Would I lie to you, Mr. Connagher?”
Polite flirting had turned much too serious. He couldn’t do this. Had he learned nothing all those months, pretending to be safe and normal for Kimberly? Who’s lying now?
Furious at himself and yes, at her for tempting him, he jerked his hair tighter in the ponytail. The small pain sharpened his control, but not enough, not with this saucy morsel staring at him with those big chocolate eyes. He gripped his right thigh and squeezed that bruised muscle until his cheek ticked.
“So what position have I given you here at VCONN?” Deliberately, he chose rather insulting language to see if he could goad her. Maybe he’d get lucky and she’d quit. Today.
“Associate Producer,” Shiloh answered, adjusting to his professional switch seamlessly without rising to his bait.
“It’s an entry level position.” He tried to guess her age without asking for her file, and he put her mid to late twenties. She wasn’t a young woman fresh out of college.
As though she knew his line of thought, she explained, “I worked my way through college, so it took longer than usual, and I’ve had other jobs.”
“Why are you starting over?”
“I wanted something new.” For the first time, she lowered her eyes, but it was a deceptive move. She still looked at him through her lashes. “I like a challenge.”
Unfortunately, so did he, and she was giving off all kinds of submissive invitation vibes, whether she knew it or not. Giving his leg another painful squeeze, he cautiously waded into more treacherous waters. In a job interview, it wasn’t customary to ask about a person’s sexual preferences, even if the company was an erotic cable television channel. “Are you aware of the kind of programming that has made VCONN famous?”
“Of course. I did my research before applying.”
He wanted to ask if she’d researched him. Maybe that would explain her familiarity and lack of fear…although if she knew more about him, surely she’d be afraid. More, though, he wanted to ask if she was submissive or merely a damned good actress. If she was as attracted as him.
But he didn’t dare. It was too late. From the first moment his secretary informed him of the new hire, Shiloh Holmes had been off limits. The CEO could not dally with female employees without opening himself up for sexual harassment charges. Especially when said CEO is a sadist.
Victor’s story HURT ME SO GOOD will be released Oct. 5th from Samhain Publishing.