I didn’t intend it, but I just realized that I accomplished the second fast draft of my writing career. I broke 50K tonight for July so far.
However, I think I jinxed myself a little by saying I hoped to finish it this weekend. I’ve still got 7-10 scenes to grind out and they’re not little baby ones. In fact, they’re quite…meaty. In more ways than one. *winks*
3K today and 2.4K yesterday. Not bad with all we had going on. With so much ahead of me, this book might end up closer to 60K+ than 50K total (I’ve got several thousand words on a different project this month so not all of this impromptu fast draft is for The Billionaire Submissive). I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday, so I took the day off. I’m hoping to get some major wordage in but we’ll just have to see how it goes.
This is the next scene of The Billionaire Submissive introducing Lilly, the Mistress. It’s a little heavy on the narrative to start, so that will probably get trimmed in revision.
Standing outside of the seventeen-story building on busy Kellogg Blvd, Lilly almost changed her mind and went home. Sure, this was an old building and not one of those modernized shiny steel and concrete skyscrapers, but she still didn’t quite believe someone in downtown St. Paul would honestly be interested in a stained-glass commission from a relative nobody like her. The building had once been the St. Paul Post Office and had sat vacant for years while sale after sale fell through. Then billionaire investor Donovan Morgan had swept in and bought the building at a bargain-bin price. Of course that was still millions of dollars, but he’d gotten a whole city block right next to the new light-rail station for a few bucks per square foot.
A brass plate next to the old-fashioned art-deco doors proclaimed Morgan Industries. She’d done a little research before accepting the appointment, but for the life of her, she still didn’t know exactly what that meant. He wasn’t into a single business, but owned hundreds of different companies and franchises all across the globe. His interests and investments were as varied as his many charitable contributions. From what she could tell, he basically just bought and sold companies, usually at a fraction of their value, which suddenly skyrocketed after his purchase. It was like he had the Midas touch.
So what does a man like him want with a stained glass window?
Especially when he had the funds to hire a world-famous artist?
Sure, she’d finally built up enough business that she could almost pay her mortgage on just commissions and classes, but she’d been busting her ass for years. Most of her income came from teaching instead of new projects anyway, though she’d clear her calendar if she had to in order to complete whatever Mr. Morgan wanted. A wealthy important client like him could be the stepping stone to larger commercial contracts she hadn’t been able to tap yet. With his recommendation, she could maybe even open her own gallery. This one project could make her career.
Yet the same nagging doubt dogged her heels into the refurbished lobby. Something wasn’t right with Morgan’s offer.
For one thing, he hadn’t even called her, but pawned the job off on his secretary. Maybe ultra rich dudes like him couldn’t be bothered to hire underlings, but for a creative project like stained glass, she really needed to be able to meet with him several times. If she didn’t have access to him, then she couldn’t guarantee he’d like the finished project, and that would devastate her. It wouldn’t matter how much he offered to pay her if he hated the final product. Or worse, if he didn’t even care about it. He was commissioning the wrong artist if that was the case.
The ground-level floor had been rented out to various fast-food joints, coffee shops, and even a one-hour dry cleaner. Business must be good, because people were scurrying back and forth like ants, jostling her every which way. Of course it didn’t help that the appointment had been scheduled right before lunch. A woman with blond hair pulled back in a sleek bun and dressed in a nice navy suit ruined by the hot-pink tennis shoes practically knocked her into the wall on her way to the front door.
She’d remembered that claustrophobic feeling she’d gotten inside her day job’s cubicle. How even one less minute of fresh air and sunshine outside during her lunch break would have made her as vicious as a rabid dog the rest of the afternoon. She’d had to quit or else go postal on her innocent coworkers. Or start taking anxiety meds. Quitting her job and finding something she truly loved was better than numbing herself with medication the rest of her life, even if she’d had to struggle to make ends meet.
She had to wait while the elevator emptied like an endless clown car at the circus, but she had it alone for the ride up to the top floor. The higher she went, the more under dressed she felt. She’d worn the only suit she’d kept from the days of corporate slavery, but it was out of fashion and frankly, a little too tight. She’d quit caring so much about always doing what was “right” and being perfect in all ways and simply living and loving her life. She’d never been happier and if some man didn’t like a little extra padding he could keep on walking because she felt sexy and she took damned good care of herself. Including a little dessert here and there.
Although a big greasy cheese burger sounded really good right now.
Which was definitely a sign of nerves. If she had to face a day without pie, she’d just give up and stay in bed. She only craved grease and salt when she was out of her league.
She stepped out of the elevator and put on her polite smile for the waiting receptionist. Maybe it was her imagination, but the secretary’s smile seemed more sneer than a professional greeting. Lilly glanced down at herself to make sure all buttons and zippers were appropriately closed. Check. Her silk blouse was a little low cut but she wore a lace cami underneath. She’d worn serviceable plain black heels and not her favorite fuck-me stilettos. With a mental shrug, Lilly followed the other woman into Mr. Morgan’s office. Screw it. If I have to come back to see Mr. Morgan, I’m wearing the leather mini skirt and those shoes.
Since his picture was readily available in all the media stories covering his acquisitions and success, she’d known he was a gorgeous man of the tall, dark and handsome variety. She hadn’t expected to be affected by him. Pretty, svelte arrogant men weren’t her type.
He was pretty, and yeah, he was damned svelte in that impeccable suit. He stood behind his desk, arms crossed, shoulders wide and feet planted, aggressively defiant and proud. It almost made her laugh. She couldn’t resist a wide smile, even if he didn’t know the cause. She hadn’t even opened her mouth yet and he was chomping for a fight. This’ll be fun.
“Miss Harrison.” He spoke in a clipped, hard voice echoing with disapproval. No wonder his secretary had looked at her with such disdain. She’d already picked up on the alpha’s opinion. “Do you have a portfolio?”
Not at all. The large leather thing she held in her hand was merely a strange saddle she’d used on the jackass she’d ridden into town. Of course she had a portfolio. What artist would ever go to a prospective client meeting without a single example of her work?
She didn’t bother answering, but simply stepped closer and opened the leather portfolio on his desk. Of course the pictures were upside down, but she didn’t change it. She wanted to see how he’d respond.
He could have turned it around to face him. That would have been the obvious solution. Instead, he came around the massive desk to stand beside her. Too close, actually. He intruded on her personal space.
What an interesting situation. If she were at a BDSM club and a submissive dared to approach her so boldly, she’d be more than happy to accommodate him with a little punishment and discipline to teach him his place. In fact, a submissive would only behave such a way if he deliberately wanted to antagonize the Mistress. Could he have any idea…?
She didn’t see how he would know. More than likely he was just an arrogant filthy-rich asshole who was used to using his physical strength and immense wealth to intimidate people.
Still, she had to teach him a lesson in some way. In a professional setting, though, her options were limited. She certainly couldn’t give him a quick, hard pop with a crop, more’s the pity. And if she wanted the commission…she couldn’t smart off in front of his subordinate.
There was more than one way to battle. It didn’t take words. It didn’t even take action. She closed her eyes a moment and centered herself. This kind of dominance involved her personal energy and will, where every ounce of her concentration, every muscle in her body, was focused on one thing. Releasing a deep breath, she opened her eyes. Like he’d done earlier, she widened her stance just by standing taller, easing her shoulders back, lifting from her core. She projected calm assertive power. The will that he would step aside and out of her personal space. He would respect her will and her presence. There was no doubt in her mind. No hesitation. He will do as I ask. Or I’ll walk out of here without even entertaining his proposal. I don’t need this job that badly.
“This one’s nice.” He traced a finger over the sketch she’d done of one of her favorites. The glass was all clear, but with different etchings and bevels, she’d created a complex window that had cast snowflakes over the entire room. “How big was it?”
Keeping her energy focused, she user her lower voice range that vibrated her body. “Three by three feet.”
She swore his hand trembled slightly as he turned to the next page, but he didn’t move out of her space. “That’s smaller than what I intend. Could you accomplish the same kind of complexity in a larger scale?”
“Of course. Clear glass in a variety of finishes can be very striking, especially in a large space where color may be too distracting.” She leaned down, deliberately letting her shoulder bump his as a warning. She turned to the next page. Even with only clear glass, you could see three crosses and a rising sun, casting its rays out in all directions. “This one’s in a church down in Iowa, the focal point behind their altar. The final measurements were ten by twenty, though I had to frame the window into pieces to give it the appropriate stability.”
He didn’t back away from the shoulder bump. In fact, he bumped her back, nudging his way deeper into her personal space. He even slid his right foot in front of hers, like he was trying to block her out from her own portfolio.
Lilly cast a quick glance at the secretary. Rooted into place, she watched the two’s interaction with wide eyes, rubbing her arms like she had goosebumps. Some people were sensitive to this kind of energy play, and between her calm assertiveness and his aggressive pissing-match attitude, the energy was definitely high in the spacious office. Maybe he didn’t even realize his secretary was still watching. “What do you think, Miss…?”
“Wruthers,” the secretary spoke with a delicate breathy voice. “Isn’t stained glass rather…antiquated? If you were going to remodel the building…”
He let out a low growl, whether irritation that his underling dared disagree with him or mere frustration that Lilly wasn’t intimidated, she couldn’t be sure. “I didn’t ask your opinion, Miss Wruthers. That’ll be all.”
Evidently the young woman hadn’t been in his employ very long, because she winced and paled, hurt by his callous reply. She scurried out and the door thumped behind her a little too loudly.
He stretched, arching his back even while he leaned down over her work, resting his elbow on the desk casually. For such a lean man, he was exhibiting quite the nicely rounded ass. It was all she could do not to give him a good, hard swat and see how high he’d jump. “Where were we?”
Lilly let her mouth quirk since he wasn’t looking at her. Silly boy. He really needs a good thrashing.
It’d be all too easy to press against him, letting her body weight urge him down against the desk. It’d be fun to have a big, powerful man like him beneath her, bristling with the urge to fight, but also strangely obedient. Knowing he was too strong, too big, that he could overpower her at any moment, but he chose not to… Instead, he chose to put himself into her hands, to let her do as she would. The ultimate power rush. That he was arrogant, gorgeous and used to being the alpha CEO in all aspects of his life only made it hotter.
Lost in such a tantalizing fantasy, it took her a moment to realize she was pressed against the back of his leg, hugging his thigh with both of hers. Practically riding him. Either he’d backed further into her space or she’d leaned into him. She couldn’t remember. Neither option was appropriate behavior in an office setting, certainly not when she didn’t even know what his inclinations were.
Embarrassed, she jerked backward. “Pardon me, Mr. Morgan. I must have lost my balance.”
He straightened and turned toward her, his dark eyes narrowed on her face. “Lost your balance?”
She gave him a bright smile and without blinking or looking away, said, “I’m not used to wearing heels.”
She had a feeling he knew she was lying but he decided not to call her on it. It wasn’t like he’d peeked into her closet and seen her glorious shoe collection. He settled on the edge of his desk, the epitome of casual male elegance. A wicked glint flickered in his eyes, a knowing smile on his lush lips that warned her he saw through her thinly veiled disguise that said nothing to see, just an ordinary woman with boring, normal sexual desires. Nothing dirty or naughty here. “I suppose you don’t get out all that often.”
“Rarely. I’m such a homebody.” She gave him a tiny smile back that said I know you know I’m lying and I don’t give a fuck. “Why don’t you show me the space you’re thinking about filling with stained glass? I can take some measurements and give you some ideas of what might work best.”
“Of course.” He stood, managing to make the movement a delicious sinuous slide that drew her gaze down all six-foot-plus length of him. He might have never really worked a day in his life, certainly not outside of an office setting, but his body coiled with sinew and lean muscle. There wouldn’t be much padding anywhere on him except that delectable backside. Nothing to stop the hard thud of a paddle. Or the cut of the crop.
She gave herself a little shake, forcing those thoughts to the back corner of her mind. Later, she’d pull them out and let the fantasy unwind. She’d wonder what kind of fancy underwear he wore. Whether he really had a model’s body beneath that expensive suit or office flab. Whether the rest of him was as darkly tanned as his face and hands. How he’d sound when she brought the crop down on his ass.
But only after I finish this commission. Until then, all business. Mistress L isn’t allowed to come out and play.