Silk and Shadows

By: Lauren Landish

This can’t happen. Not him. Not me. Not here. Not now. Not. Ever.

The thought brings a hint of sadness with it, and it’s mirrored by the imploring look he’s giving me. Luckily, part of my brain was paying attention to his words, and I’m able to give a reasonable answer even though most of my body is ready to roll over and purr for him.

What the hell, Norma?

“Fine. Two days for a paper isn’t much time to work with, so let’s get started,” I finally answer, hating that I’m giving in but not ready to leave him either.

His expression instantly changes to a smirk at the victory. “Great. Do you need to text anyone to cancel your plans?”

He knows I was bluffing. I don’t have plans and definitely don’t have a date. It was the principle of the matter. “No, asshole. I don’t need to text anyone.” I plop onto the couch in this corner, letting my bag fall gently to the floor.

Zach sits down beside me, leaving a space between us. “I knew it, Brat. You were just trying to get a rise out of me, weren’t you?” I shrug, not willing to confirm or deny his assessment.

I fight a smile. “I get it now. My boss told me ‘good luck’ with this whole mess, and in hindsight, I’m thinking that means she knows what a cocky jerk you are. Maybe you know her. She seems to follow football a bit. Erica Waters?” Though I’m teasing, I desperately want him to say he hasn’t slept with her. I don’t know why that would seem too close to home, but it does.

But he shakes his head. “Nope, don’t know her. I also don’t know her. But I do really want you to say that again.” He winks like I should know what he’s talking about, and then it hits me.

I look him full in the eye, intentionally adding emphasis as I breathily say in my best porn star imitation, “Caaahhck–y jerk.” His eyes watch the word leave my lips and then jump to mine, full of humor.

“Oh, you think you’re funny, Brat? Turnaround is fair play,” he says brazenly. He grabs a book from the shelf in front of us, not bothering to read the cover, but I can see that it’s titled Hot For The Billionaire. I roll my eyes until he opens the book and starts actually reading.

“I’m going to fuck you raw and rough, rip that little pussy to shreds with my big cock.” He changes his voice to a falsetto. “Yes, John, screw me with that big cock. I’m your slut and I want you inside me so badly. I gaze upon his flawless magnificence with unbridled need, my glistening sugar walls begging for the massive manhood inside his slacks.”

I grab at the book, trying to get it from his hands. “Stop it!” I beg, trying not to laugh and pissed off at the little giggle that escapes my mouth. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, his reading this or that I’m actually getting turned on by his saying such over-the-top cheesy, dirty things in that silly voice. “You’re making an ass of yourself!”

Zach chuckles, tossing the book back on the shelf. “Do women actually read that shit? But I guess you seem to have enjoyed it. That little giggle was cute.”

I roll my eyes, snarling. “Get over yourself. You’re totally not funny.” Except my snarl sounds more like a purr. A hungry, ravenous purr.

"Really? I think I see your breath quickening.” His eyes drop to my chest, and I force myself not to arch my back and show off for him.

“Get your eyes checked,” I sass. “You might be blind.” The jab is weak at best, but it’s all I have in this moment.

“Saw that passage perfectly fine. And I shut that cute little mouth of yours.”

I think my cheeks are turning as red as my hair.

C’mon, Norma, he probably drops lines like that with all the girls. And this is not real.

“You didn’t shut anything,” I growl, but sheesh, the growl makes it sound like a dare.

He hears it too, his grin growing wider, cockier, as if he knows what his playful alpha attitude is doing to me. “Come on, you’re all attitude and a big mouth, but you’re not that bad. And you’re enjoying this, just like I am.”

I need to get out of here before I transform into some weak, mewling kitten lapping at his feet. Puffing out my chest, I gather myself up. “Truth? You’re maybe not so bad. But we do need to work. Two days, remember?”

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