Skin of the Night

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Chapter 19: Smooth, But Powerful, Just Like You

“I’m going to take you now,” he warned. His minty breath spread across my face and breezed my trembling, kiss-swollen lips. “And I assure you, love, you’ll be feeling me for a week.” A sensual smirk climbed to his delectable mouth before he claimed mine. Untamed and powerful, he dominated my lips with his own pair.

I could hardly breathe. My heart threatened to burst with suspense. I had never met a man more irritating, challenging, but nevertheless seductive, in my entire life. Against him, I was powerless, and he was about to claim me as his own for the night.

Caged beneath his strong, naked body, I marvelled in my circumstance. How had I gotten here again?

The same moment I thought it, I realised that I was dreaming, and so I gasped awake as my eyes sprang wide. In the dark, I looked toward my alarm and saw that it was six in the morning; too early to wake up, and too late to go back to sleep.

After a groan, I noticed how soaked my knickers were. Clearly, they were called ‘wet dreams’ for a reason. However, waking up from one about none other than my boss was not an ideal way to start my day. What made it worse was that it was easily the most fantastic sex dream I’d ever had, and he hadn’t even made me orgasm, which I had in fact done during sleep before. That spoke volumes. Bloody hell, this was getting out of hand. Not even while I was asleep did he give me any space. He was driving me insane.

After sobbing tearlessly a few times while I rubbed my face, I pushed my duvet aside to prepare for another intense day under his smouldering glare. Still trapped in the consequent daze of my erotic dream, I completed a shower that was much longer than my average one. When I eventually finished, I walked dispirited out of the glass cage to wipe a line of condensation off the bathroom mirror. Leaning toward my reflection, I saw how discouraged I looked. My freckles were fainter than they tended to be, and purple bags had gathered under my eyes.

While sighing, I frowned at myself. “Get a grip, Cara,” I scolded and opened my top drawer to fetch my make-up kit. After moisturising my face, I grabbed my Dior concealer and applied a layer under my eyes to hide away any sign of sleep-deprivation. Since I preferred a natural look, I didn’t apply anything else to my skin. As I got started on my eyes, I – on a whim – decided to add a faint smokey eye to the mixture. Once I had completed the last step of my make-up routine, which was mascara, I leaned back and stared at myself. I looked fierce like this. Ready to attack the day. Ready to fend off my overbearing boss.

After I had blown-dried my hair, I sprayed on a light touch of my Lancôme perfume. Next, clothes. Per usual, I had something sophisticated in mind, and it was a smart-looking, navy blue dress. In general, my wardrobe was quite compatible with a law firm’s sense of decorum. Discovering that had been a relief, because I hated shopping; it drained me of any and all energy.

Once I was dressed, I made breakfast for Jason and I. Even though he was on summer holiday, he made a point to wake up early so not to ruin his sleeping routine. In that way, we were well suited, because while I loved sleep, I loved being rested for a hard day even more.

It was nearly seven-thirty when I carried his full English breakfast into his room and sat down on his bedside. “Jason,” I gently whispered while I left the plate on his nightstand. He barely stirred.

“Jason,” I called a little louder.

As he opened his eyes to discover my person, a soft smile climbed to his mouth. Without a word, he hooked his arm around my waist and dragged me into his embrace with surprising force. Then, he cuddled me close.

“Mm, you smell amazing,” he commented.

I smiled where I lay, relishing the comfort of his embrace. “It’s seven-thirty. I’ve got to go.”

He groaned and hugged me tighter for a beat. “Have a nice day at the office, love. Tell Will I said hello,” he said and released me with reluctance.

“Sure thing.”

“Do I smell breakfast?” he asked and looked to his nightstand. “Cara,” he scolded. “You’re spoiling me.”

“You deserve to be doted upon.”

“I love you.”

“Love you, too,” I requited before I stretched up. “See you later.”

“Yeah.”


Elisabeth wasn’t here yet, which I appreciated. To set a good impression, I had meant to arrive before her.

I had just dumped my purse on the floor when I saw him from the corner of my eye. Inwardly, I begged him not to notice me, but judging from the direction of his travel, he already had. And so, with a groan, I turned my head to acknowledge him.

The sight of him made me want to sob. It wasn’t fair that anyone should look so appealing fresh out of bed. How did he do it? The fact that he looked even better in reality than in my dreams only made it worse. Looking him in the eye now, especially after I’d just had a vivid and erotic dream about him, was not something I desired. I hoped I’d be able to keep from blushing, since part of me worried that he’d somehow be able to tell that I’d dreamt about him if I turned the colour of a tomato without further ado.

With a winsome smile on his face, he halted in front of my desk and, somewhat momentously, placed a Starbucks coffee onto it. Perplexed, I studied it for a brief second.

“What’s this?” I asked and turned my eyes up at him. He shrugged his broad shoulders and sipped on his own cup. After swallowing, he exhaled through a grin.

“I don’t know how you take your coffee, seeing as you left my flat before I was able to offer you any breakfast, but I went with a flat white. Smooth, but powerful, just like you.”

Surprised at his sweet gesture, I stared at him for some time, gathering myself. He’d bought me coffee on his way to work? He’d thought of me this morning? How often did my person cross his mind, I wondered. Part of me wished it were often. Since he persisted to plague my mind, I wanted it to at least be mutual.

“Aren’t I supposed to be fetching coffees for you?” I eventually managed to reply.

He chuckled. “As if I’d ever trust you to fetch my coffee for me. It’d be laced with poison, I’m sure. I haven’t got a death wish.”

His banter made me laugh, however little I wanted it to.

“You’ve got a very sweet laugh,” he commented and passed me a bashful smile. His compliment made me stop. Instead, I promptly blushed.

He continued, “Pity I don’t seem to stir it very often.”

I cleared my throat. “Don’t you have work to do, Mr Night?”

“Right now, I’m working on you.”

It was far too early for this. “Well, it’s futile, so you might as well stop.”

“Never,” he teased, but made his leave anyway. I stared after him with a smitten expression on my face, hopelessly intrigued by him.

“No.” Elisabeth was suddenly beside me. “Trust me, Cara, you do not want to dig into that.”

It felt like somebody had just punched me in the gut. Had she seen me ogle him just now? She must have. Breathless, I responded, “What?”

She sent me a stern look. “Trust me.”

While clearing my throat again, I brought my MacBook Pro out of my purse. “Dig into what? I wasn’t–”

“You were.”

I pouted. “Well, I’m sorry. I was only admiring the view. He’s a good looking man.”

She snickered. “He is, but don’t fall for it. He’s a complete workaholic and has absolutely no interest whatsoever in entertaining relationships. Trust me. I’ve asked him several times, and it’s always the same ambiguous answer: ‘I’m single, but I’m not available.’ Besides, I don’t think Violet would appreciate that sort of competition in the workplace.”

Violet? What did Violet have to do with this? The answer dawned on me the same moment I thought it. Was Violet William’s regular bed partner? Was that what he meant when he said he was single, but unavailable? I did recall him mentioning somebody that he had an arrangement with.

“Violet?” I probed.

Grimacing, she leaned toward me. “I’m not one to gossip, Cara.”

“It’s not gossip. It’s a fair warning,” I countered.

For a moment, she chewed on her thin lower lip and frowned to herself. Seeming to reach a conclusion in her contemplations, she nodded her head at me. “Violet and William occasionally sleep together. I only know because I accidentally walked in on them once, after hours. It was bloody awful. I didn’t know what to do with myself. We were all so mortified.” She covered her face with hands while she shook her head to herself. I pursed my lips. That scene must have been truly awkward.

After a deep breath, she focused on me again. “You mustn’t tell anyone. Anyone. He’s got this other woman he sees from time to time. Francesca. I’m sure you’ll get to meet her. She drops by every now and then, usually on Wednesdays. But I doubt she’s aware, and you know, it’s not our place to meddle, regardless of how immoral we might find it to be. William’s our boss, and so is Violet, so it’s our job to help them, however way we can.”

Shocked at what she’d told me, my eyes travelled to William’s door. So he was a player, was he? Had he lied when he told me he didn’t sleep around? Unless he’d changed his habits since we slept together, he must have.

What an inherent bastard he was. And now he was flirting with me? Disgusting. I couldn’t have been more grateful for what Elisabeth had just told me. This was exactly the thing I’d needed to hear. Instantly, I was put off by him. I couldn’t believe him. How dare he toy with their feelings like that, and how dare he play me for a fool? At least Robby and I had an open arrangement and had mutually decided not to tell each other of other partners. From the look of it, William was keeping these women in the dark. That included me.

“Is Violet aware of Francesca at least?” I whispered my question.

“Yeah. She doesn’t mind though, because Will and her aren’t actually into each other. It’s just for sex. Violet is sleeping with other lads on the side as well, last she told me. Gosh, listen to me. I need to shut up. Then again, Violet wouldn’t mind. She talks about her sex life like she talks about the weather.”

A wave of relief hit me, though tangled with a hint of disappointment. I’d thought him better than this. Then again, I hardly sat on any information at all. Perhaps this Francesca was aware as well, or perhaps they weren’t exclusively dating. What did I know? Don’t judge a book by its cover, I reminded myself. Though, I was judging it by the index this time, not the cover.

I wanted to query her further about this, but I was afraid of the impression it could leave. If I showed too much interest, she might grow suspicious, and I didn’t want that. “I see,” I eventually murmured for a reply.

No wonder Violet had intrigued me. She’d been keeping a keen eye on me all of yesterday, and now I knew why. She was determining whether I’d distract her favourite plaything’s attention. Well, she had nothing to worry about. She could keep him to herself for all I cared, or share him with Francesca. Little did it matter. I simply refused to get involved with this.

“Yes, so, don’t fall for his charms, okay? I’d hate to see you mess up this internship,” Elisabeth whispered.

I sent her a warm smile. “Ellie, like I said, I’m committed to my studies. Don’t worry. Besides, I’ve got a man of my own to serve that purpose, but it’s nothing serious.”

“Really?” She beamed at me. “What’s his name?”

I chuckled at her childlike display of enthusiasm. Her level of empathy truly was remarkable. “Robby.”

“Robby. Does he study law as well?”

“Yep. We’re in the same year. He’s shockingly clever. I owe him several of my A’s actually, seeing as he’s also my study partner.”

“Good for you,” she said and passed me a wink. I nodded my head at her while reaching for the coffee William had given me. It didn’t taste half as good now that I knew what tricks he pulled. It was a shame really, because I had honestly considered it a sweet gesture at first.

While guiding the cup to my lips, I noticed the black ink of a marker on the side. As I turned it, my eyebrows arched in dread.

Viva la Sandra, it read. The hell was that supposed to mean?

After a shy sip of the delectable beverage, I booted my computer and quickly researched the Latin origin. ‘Viva la’ meant either ‘hurray to’, or ‘long live’.

“Long live Sandra my arse,” I muttered under my breath before I closed the Chrome window to get started on actual work.

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