ESCAPING THE CEO-The Massa Series By K.C. Mmuoe

All Rights Reserved ©

Summary

"If you want to make it out of here alive...You have to kiss me, and make it look like we are an item." "We are so not an item ..." I leaned back stood on my tiptoes and gave him a peck on his cheek . He gave me a gentle bear hug. I let go when I heard someone clearing their throat. I knew who it was and my heart sank. "Thank you ... For everything ." "My pleasure . I have to run. See you tonight for club night? " " Yes . Where is Jane?" " She sent me a text saying she had to run but we will be meeting up . See you later . Angelo." Brendan shot him a stern look on his way out . He was a bit bigger than Angelo in terms of muscle and height but Angelo waved goodbye . " Cleo my office now." I turned to look at Angelo. "MR Massa its my office . " " Not anymore and I just talked to legal. I have an important announcement to make concerning you. I've already ordered breakfast which was delivered to my office. " "Wow you're feeding me ?" "Yes. Last time you skipped a meal you scared me so please move it ." " Oh yes Doctor Angelo. By the way my former boss didn't feed me. I now believe you're human." "You bring out the human not beast in me. You've done that since day one."

Genre:
Romance / Drama
Author:
K.C. Mmuoe
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
73
Rating:
4.8 13 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue ✔

Prologue

Cleo

There is always something calming, cleansing, rejuvenating, and healing about water. The ocean has always been a place of refuge for Cleo. She loved any body of water and it came as no surprise when she made a decision to save up for a holiday, she chose a location by the coast.

The sea was calming because she could always get lost her thoughts and watch the ebb and flow of the ocean and just let go of what was stressing her, the ripples of an ocean or lake always put her at ease and at one with herself and the universe. Nothing also could compare to; a good old fashioned shower, or bubble bath after a long day and relaxing with a glass of red wine, and dinner by the ocean.

There had been times when Cleo wanted to drop everything and just run away... far away to a place that she dreamed of but didn't exists, away from failed dreams and boring routines.

At least when she went far away from home she could take off the different masks and hats she wore to adapt to the kind of lifestyle she didn't dream of having, but ended up going with the flow instead of going against the current. The only outlet she had was a blog she had and, a couple of stories she wrote not escape from reality, but make sense of it.

For Cleo everyday had a routine. Wake up, clean up, and go to gym clock in a couple of kilometers if not fifty then a hundred, take the Gautrain to work and make it to the office before everyone else so that she could get a head start on what needed to be done before the day was done. Breakfast was Branch and by the time the day was done she had done a million and one things some of which made sense and well some were just plain confusing .For a Media and Sports graduate Cleo was doing well... Or so she thought.

Cleo wanted to be sports writer, PR and media practitioner, own her own business and be the most sought after brand strategist and manager. That dream went up in flames and became nonexistent when she fell short on her tuition not once but twice. The first taste of college came as a gift but it had a lot of scandal; the community college she won a bursary at had no recognition although their modules were simple to understand their business dealings were shady. Cleo decided to go work for experience and ended up going back to college to go study media the following year. She fell short on tuition but never returned to the institution, even when there was a clause in the admission contract she signed that had said ; a student could continue but their results will be withheld until full tuition is paid . As if that wasn't enough Cleo needed to find another job but no one would hire a "college dropout " which she wasn't , but it appeared that way to the people who wanted to employ her but didn't . She then went on to spend what she thought at that time were the worst years of her life. Three years to be exact .Every time she applied for a job, she was either told she was over qualified, had little to no experience or she wasn't what they were looking for . Fact was she was qualified and had enough experience. The truth was she didn't know the right people. She found that out once she started working for the "right people" which landed her the job she was doing right now in the company she was working at . The job came by chance and she took it with both hands and she never looked back. The company dealt with recruiting and placing people in their dream jobs. So what these people were doing was looking at the skill set their clients had and they would place them on the right path. So if there was training to be done, skills to be added, and recommendations to be made and brand management to be handled MASS was the company to go to. How she got the job as personal assistant of the head of the Brand management Department; was nothing short of a miracle, it came unexpectedly and it was worth the wait, because it would help her put her foot in the door to owning her own company, but she had to flow with the current instead of against it in order to reach her goal.

The idea of being what she always wanted to be was still a plan, and not a dream.

Cleo had an order in the way she did stuff. She planned ahead and if she knew she wouldn't come through or complete a task she would do what she could and deal with what she couldn't at a later stage, it worked well because knowing what she could do gave her the confidence to do what she couldn't and she would already be done by the end of the day with what needed to be done. She never knew the feeling of going home and having someone to talk to at the end of the day about how she felt or how her day went except for her friends who were as busy as she was but they met occasionally to touch base. She also thought about Angelo now and then but she couldn't allow herself to go down that road again. It felt like a lifetime ago but it sometimes felt like it was just yesterday when it happened.

Work kept her busy enough to keep her mind off what had happened. It still felt like a dream ...

Cleo met Angelo not once but three times. First time they crossed paths she was at a popular Farmers Market. Cleo was at the market. On that day the market was teeming with people going in different directions, Cleo was with her friends but they somehow got lost in the crowd leaving her all alone feeling panicked because she had left her phone on the kitchen counter at home . It wasn't until she locked eyes with a guy who had the most gorgeous obsidian blue eyes she had ever seen that she felt a wave of calm came over her. She had always loved the color blue and it had a calming effect on her .When she blinked again she saw the most beautiful face etched with a dimpled smile. When she smiled he smiled back he waved at her and pulled a sign she didn't expect from him , she did the same ... As he was walking towards her ,one of her

friends pulled her away with a worried look and redirected her to where the group was . Needless to say she ended up missing something she never had. A Greek god who was nameless and making her catch feels.

The second time was when she was invited to a party at a high end club and they were in a private area. He was also invited but he was with a woman who looked Lasenza model. She had long hair was dressed in an exquisite red dress with black heels to match. She was working on deadline that weekend and she headed to the party in a black shift dress, black and grey lace detailed heels. She had her hair up in a coiled bun reluctant to leave her weave undone cause she didn't want to look like she was all over the place and rushed . So a classic up do would look like a lot of effort when it didn't even take her five minutes.

When she arrived they were about to start and she had found her group of friends and settled in without getting noticed or so she thought. It wasn't until one of her friends complimented her on pulling the no makeup look that she realized she had forgotten to put makeup on.The only thing she had on was the infallible deep rose red lipstick that didn't smudge or needed retouching for eight hours or until you wiped it off .

She was laughing when she had a gut feeling that she was being watched, but she dismissed it and apart from the fact that the guy who she was crushing on and fast catching feelings for, was at the party with someone who could easily make the cover of any magazine and it would fly off the shelves within hours. She decided to not pay attention to him all evening and just chill.

The party was awesome in more ways than one, besides the activities and dancing Cleo actually felt knackered and wanted to call it an evening. She only had a glass of wine, ginger ale, and a couple of mocktails. She was looking around for her best friends Jane and Brendan when she returned to the VIP section after dancing around at the non VIP section of the club but her eyes landed where they shouldn't have. There was a passage way that led somewhere, she didn't know where because she had seen both her friends walk out of the same area a tad bit too high or tipsy. She was on her phone for a while researching the club she was in. They had been outside, and on the floor hunting for objects that gained them access to other aspects of the party. She had a feeling that she was missing something because the VIP section wasn't as lively as before. She decided to go through the passage and straight a room that looked like a study. When she went inside she saw a double volume book case which had lots of books, a fire place that had no fire burning and a room that had a Gothic feel to it. The door arch, the ceilings, windows, curtain drapery and décor screamed Gothic Era, which was the theme of the party. She went to the book case and pulled out a book that had a rose patterned spine with no author and heard something click at the far end.

She decided to check out the source of the noise...When she reached the far end of the huge book case she found nothing and when she turned around she saw a dim light seeping through the fire place. Apart from the gnawing gut feeling not go inside, her curiosity got the better of her. She pushed the door open went inside , thought of turning around and going home ,but the door shut immediately making her wish she hadn't gone inside. Slipping off her heels for fear of tripping and rolling down the stairs she continued to go down the tunnel and made it to a room where she heard music, however the room she was in had a two way glass mirror. She had located her friends and tried to call but there was no cell phone reception. It then dawned on her that she was on the wrong side of the tunnel. Slipping on her heels she looked around and spotted another door and walked inside. She was feeling nervy and again she had the innate feeling that she was being watch by someone .She made it to a door where she heard shouting she stood still and took a deep breath and as she was about to open the door, she heard what sounded like a fire cracker going off . Stepping back and almost losing her footing when she heard someone scream in agony.

She stepped back lost her footing and fell hard backwards on her elbows and felt something sharp hitting her shoulder. Feeling panicked and scared she got up and ran back the way she came but before she could take a sharp corner by the two way glass mirror ,she was pulled back by her waist by strong hands. Closing her eyes praying that this was a bad dream, as she was about to scream she felt a soft hand covering her mouth... opening her eyes the person who had cornered her lifted his index finger to his luscious lips prompting her to keep quiet. When he removed his hand from her mouth she breathed out and froze. Hearing heavy footsteps coming down the hall the guy whispered in her ear;

"If you want to make it out of here alive...You have to kiss me, and make it look like we are an item."

"We are so not an item ..."

The guy gently placed his hands on her waist.

"You're not supposed to be here so do as I say."

Fearing for her life she happily obliged. He was a sight for sore eyes tall dark and yummy ... who wouldn't want to say yes to anything he asked. She tried to hold back but she couldn't something in her snapped and she reacted .

She threaded her fingers through his silky soft hair and kissed him but he pulled back turning her around to make it look like he was the one in control when the heavy steps stopped. The guy continued to kiss Cleo slow and sweet lifting her up against the wall.

Cleo wrapped her legs around his waist making her dress ride up just a little.The guy she was kissing had a steady grip on her thighs and she was having fun... the naughty type of fun. When he pulled away and put her down she groaned in frustration, because she was enjoying the kiss as much as he was ...or was he ?She was well aware of her surroundings and she pulled her dress down standing up straight. The guy she was kissing finally stopped whispering and spoke.

"What the hell can't you see that I am busy?"

The huge guy who looked like a sumo wrestler replied with an accent Cleo couldn't identify. He was not South African and Cleo wanted to cry. What the hell did she just hear and what did they do to the guy she heard screaming?

"Sorry Sir .We thought we heard someone running. They might have heard something they shouldn't have. Nico is fine I made sure of it. "

When the guy who "saved "Cleo flicked the lights on took off his jacket and put it on Cleo's shoulders .She felt somewhat safe and warm. She was still looking down and the guy hugged her and held her close to his chest. He smelt so good and clean like the ocean with a bit of citrus nodes and musk. Cleo didn't want to give in to what her body and her heart was telling .

"My girlfriend was with me for the past couple of hours. No thanks to you disturbing us she's shaken. Now go do your job and find out what's going on. There shouldn't be any intrusions. I'm taking my girlfriend home and by tomorrow morning I want to know what happened ... Clear."

The guy sounded authoritative and short not like how he sounded when he was talking to Cleo. He was gentle, warm and welcoming.

"Clear."

As soon as the guy scurried off the guy leaned back and locked eyes with Cleo. Her heart skipped a beat and she took a deep breath acting on impulse she kissed the guy again and he responded by kissing her back and pulling back again.

"Must you always be in control?"

"It depends on the person or action I'm controlling. This is a first so I am having fun."

"Are you okay?"

"The adrenaline is starting to wear off, I'm all hot and bothered, I think I might have scraped my shoulder or hurt it somehow and yes I'm fine."

"Wow you talk as fast as you think."

"Yes; and the jacket I have on belongs to you."

Cleo was about to take off the man's jacket but he stopped her.

Cleo knew she was lying because she was still shaking and hadn't stopped trembling.

"I am fine "

He wasn't buying her story and Cleo wanted to run.

Kissing her forehead and hugging her again, the guy led her to what looked like a private elevator walking in he didn't let her hand go only for a moment to punch in a code and he hugged her again.

"You're not going home tonight and call whoever is taking you home to go home alone."

"So says the guy who was with a model and hadn't noticed me at all when I walked in."

"I did and you have an adorable laugh, and your dark browns light up when you are happy."

Remembering the color of the guy's eyes, and where she remembered them from she let go of him and he let her go but held her hand. She started feeling light headed and nauseous.

"You're the guy from the Market... Our paths cross again."

"Yes and you're the girl who knows how to sign. My feelings haven't changed, to come think of it I'm pretty sure after the kiss I want you, and I always get what I want."

"Is that so Azzuri?"

"Si bella. I like the name you just gave me. Blue."

"How sweet and you just called me beautiful. I bet you say that all the time to every girl"

"Dolcezza. mia . No."

"You know I sort of understand what you just said right?"

"Yes and you're the first girl that I have brought upstairs in a while..."

The elevator opened and they entered a space that was just breath taking. The room had teak wood flooring, a two way mirror that had a breath taking view of the city lit and as they walked through what she realized was a penthouse she was about to hit back with a back handed remark, until he put his hand on the small off her back setting off mini fireworks in her spine .

Cleo was in awe; from the lounge that was attached to the kitchen leading to the rest of the apartment .She was brought of her awe state when this Blue since she didn't know who his name was pulled her into the bathroom. Out of clever remarks and feeling a tad bit shy she wanted to open her mouth to say something about his décor style however she was feeling out of depth in a good way. She felt like she was in a dream, with the guy that had haunted her dreams since the day she laid eyes on him.

" Wow... "

The guy slid his jacket off Cleo gently and threw it in the woven laundry basket.

"Why do I get the feeling that; you wanted to say something else?"

"That's because I wanted to say something and well I am speechless."

Cleo felt warm and wet on her shoulder and knew what was coming and she didn't want to make it easy for Blue. Pulling herself back to herself she turned her back and started walking back the way she was led in, leaving Blue confused .

"I have to go. Thank you for tonight. I will get my shoulder checked at the nearest twenty four hour clinic. Its just a scrape"

Angelo stopped her by pulling her gently back towards the marble counter and facing her. He was 6'11 and looked like a fitness model. Cleo was 5'11 and she looked curvy and fit.

"Trust me."

Lifting her up back on the counter, Cleo saw no point in protesting or trying to run away.

"I barely even know you Blue. I'm sore, scared, tired and my head is spinning."

" My name is Angelo. Give me a chance. Please? "

"Cleo... What is it about you that makes me want to run."

"You're afraid if you let go and give in you'll get hurt . Your eyes give you away. I'm not him."

"I'm not her."

Running his hands along her neck and stopping by the shoulders .Angelo pulled down the zipper of her dress down midway to the apex of her bra , and Cleo froze. Running a clean cloth underneath warm water and squeezing some of the water out into the basin he started cleaning the cut. It wasn't as bad as he initially thought but he didn't want to inflict any pain or discomfort on Cleo. When he was done covering her cut and zipping her dress up he kissed her shoulder and smiled. Cleo's body was betraying he , because she was feeling explosions everywhere and digging into the reserves of what was left of her self control. She had already stepped out of her heels and resisted the urge to turn around and kiss Angelo.

"There we go all covered up. Do you want a sweet? I find that sweets make any pain go away, especially chocolate. "

Cleo couldn't help but chuckle. Turning around and sitting still on the marble counter to watch Angelo clean up and put away the med box ,she couldn't help but notice a small tooth brush in a blue cup.

"So how old is your son?"

"I didn't tell you about my son. Who do you work for?"

"No one I'm not an agent. You have a bath time toys container near the shower and a blue cup with a small tooth brush. I'm just connecting the dots. I also figured you own the club downstairs and I wouldn't be surprised if you owned the whole building. You punched in a code and we came straight up here with no stops."

Cleo sensed Angelo's frustration but pushed .Angelo took a deep breath and turned around walked to where Cleo was sitting. He leaned closer, caging Cleo on the counter and whispered in her ear;

"You're lucky I like you, or you'd be dead by now with a bullet in your skull."

"I thought you said like chocolate."

"Yes and the type of chocolate I love, I can't eat yet."

Cleo slid her hands up and held on to Angelo's biceps and jumped off the counter.

Angelo backed away and pulled her by the hand to the kitchen. When she sat down by the bar stool, Angelo made her a hot beverage.

"You are an insomniac ... "

"What are you?"

"Human. I used to suffer from not sleeping. You can pull it off ... How is it that you look so sexy even when you are tired?"

"Good genes I guess."

"Series? "

"You read my mind. You are the guest"

"You are the host."

" I feel like talking. Shall we?"

Angelo pointed at the couch and Cleo sat down with mug in hand and Angelo sat next to her.

"So Blue ..."

"Angelo."

" Azzuri"

"Fine .Bella..."

" I like blue. What's your story."

Angelo found it easy to open up to Cleo, he couldn't explain it but; on that evening he felt a feeling he hadn't felt in a while. He felt home. He told her about how he migrated to South Africa, met his sons mother, how he fell in love and how Giovanni became his life. Cleo sat and listened to him the conversation was flowing and she was responsive and quiet at times.

"Am I being insipid?"

"Not at all Blue, Where is Giovanni's mother now?"

"I don't want to talk about her just yet.... How about we watch series ... you seem calmer than an hour ago."

"I am sorry she broke your heart. Your eyes betray you even though you think you're strong and tough."

Angelo stood up when Cleo stood up to go put the cup in the dishwasher, but he stopped her. Setting her up beside his on the coffee table .He hugged her and she hugged him back.

"Thank you."

"My pleasure Blue. "

"What do you want to watch?"

" Anything."

"Try not to fall asleep... "

"Oh please. I can keep my eyes wide open."

Angelo led Cleo to the theater room and once she was comfortable, Angelo sat next to her and they both watched a medical series. By some sort of miracle they both ended up in lala land .It was the most peaceful sleep both of them had in weeks. Cleo didn't know what it was about Angelo, but being with him felt right in her gut and heart. She had woken up when she heard her phone softly vibrate on the chair next to her.

Sending the call to voice mail, she felt an arm on her waist; she leaned back and looked at a peaceful face that looked so adorable. She hadn't seen it the night before but she pinched herself and once she realized that she wasn't dreaming she smiled to herself thanking God for blessing her with an angel who sort of saved her and had to leave, because real life was calling.

Gently removing the blanket and Angelo's arm she took her phone and tiptoed out of the room. She had to get home. Quickly dashing past the bathroom picking up her shoes She was headed for the elevator when she noticed it had a numeric key pad .She looked around and saw a photo frame with feet and hand prints written Giovanni Massa 03/09/2012. Turning back to the door she punched in 21029030 and the doors opened. Running in and waiting for the doors to close she pressed parking level. It was still four in the morning and relatively quiet. Everyone was headed home and she spotted both of her friend's drunk waiting by her car. She opened for them and drove to her apartment. All three crashed by the couch tired in more ways than one.

Before she decided to call it a day or morning rather, Cleo searched Angelo Massa on her phone and nothing came up. She searched again and this time she used Michelangelo instead of Angelo and everything she wanted to know came up including something she didn't expect. Everything that had happened the night before made sense. Feeling guilty she thought of calling him and when she called the club she was transferred to the Penthouse phone, as soon as she spoke and tried to explain to him why she left, he started swearing in Italian.

She hung up called again and when Angelo didn't answer she saw it as a sign that it was all just wishful thinking. How could a man like him like a girl like her.

She had come to the conclusion on that that morning that he was out of her league and she should clearly move on. However the moment they had at the Farmers Market and club seemed different to her. She had felt a connection to him as strong as a giant riptide sucking her in with regards to her feelings and she told herself that if they were truly meant to be they will find their way back to each other.

The third time was surprisingly at work the next Monday, she thought nothing of it, but when she was called into a meeting with her boss and he was there, she found I hard to focus.

Although she didn't give anything away, when she locked eyes with Angelo he didn't smile , however his eyes held so many questions that she had answers to ...


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