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Stormy Nights C.M. Steele 2022/8/5 16:57:54

“A large cream and sugar please.”

She reaches for her bag to pull out money. I press my hand over hers, halting her movements. I give her a shake of the head. “Nope. I’ve got this. I’ll be right back. Just take a seat.” I leave her there because what she’s got on is going to send me into a fighting frenzy.

As I exit the building, I’m hit with the reminder that I can’t say anything to her that doesn’t involve her books because she’s our client. She can’t be mine, even though for the first time in my life I feel alive.

In utter frustration, I storm into the coffee shop, and of course, there’s a long line. I manage to wait it out while thinking about when the new contract will end. I looked through her file this morning, and she still has two more books in the works. It feels like an eternity to think about waiting for her.

Can I hold out that long? I ask myself.

My gut is telling me…hell yes.

Holy shit. I take a seat just where he told me—like a good girl. Mentally, I’m replaying our few seconds together, wishing I could have a do-over. I went total ‘valley girl’ on him like the young person I am. I’m way out of my league.

Nicholas Knight Jr. is one hot guy. I’m not good with people as it is, then he has to go and make me feel like a woman for the first time in my life. He stood tall and strong in a dark grey suit and a light blue dress shirt with a dark blue and grey striped tie, perfectly pressed. Everything about him exuded confidence.

The feel of his hand on my waist and wrist warmed my entire body. I stared at him like a deer in headlights. How could an editor be so fine? I was expecting some stuffy guy who was old with glasses and balding with a gut from being stuck behind a desk for two freaking decades. Who knew they could be fine as hell?

I learned my lesson. Never judge a person by their profession again. I’ll be avoiding this office whenever I can. I can’t take that much sexy. I start shaking my leg nervously and play with the edge of my new skirt.

“Shit,” I mutter to myself, looking around to see if anyone is nearby. It’s empty in there, so I yank off the tag. Damn it. I hope Nicholas didn’t see it. I ball it up quietly and tuck it into my messenger bag just in time as the elevator dings.

He gets off the elevator with two large coffees in his hand and a smile on his face. He hands me my cup, grazing my fingers by accident and my heart freaks out. Seemingly unaffected by the touch, he says, “Please follow me, Ms. Day.” He knows my real name.

“Yes, I do, Lillian.” Oh shit! I said that out loud. I can’t believe it. Such a nube! “Let’s go into the conference room so we can go over your contract and the changes you want to make to it.”

I enter the room and set my cup on a coaster. “Please have a seat,” he adds when I stand in front of one. “Actually, I think there’s a miscommunication here. I don’t want to change the contract. I’m looking to go over my manuscript I sent in. There are some questions I have from the edits I received back and the deadlines.”

“Oh, shit. I had no idea. We had a temp in when you scheduled your appointment. I’m sorry. Let me get that from his office, and we can get started.”

For the next two hours, we talk strictly business, and I take plenty of notes but have no idea what they say. I mind travels to the future and back with Nicholas. Several times he catches me off guard, and of course, I tell him that I’m thinking about a part of the story we had last talked about.

“Lillian, it’s been a pleasure. My father will be back next week, so if you have any questions before then, call me.” He hands me his business card with his direct line and email. He’s been nothing but professional the entire time, while I’ve been thinking about all the things we could have done to each other since we’ve been uninterrupted. I can’t help but wonder if he has a girlfriend. He probably does, and she’s probably perfect. I hate the fucking bitch.

I go back to my apartment and hit my novel hard. Never have I felt so angry at an imaginary person. I think it works for me. I manage to add another three chapters worth of juicy violence to my thriller. I have a feeling Mr. Knight Sr. is going to love it.