The second sizzling segment in the erotic serial His to Possess, an intoxicating tale of a woman torn between a dominant billionaire and a tattooed, bad boy rock musician.
When Jessica and Dane shared a night of explosively hot, no-strings-attached sex, she never expected him to offer the one thing she needed most—a job at his business empire.
As she embraces her role as his assistant, it becomes impossible to keep things strictly professional. Her body burns for him, and his commanding presence awakens her darkest hungers. She's never been dominated before, and now she can't stop yearning to submit to him completely.
But carrying on a secret affair with the head of a powerful business empire puts her at risk of losing her job…and her heart.
Don't miss the other installments of His to Possess: The Seduction (Part 1), Perfect Storm (Part 3), True Lies (Part 4), Entangled (Part 5), and Forever (Part 6).
About the Author
OPAL CAREW is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen erotic romances for St. Martin's including His To Command, Blush and Twin Fantasies. She lives in Canada and writes full time.
Opal Carew is the author of Total Abandon, Pleasure Bound, Twin Fantasies and other erotic romance novels. “So why do I like writing erotic romance?” she asks. “I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries.” Opal loves crystals, dragons, feathers, cats, pink hair, the occult and all that glitters. While she writes, she listens to inspirational music, lights candles and keeps crystals near. Before devoting herself to her passion as a writer, Opal spent 15 years as a software analyst, and she has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. She lives with her husband and two sons in Ontario, Canada.
Read an Excerpt
The Morning After
His To Possess #2
By Opal Carew
St. Martins PressCopyright © 2013 Opal Carew
All rights reserved.
At the end of Part 1:
Jessica was in awe, gazing around at the lush office with its rich mahogany wood bookshelves, leather chairs, and expensive-looking artwork on the walls.
"Good morning, Miss Long."
At the familiar voice, Jessica's gaze jolted to the man sitting behind the impressive desk by the huge window overlooking the city. Her stomach tightened.
There sat the man she'd had a torrid one-night stand with. Her cheeks burned at the memory. Oh, God, he couldn't be her new boss.
"Have a seat, Miss Long. That'll be all, Gina."
"Yes, sir." Gina left the office, closing the door behind her.
Jessica sat down in one of the leather chairs facing his desk, her pulse racing. Dane continued to view his computer screen.
Her hand slipped into her pocket and stroked the tranquility stone she always kept with her. Ever since he'd given it to her, she'd found she'd used it for comfort in times of stress.
The leather was soft and supple and the chair extremely comfortable. The brisk scent of his cologne filled her nostrils and memories of that night wafted through her mind. A quiver raced down her spine to think she'd been in bed with such a rich and powerful man.
He came from an entirely different world than her. He not only controlled a huge corporation, he controlled people's jobs. Their lives.
And all she could think about was the need in his eyes as she'd wrapped her hand around his massive cock. Her gaze slid to his lips and she couldn't help remembering his tongue nuzzling her most intimate parts.
Her heart thundered in her chest. From both embarrassment and ... God, because she wanted to do it all again.
But now he was her boss. He was so intimidating in his expensive suit, sitting behind his big desk in this high-class, executive office.
She ran her hand along the armrest, thinking of kid leather which reminded her of ... Oh, God, she had to stop thinking about ... that.
He flicked the computer mouse, then his gaze fell on her and her stomach clenched.
She saw no reaction in his eyes. Was it possible he didn't recognize her?
The night they'd spent together was over a month ago and maybe he did that kind of thing all the time. Maybe she just wasn't that memorable.
But wouldn't he have remembered her name when the company decided to hire her? That process had started only a couple of weeks later. Or maybe Human Resources handled all that.
He raised an eyebrow. "Is there a problem?"
She realized she was clutching the armrests of the chair tightly.
"Um, no. Just first-day jitters, sir."
The "sir" had just slipped out. He was her new boss, after all.
His lips turned up in a smile. "I like it when you call me sir."
At the twinkle in his eye, she knew he definitely remembered her.
"So this is awkward, and strangely coincidental," she said.
"Oh, it's not a coincidence. When you told me you were at the career fair, I told my staff to watch for your résumé. When they hadn't received it by the end of Saturday, I had my secretary, Melanie, go help out at the booth. I told her to watch out for you and persuade you to submit your résumé."
Melanie knew about this?
"Why didn't you just tell me who you were?"
"It was clear you were already intimidated by me. I would never have had a shot with you if you knew I was a potential employer. You would have been too nervous around me."
Her head was spinning. "So you didn't tell me you might hire me, because you wanted to sleep with me?" Her stomach churned as the implications of the situation slowly sank in. "So was that night a job interview?"
His eyes darkened like storm clouds. "Of course not."
But she barely heard him. She'd been looking forward to this job. She needed this job. Now she found out it was just some rich playboy's way of getting her back into his bed.
"I'm not sure I can accept your job offer."
Her heart sank at the thought of packing up all her stuff and moving back to Bakersfield. And the cost. If she walked out on this job, she'd have to pay back the company for her moving expenses.
"Don't be ridiculous. Of course you'll keep the job."
She really didn't want to turn it down, but how could she stay?
She sucked in a deep breath. "I'm not going to have sex with you in the office."
"Good. That would be highly inappropriate." There was a glitter of amusement in his piercing blue eyes. "And contrary to what you might believe, I do not base my business decisions on a great lay. I hired you because I thought you would be an asset to my company." He leaned forward. "Is that clear?"
She nodded, willing herself to keep breathing under the force of his scrutiny.
"Good. Now go and get us both a coffee — I like one sugar — and we'll discuss the job."
* * *
Jessica escaped Dane's office and glanced around. Melanie was away from her desk and there was no one else to ask where to get coffee, so she scouted around the floor until she found a small kitchen with a coffeemaker. She grabbed one of the burgundy mugs from a tray on the counter and filled it with coffee, then poured in one packet of sugar. She didn't get herself a cup because her heart was already beating frantically. Caffeine would only make it worse.
She walked back into his office with the mug in her hand, but he was on the phone. He nodded at her as she put the coffee down in front of him.
"Hold on a second," he said into the phone, then covered the mouthpiece and glanced at her. "This might take a while. It's after eleven, so take an early lunch and we'll talk this afternoon."
She nodded and picked up her purse and briefcase and hurried out the door.
"Hey, how's it going?" Melanie was at her desk again, glancing at Jessica over her computer screen.
"Um ... Mr. Ranier said to go to lunch now. He got busy with a phone call so wants to talk again this afternoon."
"Oh, I assumed he'd take you to lunch today, but now we can go together." Melanie opened her desk drawer and pulled out her purse, then glanced at Jessica and hesitated. "Did you want to go to lunch together?"
"Yes, of course. I'd love to."
"Okay. You just look uncertain."
Jessica shook her head and strode to the elevator, wanting to avoid further discussion about her state of mind.
"How are things going so far?" Melanie asked as the doors closed behind them.
Melanie's lips compressed, but the doors opened and another person joined them in the elevator. They rode the rest of the way in silence. When they stepped onto the street, the warm spring breeze blew several loose strands of Jessica's hair into her face and she brushed them aside.
Melanie's shoulder-length dark blonde hair fluttered along the collar of her dove gray suit. She wore a light turquoise and white print blouse today and her tailored jacket accentuated her slim figure. She was a little shorter than Jessica, but the heels she wore today put them at the same height.
"I know you're on a budget, so we could go to this great little diner around the corner," Melanie suggested.
She walked with Melanie down the block and they turned right at the light. A few minutes later, they sat at a window booth in the modest diner, while the waitress filled their glasses with ice water.
"So is there something wrong?" Melanie asked, concern in her emerald green eyes.
Jessica compressed her lips, her stomach still churning. "I don't know. I have some doubts about this job."
What could she possible say to Melanie? That she thought she only got the job because she'd slept with the boss?
"Are you concerned you can't manage it? Because I'm positive you can."
"I'm not really sure what he expects of me yet. We were supposed to talk about it before he got that call."
"If you're worried about working for Dane Ranier, don't be. He likes things done his way, but he'll take the time to ensure you know what that is. He's patient and fair. As far as bosses go, he's a gem."
"I ... uh ... met him before today."
Melanie sipped her water. "Yeah, I know."
Jessica's gaze darted to her new friend's face. "You do?"
"Yeah, he told me. He gave you a ride to the job fair when it started to rain in the morning. I thought that was so nice of him. In fact, he asked me to check for your résumé, assuming you'd drop it off at our booth and when you didn't, he asked me to go to the job fair to find you the next day."
"So that wasn't really a chance meeting between us," said Jessica, even though she already knew that.
"No. I felt a bit guilty about not mentioning it, but I really liked the fact he wanted to help you out and I liked being a part of it. He told me if I just explained the situation to you, that you would probably be uncomfortable. That made sense." She gazed at Jessica with wide eyes. "You aren't mad at me, are you? I just wanted to help."
"No, I'm not mad. I'm just wondering ... why did he go to so much trouble to help me?"
Melanie frowned. "You don't think he was trying to hit on you, do you? Because if he wanted to do that, he wouldn't actually hire you. He'd just offer the possibility of a job, then talk you into sleeping with him. And by 'he' I mean most men, not Dane Ranier. A Ranier man wouldn't have to trick a woman into his bed."
Something about Melanie's tone and her faraway expression drew Jessica's attention.
"Are you attracted to Mr. Ranier?"
Melanie's cheeks tinged pink. "Well, not that Mr. Ranier."
Her eyebrows arched. "What do you mean not that Mr. Ranier?"
"Your boss, Dane Ranier, has a brother. Rafe. He's the other big office on the floor. I work for both of them."
Melanie shrugged and her cheeks tinged a deep rose. "I've always had a bit of a crush on Rafe Ranier." She toyed with the napkin on the table in front of her. "But I would never act on it. I love this job, and I wouldn't want to jeopardize it. An office romance is a tricky business, especially with someone who runs the company." She raised her gaze to Jessica again. "And that's why I know you don't need to worry about Dane Ranier as your boss. Neither brother has ever made a move on one of their employees."
Was it true? Had Dane Ranier had his fun with her and now she'd be strictly off limits? The thought was encouraging and at the same time ... disappointing.
* * *
Jessica picked up the ringing phone from her desk.
"He's back," Melanie said from the other end. "He wants you to come to his office."
She saved the document she'd been working on and grabbed a pen and spiral pad from her desk so she could take notes. Melanie had shown her where the office supplies were and given her some materials to read until Dane — Mr. Ranier — could talk to her.
She left her office, which was situated across from her boss' office, and glanced at Melanie who was sitting at her desk a few yards away.
"When he's expecting you, just go right in," Melanie said.
Jessica opened his office door and went inside. He glanced up from his computer and stood, then gestured toward a sitting area by one of the large windows. There were two easy chairs facing a low, round table. In another part of the office, there was a high table surrounded by chairs where he might hold more formal meetings, but this spot was clearly meant for more relaxed conversations.
She sat down and set the pad and pen on the table, within easy reach.
"The job you've been hired for is to be my personal assistant," he said.
Did he put ever so slight an emphasis on personal? But after the conversation with Melanie, she realized she was being a little crazy. Why would a wealthy businessman like Dane Ranier hire her just to get sex? With his looks and confident demeanor, he could have any woman he set his mind on, without need of offering her employment, or anything else for that matter. He oozed masculinity. All he'd have to do is smile and women would drop to their knees.
She should know. She had.
"How is that different from what Melanie does for you?" she asked.
"Melanie is my secretary. You are my personal assistant, so you'll be doing more personal things for me."
A tingle danced along her spine as she remembered some of the very personal things she'd done for him that night. Damn it, she thought she'd avoided the whole morning-after awkwardness by slipping out of the hotel early, but it had returned with a vengeance. Her gaze flicked to his but she ensured her expression remained neutral.
* * *
This morning, Dane had been shocked to discover that Jessica actually thought he'd hired her just so he could have sex with her. When she'd said she wouldn't take the job because of her anxiety about it, he knew they had a problem they needed to deal with. But that hadn't been the time. He'd decided she'd needed a little time to calm down and think about it, so he'd sent her away.
Sure, he'd love to continue a physical relationship with her, but she clearly wasn't comfortable with that.
He sighed. "Jessica, it seems we have an issue."
"We do?" Her eyes widened slightly.
"When I say you need to do personal things for me, I'm not talking about you dropping to your knees and unzipping my pants." Though at the thought of her kneeling in front of him, her fingers brushing against the fabric covering his shaft, it began to swell. "I'm talking about you picking up my dry cleaning, sometimes getting me coffee, ensuring I have everything I need when I head to a meeting."
Her cheeks tinged pink, but the rest of her expression was unreadable.
"And occasionally you may have to work after hours. I have projects outside the office that I need help with and that's also part of your job as my assistant. I don't want to have you quivering in fear of being seduced every time I ask you to work late." He raised an eyebrow. "Is that understood?"
She nodded, but he wasn't sure she was convinced. They both knew she really needed this job, so despite her earlier claim that maybe she couldn't accept the position, he was sure she would cling to it even if she had doubts about his intentions.
"Jessica, we had sex. It was intense and amazing. And I would love to do it again. But that won't happen unless you want it to happen. In that, you are totally in control."
Her gaze flicked to his, then down to her notebook.
"But in everything else, I'm the boss. Got it?"
Again, she nodded.
He stood up and walked to the front of his desk, then turned around. "Good, now come over here."
Her eyes widened, but she stood up and took a step forward, leaving six feet between them.
"Keep walking until I tell you to stop."
She continued forward slowly, her hands clenching into balls at her sides as she approached. He waited until she was two feet from him before he told her to stop. He was a good eight inches taller than her, towering over her as their bodies infringed on the usual comfort margin of personal space. He watched her cheeks tinge a deep rose and she stared at his tie rather than meeting his gaze.
The closeness of her body, and the sweet scent of orange blossoms from her hair, sent his senses reeling. He wanted to drag her into his arms and claim that soft, pink mouth of hers. To feel her soft breasts crushed against his chest again.
But he didn't.
He smiled. "You see. I'm not ripping off your clothes. We can work in the same office. We can sit side-by-side."
He wanted to reach for her chin and tip it up, so she would look at him, but as confident as his words were, he was afraid touching her would be his undoing.
"Look at me, Jessica."
She raised her gaze to his. He could see it. The heat in her big green eyes. And that heat set his blood simmering. He wanted so badly to stroke her cheek. To drag her body against his and storm her mouth.
Instead, he reined in those feelings with an iron will.
"We can even stand facing each other like this without me throwing you onto that couch and having my way with you." He paused, letting that sink in. "Nothing is going to happen unless you want it to." When she didn't say anything, he said, "Do you understand?"
Oh, God, when she called him sir he wanted to take total control of her, and order her to do some very personal things.
"Good. Now for the next week or two, you'll need to learn about what we do here. You'll be working closely with Melanie. She knows what I expect of you and will explain your duties in detail. In a few days, I'll have you accompany me to a few meetings. I assume Melanie has already given you some reading material."
"Good. That should keep you busy for the rest of the day."
"Yes, Mr. Ranier." She turned and headed for the door.
His gaze fell to the delightful sway of her hips as she walked. When she reached for the doorknob, he said, "Jessica."
She turned to face him.
"If you do change your mind, I'll be only too happy to continue what we started that night."
He was sure he saw heat flicker in her eyes before her gaze darted away and she opened the door and escaped.
Damn it, why had he said that? The whole point of this conversation had been to calm her down, not to deliver an invitation to party.
As he sat down at his desk, he knew the reason was because he wanted her. Badly. She'd really gotten under his skin and despite the fact he'd told himself he could handle keeping the relationship between them strictly professional — and he could — he was quickly discovering how excruciatingly difficult that would be.
Excerpted from The Morning After by Opal Carew. Copyright © 2013 Opal Carew. Excerpted by permission of St. Martins Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Also by Opal Carew,
About the Author,