He had to know he was torturing her. Every morning Chloe showed up for work, and every single time Jess was still dressed in his pajama bottoms and nothing else. With those dark, pleading eyes, he’d coerce her into making his coffee. Like she was his maid! She wouldn’t have done it, but she needed coffee to function. But she drew the line at cleaning up while he showered, even though her fingers itched to pick up the clothes strewn about his living room which doubled as an office. Writers.
Standing in his kitchen, she waited until she was sure he’d stepped under the warm spray of the shower. Then she turned on the hot water to rinse and fill the pot. When he yelped, she grinned broadly. Oh, the little things.
While the coffee brewed, Chloe stacked envelopes and planners and random pieces of paper into a pile and off of her desk. Well, if one could call it a desk. Their ‘desks’ were actually TV tray tables in permanent residence before the couch. At least her seat was comfy.
She left his mess on the couch beside her where he’d either have to sit on it or move it himself.
Jess swept out of the bathroom with a grand gesture just as Chloe returned to the kitchen. She almost ran right into him, but side-stepped just in time to avoid a collision. Good thing, too. That towel around his waist wouldn’t have survived the scuffle.
“Dude, what’s with the fancy entrance? I almost took you out.”
“Which certainly would have ruined the effect. Coffee ready?”
“Clothes. Now. I’ll get the coffee.”
Great, now she was offering to fix his cup for him. He didn’t even have to ask! And he had the nerve to leave with a cheeky grin. She had told him, months ago, that being his assistant didn’t mean she was his slave. Chloe had made it a point to clearly define what he could reasonably expect from her, and where she drew the line. Coffee had somehow managed to find a grey area.
Coffee was worth the hit her pride took. Besides, she’d gotten good at playing this little game.
She brought their cups over to the desks and sat down to organize her notes. He was two-thirds of the way into his next novel. The deadline was looming, but motivation was non-existent. This final stretch was always the hardest for Jess, and the most challenging time for Chloe to work with him.
“Private Jess Hazelton, reporting for duty, sir!” The man could give a woman heat stroke, even with clothes on. The long sleeved, cream colored cardigan clung to every muscle in his arms and chest. Dark jeans hung low on his slim hips. With little effort, she could easily flip the hem of his shirt up and expose the dark trail leading into denim.
Chloe gave herself a mental shake.
“Just sit down.” She cleared her throat, cursing internally. “We’ve got work to do, and you will not distract me.”
“I know,” he said, taking a seat beside her. “That’s why I love you. You are relentless.”
She didn’t normally have to walk him through each and every step, but the procrastination was so much worse the deeper into each book he got.
Once the laptop was open and booting up, she went over the main conflict with him again. They chatted and Chloe let the enthusiasm build naturally. When he was once again pumped about the project, she grabbed his coffee cup to refill it and left him to his work.
She set a timer for 20 minutes, then opened up her own tablet to schedule his social media posts for the day.
Five minutes in and she noticed a distinct silence. No typing going on next to her.
“Hey, what’s going on?”
“I was thinking… you know what I need?”
“You need to write. In 20-minute sprints. Come on, Jess, you can do this.”
“I know, but I need motivation.”
“I’m your motivation.”
“And damn good motivation, at that. Or, at least, you could be.”
“Excuse me? I’m damn good at what I do. And I’m not doing any more than what I already do for you. Not for the same pay, anyway.” And probably not even for more pay. She was not his housekeeper and would not become that.
“Hear me out.”
“I will, in—twelve minutes.”
“No, back to work. We can talk in twelve minutes. Put a pin in it.”
Not surprisingly, he obeyed. Jess needed a firm hand, and Chloe knew it. When their twenty minutes was up, the timer went off.
“Okay, Jess. You’ve got ten minutes.”
“I need rewards at the end of these sprints.”
Hmmm … not a bad idea. “Other than coffee and progress?”
“Yes, other than coffee and progress.”
“A kiss, to start with.”
“A … what?”
That cheeky grin again. “You heard me.” He leaned closer, grabbing the front of her shirt and pulling her gently toward him. He stopped just shy of actually kissing her. “Are you going to make me beg? I’ve been such a good boy. I wrote almost 1,000 words with that sprint. Give me a little something to celebrate?”
He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. His lips hovered above hers. Moved down to graze her jaw, whisper against her throat. In her ear. “Chloe, please. I need you.”
Jess pulled back to look at her. Those dark, pleading eyes would be the death of her.
She grabbed his face and pulled him in for a kiss. He was surprisingly gentle, and she tried to match that tenderness. This is for him. But her fire was lit, and there was no holding back. Chloe reached for the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling it to tilt his head backward while she climbed into his lap. When he gasped in surprise, she dove into the kiss for all she was worth.
She drank greedily, pressing against him, demanding he give her everything he had to give. His hands made their way down, cupping her ass and pulling her even tighter to him. Her hands worked under his shirt, up toward the thick patch of hair on his chest. Soft curls tickled her fingertips. She found the nubs hidden within and teased them with the pads of her thumbs until Jess bucked against her.
When the 10-minute timer alarm went off, they both jerked away from the kiss. Her hands were still on his chest, and his were still on her ass.
She quickly climbed off of him. They had to get this under control. Get back on track. Would he even want to do that again? She took his tender kiss and turned it into something else entirely, after all. He might be kind of scared of her now. “You’ve got twenty minutes, mister, and I want to see 1.5k. Understood?”
She grabbed their cups again and headed to the kitchen.
Softly, so quietly she barely heard him, he said, “I can’t wait to see what 1.5k gets me.”