Arch Intrigue: Chapter 5 Part 2

chapter 5Cole could feel the tension in the air shift and smirked before eating another mound of noodles. He knew this was a dangerous road to go down, considering he just waved the peace flag, but he needed to know where he stood. Not to mention, the discussion he had with his uncle last evening still plagued his mind.

If he did consider taking that son of a bitch up on his offer, he needed a course of action. The only question that remained, was he asshole enough to do it? Sure, Shaun was beautiful and seemed to actually care for Robert’s company, but he couldn’t deny how much he wanted to get back home and off this fucked up reality version of The Apprentice. If the ball bounced into the other court and Shaun had the same choice to make, he had no doubt she would do the same. Or would she?

“Yes,” the answer finally came but to which question? Cole looked up in Shaun’s direction, studying her rigid demeanor.

He wiped his lips with his napkin and stood, walking over to her slowly so as to not spook what he could only liken to a deer in headlights. “It was just a question. No need for the glare.” He added the last part teasingly, attempting to lighten the change in mood somewhat.

“I prefer to keep my personal life and business separate at all times.” She sat on the corner of her desk with her feet still on the floor, crossing her ankles and folding her arms over her midsection. “And, I am not glaring.” The grey suit-vest and cream colored blouse she wore underneath, tightened around her full breasts, pulling his attention.

“So you never date anyone from the office?” he inadvertently posed the question to her impressive rack, but soon recovered and met her knowing gaze.

“No.”

Keeping his eyes now leveled appropriately, he popped his brows upwards. “So, how’s that working for you?” Sure, his alluding to her public breakup the other night deserved a warning from the referee, but he couldn’t help himself. At least he kept the smug expression that went along with the clever jab, off his face.

“Just fine, why?” Her confidence appeared unwavering as she feigned indifference. A trait Cole admittedly found extremely sexy, in turn piquing his curiosity further. If what his uncle said about Shaun was true, maybe the mixture of business and pleasure was the way to achieve the desired outcome. He sure as hell didn’t want to get her fired. Was it even possible for a partner to get fired?

Cole shrugged still moving closer until there remained only inches between them. He spoke low, soft. “I guess I’m just curious.”

She reached out a hand, directly in line with the center of his chest, but she didn’t touch him. Even with the small margin of distance, the heat from her palm leeched outward over his skin beneath his shirt, warming him. He halted his advance, not wanting to make her uncomfortable. No, his plan of seduction, if that is what one called it, would be long and drawn out. A caged animal testing the limits of its boundaries, until it found a weakness and exploited it.

She dropped her hand quickly, obviously feeling his rise in temperature as well. “If you are done eating, I really need to get back to work.”

His proximity made her nervous. He could feel it. See it in the rise and fall of her blouse beneath her vest. He searched her eyes for a sign, relieved to find nothing resembling fear or disgust staring back at him. No. She had a look of pure, unadulterated lust. She wanted him and he’d be lying if he said she didn’t stir a little something within him as well. Okay, a lot of something that had very little to do with the bargain Robert hung over his head.

However, no matter what her eyes and breathing betrayed, her face kept the same mask of disinterest regardless. She maintained control. Even yesterday, when he made his asinine remark, she didn’t raise her voice or show any other outward gesture of agitation. She stayed neatly bundled up in that sexy little skirt-suit, making him wonder what exactly lurked beneath. Cotton, lace or silk? Black, white or God help him, red?

“Mr. Jacobson?”

Filing his illicit thoughts regarding her choice in lingerie under to be continued, Cole made a conscious decision to pull back. For now at least. But, this was far from over. Too bad for her, he had a bit of a competitive streak that she managed to unknowingly fuel, among other things he wasn’t yet ready to admit.

“I guess I will see you tomorrow morning then.” He didn’t wait for her to respond, turning on his heels and stepping through the open office door. He walked the short distance over to his own space and retrieved his jacket and satchel. The war of wills had begun. The question remained, who would be left standing in the end?

Table of Contents * Chapter 5 Part 1 * Chapter 6

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