~ Excerpt ~
“Don’t be so cranky. It’s okay to admit you have a thing for Bryn.” Ivy leans forward in her chair, a secretive smile curling her lips. “I have a feeling she has a thing for you too, you know.” I do know. And I can’t act on it. Bryn James works for me. She’s my assistant. She’s by my side constantly; we spend more time with each other than probably anyone else in our lives, especially lately what with the winery’s grand reopening approaching. She’s a representative of my business. If I were to fuck around with the help and the relationship fell apart, I’d be in huge trouble. She could screw me over financially every which way by suing me for sexual harassment and I’d be left with a limp dick in my hand and a ruined business. Yeah. Not going to take the chance. Saw it happen with my father. Not going to let it happen to me. “It doesn’t matter. Nothing can happen.” I send Ivy a stern look. “And this conversation can never leave this office.” Glancing over her shoulder, I try to see if Bryn is at her desk but the chair is empty. Thank Christ. Ivy’s expression goes solemn and she holds up three fingers. “This conversation stays here. Scout’s honor.” “You were never a scout,” I mutter, afraid she’s making a promise on an untruth. She’ll probably just blab to everyone. Or specifically Archer and Gage. I don’t need to hear their shit. And I am worrying way too much over this. She laughs again. “I won’t say a word, I promise. But I need to tell you something, Matt.” She leans in close, her voice dropping. “She’s got a major crush on you. You might not see it but it’s there—sounding in her voice, shining in her eyes, every time she looks at you, talks about you. The way her body turns into yours every time the two of you are together . . . it’s pretty obvious. A body language expert would have a field day with you two.” Body language expert? What the hell is Ivy talking about? “I have no idea what you’re referring to, but office crushes are just that. Crushes. Harmless attractions no one ever acts on. Period. End of story.” This is what I keep telling myself. I can’t pursue anything with Bryn, no matter how much I’m tempted to. Not only would it be wildly inappropriate, dating my assistant, but we come from two different worlds. She seems nice and normal, quiet and unobtrusive, and I am anything but. My life has been a circus sideshow for years. “I get it. You’re trying to do the right thing, and I admire that. So, of course you don’t see anything beyond an efficient assistant in Miss James.” Well. Ivy’s not too far off the mark. When I first met Bryn, she hardly said two words, kept her head bent when I spoke to her and offered lots of yes-sir and no-sir answers. She had this way of almost blending in with the walls, like she didn’t want anyone to notice her. So I didn’t. As we got comfortable working together though, something happened. I’m thinking Ivy had a hand in Bryn’s slow transformation. She actually makes eye contact when she speaks to me, and she’s become somewhat animated. Started to wear bolder colors as well, drawing my attention to her chest though I keep my eyes averted as best I can. These subtle changes made me notice all of the little things—like the color of her eyes (blue), how her hair looks (like silk and I want to touch it), and the tempting fullness of her lips (they’re spectacular). Her gaze lingers when she looks at me and sometimes so does mine. Her smile softens, her voice drops lower when she speaks, sparking my imagination. Would she sound like that right before I kissed her? Took off her clothes? Took her to my bed? Yeah. All of those are dangerous thoughts. I almost prefer the old Miss James. The one who was like the wallpaper—boring and nondescript. Mean to say, but hell, the last thing I need is a distraction. And she’s become the biggest distraction I’m currently facing. The very last one I need.
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~ About the Author ~New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.
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