Bossman’s Baby Scandal 

bossmans_baby_scandal

Lauren Presley wondered how a man could be so deeply inside her and yet totally distant at the same time. But no doubt about it, the sated, half-dressed man tangled up with her on her sofa at work had emotionally left the building.

She would boot the rest of him out of her deserted office as soon as she could breathe again.

The butter-soft leather of her turquoise couch stuck to the back of her legs through her thigh high stockings, sweat still slicking her body from their frenetically passionate – surprise – hook up. At least her fledgling graphic art business was closed for the day, the workplace empty.

Everything seemed out of sorts, disconnected like a Salvador Dali painting. She couldn’t blame Jason for regretting their impulsive act since she was pretty much freaking out too over how fast her panties had landed on the floor, her dress up around her waist while she’d torn at his belt buckle and zipper. Jason Reagert was a business friend, a working alliance they may very well have wrecked. She needed to get through this awkward post-sex moment ASAP with her pride intact.

She absolutely refused to be like her desperate, needy mother.

A low drone filled the quiet of the empty office. Lauren tensed. “Your pants are vibrating.”

Jason arched back and raised a dark eyebrow, his close cropped hair mussed on top from her fingers. “Pardon?”

She clapped her hand on his warm hip – beside his BlackBerry. “Seriously. It’s buzzing.”

“Damn.” He disentangled himself, cool air brushing over her bared legs. Jason swung his feet to the floor, his Testoni loafers thunking against the scarred wood as he sat and unclipped the handheld. “Helluva bad timing.”

Avoiding his eyes, she slid upright and adjusted her silky black wrap dress in place again. Her panties would have to wait. She kicked the scrap of ebony satin under the sofa. “Your pillow talk leaves something to be desired.”

“Sorry.” His zipper closing rasped, overloud in the late night silence. “It’s my reminder alarm.”

“Alarm for what?” She stared nervously at the white brick walls, the easel in the corner, the artwork on lit screens.

“My flight to California.”

Right.

He was leaving.

Lauren stood, smoothing her dress and looking for her favorite Manolo leopard pumps that she wouldn’t be able to wear again without thinking of this stupid, impetuous night.

She and Jason had been wrapping up final details on a graphic art design project she’d freelanced for his last ad campaign at the New York firm – he was leaving his NYC job and heading to greener career pastures in California. The job at Maddox Communications in San Francisco was a great opportunity for him. She’d known about this for a couple of weeks…. And as she’d hugged him goodbye tonight, she’d been knocked off balance by how upset she was over his impending move.

One second she’d been looking up at his leanly handsome face while blinking back tears, and the next second they’d been kissing… and more. A tingle of pleasure prickled down her spine, settling lower as she remembered the bold sweep of his tongue and his hands, his strength as he’d cupped her bottom and lifted her against him. Already her body ached to reach for him again, grab hold of that tie she’d never quite manage to undo and tug him toward her again. The impulse was too much, too strong.

Too overwhelming.

Gathering up her shredded self control, she looked away from his strong cheekbones and tempting mouth. She didn’t know where all these frenetic feelings had come from and wasn’t sure how to untwine them now that he was leaving.

She spied her leopard print shoes under the desk and welcomed the chance to put some space between herself and Jason and a sofa that smelled of good sex. She knelt, pulling one pump free but the other stayed annoyingly out of reach.

“Lauren,” his loafer clad feet stopped beside her, making her all the more aware of her ungainly butt-up position, “I don’t make a habit of–”

“Stop.” She sat back on her feet, willing away one of those awful blushes that came with her auburn-head complexion. “You don’t need to say anything.” Echoes of her mother’s humiliating pleas for her husband to stay bounced around in Lauren’s head.

“I’ll cal–”

“No!” Standing, she gave up on her shoes, her toes curling against the cool wood floor. “Don’t make promises you aren’t certain you’ll keep.”

He scooped his suit jacket from the back of a contoured metal chair. “You could call me.”

“What would that accomplish?” She faced him full on for the first time, taking in his prep-school good looks, hardened with an edge from his years in the Navy. He came from old money and had made his fair share of new as well. “You’re moving to California and New York City is my home. It’s not like we have any kind of real connection beyond being work acquaintances who happened to get caught up in a fluky hormonal maelstrom. Nothing to disrupt our entire lives over.”

Shaking her long, loose hair back, she opened the door to the larger studio outside, empty but for vacant rolling chairs pushed haphazardly up to tables.

He braced a hand on the doorframe, his arrogant brown eyes revealing a hint of surprise. “You’re giving me the brush off?”

Apparently Jason Reagert wasn’t told no often. Of course she’d been mighty quick to say yes, something she intended to change starting now.

“I’m simply being realistic, Jason.” She stared him down, her spine straight in spite of the fact he stood at least a head taller.

Later, away from him, she would hole up in her cute little one bedroom apartment on the upper east end of Manhattan. Or better yet, hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the entire day, crawling into the world of each painting. Her art was everything. She couldn’t forget that. This business – bought with a surprise inheritance from her dear elderly Aunt Eliza – was her big chance to make her dreams come true. To prove to her mother she was worth something more than a debutante slot and lucrative marriage.

She refused to let any man derail her.

Finally, Jason nodded shortly. “Okay, that’s the way you want it, that’s the way things will be.” He skimmed back her hair with his knuckles, his callused thumb stroking her cheekbone. “Good-bye, Lauren.”
She settled her features into a portrait worthy of any Dutch master – solemn and unrelenting. Jason turned away, his jacket hooked on one finger over his shoulder, and she fought back the urge to call out to him.

Hearing he was leaving New York had brought a surprise pinch of regret. But nothing compared to the twist in her gut as she watched him walk out the door…