Thirty Lessons is now available from Samhain Publishing...
Buy the book here: http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/product_info.php?products_id=481
Read an excerpt:
When I walked into my office the following morning, I knew only one thing for certain. I wasn’t keeping my eight o’clock appointment with Jude and didn’t care what it cost me.
When Ralph pointed out the obvious, at exactly eight-oh-five, I only rolled my eyes and shook my head. No way—not going to happen in this lifetime.
When my nine o’clock meeting arrived in my office, I pretty much figured okay, I’d done it. I’d pissed him off completely, and I’d never see him again, except for when he fired me, maybe.
At exactly nine-fifteen, those words were proven wrong when my office door was thrown open and the object of my fantasies walked in, startling all three people seated in my cramped space.
Behind the obviously angry Jude, even though, to his credit he did seem to be trying hard to control his anger, dear old Ralph was busy waving his hands at me, trying to convey he’d at least tried to prevent this disaster from happening.
But nothing short of tackling the guy would have stopped Jude from accomplishing this quest.
“Where the hell were you last night?” While Jude might be doing his best to control his anger, those words didn’t hold back any of what he was feeling at that moment from the people watching our little drama unfold.
“I’m in a meeting,” I ground out, sounding a whole lot more in control than I felt. I trembled in my new cinnamon suede boots.
“Leave us alone,” Jude told them all very calmly. No one seated in my office was going to come to my defense and disobey a direct command from the boss. Three people scrambled over themselves to do as he asked.
“How could you do that? Do you have any idea what you’ve done? This little scene will be all over the building by lunch.”
“I don’t care. Get your things. We’re leaving. Since you’ve refused to do this the easy way, we’ll continue to play games. But I’m warning you, Paige—don’t go too far. You can come with me now willingly, or you can just come. It’s up to you.”
A thousand different answers flew through my mind, but after another look at Jude’s determination, I decided it would be foolish to push him now.
I grabbed my purse and slammed the desk drawer closed hard enough for him to realize my anger, which only managed to provoke a faint smile.
Oh yeah, he knew exactly what my thoughts were and he was finding it very amusing.
I think Jude half expected me to run once we were out of the office because he took my hand and never let go of it.
We made our way past Ralph, who couldn’t look me in the eye, past the subtle sound of doors closing, reminding me everyone on our floor heard our exchange. I cringed at the thought. I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and never to emerge again.
Inside Jude’s car, I sat silently fuming. His only reaction to my anger was an occasional questioning glance thrown my way as he maneuvered the car through the congested traffic of the streets until we emerged on the outskirts of town heading in the direction of Southampton.
“Where are we going?” I finally forced myself to ask when he showed no sign of cluing me in to this little piece of information.
“Some place where we can talk away from all those prying ears. Some place where you can’t run away from me again. Why don’t you relax, Paige, we’ve got all day.”
“No, we don’t. I have a calendar full of things I’m supposed to be doing today and I’m sure, since you are the boss,” yeah I actually emphasized the word to leave little doubt how I meant it, “you must have things to do as well.”
“Not anymore.” He appeared unmoved by my sarcasm. “The only thing I have to do today is you. You’re it. You are all that’s on my calendar.”
Those words, coming a little to close to the place my straying thoughts were wandering, had me embarrassed enough to keep my mouth shut for the rest of the way to wherever it was he was taking me.
Unfortunately, the farther away from the city we went, the more I started to worry. Where exactly were we going? Surely not…
“Tell me where we’re going, Jude?”
Jude smiled at me. “I thought you didn’t want to talk to me?”
At the reemergence of his smile, I shut my mouth. It was best this way, really. I was furious with him and needed to stay that way. Jude’s smile made it hard to remember my anger.
I sat quietly watching the light activity taking place along the road leading to the Hamptons.
I kept silent when Jude turned off the shady, tree-lined street onto a deserted cul-de-sac, and then to a private drive leading to an enormous two-story house.
Somehow, I managed to keep from showing Jude how impressed I was with the place. At least, right until the moment we entered the house and I looked around completely captivated by it.
At this point, I tried to counteract my small town girl wonder with some more anger. I stood rigidly in front of him as he closed the door and turned to face me.
“Come. Sit. I’ll make you breakfast?”
Jude watched me a little too closely as I made my decision. I decided it was time to put an end to this mess I’d gotten myself into once and for all.
“Don’t bother. I’m not staying.” I started for the door but Jude was too fast for me. He reached me before I made it to the door. I knew the second he touched me the fight was over. I wasn’t going to refuse this guy anything. I didn’t want to. I was crazy about him.
Before either of us fully realized what we were doing, we were in his bedroom, touching each other as if it was the very first time.
Afterward, as we lay in each other’s arms, exhausted once more, I finally became aware of a few things.
One, I’d just broken my promise to myself. I’d given in to Jude Martin again. I’d let him take me off without as much as a fight and I had virtually no idea where I was. And two, I still wasn’t able to define what was happening between us. I didn’t know what I wanted from him or from this relationship. I didn’t even know if I wanted a relationship with him.
“Come downstairs, Paige. Let me make you breakfast, and we’ll talk about all those things that are troubling you right now.”
Jude didn’t wait for me to consider what he’d said. He simply left me alone.
When I managed to actually get out of bed, I took my time before facing him again. I looked around the room which was decidedly masculine and tried to decide what this meant. I knew Jude had been married and divorced. But that was about all that I knew about my boss-slash-lover, except the fact that he was over ten years younger than me.
Was this house a new acquisition? Or had he shared it with his wife?
Outside the bedroom, a whitewashed deck overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. The view beyond the deck was breathtaking.
I found Jude in the kitchen actually making me breakfast.
The second I walked into the room Jude’s full attention was on me. The look in his eyes told me he was remembering the passion we’d shared with each other just moment before. This man was very dangerous to my self-control.
“Come sit down,” he told me quietly. And me, being at a loss for what to do, did exactly as he asked of me.
I looked through the wall of windows that faced the ocean and thought how lucky Jude was to be living in a house like this with such a spectacular view to look at each day.
Jude handed me coffee and set a plate of French toast in front of me before sliding into the chair next to me. Far too close for comfort.
“Aren’t you eating?” I asked nervously.
He watched me for a minute longer before answering. “No, I ate earlier. And I happen to know you don’t normally eat breakfast, which is a shame since it’s the most important meal of the day.”
“How did you know that?” I asked to cover my embarrassment at him actually knowing this much about me.
Jude gave me a look that told me how foolish he considered my question.
“Paige, I’ve been to your apartment more times than I can remember, and there’s never anything to eat there. Believe me, after… Well, let’s just say, I know.”