He's the Boss (Dance with Me) - Ep. 15
I thought I’d woken up from my nap on the couch, but maybe I didn’t. How else am I supposed to explain the fact Linc’s mouth is on mine? He kisses me again and again, each time more deeply and thoroughly than the last, until I’m clutching the front of his shirt, needing desperately to anchor myself to him so that I don’t lose myself in the pleasure he’s giving me.
When he tears his mouth away, he stares at me, panting hard and trying to catch his breath.
I stare back at him, panting equally hard, and then his mouth is on mine again. I didn’t think he was holding back before, but this time he’s kissing me as if his single goal is to drive me out of my mind with desire. I’m burning up, my skin tingling and on fire. The throb between my legs as his tongue strokes along mine borders on unbearable.
His hands go to my hips, lifting me. I wrap my arms around his neck as my legs wrap around his waist.
There are too many layers of clothing between us. My back hits the cold brick wall behind me. I was in the doorway a moment ago, and I’m not quite sure how I ended up outside, but I don’t care as I slip my hands under the front of Linc’s shirt so that I can touch him. I’m rewarded with the feel of hot velvet underneath my fingertips. He sucks in a breath and then moans into my mouth, sparking a feverish reaction in my body. Too many times I’ve imagined this. Too many times, I’ve lain awake in bed thinking about touching him like this, needing him the way I need him now.
He presses his hips into the cradle of my thighs, taking my breath away with the feel of all that hardness between my legs. I loathe his jeans and mine for standing in the way of everything I’m so desperate to have. I grip him tighter with my legs while he slides his hand under my top. Inch by glorious inch, his hand sweeps fire and goosebumps across my flesh.
And when he stops just shy of my breast, time stands still as I wait for his touch. Finally, he cups me, but it’s nowhere near enough. I nearly sob with relief when his fingers deftly shift the material of my lace bra to get to the peak inside begging for contact.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I question whether I should be stopping this, but as he rocks his hips against mine, his fingers toying with the hard bud of my nipple, I become obsessed with the aching emptiness between my legs. Something I do my best to convey by whimpering when he tears his mouth from mine so that he can kiss my neck. I shudder against him and pray he never stops what he’s doing. Nothing has ever felt this good or this torturous before. The slick heat between my legs; the pleasure that keeps building…
The only thing that will make the emptiness go away is him burying himself in me. Just the thought of him moving inside me, filling me, is enough to make the walls of my sex clench in anticipation. I’m so ready for him it hurts. I’m going to die if the throb between my legs gets any worse.
“Please,” I whisper. “I need…”
Him. To come. His body in mine.
Linc stops kissing my neck so he can look at me. His black, heavy-lidded gaze is magnetic. I can’t look away. Nothing else exists but him and the way he makes me feel. Then the front door flies open, crashing against the wall, jarring me back to reality.
“Brooke, are you still…Oh my God!”
I glance at my sister in time to see the shock on her face. Horror quickly replaces the shock.
“I’m sorry!” she squeals.
Before I can say anything, she disappears back inside the unit.
Seeing my legs wrapped around my boss’ waist, my clothes askew, and my hair probably resembling a bird’s nest, there’s only one conclusion my sister could draw: the right one. The man I’m wrapped around has a habit of short circuiting my logical and practical side. It’s problematic.
Lust and worry fight for dominance in Linc’s gaze as he loosens his hold on me, my legs dropping off his hips, my feet finding the ground. I press my palms against the cool bricks behind me – something strong to ground and steady me.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about…” Linc runs a hand through his hair then shakes his head and looks at me. “I didn’t think at all.”
A few hours ago, he apologised for pushing the boundaries between us last night, then suggested we stop dancing together. Now he’s just kissed me, crossing the line between us once again. Our relationship has become a dance I no longer know the moves to, and my heart is in danger of tripping me up and getting tangled in all the confusion. He pulls me in, getting closer and closer to me in every way, only to have someone interrupt us. Tonight, it was Belle. Last night it was Stacey.
The other woman’s name hits me with so much force that I’d step back if there wasn’t a brick wall behind me.
“Did you go home with her last night?” I croak.
My heart races and my stomach sinks as I wait for Linc to answer the question. I don’t want to think about him going home with her. I don’t want the images of him in bed with someone else in my head. Maybe I don’t have the right to ask, but he kissed me and…well, I need to know.
“What?” Confusion and lust cloud his gaze as he studies me.
“Stacey. Did you go home with her last night?”
Did you sleep with her? Did you press yourself against her and make her burn with need the way you did to me just now? Did you slide inside her and lose yourself in her the way I want you to lose yourself in me?
“No,” he shakes his head, the confusion finally lifting from his gaze. “After you left, I stayed long enough to make sure Kane didn’t think something was up, then I called it a night and took a taxi home. The only person I wanted to go home with last night was you, Brooke. It was Saxon who stopped me, remember?”
But he had no intention of going to bed with me last night, did he? I don’t know the answer to anything anymore. The push and pull overrides everything else. If Belle hadn’t just interrupted us…if Linc and I had been alone…would we have ended up in bed? And what would that have meant?
“Linc, when you said last night that if things were different…well, are they different?”
I see the answer in his eyes before he says anything. He takes a step back from me and my heart squeezes painfully in my chest.
“I wish they were.”
“But they aren’t, are they? You once told me that you never wanted a romantic relationship,” I remind him. “Do you still feel that way?”
The internal struggle going on inside him – the conflict he feels – is obvious in his tortured expression. It’s damn painful to watch him suffer. It’s almost as painful as the way my heart twists in my chest with every second of silence that follows my question.
“I can’t offer anyone anything right now,” he finally says softly, his eyes pleading with me to understand. “Not with my parents breathing down my neck and the contract on the line. Maybe one day things will be different, but right now…”
Chilled, I wrap my arms around myself. “The club comes first, I get it. It’s everything to you.”
I hate that it upsets me so much. I was never supposed to want him, desire him, long for more. But I’ve fallen into his world and I can’t imagine leaving it. I don’t want to. I want him. More than is sensible. And it’s only going to get me hurt.
“No, Brooke. It isn’t everything.” He moves forward, but something he sees in my expression stops him from coming closer. “You are very important to me.”
The sincerity in his eyes and the seriousness of his tone are indisputable, but it doesn’t change the facts. He likes me, he cares for me, and he’s attracted to me. But he and I both know that his club and his freedom are still his priorities. One dance and one kiss haven’t changed that.
I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be just as important to him once his club is out of danger. I mean, who’s to say that his feelings for me aren’t tied to the help I’m giving him? He relies on me, shares so much with me. But our bond is fuelled by secrecy and purpose. Once the club is out of trouble, will he want to complicate and risk the financial future of his club by sleeping with me – his ‘new’ accountant? Will he jump into a commitment with me when all he’s ever wanted is to escape all commitments that don’t involve his club?
Last night, I thought I’d come to terms with the fact I’m never going to get to explore the feelings and attraction I feel towards this man, but it’s hard to remember that when he dances with me. Kisses me. Makes my body ache for everything I can’t have.
It can’t happen again.
I hold his gaze as I say, “You’re talking about drawing up a contract between us and making me your permanent accountant. I think it makes sense not to blur things between us further, to keep things between us professional.”
After an intense moment of studying me, Linc gives me a curt nod. “You’re right. You need job security while you’re looking after your sister. You don’t need me messing around when my future is so unclear. If we’re going to work together long-term, it makes sense to keep things professional.”
He makes it sound as if I’m the one choosing not to take things further between us, which isn’t the case. If he wanted a relationship, I would risk it all to be with him. The way he makes me feel is something I’d forever regret walking away from. But he isn’t saying he wants a relationship. And I’ve had enough uncertainty and upheaval to last a lifetime. Patricia’s trip to hospital last night reminded me of that.
There are no guarantees in life. Waiting and wishing for things to be different with Linc will only end with me hurt. Because once he’s free of his parents’ strings and he realises he doesn’t want to commit to me, it will break my heart if I’ve waited for him. I can’t afford to leave myself open to that level of heartbreak, not when I have Belle depending on me.
“And I’m sorry for tonight,” he continues, his expression regretful. “I came here with every intention of offering you support because I know how much Patricia means to you. I wanted to show you I’m here for you as a friend. Instead, I messed up by going back on everything I’ve said.”
I want to be annoyed with him for jerking me around emotionally and physically, but I feel too weary to be mad at him. Besides, his intentions were good when he showed up today.
“Are we okay?” he asks, frown lines making him look worried.
“We’re good. Just…the next time you get the urge to kiss me, don’t.” I smile to soften the words and show him I’m okay. My heart hurts, the idea that I will never have this man the way I want him devastating.
“No more kissing and no more dancing. I’ve got it.”
I nod and offer him another small smile, trying not to think about the women he will be kissing – the women he will take to bed.
“I should go in, check that Belle got to bed okay,” I say, desperate to get away before I expose the turmoil I’m in right now.
“She’s a great kid, you know. Easy to talk to, funny and so smart. I enjoyed spending time with both of you.”
As exhausted and emotionally drained as I am, I’m pleased and proud that he thinks Belle is as wonderful as I do.
“Thanks for buying us dinner.” I tried to give him money for the pizza, but that proved as futile as trying to pay for my lunches at work.
“My pleasure. I’ll see you at work tomorrow?”
He leans in as if he’s going to kiss me on the cheek again but catches himself just in time.
Shaking his head, he gives me a forced smile and turns away. Before he’s finished walking down the driveway, I tear my gaze away from his retreating form and head inside ready to fall into bed. Hopefully, in the morning I’ll be past the confusion and ready to put my friendship and working relationship with Linc back on track.
“So, your boss was here for dinner last night,” Belle says over breakfast the following morning.
My sister wanted to talk about Linc when I went into her room to say goodnight, but I asked if we could discuss what she saw another time. I was just too tired last night to think about what I should tell her. I wasn’t sure I could give her any kind of explanation that would make sense. Truthfully, I’m not confident I’m any more capable now of explaining what happened.
But she’s staring at me, waiting for me to answer, and I don’t think I can avoid the topic any longer.
“Yes,” I say hesitantly. “He was. He wanted to check that I was okay after he heard about Patricia.”
“That was cool of him.”
“Yeah, he’s a great boss.”
“And you were making out with him,” Belle says as if I need reminding.
I cover my face with my hands and groan aloud.
“Ash is going to be pissed she wasn’t here to see that,” Belle jokes.
I groan again thinking about the possibility. “Thank goodness she wasn’t. I’m lucky she couldn’t wait to get out of here when she heard we’d be visiting Patricia.”
Belle finishes her last mouthful of cereal and pushes her bowl away before looking at me. “I know you’re worried about working nights at the club and about asking Patricia to keep an eye on me now, but I don’t want you to quit.”
My mouth drops open. How did she-
“I heard you and Jemma talking about it yesterday.”
“Then you heard me tell her that I don’t want to quit.”
“Especially since you’re hot for the boss,” she says, waggling her eyebrows suggestively.
“That’s not…I have many reasons for not wanting to leave.”
“Whatever. I know you’re worried about leaving me on my own, but I’m fourteen, Brooke. Nearly fifteen.”
“Fifteen next year,” I remind her. “And it isn’t just one night a week, or even two. It’s four. Every week.”
“I know, but I can handle it. We have these things nowadays called cell phones,” she says, raising an eyebrow and smiling. “I’m pretty sure they’re not all that new.”
“If I get into trouble, I’ll call you. You should trust me.”
“I do trust you, Belle. But what if you’d been the one here last night when Patricia fell unconscious?”
“I. Would. Have. Called. You.”
“Well, I’m not quitting the club anyway.”
The idea I might need to stop working at the club had been almost as terrifying as seeing Patricia being wheeled out of her unit on a stretcher. The club might not belong to me, but it’s such a big part of my life. Walking away from it would be…soul crushing.
Which makes it a good thing Linc and I aren’t pursuing any kind of romantic relationship, I guess. I have a much better chance of a productive and stable future at the club if Linc and I stick to friendship.
“Good.” Belle nods approvingly. “I really like Linc, and you seem so happy working for him. And you were right, by the way. He’s totally hot. Boss or not, I hope you’re hitting that.”
I shake my head at my sister’s crazy statement.
“He’s my boss and my friend. That’s all.”
And now that he’s not going to dance with me or kiss me anymore, I’ll have a better chance remembering that.
Briefly, my thoughts turn to the dreams I had about Linc last night. The kiss we shared only added more fuel to the fantasies about my boss, and I woke up several times during the night with my hand between my thighs. It isn’t the first time I’ve woken up touching myself since working with Linc, but until last night I’d denied the urge. Last night…my body reached a level of arousal I could no longer ignore.
My sister stands up, grabbing my empty bowl along with her own. “Whatever you say, B.”
Yes, my sister believes me about as much as I do.
After Belle has gone to school, I check in on Patricia and tell her about my projected job gain and the contract I’ll have at the club at the end of January – providing Linc and I solve the accounting puzzle that grows more desperate by the day.
Since I’m still tired after not enough sleep, I stop for coffee, ordering and paying for two large cups before heading to the club. Buying Linc coffee seems like a good way to say, ‘hey, everything’s perfectly fine between us. I didn’t spend all night imagining us finishing what we started.'
I’m ready to throw myself into my work and prove to myself that I can forget our kiss, but I stop halfway down the hallway when I hear angry voices coming from inside Linc’s office.
“You’ll regret this, Lincoln. You know that bringing another accountant onboard voids the terms of the contract.”
“I haven’t brought another accountant on. You’d see it in the figures if I had.”
“Do you think I was born yesterday, boy? You’re paying them under the table or compensating them in some other way.”
“All I want is the profit and loss statement, Merv. Unless you have something to hide.”
“If you’re accusing me of something, you’d better have proof. And just keep in mind, your parents will pull the plug on this club the moment I prove you’re using someone else.”
“Then it’s a good thing I’m not,” Linc says. “Now stop trying to threaten me, there’s nothing in my contract that says I can’t have the statement.”
“It’s not a threat. If I tell your parents-”
“That I just want the statement, they’ll tell you to give it to me. At least, they should. Preferably by the close of business today.”
The silence is deafening. Then, a second later, I hear, “Just remember: you started this.”
Before I have time to move, a man who looks to be in his fifties flies out of Linc’s office and nearly crashes into me. His longish blond hair is at odds with the sharp blue suit he’s wearing. Pale blue eyes take me in.
“Who are you?” he growls.
I’m not sure how to explain my presence. Had I known the other accountant was here, I would have stayed in my car or come in later. Since Linc never messaged me to warn me, I can only assume he wasn’t expecting the visit.
“I’m a friend of Linc’s,” I tell him before raising the coffee cups in my hand, as if that explains everything. “I was just bringing him coffee.”
Hearing my voice, Linc walks out of his office and joins us, inserting himself between Mervyn and me.
“Brooke, hey, I wasn’t expecting you.”
His voice is calm enough, but his eyes send me a desperate message; I need to get you out of here.
I hand him the coffee I bought for him and try not to look as nervous as I feel. “I know, I just thought I’d swing by and say hi.”
Linc spins back to the other accountant. “Mervyn, this is Brooke. She’s a friend.”
Mervyn gives me a nasty smile before asking Linc, “Does she know about your fiancée?”
If anything, this makes Mervyn even more suspicious. He looks me over once more, mouth pinched. “Just what else do you know about, Brooke? What did you hear just now?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
The terms of the contract Linc has with his parents are supposed to be secret. If anyone finds out I know about it, it would void the entire agreement and Linc will lose his club. It’s just one more problem to add to the growing list the club has right now. Not only are we running out of time to find the problem, but Linc’s request for the profit and loss statement will invite scrutiny and interference from his parents. And my presence here could arouse suspicion.
“It’s an odd time for a friend to visit, isn’t it?” Mervyn asks. “Linc has work to get through.”
“I won’t keep him long. I’m actually on my lunch break, and I’ll have to get back to work shortly.”
“Let’s go to my office where we can talk,” Linc suggests, trying to end the conversation between Mervyn and me.
Mervyn’s eyes narrow. “Where do you work, Brooke? Who do you work for?”
I’ve come to work dressed in a business suit – a skirt, blouse, and jacket today. I thought the outfit would remind me I’m not dancing with Linc anymore, and that my relationship with Linc revolves around the club. However, I’m now worried that Mervyn might accurately assume I’m the other accountant he was just speculating about.
“I do some reception work for a private dance studio.”
If he does any digging, if he finds my last name on the records and looks into my work history, my job as an accountant could come up. That would be…disastrous.
“Mervyn was just heading out,” Linc says, preventing Mervyn from further interrogating me by cupping my elbow with his hand and jostling us past the other accountant. “Bye, Mervyn.”
I practically hear Linc sigh with relief as he closes his office door behind us and leans against it. “I know I should have given you a heads up, but I was ambushed.”
“I figured as much.”
“Tell me I haven’t just made a huge mistake by asking for the statement,” he says, his eyes never leaving mine, seeking my reassurance.
“You haven’t. We needed the statement and it will make my job easier.”
“Good. That’s all that matters.” He motions for me to take the seat at the desk, leaning against the back wall of his office with his coffee.
His eyes track me the whole way to the desk chair, and when I sit down, suddenly I’m remembering those hands on me, the way they felt creeping over my stomach. My nipples tighten from the memory of his fingers on them, and my lips tingle as he stares at them for a moment before meeting my eyes once more.
“How are you doing today?” he asks huskily.
“Okay. I visited Patricia and told her about the January contract.”
He nods. “I’ve contacted my solicitor and had them start working on the papers."
He looks resolute. “Anything I can do to give you the security you need.”
Our gazes meet and hold until I look at the computer in front of me.
“I’m planning to organize our first bar team rehearsal for Friday. Will you be able to make it in before work?”
I look up at him again, taking in the way the top two buttons on his shirt are undone. His hair is a little messed up, like he’s been running his hand through it. He carries the weight of the club on his shoulders. I’ve always known that, but it’s even more obvious after seeing him relaxed and loose at Seven. The memory of the way he smiled at me there, the way he touched me, the way he moved with me overrides everything else. It’s too easy to imagine myself on his desk, him between my legs, looking at me like he’s desperate to have me.
Will the torture of wanting him ever fade?
I force myself to meet his gaze. “I’ll make it.”
There’s nothing I want more than to dance with him right now, but with the way I’m feeling, touching him is the very last thing I should do.
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