Plus One(4)

By: Aleatha Romig

“Excuse me,” a deep voice says as black leather loafers stop precariously close to where I’m now kneeling to rescue my napkin.

Seeing the shoes, I look up and suck in a deep breath.

Towering above me are long legs covered in tailored trousers. As I follow them up, they lead to a trim waist, a black belt, and a white shirt that buttons over a broad chest. I barely swallow the lump in my throat as I recognize the wide shoulders covered with the matching suit jacket. Seizing the napkin, I stand, suddenly face to face with one of the owners of the company where I work.

My face burns with embarrassment as his shimmering green eyes narrow and head tilts. Inches away from me is one of the handsomest men I’ve ever met. He should be on the cover of GQ, not gracing the halls of Buchanan and Willis.

His firm lips form a tight smirk and cheeks rise in amusement. “Miss Jones.”

Staring into the sea of emerald, I try to pretend I wasn’t just on my knees in a chic restaurant in front of Duncan Willis.

“Mr. Willis,” I respond, my voice cracking. Nervously, I take a step backward. As if the moment weren’t awkward enough, I wobble, teetering precariously on my high heels.

Swiftly, he reaches out, grabs my elbow, and steadies my footing. Though he just saved me from making an even bigger fool out of myself by falling face-first into what I can only imagine is a hard, defined chest, my mind is suddenly consumed with the electricity of his touch. The energy heats my skin as his grasp lingers.

When I finally tear my gaze from his, I notice the woman behind him, Jennifer Miller. She is a recent Buchanan and Willis hire who currently works in marketing. Being in human resources at Buchanan and Willis, as I have been since I came to New York, there isn’t an employee at our New York office who I don’t know by name and face. There also isn’t a name from our satellite offices I don’t know.

Though my mind is filled with the warmth of his touch, I immediately make the assumption that Miss Miller’s agenda for this evening includes doing whatever she can to climb the corporate ladder. Rumor has it that no one tells Mr. Willis no. Then again, I’m not sure why anyone would.

“Mr. Willis. Ms. Miller,” I say with a nod, freeing my arm and filling the silence.

Jennifer appears as uneasy as I feel. She’s right in thinking that HR just caught her out with the boss—though that will be a thought for me to ponder at a later time because right now I’m too overwhelmed by the jolt from Mr. Willis’s skin against mine.

“Have a nice dinner, Miss Jones.”

“And you, too.”

I hug my napkin to my chest as I ease back into my chair.

After they’re gone, Shana leans forward. “Was that… that’s the Duncan Willis you’ve told me about?”

I shrug nonchalantly. “I may have mentioned him a time or two.”

SHANA LOOKS AT me with that knowing grin as I reach for my glass of water. The clear liquid sloshes within the crystal as I do my best to steady my nerves, hoping not to add dousing the linen tablecloth to part of my dinner hijinks.

The encounter wouldn’t have been so bad had it been anyone else.

Instead, I’m speechless, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in the poshest restaurant in Midtown, I was on my knees in front of Duncan Willis. He isn’t only smart—he’s half the brains behind Buchanan and Willis Pharmaceuticals—but he’s also wealthy as sin and undeniably sex on a stick. He was recently named one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors. The way he wears his tailored suits on his over six-foot frame should be illegal. With jet-black hair and stunning green eyes, he can melt panties with just a smirk.

No doubt as I squirm in my seat, mine are currently nothing but hot wax.

I press my legs together and add kneeling in front of Duncan Willis to my list of things not to think about right now.

“No, honey,” Shana says, “you’ve mentioned him more than a few times, but now I see why. He’s hot with a capital H.”

I eyeball the water in the tall glass. It’s ripple-free, indicating that my nerves have settled, or at least I appear steadier than I feel. My panties… well, that is a problem for another time. “He is,” I agree. “No doubt, Jennifer is on her way up the corporate ladder.”

“Well, duh. If he’s the ladder, why aren’t you climbing? Instead, you dated that loser Timothy Cole. I think you need to give company dating another go. After all, you’ve been there for nearly three years.” Her eyebrows wiggle. “I’d bet the view from the top—on top of him—would be mighty fine.”

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