Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Sierra Cartwright 2014. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
What the fuck? Stunned, Reece McRae froze in place and stared at the woman prostrate before him.
Even though he couldn’t see her face, there was no doubt that it was Sarah. His Sarah. The woman he’d planned to collar, marry, cherish for the rest of his days.
She wore a black corset that had a white arrow on each side, making her waist look impossibly tiny. A skirt covered her buttocks—barely—and hinted at exposed flesh beneath.
Though it had been two years since he’d seen her, Reece remembered every one of her delicious curves. He recalled how silky soft she’d felt as he’d skimmed his fingertips across her skin.
At one time, he’d grasped handfuls of her long hair. Now its length pooled onto the hardwood floor. Her arms were stretched in front of her, and her hands were on the floor, palms facing up.
She remained in position, waiting on his command. Her reappearance was as unwelcome as it was unwanted.
And, this close, the scent of her—femininity wrapped in the musk of unrequited love and unexplored promise—wrapped around him and transported him back.
From the moment she’d walked into his company to apply for a job as his personal assistant four years before, he’d been attracted to her. After reminding himself that he had to be professional, he’d taken the time to consider all the applicants the human resources department had pre-screened. But she’d had the best résumé, and she’d interviewed better than anyone else.
Even on their first project, they’d thrived. They’d made one hell of a team. In a short time, he’d come to count on her brilliance, creativity and upbeat nature. He’d gone to the office every day with a smile.
At night, he’d hated saying goodbye. And he’d wanted, oh, so much more from her.
Though McRae International didn’t have rules against fraternising, as the CEO, he operated from his own set of guidelines. He didn’t date employees. He compartmentalised each area of his life.
It had taken nearly four months to convince himself that going on a single date couldn’t hurt. They’d worked late one night, and he’d invited her to dine with him afterwards. Instead of a quick bite, he’d taken her to his home and had grilled a couple of steaks. Though they’d shared an office suite, she’d kept her personal life cloaked in mystery. He’d never heard her make a phone call during the day, nor had he caught her spending any time on social media or answering anything other than company emails. It was as if she became a different person after she logged off the computer for the night. And the more time he’d spent with her, the more he’d wanted to know who the real Sarah was.
After dinner, he’d loaded the dishwasher, invited her to stay the night and promised her that he would be a complete gentleman. She had teased him about it. He’d admitted it was, indeed, a rarity. He’d made up the guest room, and when she’d slipped past him, he’d touched her shoulder, and she’d paused.
He hadn’t consciously planned to kiss her, but having her in his arms, that close, had melted his steely resolve.
And she’d responded to his kiss.
The next morning, while she’d slept, he’d gone for a long run around Memorial Park. He’d wondered what the hell he’d been thinking in bringing her home. Tasting Sarah had been like having a bite of dessert. She’d been decadent and delicious, and the sample had only increased his appetite. It—she—they were impossible on every level. He had sexual desires that were outside the norm. He’d scared off more than a handful of women over the years.
He’d got where he was in life by taking carefully calculated risks.
Seducing Sarah would be one of the worst ideas he’d ever had. After all, what were the chances that his perfect assistant would also want to be his kinky little submissive?
Finding a world-class employee was rare. He could find play partners. But over the next few weeks, the more he’d tried to deny the idea of being with her, the more it had persisted.
Behaving at work had become a bigger struggle each day.
His friend Julien had warned him of the dangers. If the relationship fell apart, Reece would be without a lover as well as a valuable work ally.
Reece had quickly discovered that, when it came to Sarah, logic was a thing of the past.
A month later, he’d asked her to accompany him to an after-hours business meeting. He’d rationalised that he could explain her presence to his associates, to her, even to himself. As if he’d still been a teenager, he’d held his breath until she’d agreed to be his guest.
In that moment, when she’d slipped into his car and he’d heard the whisper of her silk stockings and seen an expanse of thigh beneath her dress’s hem, he’d known he had a difficult choice to make. Less than a week later, he’d done the only thing possible. He’d fired her and asked her to move in.
After her initial shock, she’d accepted. They’d celebrated their new life with a honeymoon of sorts. When they’d returned to Houston, she’d started her own business, working from the home they’d shared. Over the next year and a half, she’d become his most valued ally, his trusted advisor. He’d loved having her at business dinners and on trips. Every decision they’d made had supported their commitment to their growing relationship.
Or so he’d believed until he’d returned home from work one day to find the house, her home office and his life empty.
For the first few days after she’d run, he’d imagined turning her delectable ass every shade of red before welcoming her back into his arms and life…where she belonged.
Then reality had sent in.
She was never coming back.
After the anger and stunned disbelief had worn off—an embarrassingly long time later—he’d picked up the pieces of his shattered dreams and had stowed them, and the memory of her, away. Lesson driven home.
Now he told himself to turn the fuck around and go find Julien and slam his betraying ass against the wall, despite the fact that it was his birthday weekend. The man was no fool. He had known that Sarah was in the room when he’d told Reece he’d procured a lovely sub for an evening of entertainment.
More than anyone, Julien knew what Reece had been through. After all, he’d been with him the whole miserable way. Together with their friend Kennedy, they’d emptied a fair number of Scotch bottles. But Reece hadn’t moved on. A month later, Julien had grown weary of Reece’s moroseness and had staged an intervention. Julien had said that he’d tracked down Sarah. As he’d dumped expensive booze down the drain, he’d added that she was safe, but that she wanted to be left alone. Afterwards, he’d dragged Reece to the gym, forced him to work on business plans and re-engage in his life.
By even the harshest of standards, Reece had done well for himself.
But there was a reason for those sad songs on jukeboxes. Did one ever recover from the shock of losing one’s soul mate?