Read an Excerpt
Talking Dirty with the CEO
A Talking Dirty Series Novel
By Jackie Ashenden, Libby Murphy
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Jackie Ashenden
All rights reserved.
Joseph Ashton sat at Karl's desk and looked idly around the office, tapping his pen on the desktop. Christ, he hated waiting. Especially when he was working late and there was a lot of work to be done. It wasn't that he didn't like the work, he just wasn't a fan of sitting still.
It bored him. Just like he was bored now.
Dropping the pen with a restless movement, he stretched out his legs and put his hands behind his head, staring sightlessly up at the ceiling. He'd been up until 2:00 a.m. most nights working on fine-tuning Ashton Tech's upcoming E-Slate launch and he was exhausted. If he didn't find something to keep him occupied while he waited, he'd crash right here on the damn desk.
Joseph blew out a breath. What he really needed was something new. Something challenging. Ashton Tech's E-Slate was already the talk of the tech world, but given how fast the market was growing, he was going to need a follow-up to keep the momentum going. Some kind of product that would be the Next Big Thing.
A pity his friend Caleb was playing rugby overseas — he was great for bouncing ideas off of.
But maybe this required a feminine touch. Perhaps he should call Alicia after he'd finished here. Work out the restlessness with a bit of fun in bed ... No, on second thought, not Alicia. He'd been there, done that. Two nights with her was plenty.
He looked around Karl's untidy desk, scanning for something else to fiddle with, when a soft chiming noise came from his employee's computer. Joseph glanced at the instant message chat window that popped up.
Bloody Karl and his online games. Clearly Joseph needed to send out a memo regarding company Internet policy. Either that or block the site, because this was happening way too often.
A line of text blinked and he couldn't help but read it.
Naughtygirl25: What am I wearing? A bra, garter belt, sheer black stockings, and ...
Joseph sighed. God. What the hell was Karl doing? Picking up women in a gaming forum was hardly a work-related activity. He reached for the mouse, intending to close down the IM window, when another line of text appeared.
... and some Ugg boots.
His hand paused on the mouse, his attention caught. Ugg boots? Surely not. Black stilettos or thigh-high bondage boots, maybe. Sheepskin slippers? No. The contrast with the garter belt and stockings was ... interesting to say the least.
He glanced at the username. Naughtygirl25. Unusual handle, especially considering the Ugg boots. Did naughty girls even wear slippers? The ones he knew didn't.
The IM window pinged and more text appeared.
Naughtygirl25: What? You think the boots are too much?;)
Funny girl. Joseph felt a grin coming on. Before he knew what he was doing he'd typed a response.
Studman500: Ugg boots are never too much. I love sheepskin on a woman. Or should I say, a woman on a sheepskin.
He winced at the Studman handle. That was Karl. Subtle.
There was no response for a long moment. Then:
Naughtygirl25: Who says I'm a woman?
Joseph's grin widened. Whoever Naughtygirl25 was, he/she/it was amusing. He thought for a minute and then responded:
Studman500: If you're not then you're going to look bloody funny in a bra and garter belt. Either that or you're going for the sexy transvestite look.
The chat window remained empty for a second or two and then another smiley face popped up.
Naughtygirl25: Ha. Ha. I could be a sexy transvestite for all you know.
Well, Naughtygirl could be but he didn't think so.
He stared at the screen, wondering if he should call a halt to it. Online chatting with strangers wasn't really his thing, but he couldn't deny that this was momentarily diverting. And he wasn't bored now, was he?
He looked up from the computer, checking Karl's position through the glass walls of the meeting room. The guy was over by the water cooler, talking on his cell phone. Well, if Karl could interrupt their meeting to chat on his bloody phone, Joseph could answer an IM. Besides, wasn't it his job to see exactly what his employees were up to when he wasn't around?
Returning his hands to the keys, he typed in a reply.
Studman500: And here I was thinking you were a naughty girl. What a disappointment.
The reply came back quickly this time:
Naughtygirl25: No need for disappointment. You were right. I am a naughty girl. Emphasis on the girl.
Interesting. Very interesting. And a comeback that could be interpreted in a whole lot of different ways. Best to be certain, though.
Studman500: Oh really? I was hoping the emphasis would be on the naughty.
There was a long pause, as if she was thinking about her answer. Then, much to his disappointment, another couple of people entered the chat room. Joseph shifted in his chair, unaccountably annoyed. Dammit. He'd been enjoying himself.
Naughtygirl25: Hey, looks like the game's starting. See you on the map?
That would be a no. He wasn't a gamer.
Studman500: Nah. I'll sit this one out. And think about naughty girls instead.
Another pause. The chat room — where everyone gathered before the map loaded — cleared out as all the participants entered the game. All except Naughtygirl25. Now why was that?
Studman500: What's happening, Naughtygirl? I thought you wanted to play?
There was no response for a minute. What was she doing? Had he taken the "naughty" a bit too far? A few moments later Naughtygirl's reply appeared:
Naughtygirl25: I do want to play. How about this for a game? Me: bra, garter belt, stockings, and Ugg boots. You: leopard-print thong, baby oil, and ...
The cursor blinked, annoyingly still. Then:
Naughtygirl25: ... and a smile.
He laughed. So she wanted to stay and chat, did she? He was all for that. Because this was way better than staring aimlessly at the ceiling while he waited for Karl to wrap up his office gossip, that was for sure. Hell, this was better than any of the last few face-to-face flirtations he'd indulged in. He reached for the keyboard again:
Studman500: I like your game, Naughtygirl. But can you make it naughtier?
Another smiley face popped up.
Naughtygirl25: Add a lava lamp, a sheepskin rug, a mirror on the ceiling, and some etchings I can come up and see. Naughty enough now?
Dammit, now he couldn't stop grinning. They'd bypassed the naughty and were now heading into cheesy territory. That was okay, though. He liked cheesy. After a quick check to make sure Karl was still talking, he typed in another response.
Studman500: Not quite. We need music. How about a bit of Neil Diamond to set the mood? Though, if you prefer Barry White, then I have that, too.
Naughtygirl25: Nope, I'm a Neil Diamond girl all the way. Are we having drinks?
She really had to ask?
Studman500: How does a Bloody Mary suit you? On the rocks, naturally.
More laughing emoticons:
Naughtygirl25: Naturally. So drinks are sorted. What other naughtiness can we get up to?
He could think of several things. But really, how far should he take this? Sexy online chat wasn't something he'd ever done, especially at work. And although he was enjoying himself, he supposed he needed to get rid of her and not actively encourage her.
The cursor blinked and more text scrolled past:
Naughtygirl25: Don't leave me hanging here, Studman. I'm coming to the end of my Bloody Mary. Bring on the naughtiness!
Then again, he was the boss, wasn't he? And what was the point of being in charge if you couldn't break the rules now and then? Hell, if he wanted to engage in some flirtatious sexy chat with a faceless stranger then he damn well would.
Naughtygirl25: Helllloooo ... Studman?
He flexed his fingers and typed:
Studman500: How naughty do you want me to be?
Naughtygirl25: I don't know, how naughty can you get?
Studman500: Okay, how's this? First, I'll be laying you down on my sheepskin rug and next I'll be taking all your clothes off, revealing you inch by delicious inch. Leaving the Ugg boots till last.
There was a long pause.
Joseph sat back and stared at the screen. Had he scared her off? Perhaps he'd been too full-on with the sexual innuendo. He did sometimes get carried away when he got very focused on a particular thing, though not usually to that extent.
Annoyed with himself and too impatient to wait for a response, he quickly typed another message:
Studman500: Well, I guess that's inappropriate. Sorry.
There was nothing for a moment. Then:
Naughtygirl25: Hey, no worries. And you weren't too inappropriate. At least up to the point where the clothes came off. LOL! Are you always this forward with strange women?
A weird kind of relief went through him.
Studman500: I blame the Ugg boots. One look at them and I completely lost my head.
Naughtygirl25: In that case, wanna know a secret? *whispers* Men in thongs drive me wild.
Joseph laughed. Like thongs were ever a good look for men. At least he'd never be caught dead in one. Whoever this woman was, he was starting to like her. Very much.
Studman500: Oh, don't tease. I'm hard for those Ugg boots already.
Another pause, and then she shot back:
Naughtygirl25: Okay, since we're not being prudish here, why don't I ditch all my clothes and just keep the Ugg boots on?
Nice. If this was an example of her dirty talk, then he wanted more. Discovering something new and different was always a turn-on. Shifting in his seat again, he answered:
Studman500: A naked woman in Uggs. This is getting better and better. Though I want you to turn down the tops of your boots so that when you wrap your legs around me, I can feel the sheepskin lining against my back.
Would she like that? Would she find it as much of a turn-on as he did? Oh, he hoped so.
Naughtygirl25: Phew *fans self* I can go you one better, though ...
The cursor blinked for a long moment. Then the text came back fast, as if she had to get it down in a hurry:
Naughtygirl25: ... if I'm on top, you could lie down on the sheepskin rug and have the whole thing against your back.
Hot. Extremely hot. He couldn't wait to hear more:
Studman500: Now you're getting into the spirit of it. Perhaps we could
"Sorry about that, boss."
Joseph cursed under his breath. Quickly he erased the chat history and closed the chat window as Karl came back to his desk.
Jesus, the guy's timing sucked. Especially when things were just getting interesting with Naughtygirl. Couldn't he have continued his bloody phone call for another five minutes?
It was crazy but for the rest of the meeting, Joseph hardly paid attention. He was too busy thinking about the mini-flirtation with Naughtygirl25. E-mail and chat were part and parcel of his business but he'd never gotten into anything like that before. Although he'd never needed to. He had women coming out of his ears. And he didn't need to go to the Internet to find them.
But there was something about that Naughtygirl25. Witty, flirtatious, with the quirkiest sense of humor. Man, he'd never had such an off-the- wall conversation with a woman before.
Joseph sat there, listening but not really taking in what Karl was saying. All he could think about was how he could possibly get the other man to leave again. At least long enough so he could find out more about Naughtygirl25.
He'd gone. Just like that. At least she thought he was gone. The cursor had been motionless, blinking steadily in the middle of the last sentence for a while now.
Christie St. John leaned back from her laptop, her hands shaking, unable to repress the genuine stab of disappointment at Studman500's no- show. God, that chat had been something else. Possibly flirty. Definitely naughty. And yeah, go on, downright sexy, too. Except that sexy flirting wasn't something she did often — correction — at all. Ever. It had been as if someone else had been typing those things for her. A vampish part of her she'd never known she'd possessed.
Christie stared at the screen, willing Studman500 to keep going. But the chat window remained stubbornly blank. And then a notification popped up saying Studman500 was offline.
She sat back on the couch and took a sip of her wine, her hands trembling. What on earth had gotten into her? She'd logged on to the New Zealand site of Zombie Force Online for a quick game. A game she'd then ditched just to talk to him about sex in Ugg boots.
Her cheeks felt hot. What an idiot to mention those. But the group she'd been with in the chat room had started a jokey conversation about what clothing they gamed in, and she'd gotten a tad stupid with the whole garter belt/Ugg boot thing. Yet he'd seemed to get it, hadn't he?
A small grin crept up on her. She was no stranger to online forums or chat rooms but that was the first time ever she'd actually flirted in one. It was kind of a rush.
Letting out a breath and fighting feelings of disappointment at the lack of response from Studman500, she minimized the chat window and brought up her e-mail program. There was a new e-mail from Marisa, her boss's PA.
The e-mail only had one line: "Have you set up any dates yet?"
Ben, her boss and editor at Total Tech, the gadget/computer magazine she wrote for, had given Christie the unenviable assignment of writing an Internet dating piece in a bid to gain a few more readers for the magazine. Marisa, self-acknowledged dating expert and Christie's friend, had volunteered to "help" with setting up the dates. Help meaning nag.
Christie made an irritable noise. She liked Marisa, but the other woman had an annoying habit of trying to get her to come out of her shell. Annoying because Christie was perfectly happy inside her shell.
She leaned forward to type in a reply but right on cue, her phone rang. She didn't need to check the caller ID to know who it was.
"I was just replying to your e-mail, Marisa."
"Damn technology," Marisa replied. "I thought I'd actually talk to you."
"Fine. What do you want to know?"
"The date and how's it going?"
Christie pursed her lips. "It's going."
"You haven't set any up at all, have you? God, St. John, it's only a couple of dates. Not open-heart surgery."
"I know." Christie sank into the couch. "I'm getting myself in the zone."
"Yeah, right. And how, exactly, are you doing that? Pictures of naked men? Internet porn?"
Christie toyed with her wineglass. A sneaky online game of Zombie Force didn't fall into either of those categories. More like the procrastination category. But Marisa didn't need to know that. "No, of course not. I've been checking out ... um ... stuff."
"'Stuff'. Uh-huh. Well, do you want help with that 'stuff'? I've got a few profiles set up on some dating sites. You can use them if you want."
She knew Marisa had a few profiles. Just like she knew the photo that went along with them.
Long, blond tumbling locks. Curves that would've made Marilyn Monroe jealous. Wide, crystalline blue eyes. None of which Christie had. Oh no. She didn't have curves, she had bones. And frizzy chestnut hair. And eyes an indeterminate shade between green and gray.
But hey, that was fine. After a lifetime of having her appearance picked over by her mother, she'd gotten to the point where she just didn't care anymore. Bones and frizz were A-okay with her. They went with the jeans and the Doc Martens boots quite nicely, thank you very much.
"Uh, thanks for the offer, Mar. But no."
"Why do I get the feeling you don't want to do this?"
"Maybe because I don't?" And she didn't. In fact, she hated dating. With a passion. "I don't even know why Ben gave me this stupid assignment. Probably because I'm the only woman on the team."
"Sorry. The only female writer on the team."
"Oh, come on. He chose you because you write extremely well and you know it."
"Yeah, but face it, I'm the world's worst choice to write an article on dating." Christie bit her lip, trying not to dwell on the unfairness of it and failing. "I suck at that face-to-face, man-woman stuff." At least she did when it came to stepping outside the gaming/tech world. Not that it bothered her. Most of her friends were guys, and being friends with them was cool. She wasn't after anything more.
Marisa huffed. "So what was Greg? Chopped liver?"
"Greg was different. Greg was — "
"Greg was barely a man. You need to get over that loser."
Christie's grip tightened on her wineglass. "This has got nothing to do with G —"
"Bull. It's been a year since you two broke up and you're still single. What's the holdup?"
With a conscious effort, Christie eased the stranglehold on her glass. "There's no holdup. I'm happy being by myself."
"Yeah, and I'm Elvis Presley reincarnated. Come on, sitting around at home IM'ing your friends and playing online games does not constitute a social life. Or any life, for that matter."
Christie pulled a face. What was so wrong with it? She liked upgrading her computers and IM'ing people. She liked playing online games. Okay, so she didn't get out much, but she hated bars and nightclubs. Being at home watching TV or reading a good book was much more interesting than the endless round of socializing Marisa seemed to do.
Excerpted from Talking Dirty with the CEO by Jackie Ashenden, Libby Murphy. Copyright © 2013 Jackie Ashenden. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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