Chessie burns for Nick, but locks the flames in her heart. She’s not a stunning beauty like the women he dates—but when she finds an envelope waiting for her on her desk…dare she open it and accept the invitation into the unknown?
Chessie Lane burns for Nick Tarantino, but circumstance has forced her to keep the flames locked deep in her heart. Drop-dead-gorgeous bosses only fall in love with their administrative assistants in the movies. Besides, she’s plain and naïve about his world, nothing like the flawless cultured females he knows. Still, no other man has existed for Chessie since she met Nick. All her erotic fantasies revolve around this powerful man and his sexy, commanding voice. When Nick sells Tarantino Investments, Chessie is heartbroken and sure her fantasies will never come true. But when she receives a mysterious invitation, her life changes…forever.
About the Author
Jaymie Holland is the alter-ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cheyenne McCray.
Chey is currently writing her 100th book/novella. Her accolades include a total of six RT Book Reviews Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice award wins and nominations, along with numerous other awards.
Cheyenne enjoys creating stories of love, suspense, and redemption. She loves building worlds her readers can get lost in.
Read an Excerpt
I can't stand it.
Chessie Lane texted to Bryn Davis, one of three best friends she had known since she fled her one-horse Midwestern hometown for college in California ten years ago.
The message had barely landed before Bryn texted back.
I hate this for you, Chess. You should tell him.
Chessie glanced up from her phone and almost choked on the immediate lump in her throat. Tell him. Sure.
She could barely talk to her boss coherently for five minutes, much less say anything to him about her silly attraction. Well, it was more than an attraction. Obsession might cover it, but she wasn't some psycho stalker. Unlike Bryn's current guy.
Tell you what, Chessie typed back as fast as her thumbs could move. I'll confess my feelings to Nick Tarantino if you dump Chuckie Boy.
The message landed.
Bryn didn't answer.
Chessie turned away from her boss's door. She didn't know whether to feel thankful or upset about Bryn's sudden silence. A few seconds more, and upset edged out her selfish relief she wouldn't have to find the courage to talk to Tarantino.
Charles Johannsen is no good for you, girlfriend, Chessie typed. I hate how he treats you. Your parents can't stand him. Even your sister despises him, and Julie loves everything. She won't even kill spiders, for God's sake.
Then, finally, Bryn started typing.
I know, was all she said.
Wow. Chessie's pulse picked up. She didn't usually get this far, trying to talk to Bryn about that controlling scumbag she so needed to leave.
So ... do we have a deal?
A loooong pause.
I'm not ready, Bryn finally texted. I'm trying — just, not ready to give up yet.
"Damn," Chessie whispered to her phone, to her friend, to the universe itself. Bryn was the strongest woman Chessie knew, but somehow that charming snake of a man had bitten her so hard. Chessie wanted to rage at Bryn, warn her away from the bastard yet again — but she knew from experience what it was like to have friends and family yammer incessantly about things they didn't like, and offer opinions on what they didn't have any business talking about, much less trying to control.
Okay, Chessie typed back. It's your life, and I love you, and I'm here for you no matter what.
You should tell him, Bryn typed. You really should. Gotta go. Charles will be home soon and I need to get the house picked up. Love you, too.
And just like that, Bryn was gone.
Chessie wanted to throw the phone, but instead, she leaned over and dropped it into her purse. Her beautiful, brilliant friend shouldn't be rushing around terrified, cleaning any man's house because he'd chew her out if she didn't. It was just too much.
Charles reminded Chessie of her mother, who had been a professional dancer before Chessie was born. The woman was just too perfect. Too polished. And she'd demanded the same from Chessie when she'd been little.
Of course, Mother had been horrified when Chessie had taken up her nickname. Mother had named her Francesca. 'A dancer's name,' she'd always said. Chessie had hated it, no doubt because it was the name her mother had given her. Chessie had been thrilled when a friend had started calling her by the nickname back in elementary school.
By far, it was the least of Mother's disappointments. Despite years of formal instruction in dance and a true love for movement, Chessie had never achieved professional status. She had decided to go to business school instead of struggling with a second round of admission applications to Julliard in New York.
After that, nothing had ever been good enough for Mother. Chessie loved her, but she'd gotten so tired of being judged — by her family, by everyone in the little town where she'd been raised. It was a relief to live a few thousand miles away, to have picked the West Coast over the fast-paced bustle of the East. To have chosen to build her own life instead of following her mother's road-map and trying to recreate her glory.
In the office across from her desk, the laughing grew louder.
The bass rumble of Tarantino's voice sent tingles up her spine, even now. With a sigh of longing, Chessie straightened up, placed her elbow on her desk, propped her chin on her hand, and studied him as he spoke with the company's vice president. The two men were ensconced in conversation, grinning at each other, thankfully unaware of her soulful expression or her pathetic pining.
Which was good. She'd die on the spot if Tarantino ever noticed her acting like such a teenager.
She wanted him so much. She had wanted him for so long, it was almost reflex by now. And the worst part was, it was more than a simple crush.
She had fallen in love with her boss. How cliché was that?
Of course, it didn't matter now, because Tarantino was leaving. She still couldn't believe it. Going, going, and gone. The CEO, president, and owner of Tarantino Investments had sold his company, and right this moment, right before her very sad eyes, Tarantino was handing over the reins to Derrick Macintyre.
Three years of crushing, sighing, dreaming, and being Tarantino's personal assistant — done. Over. She'd have a new boss tomorrow. And the man she'd fallen in love with the fourth week she'd worked for him, would be walking out of her life ... forever.
Not that he'd ever been more than professional with her. Not that he'd ever shown the slightest inclination he might be interested in her personally.
When she got them, his smiles of approval had melted her heart. Sometimes he'd lean over her shoulder to review her notes and she would almost moan out loud at the feel of his warm breath against her neck. When she'd hand him a document or his iPad, her fingers would lightly brush his and she'd feel a jolt of electricity from the roots of her hair to her toenails. But Nick never gave a sign he'd felt anything at all.
Chessie sighed again as she continued to study his profile. Of course, she likely wasn't his type, although she'd never met any woman he might be dating. Chessie was petite in height and had breasts so large she would have toppled over if she hadn't had a nice-sized ass to keep her stable. She kept her long wheat-blonde hair pulled back in a clip and wore conservative business suits when she was in the office. She had curves, yeah, but she was ordinary. Mother had that part right.
Nice eyes, but plain.
Work on your makeup. You need to be thinner. Get some plastic for those thighs. Honey, your bosom is just too big. Be sure to keep the minimizers on ...
Chessie sighed and tried to lock Mother's voice back in the brain-dungeon where it belonged. It wasn't that bad. But she knew she was working class, nothing special.
Nick Tarantino, on the other hand, was a god.
He was Italian by birth. His parents had moved to London when he was young — it was his English mother's home. There Nick had served in the military for a time, as he then had in the US.
He still had the sexiest accent, a blend of British and Italian, and when he spoke, her nipples hardened automatically and only her business suits kept him from seeing the taut buds peak against the soft fabric of her blouses. The man was a good six feet tall with broad, powerful shoulders. He was built like a pro basketball player, lean and muscular. A man built for speed ... and sex.
So many times, she'd imagined what it would feel like to be taken by Nick. Whether it was hard and rough, or slow and sensual, all her fantasies revolved around him. And all her daydreams involved him mastering her like he mastered everything else in his business and his life.
Right now as she watched him, she wondered what it would feel like to be on her knees before him, his trousers undone and his cock jutting out in front of her. His hand would be on the back of her head, forcing her to go down on his cock. She'd swirl her tongue around the head and take him deep, to the back of her throat.
She clenched her thighs together at the thought and her clit ached as she imagined how he'd pump his hips against her face, fucking her mouth as he held her captive.
Whoa, there. Dial it back, chick. This isn't good.
She had gotten herself so hot and bothered she almost needed a fan. She squeezed her eyes shut and, when she opened them, Nick Tarantino was staring at her.
Her face flamed and she felt as though she could sink through the floor with embarrassment at being caught staring at him and fantasizing about him.
He kept staring.
Can he read that X-rated daydreaming on my face?
Chessie quickly moved her hand from her chin and looked at the file on the computer monitor in front of her. She tried to focus and not look back at him.
The heat of his stare burned through her and she hoped her cheeks weren't as red as they felt. After these past few years, she should be an expert at hiding her feelings for the man.
While she pretended to study the file, he went back to chatting with Derrick. Chessie listened to his powerful voice and almost teared up at the thought of never hearing his throbbing tone again. Her thoughts wandered and she imagined him taking her on his polished mahogany desk, gripping her wrists in one hand above her head, his hands and mouth upon her body, and his cock sliding into her wet channel —
Her head shot up at the sound of Nick's voice so close to her, and her pulse pounded in her ears. He was standing beside her desk and studying her with his intense aquamarine eyes that gave away his Sicilian heritage. The heady masculine scent of him surrounded her, a combination of his light aftershave and the smell of pure male.
"Is everything all right?" he asked in his deep penetrating voice that made her shiver as her panties got that much damper.
Chessie cleared her throat and nodded. "Yes, Mr. Tarantino." A very large part of her wanted to beg him to take her with him, wherever he was going. Hell, just to take her. But she kept herself under control. "Is there anything you would like me to do?"
He handed her his iPad. "Please prepare my presentation and set up conference room three. The document is in the usual location with today's date."
"Yes, sir." She took the tablet from him and went rigid as his fingers brushed hers and a shock ricocheted through her body.
He gave her one last look before going to his office.
Nick shut the heavy mahogany door behind him and raked his fingers through his black hair as he ordered his cock to stand down. He'd spent a while in the military as a young man. British Special Air Services — SAS. The special forces that all other special services forces in the world modeled themselves after. With an eighty-five-percent attrition rate, the training was sufficient to teach any man perfect self-control. Which was a damned good thing.
Because that woman ...
The way she moved, fluid and measured, so overcontrolled, yet natural. Nick could almost swear she had been a dancer at some point in her life.
Nick wore his slacks loose because invariably the beautiful Chessie Lane would make him rock-hard with one demure glance, with one whiff of her light floral perfume.
Oh, he'd recognized those glances for what they were, and although he'd wanted to take advantage of the delectable Miss Lane, he didn't believe in crossing the employer-employee line. He never mixed business with pleasure.
Rules were rules.
That was when he had been her employer.
Now, there was nothing to stop him.
In a few strides, he reached the floor-to-ceiling windows of his luxurious office and stared out at the Los Angeles skyline. The sky was a cloudless cerulean blue and a light wind caused palm fronds to wave to and fro below the ten-story office building. Tarantino Investments occupied the entire top floor. What had been a venture capital start-up company had just sold for seven hundred million dollars, freeing Nick to move on to new and more interesting ventures.
Including the blonde, blue-eyed beauty who had been his assistant for too long now. Three years she had taunted him with her fine ass and luscious breasts, even though most of the time she'd hidden them beneath form-fitting suits. Occasionally, she would take off her jacket and when she moved, he would catch a glimpse of the curve of one breast through gaps in her conservative button-up blouse.
Maybe he'd ask her to dance, slowly, showing those curves. He'd bathe in her grace. Watch her for hours. And then —
Yes, that ass of hers. Often, he had pictured her on all fours as he slid his cock into her slick core and spanked those cheeks until they were a fine shade of pink. As pink as her face had just turned when he'd caught her watching him.
He had tried to get to know her, but she had stayed so quiet. So removed. He knew she was intelligent and kind, that she showed impressive loyalty to her three best friends — the ones she texted all the time. She stayed above office politics and focused on her job so intently.
He wanted to know the unobtainable Miss Lane much more than that. He was done with her inadvertent teasing.
He realized he was smiling as he loosened his tie.
If he got a yes — and he intended to get that very word, as soon as possible — Miss Lane was about to pay her debt for three years of teasing, torturing, and generally ruining him for any other woman, intentional or not.
"Girl, you've got to get over Tarantino." Andi braced one hand on the conference room door as she watched Chessie prepare the room for Nick's last presentation. "That or proposition him."
Chessie turned her gaze away from the friend who had gotten her this job. She made sure the three monitors at the front of the room synced with Nick's iPad. She had spent the last hour putting his notes into a PowerPoint presentation.
Her eyes glazed and her heart grew heavier yet. "You sound like Bryn."
"That's because Bryn's smart," Andi said. "About everything other than Charles Johannsen."
"No kidding," Chessie mumbled as she looked at Andi again. Then, she sighed. "Three years, Andi." She fidgeted with the top button at the throat of her blouse and stared down at the tablet. "I go blank every time Nick is even a little bit close to me."
"Well, honey, it's better than throwing yourself at his feet and begging him to take you right on the Berber carpeting in his office." Chessie cast her friend a glance as Andi continued, "Although that certainly would catch his attention." Chessie rolled her eyes and Andi said, "Or, you could just ask him out for a drink. That's what I would do."
The tablet connected with the monitors and Chessie cut her gaze back to Andi. "You've got guts. I'm just a wimp, no question about it. You know I always have been."
Andi shook her head, her long black hair drifting over her shoulders like a silken curtain. "Chessie, quit listening to that mother-voice in the back of your mind. God love the woman, she means well — but she's wrong about you, and wrong about life. You're hot. You're young. You're smart. And you've got to stop playing it safe and take chances. Live, girlfriend. I've been telling you that since we were in college."
"I'm not you." Chessie gripped the iPad as she moved past Andi out of the conference room and toward her desk.
"Do it," Andi shot back as she rounded her cubicle and vanished from sight just as Chessie almost smacked into Constance Baron, Vice President of Communications and resident Bitch Queen From Hell.
Constance smirked and raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow at Chessie.
Chessie's skin went cold and she gripped the tablet even tighter. She glanced in the direction Andi had gone, wishing her friend would come back — though Andi wasn't high enough up the food chain to really challenge the Bitch Queen.
"You're still at it, aren't you?" Constance's tone was laughing and vicious, and it cut deep as Chessie moved to her desk, putting it between her and BQ like a shield. "Still pining for the boss, like some sick 1950s cartoon character." Constance shook her head.
Chessie's cheeks burned as she put down the tablet. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh, I think you do." Constance laughed, a fake cultured laugh that grated on each one of Chessie's jangling nerves. The woman propped a perfectly manicured hand on her perfectly slim hip. "Honey, you have to know. Nick Tarantino would never waste his time with somebody like you."
Excerpted from "Shameless Surrender"
Copyright © 2017 Jaymie Holland.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Bound Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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