Dropping her gaze to the stack of papers still in her hands, she studied the top one. E-mail pile. She put it where it belonged. Her hand shook a little. “I have some things to finish before I leave.”
“Always the good little assistant.”
She lifted her chin, setting her jaw at the jibe. “And what’s wrong with being a good assistant? Some people actually take pride in their work, no matter now menial or unimportant others consider it to be.”
He bent forward and rested his hands on the top of her desk. “That’s a whole lot of attitude for such a cute little thing.”
On a normal day, she would be able to come up with five snappy comebacks to put him in his place. Of course, on a normal day, he would never comment on her attitude or call her a cute little thing.
Pressing her lips together, she decided to change the subject. “I’ll be closing up in a minute, and everybody has left. If you have business with someone, I suggest you leave a note.” She pointed to the other side of the room. “The boxes for each professor are over there.”
Standing tall, he squared his shoulders and unzipped his black fleece jacket. The blue and gray flannel just made his eyes look darker, hotter. Her breath caught. If things kept going this way, she might pass out from lack of oxygen.
He withdrew something from an inner pocket and threw it on the desk. It took only a second for her to recognize the yellow binding on the plastic report cover. She glanced up at Kaelen, but he wasn’t looking at her. He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on the knob of an armoire.
She took a closer look at the report. The clear cover let her read the first sentence, but Kaelen’s nearness and the imminence of the scene prevented her from concentrating on the meaning of the words.
“Attitude.” His tone had changed to soft and firm. All the times she’d spoken with him, he had been friendly and charming, flirty, even when he wasn’t pleased with her response. “You need to be taught a lesson.”
Surprised at his tone, she lifted her gaze. Her eyes felt impossibly wide, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Her breath came in short pants, and heat flooded between her thighs. She thought about running, but her leaden legs wouldn’t cooperate. “A lesson?”
His dimple showed when he flashed a cocky smile. He leaned over her desk, pausing with his face inches from hers. “Babe, remind me what your safe word is.”
Shock pulled her from the scene. Blood once again flowed through her arteries, bringing a fresh supply of energy to her cells. “Oasis. Didn’t they tell you?”
“Safety. I want you to remember that you have the power to stop this at any time.” His low, confidential tone soothed her senses. She didn’t know how to tell him how much it meant that he took the time to show he cared, that he knew what he was doing.
In one powerful motion, he swept everything onto the floor. Her carefully arranged piles ended up in a heap. The lone pencil bounced and rolled, the ting echoing in the silent room. “Time for your lesson.”
Her stomach dropped, and her legs worked when her brain told them to kick into action. Leaping up, she turned around and grabbed the handle to the door that was probably the bedroom. It was the only room she hadn’t yet seen.
An arm banded around her waist and lifted her from the ground. Kaelen hauled her back against his hard body. She wiggled and fought, but she got nowhere. She felt like an empty sack in his arms, something easily hoisted and held. Helpless.
As someone who was always in control, Mia struggled with the feeling of helplessness. On one hand, she liked to be in control. On the other hand, she craved having it taken away. She craved being able to trust someone else enough to cede complete authority over her body.
She trusted Kaelen today.
He placed her on the desk, facedown, her breasts flattened against the surface and her hips dangling from the side. Angling her toes down, she barely managed to touch the floor.
Kaelen reached under her sweater and hooked his fingers into the collar of her dress. With one mighty tug, he ripped the loosened seams and pulled the back of her dress away from her body. Stunned, exposed everywhere below her sweater, she failed to move.
“Beautiful. I knew you were hiding something spectacular under all those baggy clothes.” His hand burned hot against her cool flesh. He caressed her thigh and hip, his hand traveling a narrow path. “Curves this luscious are dangerous.”
Mia didn’t consider herself thin or fat. She was unremarkably average. She carried a little extra flesh on her hips and around the middle, enough to encourage her to wear a bathing suit that covered her stomach, but not enough that she felt self-conscious about it. She had other things to feed her insecurities.