Nervousness pricked and pried at my skin. When I caught a glimpse of my father, I could tell that apprehension was hitting him twice as hard. If I searched hard enough, I could see the bit of perspiration coating his forehead. His boss called him out of nowhere and requested for the both of us to see him. I could tell it worried my dad, and as exciting as it was to see Mr. Mariano, it began to worry me too. +
The elevator doors pulled apart, leaving me to gape at the spacious office. Two black couches sat perched in the middle of the floor with a small coffee table separating them. I could see the long wall of bookshelves that probably housed every story told in the world. There was even a bar that was illuminated by light in the corner. My neck had to crane up to see the elegant chandelier peering over a huge mahogany desk. It wasn’t until I gazed at the cleanliness of the surface that I saw the beautiful man sitting behind it. 1
His intense blue eyes pierced into my own. His stare helped distract me from the plumpness of his full pink lips. I was entranced by not only the way his wild eyebrows managed to tame themselves into the perfect shape but the silk of his black hair that rested atop his head. My favorite part was the strand that fell in front of his face, just begging me to touch it—tease it. Beautiful was no longer an accurate term to describe him, Emanuel Mariano was one hell of a sight. 27
“Jason,” the gorgeous man greeted behind a small smile, turning to look at my father. I watched him stand up from behind his desk while buttoning the last button to his suit. Every step he took towards my father was majestic. He held a power to him that radiated from his body elegantly. It was hard not to stare and observe every flex of his muscle.
“You remember Christina, right?” Dad questioned. With those words, he looked to me, holding an icy gaze. Everything in my mind told me to look away. His intimidation was too much for me to handle. However, my eyes stayed locked on his.
“Yes, I do,” he chuckled. He held an accent to his words. I was engaged with the sound of him as it reeked with a promise of naughtiness just like that night when I was nineteen. It reeked with a promise of sin. He easily made the hairs on my body stand at attention to compliment the goosebumps dancing around my skin.
For a moment, I could almost see his eyes trail down my body. If I was correct, he was tracing my every curve and didn’t bother to hide it. It was fascinating, bold even. My father was only a mere few inches away, yet he was checking me out as if every piece of my body was his. 11
He cleared his throat. “Have a seat.”
I followed behind my father as we walked past his boss. When I glanced behind me, I could’ve sworn I caught Emanuel Mariano staring at my backside. I must admit, he was a slick man. Both times that I caught him looking in places that were most prohibited, it would be easy to second-guess if that were truly what I saw. He had a great way of feigning innocence, but he wasn’t good enough to go unnoticed by me. I knew what kind of man he was behind that suit and innocent smile, he was full of lust.
Sitting down on the leather couch, I began to focus on things that I typically wouldn’t focus on. I wanted to make sure my posture was perfect and the way I crossed my leg over the other was pleasing.
My father’s boss walked over to his desk where he sat down at the edge of it. His arms were crossed over his chest and his steady eyes were fighting so hard to keep away from me.
“I want to offer you something huge. Not only will you be getting a raise, but I would like to offer you the job of becoming my CFO—Chief Financial Officer. Our previous CFO has retired and I need someone new. Someone who shows up every day and who has worked hard and proved themself to be an excellent employee. So, Jason, I chose you,” Mr. Mariano stated, with a smooth smile dancing on his lips. 4
My father’s grin grew wide on his face. I could tell that he wanted to break out in celebration. His smile was so contagious to the point that it replicated on my own lips. 2
“Thank you, truly, for everything.” I smiled. Mr. Mariano’s eyes grew darker as he watched my teeth softly sink down onto my bottom lip. I quickly released my teeth from my lip, leaving it to pop back into place. He made sure to watch every movement. 1
“My pleasure,” he muttered before clearing his throat. “Jason, If you would like, you can begin clearing your desk and moving into your new office.”
My dad looked like he was ready to go explore the world with his new title as CFO. I could only imagine how badly he wanted to leave so he could begin moving into his upgraded office.
“The reason I requested both you and your daughter was because I originally planned to have you accompany me to dinner to share the news, but it appears I am swamped with work. May we save the dinner for another day?” Mr. Mariano requested.
My father held his hand up with a smile tugging on his lips. “Trust me, your offerings are more than enough—”
“I can help you out. I major in business so it would really be you helping me if you think about it,” I let out, trying not to bite down on my lip at the sight of Mr. Mariano’s eyes on mine.
“Yeah, see, it works out perfectly!” My dad laughed out. He was laughing now, but if he knew of my true intentions of wanting to be with Mr. Mariano for as long as possible, I was sure that he would kill me. 3
“That would be great, Christina. I just have some papers I need to look over,” Mr. Mariano said. The sound of my name coming from his lips was enough to make my legs clamp together. He knew exactly what he was doing because when my gaze caught his, a swarm of butterflies began to flutter away straight to my core.
“Sure,” I said shakily. 2
His intense stare was burning me sinfully. Every breath that boomed from the depth of my lungs held a harshness to it that reminded me of how badly I wanted to be beneath Emanuel Mariano. 1
“I will be back in a few minutes. I guess I have a desk to clean now and an office to move into,” my dad cheered as he stood up from the couch and practically skipped out of the room. It was such a graceful sight to see him so happy.
I couldn’t help but bite down on my lip again. It was a habit I developed when I was younger. Every single time that I felt tense, biting down on my lip always helped to calm my nerves a bit. Noticing the darkened expression on Emanuel’s face only seemed to make my heartbeat exhilarate. 1