I Hate You, page 1
I Hate You
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are no to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright© 2012 Shara Azod
Cover Artist: Shara Azod
Editor: Novellette White
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews. This is a work of fiction. All references to real places, people, or events are coincidental, and if not coincidental, are used fictitiously. All trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, and registered service marks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only. eBooks are NOT transferable. Re-selling, sharing or giving eBooks is a copyright infringement.
He Irritates Me...
“Hey! Did you enjoy your weekend watching Lifetime and scarfing down Snackwells, Fierce?”
Chandi grit her teeth and pointedly ignored the dark haired god masquerading as a human. Tried to anyway. His sheer yumminess made it so hard. Watching Egan Braun saunter into the office was kind of like watching a living work of art, damn him. God, she hated the smart-mouthed bastard! If only her body would obey her brain and categorically reject his very being altogether. Pressing her lips together she stared at the screen of her computer, willing it to hurry the hell up and log in already.
“Aww, come on little Fierce.” The irritating man plopped his oh, so perfectly grab-able ass on the corner of her desk, flashing his infamous lopsided grin directly at her with deadly effects. Asshole. That smile had opened many a fat wallet for the non-profit organization they worked for. While Chanti counseled and worked with teen-aged moms, Egan kept them all rolling in ample funds. He was exceptional at his job too.
“Get your bony ass off my desk,” Chanti gritted out between clinched teeth. Her thighs were clenched to, and not out of irritation, but he certainly didn't need to know that! She hated him—she had to keep that firmly in mind. And was he seriously looking at her chest? Oh Lord, her nipples hardened, pulling impossibly tight, which made any movement torturous. The brushing of the all too sensitive nubbins against her bra drove her insane. “Don’t you have some geriatric ladies to go trick for? Jack boots to polish maybe?”
Not that she didn't enjoy their daily sparring sessions she usually looked forward to them. Just not today, the day before Valentine’s Day. He was an all-too-painful reminder that she was sans boyfriend, sans life, and that crack he’d made about Lifetime and Snackwells hit way too close to the bone. It had been the action channel and ribs, but the general spirit was all too correct.
Egan was a female’s wettest dream, come to life, in almost every way. Okay, every way but no one could be that damn perfect, so she liked to give him various flaws that might or might not exist. Someone like him probably had never spent a night alone since puberty.
“I can't think of a thing I would rather do than torment you.” Those devilish green eyes sparkled with pure delight, his gaze focused solely on her. Unnerving is what it was. And yes, thrilling too.
“Go away, gigolo. You annoy me,” Chanti hissed, far more turned on than annoyed to her utter chagrin. Egan Braun was bad news. A man she couldn’t have, shouldn’t want, yet her entire being yearned for him like a crack-head fiending for a hit. “Run back to the Fatherland to plot your people’s next great defeat.”
Low blow, seeing as he was of German descent? Yep. However, it wasn't her fault he had German roots. It was his fault for being all gorgeous and asshole-ly like that.
“I’m going to do some plotting alright, little Fierce.” Egan’s voice flowed like one hundred year old brandy, all deep and rich and intoxicating. His cryptic response was expected as he was an enigma, just like most of what he said. Sliding off her desk in a ripple of six feet four inches of lithe predatory grace, he lingered for a moment, staring down at her. He was so seriously fine, it should be illegal…it should be a crime. Instead of moving away to his cubicle across the room like he was supposed to, he leaned down until his mouth was less than an inch from her ear. Nothing in the world could stop the corresponding goose bumps accompanied by a sensual chill down her spine. Chanti gripped the edge of her desk as if it were a lifeline. Too close, too sexy, too much! “But I guarantee you, Chanti Benson, I won’t be losing this war.”
Chanti, not little Fierce. She couldn’t even breathe until he was safely well away from her person. Unfortunately, his masculine, clean, woodsy scent of lingered, clouding her thought process for minutes after he retreated. Ever since he’d learned the meaning of her name, a gift from missionary parents in India, he had called her nothing but Fierce, or little Fierce given her lack of height. She’d tried nicking his name in return, or more accurately his ethnicity, calling him everything from Eva’s bastard (Eva Braun, something only he had gotten) to simply gigolo—none of which had the impact of the stark truth of her name. It did literally mean Fierce. It galled her to admit it, but her chest puffed out a little with pride every time he said it...
Wait…lose the war? What the hell did he mean by that? What
She Intrigues Me...
God, Chanti kept him in a perpetual state of arousal, and she didn’t have a clue how badly he wanted her. For reasons he;d never been able to pinpoint, theirs had always been a contentious relationship. All he wanted to do was take the diminutive little woman in his arms and show her just how much he adored her. The longer he knew her, the more he wanted to take her home and make her his for all time.
It was just that she appeared to hate him. He’d tried flirting when he had first came to work at Open Arms, the non-profit that helped women of all ages in need. As a former Wall Street baron, he had great ins on where the real money was, so he chose to use that info to raise money for an organization truly worthy. He’d made all the money he wanted to early on, invested wisely, and saved like a miser. He decided to retire at thirty-five to really do something worthwhile with his life. From the moment he stepped into the office his very first day he had gotten nothing but ice from the woman he wanted nothing more than to get to know on a very personal level.
Chanti was every bit as fierce as her name decreed. Not that she looked even the least bit intimidating. She claimed to be five-three, but Egan wouldn’t put her above five-one. Despite her lack of height, those curves she sported were 100% woman. Always dressed in an easy yet classic style, her clothing hugged and accentuated to perfection, making it impossible not to notice just how delectable she really was under all that sass. But what really, really turned him on was the lightening quick wit and her refusal to back down from a challenge. He was convinced she could probably run a small country without breaking a sweat or losing her temper. With him however, her eyes flashed, her lips curled, and God help him all he wanted to do was take her right then and there while the world watched him stake an undeniable claim.
Pride was often a bitch, and he’d readily admit he had his fair slice of an ego to be a little bent out of shape by her outright dismissal. After being scoffed at one too many times, Egan started to respond to her vinegar with sarcasm. It wasn’t exactly the way he wanted their courtship to go—and no matter what she may have thought, they were having a courtship—but he’d take what he could get.
“When are you going to stop pussy-footing around and take your woman?” Egan started, but then smiled at Ms. Jenkins, the woman who’d started the charity and ran it like a large extended family. “That woman has had your nose wide open for over a year. When are you going to take matters into your
As fond as he was of Ms. Jenkins, he sometimes thought the older lady had a too Pollyanna-ish outlook on life. Always believing the good shall prevail over the bad, the righteous really would inherit the earth. She’d been pulling for him since she first recognized his growing fondness for Chanti. Apparently Ms. Jenkins felt Chanti just needed a little convincing. That was certainly working out well—not.
“Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day,” Ms Jenkins offered, not at all helpfully. “Maybe you should ask her out? Show her a good time. This back and forth between the two of you isn’t getting you anywhere.”
Egan opened his mouth to argue, but closed it as a thought occurred to him. Chanti would never agree to go out with him no matter what he said to her. That didn’t mean he couldn’t romance her properly. He just needed a little help.
“We need to have the quarterly reports done for sponsors and benefactors by Wednesday right?” Egan knew damn well they did. He also knew the one division head who hadn’t yet turned in her numbers was Chanti.
Ms. Jenkins squinted her eyes, fixing him with one of her patented “what are you cooking up” looks. Every employee at Open Arms had been on the receiving end of it at one time or another. “Egan Braun....”
“Hear me out,” he cut his boss off, eager to get his plan out before she could tell him all the ways it wouldn’t work. “I think I should work from home tomorrow. But I need you to tell Chanti she needs to get the numbers to me tonight.”
Ms. Jenkins frowned, her hands going to her hip. “Why would she when she could just email them to you?”
Egan had to grin at his own brilliance, such as it was. “Because we both know she hasn’t input anything into a spreadsheet. She never does, she just hands me the raw data. If you wait until around four o’clock, she’ll have no choice. Especially since I have to have those numbers tonight. And wouldn’t you know it, I have a lunch meeting with several of our biggest donors. Too bad I have to go straight home after that.”
Chanti would be pissed, beyond it really. She was going to be livid. Although she could be positively lethal when mildly annoyed, get her to the highest level of piss-tivity and she forgot to act rationally. Egan knew he wasn’t the only one to feel the heat between them. He'd seen the way her breasts tightened earlier, saw the way she squeezed her thighs together whenever they started the verbal war. It killed him not to be able to take her in his arms and give in to what he was certain they both really wanted. If this worked out the way he was praying it would, he’d never let her get away with denying what was between them again.
“You now this just might get you killed, right?” Ms. Jenkins sighed, a sure sign she was going to give in. Egan had to repress the urge to jump up and down like a kid.
“But if it doesn’t I get the girl.”
Ms. Jenkins stood there for a few, long, painful moments, before shaking her head. “Fine, but if this backfires, I knew nothing about it.” She shook her head again as she turned to leave. “I’ll be praying for you, son. You’re going to need it.”
No shit, but it was a chance he had to take.
I Seriously Hate Him...
Chanti was mad enough to spit nails. It didn’t really matter she had absolutely nothing better to do with her night, but that didn’t mean she wanted to spend it dropping off crap at Egan Braun’s house. Maybe she should’ve given him the damn numbers a week ago, but she’s always turned them in at the last minute. He had to choose now to work from home? Probably had a hot a hot date with some big breasted bimbette. The thought made her a little sick to her stomach. Alone with no one watching she could freely admit she hated the nameless, faceless bitch who got to kiss Egan, touch him in a way a woman touches a man she wants.
Long ago, when Egan had first started at Open Arms he had attempted to flirt, but Chanti hadn’t been foolish enough to take him seriously. A man like that was used to having women tripping all over themselves just to get him to smile at them. Independently wealthy, devilishly handsome, witty and possessing more charm than any man had a right to, he probably had a harem of women, one for each night of the month. Instead of looking foolish she had blown off what he had no doubt considered harmless flirting. It was better than falling for it.
Too bad Mr. Perfect just couldn’t handle a woman failing to fawn over him. Somewhere along the line he’d gone from friendly flirting to biting sarcasm. At first it had thrown her, not sure what she had done to deserve the little jabs he threw her way. He never talked to anyone else in the office like that. That’s when she’d started to hate him. Why did he have to single her out for his disdain? She’s never done a dam thing to him.
Remembering why she hated Egan helped bolster the courage she needed to knock on his front door. Well, more like bang, but who was asking? She expected it to take a while. He was probably making himself all beautiful, or spreading rose petals on his sheets, the asshole. She was completely unprepared for the door jerking open so fast. So much so, she kind of tripped inside.
“Hey there little Fierce. Come on in. You can read off the numbers to me. Already set up in the study.”
With that he turned, she guessed she was supposed to follow. Gracing his retreating back with a glare, she straightened, closed and locked the door, before following him into his den of iniquity. She hated to admit it, but Egan had excellent taste. His condo was large, decorated in a modern, easy style of earth tones that invited a person in, giving off the air of a home rather than your standard bachelor pad. Man, she really hated him.
The study was no different. He’s set up big comfy chair side by side in front of a massive mahogany desk. Unlike her own office space at her place, this one immaculate, everything in its place. Chanti had no desire to be this close to Egan, no desire to be here at all. All she wanted to do was drop off the damn paperwork and be gone. There was an all-night marathon of military disasters on the History Channel.
“Look, I’m not staying. I’m here to drop off my reports. I’ve got something to do tonight.” Give myself a makeover, take a long bubble bath, and contemplate how Napoleon could’ve taken over Western Europe... She would never admit any of that to him, of course, ’cause hey, a woman had her pride. Let him think she finally had a date even though it was well known she shied away from men after her last wreck of a relationship.
“Hot date?” The smirk on his face was just too much.
“Yep. Decided to finally give in to Kevin’s constant pleas.”
The silence that descended was deadly. Chanti hadn’t thought before she’d said it, she’d only wanted to get that damned knowing grin off his face. Kevin was well known around the office as a first rate, certified womanizer. He specialized in turning a woman out and leaving her crushed. Callous to his very core, Kevin seemed to have a personal mission in life to run through women of all shapes, sizes and colors. Rich, handsome and ruthless made him deadly. There was literally no way in hell Chanti would ever consider going out with someone like him.
“I’d thought you smarter than that, Chanti.” The use of her real name instead of his nickname hurt in some weird way. The soft disappointment in Egan’s voice was yet another surprise.
What was it to him anyway? It wasn’t like he spent his nights alone...Right?
“Look, it’s none of your-”
The kiss threw her completely off kilter. One moment she was standing there all bravado and bullshit, the next she was crushed against Egan’s hard, lean frame. Oh God, he felt so damn good! He didn’t just kiss her, he took her mouth in total possession, forcing his way inside and devastating every last one of her defenses. He’d lifted her cleanly off her feet with no effort at all. Her legs seemed to have wrapped themselves around his waist somehow. Certainly she hadn’t done that on purpose. And she was going to break off the kiss too, just as soon as her insides stopped melting into a pool of lava.
It wasn’t until his lips began to travel that Chanti realized she was sprawled on his very clean desk. The pa
Seriously, she really was going to break this up, just as soon as she got the shirt off him. Not because she wanted to touch those rock hard abs she’d felt through the fabric, but just because he took her shirt off and turnabout was fair play. The reality of what lay under that shirt took her breath away. Talk about sculpted! It was too much of a temptation not to run her finger nails over the light golden surface, watching deep red welts form— not the kind that implied a fight, but rather a marking that could only come from amorous activity. Egan’s corresponding hiss made her clit jump. When he grasped her hair, forcing her head up and back so he could pin her with those green eyes of fire, she damn near came. Yeah, it was dangerous to put your hands in a black woman’s hair, but he not only got away with it, he made her love it.
“You won’t be going out with Kevin, or any damn body else…tonight or any other night,” Egan growled, accentuating his rather high handed command with a thrust of two incredibly thick fingers inside her all too needy sheath.
How long had it been? Despite being embarrassingly wet, his fingers were a tight fit. Chanti gasped, hanging on to his shoulders for dear life. Her hips lifted, thighs widening begging for more. Lord, his gaze was so hot, so intense. A shattering orgasm rolled through her before she could call it back. She’d wanted to challenge his assumption that she’d just capitulate to his autocratic command. Speech was impossible, because the man just refused to stop his most excellent manipulation of her body.
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