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Dangerous Temptations

By:Brooke Cumberland

Dangerous Temptations
Brooke Cumberland

Prologue



I stared out of the large floor to ceiling window as the rain poured  over New York City. It was a gloomy and cloudy spring day. I focused on  the street walkers covering themselves up with umbrellas and oversized  jackets. It was like deja vu … I felt the same feeling, that same fear.  Everything around me moved in slow motion as the events from that day  played out in front of me.

Blood. So much blood.

I felt my stomach threatening to empty the contents of my breakfast as I  heard the screeching voice of my boss, Laura. "Mackenzie!" I quickly  spun around to her opening the door. "I have a lunch meeting at one  o'clock," she informed me with cold eyes. "We'll be eating in the  conference room. Make sure our order is here on time," she said firmly,  emphasizing the word time. I was still learning my way around the  company and calling in quick favors wasn't easy.

"No problem, Ms. Carmichael." I forced a smile in her direction.

Actually, it was a big problem.

She didn't tell me where she wanted me to order from and she couldn't be  bothered with inane questions. She just expected me to know.

As soon as she walked out, I frantically searched my email for any kind  of delivery confirmation the last time she hosted a lunch conference.  Finally, I found the most recent one for a Mediterranean restaurant and  quickly placed an order-hoping to God I was picking the correct things.

By 12:50, the food hadn't arrived yet, and I was starting to sweat profusely.

Shit, shit, shit. She's going to fire me.

"Mackenzie!" she yelled from her office.

"Yes?" I asked, fear and anxiety evident in my voice.

"Mr. Lancaster eats gluten-free only. Make sure the food is up to par."

I nodded. "Absolutely."

Oh my god! She tells me this now?

Just as I turned around to walk out and back to my desk, I ran directly into a wall.

Except it wasn't a wall. It was Mr. Lancaster and my ass was definitely going to be toast.

"Whoa … " he said lightly bracing my shoulders with the palms of his hands. "You all right?"

I tilted my head up to a tall salt-and-pepper haired man. He was all  lines and angles. His body felt firm against mine, and I had to remind  myself how to talk.

"Y-yes. Oh, gosh, I'm so sorry!"

"No worries, Miss … " He smiled, waiting for me to tell him my name.

"Hewitt," I filled in for him. "Mackenzie Hewitt," I stumbled. "I'm really sorry. I should've been watching where I was going."

"Yes … you should have." I heard Laura scolding from behind me. Here it goes … I'm so fired!

"Laura, it's fine." He held up his hand. "I shouldn't have crept up on  her. It's my fault," he responded genuinely. He looked down at me and  winked. I mouthed a thank you and stepped back to allow him to walk past  me.

The food had finally arrived and I quietly brought it into their meeting  without saying a word. That's how I was trained-be seen, not heard. I  was there to do a job, not make friendly chat.

"Laura … " I heard him say with amusement. "Your assistant must've read my mind."

Oh, shit … Had he heard me thinking about him? Had I said something aloud?  He was good looking for his age, attractive actually. I'd been thinking  how sexy he was just before he spoke.

I swallowed as I turned to face them. "I love Mediterranean." He smiled  seductively, making my body shiver in response. Was he flirting with me  right in front of my boss? I didn't know what to say. I blushed as I  gave a small smile in return.

"Yes, she's quite the worker," Laura praised, taking me off guard. She'd  never said a nice thing to me in the past six months I've been slaving  for her.

I left the room without another word. I felt like I was in the twilight  zone. This was not a usual encounter in my busy day-to-day schedule.

An hour later, Mr. Lancaster exited the conference room and thanked me for his lunch.

"You're very welcome, Mr. Lancaster," I responded, smiling again. I  couldn't help it. There was just something so vibrant and appealing  about him.         

     



 

"Oh, please. Call me William," he insisted, bringing a hand to his chest.

"Have a good evening, William," I responded, encouraging him to leave so  I could finish my work. But he just continued to stand in front of my  desk.

"I'd have a much better evening if you'd accompany me to dinner  tonight." My eyes widened in surprise. Did he just ask me out on a date?  "I assure you it'd be a lot more enjoyable if I weren't eating alone."  Now that just made me sad. No one deserved to eat dinner alone. I had  too many childhood memories of eating alone in alleys. There's no way I  was going to turn down a meal with him.

"I'd love to." He took down my address and said he'd pick me up at eight  o' clock. My body trembled as I watched him walk away. Did that just  really happen? I was mentally freaking out, but I reminded myself I  needed to stay calm. I still had five hours left of work to get through.

That night, we met for dinner and he focused all of his attention on me.  It was so special, more than I had even expected. Being around him  filled my body with a comforting warmth. He was easy-going for holding  so much power.

After our dinner, I ended up Googling him and finding out exactly who he  was. I was speechless. Shocked. Surely, he was just using me for some  kind of publicity stunt. He was broadcasted all over page six in the New  York Post at least twice a month. But he continued to ask me out, and I  continued to say yes.

Despite our age difference, it didn't really seem to matter. We carried  easy conversation. He cringed at my work horror stories, and I laughed  at his jokes. We were two people who would've never been destined to  meet had I not moved to the city a year ago. But something stronger  pulled us together, and a year later, he proposed.

I moved into his six-thousand square foot penthouse apartment shortly  after. It was easier, made it so we could see each other more often  since he worked ten to twelve hour days and then usually had business  trips twice a month. His attention was limited when it came to juggling  so many things at once. But we were making it work and I had never been  happier.



But then one wrong decision changed the course of my life, and I hadn't  seen it coming. I didn't know I would continue to be haunted by the  reality of one unfaithful night. But soon, I found out lines would be  crossed, boundaries would be broken, and things were never as they  seemed in the first place.





Chapter One



Six Months Later …



Oh, god.

My head was pounding. Or wait. Was someone at the door?

There's no way I was this hung over. Or was I? Shit, I didn't know. It  was pitch black, but then I realized I hadn't opened my eyes yet, but  the pounding was definitely apparent.

I rolled over, feeling the weight shift around on the mattress. The  light, fluffy comforter felt great on my hot skin. The rest of me felt  like I'd been hit by a truck.

My body jerked. Something was wrong.

I didn't have a light, fluffy comforter.

I opened my eyes, blinking several times to get used to the bright  light. The sun was shining in, and I silently cursed the damn window for  not shielding the sunlight out.

I sucked in a breath as I tried to remember the events of last night.

I couldn't. Not much after dinner anyway. I knew I went out for  Brittainy's bachelorette party. The girls and I took a limo all over the  city, taking us to dinner at Eleven Madison Park, and then we ended up  at Club Le Bain for dancing and drinks.

The rest was kind of fuzzy.

I squinted, arching my back to stretch out the kinks. Christ, it felt  like my body had been folded in half and beaten all night long.

I roamed my hands down my body, feeling for any kind of evidence. I was naked, completely naked, and I never slept naked unless …

I brought my fingers down in between my legs. It ached, terribly. I could tell I had a full body work out last night.

I felt sick like I was going to throw up, but I continued to lie straight, hoping it'd pass.

I breathed in and out, slowly. Once my stomach calmed down, I attempted  to move. A firm hand grabbed around my waist, pulling me back before I  had the chance to get up.

"Don't move," a low, deep, gravelly voice growled in my ear. It was a voice of a man who'd just woken up. Next to me.         

     



 

Once I let it sink it, it rang a bell, but I couldn't quite place it. He  pulled my body closer to his, my back to his chest, as he grasped my  hip with one of his hands. He dipped his chin onto my shoulder and  whispered in my ear, "I still have the taste of you on my lips." My eyes  widened in shock. I felt his hot breath on me, the scent of alcohol  evident as I inhaled against him.

Holy shit.

I tried to rack my brain for any memory of last night. Who the hell was  this guy? What was his name? Crap, I didn't even know his name!

He squeezed my hip before trailing his fingers down my stomach, slowly  heading down in between my thighs. My body tingled in response, my eyes  fluttered shut from the touch of his hands on me.

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