Chapter 7 - Seven Nights of Sin (Penthouse Affair #2)


My flight to London and the hotel room are booked. Francine has confirmed she can stay in my apartment for a week. I’ll pay double her normal fee as thanks for her trouble. She insisted I didn’t have to, but she’s going the extra mile at the last minute, and there’s no one I trust more to care for my girls.

There’s only one detail left to arrange. I almost buzz Beth, then think better of it and dial Presley’s desk phone myself.

“This is Presley Harper, Operations Department. How can I help you?” she says.

“It’s Dominic. Can you stop by my office for a moment?”

“Oh! Hi, Dominic. Um . . .” In the background is some brief rustling and the sound of keys tapping. “Yes, I’ll be right there.”

I lean back in my chair and try to relax. It isn’t long before I hear a knock. I don’t get up, only call out, “Come in.”

Today she’s wearing a simple black sheath dress, but the hint of her curves beneath the supple fabric makes a painful knot form in my throat.

Presley shuts the door behind her as she enters, her brow creased quizzically. “You wanted to see me? Is something wrong?”

I don’t blame her for being curious about what I want. It’s not like we had a meeting scheduled, and for anything short of an emergency, I usually just email her, knowing she’ll respond within an hour or two. But this matter deserves a face-to-face talk.

“No, nothing like that. I just had a proposal for you and thought I should extend it in person.”

She blinks but says nothing, only watches me with those wide blue eyes and waits for me to explain.

“Would you like to sit down?” I ask.

Without a word, she lowers herself gracefully into the leather chair in front of my desk.

Swallowing, I weigh my options for how to present this to her. I have to approach it with care if I want to avoid giving her the wrong impression. I keep my face and body language neutral, fully leveraging the cold, calculated persona that’s served me well in so many business dealings. If she’s searching for a hint of what I expect from her, she won’t find it.

Steepling my fingers beneath my chin, I say, “Next week I’ll be in London to scout potential building sites for Aspen’s first international location and finally nail down an investment deal with Roger.”

“We’re expanding? And Roger’s on board too?” She grins. “Wow, that’s great news!”

“It is.” Her delight is contagious, and I allow myself a small smile. Why not? We’ve won a big victory with an even bigger payout, after all. “But let me finish. I was thinking I should invite you to come along.”

Excitement spreads over her face, her eyes widening and lips parting slightly. “Y-you want me to sit in on your meetings? Does this mean . . . we’re okay?”

I fight to ignore how cute she looks with her face all lit up like that. I can’t betray any hint of the affection that, despite my best efforts, still lingers in me. “Not exactly. You wouldn’t be attending strictly as my intern. What I had in mind was more . . . selfish on my part.”

Her smile vanishes.

Now it’s my turn to search her and come up dry. I’m not too worried—I already knew this would be a gamble, and I doubt she’ll go running to HR—but having no idea what’s going on in her head grips me like nothing else.

At last, she says slowly, “What do you mean by that?”