No Denying You

After Emma Davis’s first week at Danvers International, she’s convinced her boss will drive her crazy…

Being the assistant to uptight workaholic Brant Stone is more than Emma can bear. But in her weaker moments, she can’t help but admit that the sexy control freak can turn her on with an insult more than any man she’s ever met…

So when Emma gains an unexpected advantage, she blackmails Brant into accompanying her to her high school reunion. After all, the enemy she knows is preferable to a blind date arranged by her meddling mother.

But before they realize what’s happening, they are doing more than acting the part…they’re living it. The war that has been raging between them shifts playing fields to the bedroom, as hate turns to lust and then to something so much more…

EXCERPT

“You wanted to see me?”

Pointing to his lunch in the trash, he asked, “Did you just leave that sitting somewhere while you read Cosmopolitan or did you also drag the sandwich over the sidewalk on your way back to the office?” Settling back in his chair, he waited for the verbal tongue-lashing. Hell, yeah, he got off on it; there was no reason anymore to admit that he didn’t. He was momentarily speechless, then horrified when her bottom lip started to tremble and something that looked suspiciously like tears glistened on her thick lashes. Uncertain, he asked, “Emma?” When she turned and rushed from his office, he sat there a moment longer, stunned. What in the hell had just happened?
He hesitated before going to find her. Her desk was vacant and the door was ajar leading to the hallway. As he walked farther down the hall, he couldn’t believe that he was actually considering going into the ladies’ restroom. He had truly lost his mind. Even as he thought it, he was lightly knocking on the door. “Emma? Are you in there?”

Brant heard a muffled, “Go away.”

He took a deep breath and wondered why it was so hard for him to apologize to her. “Emma, I’m . . . sorry. I . . . didn’t mean to upset you.” When she didn’t answer, he felt compelled to add, “My lunch was good, and I was just kidding, really.” A woman a few doors down stuck her head out to see what was going on and then gave him a look of disgust. Okay, now everyone in the surrounding area knew he was an asshole.

Finally, Emma said, “I need a little time. I’ll be back at my desk soon.”

Brant was so grateful to hear her speaking that he said, “Take all the time you need, no rush at all, and, Emma . . . I really am sorry.” When she didn’t reply, he turned and walked back into his office, shaking his head in confusion.
When Emma had first started as his assistant, he had been desperate to replace her by the end of the first week. She had shattered his perfectly organized routine, and he was a disheveled wreck as a result. She messed up his papers, had some strange, color-coded filing system instead of an alphabetical one, booked him on the wrong flights, and almost killed him by putting dairy in his coffee. At times he couldn’t believe he was still alive or employed. Yet as much as he had wanted to throttle her, there was also something about her that he connected with. Even when his brother had teased him about getting rid of Emma, he had been determined not to. There was something about her that he enjoyed, no matter how much she constantly got on his nerves.
He had no idea what he had said today to upset her so much. He had said far worse to her before and it had never seemed to faze her. Something else must have happened during lunch. Maybe a fight with a boyfriend? Wait, did she even have one? He wasn’t sure why it bothered him to think of her with a man. It was probably just pity for the poor bastard. He might enjoy her antics at the office most of the time now, but he couldn’t imagine being romantically involved with such a pain in the ass. Fuck, this day just kept getting better and better.

 

***

Emma tried desperately to smother her laughter until she was certain that Brant had walked away. I can’t believe that shit actually worked. Who would have ever imagined that the asswipe could be brought to his knees by a few well-placed tears and a couple of sniffles—unbelievable! When Suzy had suggested the crying approach, she had been completely skeptical. She figured that every assistant Brant had ever had must have ended up in tears more often than not, and he probably got a big kick out of it. So she was in shock that he had completely dissolved after her first whimper. When he followed her to the bathroom, she had been floored. Luckily, some nice soul who apparently spent a great deal more time in the restroom than she did had left a copy of Star magazine. She settled back on the countertop and ignored the few people who had knocked on the door trying to get in. She thought about updating her Facebook status, but decided that might be going overboard.
When thirty minutes had passed, she figured she had drawn it out long enough. Someone was getting really anxious to use the bathroom, and she was tired of hearing the handle jiggle. She threw some water on her face and rubbed her eyes a few times. Yep, she looked suitably wiped out. As she walked down the hall back to her office, she wondered how long she could pull this off. The chances of her not snapping Brant’s head off when he made another stupid remark were slim to none. She’d give it at best the rest of the day, maybe two if he was out of the office a lot.

When she walked back inside, she saw a Starbucks Frappuccino on her desk. She found herself circling it like a bomb-sniffing dog. Someone cleared his throat behind her, and she turned to find Brant standing there looking unusually nervous. “I . . . I got your favorite.”

It was on the tip of her tongue to ask him how he knew her favorite when he was never the one getting the coffee, but she managed to rein it in at the last second. Look pathetic. Just imagine yourself married to the man. “Thank you, it looks great. I’m sorry for running out like that.” Oh hell, there is no way I can carry this off all day, no matter how amusing. I’m dying already.
Raising a hand to rub her temple, she added, “I think it’s just this headache I’ve had all day. Maybe I’m coming down with something.” A few moments later, Brant had gathered her purse and ushered her through the door, assuring her that things would be fine there until she felt better. It was amazing—she probably could even push this fake illness to a couple of days if she wanted to because the guilt monkey was riding him heavily. If she had gone home sick any other time, he would have bitched and moaned like the world was coming to an end. Having an afternoon off with his blessing was a rare treat and one she intended to enjoy. She would go home, grab her bikini, and spend the rest of the day at the beach. Life was good. . . .