Unexpectedly His(3)

By: Maggie Kelley

Bolting from the bathroom, she grabbed Jane’s trench coat from the back of a random barstool and hurried to the exit as footsteps fell against the tiled hallway. At the back door, safe and unseen, she turned and caught a glimpse of Nick lifting the turquoise mask from the floor. His eyes scanned the empty room for a woman who was already long gone. A wave of sadness washed over her as she stood immobilized, her back pressed against the Art Deco building’s brick wall, her unadventurous heart locked firmly back in its cage.

“Happy birthday, Nick,” she whispered. And with her body still trembling, Marianne dashed to the curb to hail her midnight cab.

Chapter Two

“Manliness isn’t always easy.”


As Nick Wright strode across the marble lobby of his firm’s upscale Manhattan offices, the same damned question that had been on his mind all weekend long circled back around again. Who was that girl in the cake? Followed by a second question, why the hell did he care so much?

Sure, the girl Friday night had been a surprise. Strike that. Not a surprise. Nick had known he’d be taking one on the chin as soon as his future brother-in-law, Charlie Goodman, started hard-selling a birthday bash at Temptation.

After all, this was hardly his first rodeo. But the girl Friday night wasn’t your average girl in a sequined dress and take-me-now heels. There was something else, something sweet and vulnerable about her—innocent, even. One look, and Nick had wanted to take off his carpincho jacket and wrap it around her silver-strap-covered shoulders. And when she’d stumbled, he felt…protective.

Not his usual reaction to a woman and not one he’d experience again if he could help it. Nick enjoyed being the guy taking off the jacket…slipping off the silky shirt…easing away the lacy panties. A new woman every other week worked just fine.

He was up-front and honest with every woman he took home. Commitment—out. All-night, pleading-for-more-sexy-times-between-the-sheets fun—in. Usually, he went all the way in…slow and deep and all the way in.

A smile pulled at the corner of Nick’s mouth. A night or two playing “slow and deep” with his mask-wearing cake girl would be enough to dispel that nagging, wrap-her-in-a-protective-jacket-and-take-her-home feeling. He was sure of it. And damned if he didn’t like a challenge, especially when it came packaged with curves. But since his wide-eyed mystery woman had made a run for it, Nick didn’t expect to see her again. Given his long-standing commitment issues and occasionally less-than-stellar judgment—probably a good thing. He cruised down the professionally decorated hallway.

Outside his office, Nick’s longtime admin looked up from the stack of paperwork threatening to overtake her desk. She was wearing her patented expression of disapproval, a harbinger for the rest of his day. He was pretty sure that if Peg hadn’t logged in forty years with the firm, she’d have pronounced Nick too much trouble and taken an early retirement. Luckily, she had a soft spot for him. “Morning, Peg, you and your grandson enjoy the Yankees game this weekend?”

His assistant offered a smile. Her grandson was the key to her heart. “Loved it. Thank you for the tickets. Not every seven-year-old gets box seats and a chance to run the bases after the game.” Nick nodded, pleased to hear the kid had enjoyed the game. Peg leaned closer, gestured toward his office and said, “Boss Man’s been in there all morning waiting for you.”

Nick rubbed the strung-out muscles at the back of his neck. Ever since the ex-wife of the firm’s biggest client decided she wanted Nick to be her post-divorce Transition Man, he’d been in deep shit at the firm. She wasn’t the first female client to try and catch Nick’s eye, and he’d probably earned the shitstorm aiming for him like a category five hurricane. But that didn’t mean he had to like it.

At least he’d enjoyed the ride. Several rides actually. Just none with this particular woman. Even Nick knew better than to play with that brand of feminine fire, but the client was calling for his head, and some of the partners at Morgan Wealth Management & Trust wanted to give it to him.

“Thanks for the heads-up, Peg.” He pushed into his office. Behind the desk, Daniel Morgan sat facing the wall of windows that framed the city skyline. Nick suspected he wasn’t here for the view.

“Nick, we’ve got a problem.” Without turning, his boss cut straight to the chase. Direct, smart, and not a man to suffer fools, Dan was an old-school attorney who took both people and his business seriously. A collection of traits Nick admired. He swiveled around and looked him square in the eye. “Here’s the deal, kid. Bill Jeffers wants your dick on a pike.”

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