Seven Minutes of Seduction - "Nice" Excerpt
Copyright © Afton Locke, 2011 - All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
When her office phone rang, Eliza groaned because it ended her after-meeting recovery break. But instead of the
business call she’d expected, it was her friend and former coworker, Margo Villiers.
Eliza watched the minutes pass on the bottom-right corner of her computer monitor as they talked about the latest
sexy dress Margo had bought.
“I wish I could chat longer but I’m swamped,” she finally said.
“You’re always swamped,” Margo complained.
The exaggerated inflections in her friend’s rich voice made Eliza smile.
“Some of us have to work for a living, you know.”
“If you’d come to my parties more often, sweetie, you could find a rich man of your own,” Margo replied.
“I highly recommend the work-free lifestyle.”
The idea of getting rid of all the stress did sound tempting. Ever since Margo had married a rich businessman,
her life had been one of shopping, leisurely lunches and entertaining. But Eliza knew herself. That kind of life would bore
her eventually. She needed to work, just not like this.
“In fact, I’m having one of my special mixers tonight. I called to invite you,” Margo added.
“Mixer” was a mild term for it. Since Margo’s biggest hobby was matchmaking, she invited successful singles
for drinks, conversation and—if desired—hot, creative sexual escapades.
Eliza sighed. “Thank you, Margo, but I’m just too exhausted to do anything after work lately.”
Watching sexy heroes in old movies in her bunny slippers while eating ice cream was the closest she got to sex these days.
“Your new boss is still the slave driver, eh?”
“I’ll say.” Eliza grabbed her pen and squeezed hard, surprised by her impulse to snap it in half.
“You wouldn’t believe what the man— Never mind.”
“He must be sexy.”
Eliza dropped the pen. “What? Why would you say that?”
Margo laughed, a lovely, musical sound. “I can hear it in your voice, sweetie. You want the man.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t stand him.”
So why were her panties getting damp again?
She almost told the other woman she’d received a job offer but didn’t have time to answer the questions that
would surely follow. Besides, until she confirmed the job, she was afraid something might jinx it and leave
her stuck with Zach forever.
Margo just laughed again. “You must come to the mixer tonight. I insist.”
Eliza looked at the time display again. She had to get off this phone but knew arguing with Margo would eat up
even more time she couldn’t afford to lose. It would be easier to just make an appearance at the party.
“Half past nine, and don’t be early,” Margo said.
“Why not?” Suspicion knitted Eliza’s brow. “You’re not trying to fix me up with somebody again, are you?
I told you I don’t like blind dates.”
“Of course not. I just have a lot of preparations to do before the guests arrive.”
Whatever. “All right. See you tonight.”
Eliza hung up the phone, wondering why she had accepted the invitation. If standing close to Zach hadn’t stirred
up her hormones, she probably would’ve turned it down. Oh well. It was just a party.
How bad could it be?
* * * * *
Zach stared into space for a couple of minutes after watching Eliza walk out his office door. He loved the
conservative straight skirts she wore and the way they hinted at the sweet curves of her ass underneath. She
didn’t dress provocatively but didn’t need to.
He drummed his fingers on his desk. His cock ached. Hell, it had ached during the entire meeting but he’d fought
off a full-blown erection until now. Every time Eliza’s silky brown hair had fallen across her eyes, he’d
itched to smooth it back. And that moment at the end when she’d parted her lips…
Did she want him as much as he wanted her?
Unfortunately her big gray eyes never told him much. They had looked stormier than usual when he’d told her
the proposals department needed to step up the pace to keep up with all the RFPs coming at them.
And he’d been sure the new style guide his boss demanded would shatter that cool, maddeningly calm
control she been maintaining throughout the meeting. To his surprise, she’d barely batted an eye.
Why hadn’t she argued with him today?
He liked the way her cheeks flushed when she argued and the way her upturned breasts heaved with her sighs.
It made him want to rip off her high-necked blouse, slip, bra—and whatever else she armored herself with—and
get down to the heart of the matter.
Even when she wasn’t arguing, he wanted to sample her bare skin with his hands and mouth. At least she
never fawned or acted subservient like the rest of them. The woman just simmered under those conservative clothes.
Eliza Worth was not an ass-kisser. She was intelligent and talented and got along well with the rest of the staff.
The thought of that lush bottom lip of hers below his belt made the head of his cock throb. Maybe he wished she
was an ass-kisser…
He was sure he’d caught a glimpse of desire in her eyes. Maybe the chemistry he’d sensed between them affected
her too. He squeezed the outline of his erection through his pants. If only he could forget about work
and indulge in a few minutes—or hours—of pleasure with her.
The ringing phone pried his thoughts away from his staff member’s sexy mouth. Seeing his boss’s number
on the caller ID killed his erection too.
“Your numbers are down.” Linton Crawford’s cold voice sounded so clear it was as if he were in the same room,
not fifty miles away.
Linton. Who would ever name their kid Linton? Maybe that explained why the man always seemed to have a thorn
in his ass.
Zach reached for a stress ball and squeezed the life out of it.
“Everyone is working very hard. Progress takes time, Mr. Crawford.”
“The fiscal year ends in less than a month. You’d better have more new customers and repeat business on the
books. The targets state—”
Geez. This guy was even worse than his father.
“I’m well aware of the targets.” Zach dragged his fingers through his hair and pulled the ends. There probably
wouldn’t be much of it left by the end of the year. “You won’t be disappointed.”
After the call ended, he hurriedly glanced over his agenda. The pace was so fast now he could hardly afford
to take a bathroom break anymore. If he spent many more nights in his office, he might as well move out of his
And the Molly Fletcher situation made him feel like a complete schmuck. Eliza surely thought he was a jerk and,
for some reason, what she thought of him mattered. A broken ankle wouldn’t keep him out of the office but
he realized people did have illnesses and injuries.
Maybe he should reconsider modifying the company’s no-telecommuting policy, but the thought of confronting
Crawford about it made his stomach churn. The man didn’t compromise on anything.
The phone rang again. What now? Crawford had probably called back to hassle him some more.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Taunton.”
Zach blinked in confusion at the seductive female voice. It definitely wasn’t Crawford.
“I’m Margo Villiers and I called to personally invite you to a little mixer at my home this evening.
It begins promptly at nine o’clock. Please don’t be late.”
“Thank you but I don’t have time for parties.”
He used the same brusque tone he reserved for telephone solicitors and other people he didn’t have time for.
The name sounded familiar, though.
“Wait!” She must have realized he was already in the process of hanging up. “This is a special party.
Eliza Worth will be there.”
He had time for this.