“If you’ll excuse us,” Eric said in a low voice to Christine and before she knew it, Lucky was being dragged out onto the dance floor. She saw her friend give her one last anxious glance and then they were lost in the dancers who were swaying to something soft and sensuous by Norah Jones. At least it’s not “Jingle Bell Rock”, Lucky thought distractedly.
“How long were you listening to my conversation?” she demanded, trying to sound indignant despite the way his hard body was pressed against her own.
“How long have you been making mistakes on purpose just to get under my skin?” he returned, a frown making the white scar above his lip more pronounced.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Lucky lifted her chin defiantly.
“You know perfectly well what I’m talking about, Lucinda.” Eric Payne’s deep voice was little more than a growl. “And what’s more, I know you know so drop the act. You’ve been playing me for a fool and I don’t appreciate it, no matter what your motives are.” He scowled. “But now it’s time you got what’s coming to you.”
“I don’t understand—” she began but then he had her by the arm and was pulling her off the dance floor.
“There’s nothing to understand. You’re coming with me,” he growled. His grip on her arm was like iron and Lucky went with him helplessly. Most of her other coworkers were too drunk to notice what was going on and even Christine was dancing with her date and didn’t see them leave. As Eric pulled her out of the conference hall, Lucky had to acknowledge that she was completely on her own with her very angry boss. It was exactly what she had planned on happening but now that it was, she found she was nervous and uncertain. How angry had she made him? Had she finally pushed him too far?
“Where are you taking me?” she demanded, attempting to put on the brakes and utterly failing.
“My office,” he said grimly. “We’re going to finish what we started earlier.”
Lucky felt a cold chill run down her spine. What was he going to do to her? By the look on his dark face, it wasn’t sex her boss had in mind. But before she could protest further, he had pulled her down the hallway and into his dimly lit office and slammed the heavy wooden door behind them. Then he turned to face her, breathing heavily.
“What…what are you going to do to me?” Lucky bit her lip, feeling like a flight of butterflies had suddenly taken off in her stomach. Every time she’d imagined this scenario in her head, this was the time when Eric had pulled her in for a hard, angry kiss. She had been anticipating that kiss and the quick, angry sex to follow. But instead of kissing her, he was no longer even touching her. He was simply staring down at her with that look on his face like a thundercloud about to erupt.
“There’s something different about you tonight and it’s not just that silky little piece of nothing you have on,” he said, not answering her question. He leaned forward, his nostrils flaring slightly and Lucky leaned back, suddenly alarmed. Was he smelling her perfume? Was it doing something to him? Surely not.
“Whatever it is,” he continued, “it’s not going to save you from your punishment.”
“Punishment?” Lucky looked at him with wide eyes, not believing what she was hearing. “Are you serious?”
“I’m completely serious.” Eric crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “You’ve been making mistakes that could cost this company enormous amounts of money—and you’ve been doing it on purpose.” He scowled. “Normally in a case like this I would bring the matter to my superior’s attention. But with you, it wouldn’t do any good. I’ve seen the way you have your uncle wrapped around your finger. He wouldn’t even give you a slap on the wrist.”
“No.” Lucky lifted her chin defiantly. “You’re right. Uncle St. John wouldn’t do a thing to punish me.”
“He would, however, be extremely disappointed,” her boss continued, “if he knew that his favorite niece was involved in some kind of corporate sabotage.”
“Sabotage?” Lucky raised her eyebrows at him. “It was a few mistakes, I hardly think you can call that sabotage.”
“Do you want to take the chance that your uncle will make that distinction?” He frowned at her. “Do you want to take a chance on disappointing him?”
“I…” Lucky bit her lip. She suddenly realized that Eric Payne had her in a much worse position than she had him in by far. He was right—if he went to Uncle St. John with the news that she had been screwing up on purpose for whatever reason, her sweet old uncle would be terribly unhappy. And no matter how much she liked to get what she wanted, Lucky didn’t want to hurt him.
“I can see by the look on that pretty little face that you begin to see what you’ve gotten yourself into.” He boss smiled grimly. “Now that we’ve established who’s in charge, I want you to go over to my desk, raise your skirt up over your hips and bend over.”
“What?” Lucky couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had been scheming for six months to get her boss into bed or into the supply closet or across his desk, or wherever she could for that matter. But she was determined that she wasn’t having sex with him except under her own terms. “I don’t care what you’ve got on me,” she told him, crossing her arms over her chest. “I’m not going to let you coerce me into sex just to keep your mouth shut.”
Eric threw back his head and laughed for perhaps the first time since she’d known him. “Oh, I’m not going to fuck you, Lucinda,” he said, a gleam of dark humor sparkling in his eyes. “I’m just going to teach you a lesson. I’m going to spank you.”