The Hating Game Page 38

“Put them on yourself.”

Nothing ever goes the way I expect it will. I take one of his hands and lay it on my side. The other, I decide to slide around to my butt. Both squeeze me, but they don’t move. Basically, I’m feeling myself up, hardly aided by him at all.

“Is this to get around the HR rules? No more HR threats. It’s a complete waste of breath at this point.” Saying it was a waste of my breath. I need all the oxygen I can get. The heat of his hands on me burns through my clothes.

I push his hand down to where my butt meets thigh. He has to bend down a lot and it gets his mouth much closer. Now, I pull his other hand up from my ribs to the side of my breast. He looks like he’s about to pass out. My ego is nearly too big to fit in this room.

“So this is what sex with you would be like.” I can’t resist teasing him. “I was hoping you’d participate a little more.”

He finally says something. “I’d participate. So well, you wouldn’t walk straight the next day.”

More footsteps pass. I’m in a room smaller than a jail cell and Josh has his hands on me. Too bold for my own good, I lift his hand and press his fingertips into my cleavage, just to see what happens.

“That’s okay, walking is overrated.”

Whatever control he has on himself slips significantly and his hand regains its autonomy. He puts a hand under my knee to lift my leg. His fingertips stroke up under the hem of my dress, making a smooth line up my outer thigh to the side of my underwear. His fingertip touches the elastic and I shiver. Between my breasts, his fingers dip and stroke. Then he puts my foot back on the ground, and both his hands in his pockets.

“I want you to do something for me. I want you to have your cute little date with Danny, and I want you to kiss him.”

Even as he says it, his mouth twists in distaste. I drop back down to my regular height. We’ve said some fucking unbelievable things to each other recently, but that was completely out of left field.

“What? Why?” I drop my hands from his shoulders.

The sinking feeling has started. He’s been messing with me all along. He sees the alarm in my eyes and halts my retreat with a hand on my elbow.

“If it’s better than our elevator kiss, case closed. Date him. Plan a spring wedding in a gazebo at Sky Diamond Strawberries.”

I begin to protest but he cuts me off. “If it isn’t as good, you have to admit it to me. To my face. Verbally. Honestly. With no sarcasm.” Every loophole is neatly closed.

“It’s weird you want me to.” I take a step back and knock over a broom.

“The Or Something Game doesn’t resume until you tell me that no one kisses you like I do.”

“Can I just tell you now?” I tiptoe up again but he won’t have a bar of it.

“No way am I going to be your little experiment before you choose Mr. Nice Guy. So yes, I want you to kiss Danny Fletcher tonight and report back on the result. If it goes great, then good luck to you.”

“You certainly are biased against nice guys.”

He adds one more caveat. “One last thing. If kissing him isn’t as good as kissing me, you can’t kiss him again.” He opens the door and pushes me out. Mr. Bexley is clomping along sullenly, so I pull the door shut quickly behind me. He does a double take when he sees me come out of the janitor’s closet.

“I was looking for some glass cleaner. There are fingerprints all over the office.”

“Have you seen Josh? He’s not anywhere. Everything’s falling apart and he’s gone.”

“He’s gone to get you coffee and donuts. You’ve been so busy. Promise you’ll act surprised.”

Mr. Bexley perks up, puffs, and grumbles all in one guttural sound. Then he looks at my dress and its contents with such a leisurely perusal I put my hands on my hips in annoyance. He doesn’t notice.

“You’re looking a little flustered, Miss Hutton. I don’t mind a young lady looking a bit pink in the cheeks. You should smile more, though.”

“Oops, my phone is ringing,” I say, even though it isn’t. “Remember, act surprised when Josh gets back.”

“I can be surprised,” he tells me and heads to the men’s bathrooms. He’s got a newspaper in one hand. Josh can take a leisurely meander downstairs now.

I keep my composure until I get back to my desk, but then I let myself do what I’ve desperately needed to: I pant for air. I huff like I’ve run a half marathon. Sweat is beading on the back of my neck and my face is dewy. My fingers are burning hot from touching the cotton covering his skin. I fog up half the shiny surfaces of the tenth floor before I am composed enough to even sit.

I’m so turned on I wish I could knock myself unconscious until it passes.

Joshua returns twenty minutes later, bearing donuts and coffee. He still beats Mr. Bexley back from the bathroom.

“Nice save,” Joshua tells me, putting a hot chocolate and a strawberry donut beside my mouse pad. “Impressive thinking on your feet.”

I stare at the gorgeous pink donut like we’ve fallen through a wormhole while he disappears into his boss’s office. In the space of twenty minutes self-doubt has begun to erode my confidence that I can handle the Or Something Game. He’s too big, too clever, and my body likes him way too much. I’m desperate to try to lay some kind of ground rules. When he sits at his desk and sips his coffee, it all comes out in a vulgar blurt.

“If the Or Something Game involves sex, it’ll be a one-time deal. Once. One meaningless time only.” I clap my hand over my mouth.

He narrows an eye cynically and begins eating the strawberries I gave him. It’s mesmerizing. I never see him eat anything.

“One.” I hold up one finger.

“Just once? You’re sure? Would you at least buy me dinner first?” He leans back in his chair, enjoying this exchange. He bites, chews, swallows, and I have to look away because frankly, it’s sexy as hell.

“Sure, we can hit the drive-thru for a Happy Meal.”

“Gee, thanks. A burger meal and toy before we went and did it. Once.” He sips at his coffee and looks at the ceiling. “Couldn’t you at least spring for a fancy Italian restaurant? Or do you want me feeling cheap?”

“Once.” I put several knuckles into my mouth and bite them until it hurts. Shut your mouth, Lucy.

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