Page 18 of Naughty Girl

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I stand. “Sure. I mean, it’s a different topic. Need her opinion on the Christmas party this year.”

Beth crosses her arms over her chest. She knows I usually don’t waste time with unnecessary chatter. “Of course, but we’re in July.”

“It’s never too early to start planning, Beth. I’ll be right back,” I say, walking away from my desk.

“Sure, it’s just you have a priority list and I don’t want you to be behind,” she says. She’s right. I have a huge ass to-do list, which includes important meetings and decisions about the company. Quarterly reports. But nothing that compares to this annoying sensation in my chest that will just go away when I see Riley.

“Trust me, this event I have planned is of most upmost priority,” I say and leave my office, without looking back.



“Can I get you some coffee?”my assistant Cara asks.

I look at her pretty face, a girl in her twenties just like me, trying to make it one day at a time. A girl who probably makes smarter decisions, one of them being not to sleep with her ex boyfriend’s dad. “Yes, that’d be great.”

“Great. To celebrate you being back, I’ll even go to your favorite coffee place across the street.”

I wink at her. “You spoil me.”

“Granted, I need some too,” she says, and leaves my office.

I sit back in the leather chair, swiveling around, not wanting to go through the sea of emails waiting for me in my inbox. Cara is great, but she’s been working for me for a few months and is still in training. Besides, she loves a reason to get off her desk and stroll around and randomly talk to coworkers, strangers and baristas.

I open my digital planner and look at my to-do list, and within a few minutes, check off a couple of items.

My phone buzzes, and a glance at the screen shows a message from Alex.

I heard you’re back. Can we talk?

I knew this moment would come.

I haven’t seen him in the office today yet. I know I will, and when that happens, I’ll act professionally. Honestly, the anger toward him has dissipated. When I made the decision to go after his dad and seek revenge, I was consumed by anger. I didn’t like to be cheated on, and so many feelings related to my mom being fooled around on popped in my head.

Now, I feel… nothing for Alex. Not even resentment.

I can only think about Rhett. I saw him earlier, when he was entering the elevator, but he didn’t see me. My heart raced, and now anticipation has my blood on a maddening low simmer. I guess I can make up an excuse to go see him, but I’d also like to wait for his move first. After all, I went overseas chasing him, I told him I was falling for him… I’ve been making it easy for him. Selfishly, of course. I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to. But still…

Back in Brazil, he said he’d take it day by day. What does that mean?

What istodaygoing to be like?

When we arrived in Dallas, he offered for me to stay in his place, but I refused. I knew I had a lot to do, was jet lagged, and the fear of getting too attached still lurked, especially after what he said about taking things slow. What if he tires of me next week and I have to scramble to find a place? Best to scramble to find it now.

I sigh.

Truth is, I want to take things slow too, but my heart has different plans.

A knock at the door startles me from my thoughts. It can’t be Cara already. She hasn’t had enough time to chat up every single guy on the line or in the elevator.

Could it be Alex? I touch my stomach, a hint of nausea bubbling. I have to face the music. “Come in.”

Rhett walks in my office, and closes the door behind him.

The nausea is gone.Phew.

A fluttery sensation flows in my stomach. The twinkle in his golden brown gaze hints at this not being a work visit, unless there’s an emergency. He usually doesn’t come to my office, as there’s no reason. We’re on different floors. Either I go to him, or we’re in the same meetings. Or I chat with Beth, his efficient assistant.

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