Breaking the Ice (St. James Family #0.5)

BOOK: Breaking the Ice (St. James Family #0.5)
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BREAKING THE ICE

 

by

Lavender Parker

 

 

BREAKING THE ICE

A St. James Family Bonus Novella

copyright 2014

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are fictitious, or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual locales or actual persons, living or dead, is entirely and purely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this original work may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever without written permission of the author.

 

 

Contact information:

[email protected]

Cover art by Slaughtered Heart Graphics

Self-Published First E-book Edition

January 2014

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

A
nnata St. James was having a terrible day. It was only nine in the morning. But a migraine was forming behind her right eyeball, her hose were snagged behind her left knee, and her coffee was cold. Oh, and her boss's extremely attractive, Ivy-leaguer son was sitting beside her, not even pretending to be interested in the morning's briefing. She didn't know why, but on top of everything else, the jerk with the blue eyes enraged her. The way he sat in the chair – draped, really – as though it was impossible to sit up straight. The way he shook his Italian-leather-covered foot impatiently, like he had somewhere better to be. She bit down hard on her lip as she furiously typed notes on her laptop. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him tap his fingers on his knee. Irrational fury shot up her spine. If she hadn't been in the middle of a meeting, she would laugh out loud at herself. She was being ridiculous. Christophe Van der Kind hadn't done anything to her personally. All he was doing was breathing. Taking up space. And for some reason, the thought was infuriating.

William Van der Kind, her boss and the CEO of International, began wrapping up the meeting. Annata hurriedly finished typing up the last bits of important information. William clapped his hand down on his son's shoulder. “To all of you who don't know, this is my son, Christophe. He's going to be clerking here this summer. Show him no mercy! Anything you need done, feel free to pile it on his desk.” William laughed affectionately. “Okay, meeting over. Buzz off.” As the other attendees stood to leave, William motioned to Annata. “Annie, I need you. Don't go anywhere.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, closing her laptop before standing. She liked the advantage it gave her over Christophe, who made no move to stand. Steeling her spine, she stuck out her hand in greeting. “I'm Annata St. James, the operations manager here at International. Good to meet you. Finally.” She felt his eyes run the entire length of her before settling on her face. She felt warmth creeping up under the collar of her shirt, and she narrowed her eyes. Who did this little shit think he was? He couldn't be more than 25 to her 29. He was practically a child, for chrissakes.


Annata. That's an interesting name,” he said, standing slowly, as if it took effort to do so. She was tall, but he was taller. Dammit. She felt intensely competitive all of a sudden, as if there weren't anything she wouldn't do to best him. Life had come easily to this kid. Everything had been handed to him on a silver platter. She felt the urge to smack him in his smug face. Clearing her throat, she smiled.


It's a family name,” she said. He slid his hand into hers and gave it a shake, which she matched for rigor. He smiled at her, revealing perfect teeth.


I like it,” he said.


I could care less whether you like it or not,” she replied, attempting to extract her hand. He held fast to it however, his smile becoming mischievous.


Can I call you Annie?”


Absolutely not.”


I'll try and remember that.”


Please do.” She yanked again on her hand, and this time he let go. She smoothed her freed hand down her skirt. He worked his jaw, blue eyes shining. He was enjoying ruffling her feathers. Well. She'd fix him. “Do you need something to do?”


Your wish is my command,” he said, winking. She turned and snatched up her almost-empty coffee cup.


Coffee. Black.” She held up the cup, not able to suppress a smile from spreading over her lips. Maybe this wouldn't be so terrible. Watching Christophe Van der Kind fetch coffee and lunches all summer might be enough of a sadistic pleasure to make it worth it.


Christophe, Annie and I need the room please,” William said, sitting at the head of the conference table, his BlackBerry in hand. She saw something flash behind Christophe's eyes. She noticed the color had changed a bit, the vibrant blue seeming to darken. She must be getting to him, she thought with glee. He took the cup from her hand, his fingers brushing hers.


Thanks so much,” she said, not able to resist pouring a little more salt in the wound. He stepped around her and toward the door. “Oh, and Christophe?” she called after him. He turned, his blue eyes practically black. “Make sure it's fresh.”

 

***

 

Bitch
. Christophe fumed, tossing the coffee cup she'd handed him into the sink with so much force he was surprised it didn't break. Annata St. James definitely had it out for him, he decided. She was hot, and her body was nothing to scoff at, but damn. The last thing he needed was somebody riding his ass. Having to spend the summer working in the city was bad enough. All he wanted was for the the months to fly by so he could head to London for school. The Old Man had insisted he come and work, and he couldn't exactly tell his father no. Although, now he wished he had.

Rolling his shoulders, he let the tension drain away. Christophe was generally easy going, and he wasn't going to let the morning ruin the rest of the day. He'd seen some other hot girls around the office, and he had to have the strength to be charming. Women loved him, and he loved them back. He didn't apologize for his god-given good looks and charisma. His whole life was a lucky draw.

He glanced in the sink, at the yellow coffee cup. His thoughts drifted back to Annata, despite his better judgement. When Miranda, his stepmother, mumbled about a girl named Annie at the office who seemed to always have his father's ear, Christophe had imagined... well, he'd imagined a white girl. A blond, or maybe a redhead. Big tits and a big smile. Not the cocoa-complected woman with long braids that hung down to her ass and a permanent scowl on her face. Miranda had absolutely nothing to worry about. He couldn't imagine his father and Annata... no, he wasn't even going to think about it. A ball-buster like Annata would never sleep with her boss. The thought was almost laughable.

Shaking his head, he grabbed the cup and rinsed it out. He went over to the fancy coffeemaker and poured a cup. Black, just how she said she wanted it. Then he opened a packet of sugar and dumped it in the cup, watching the white crystals dissolve in the steaming liquid. He dumped in another three packets for good measure. Then he smiled and left the kitchen, whistling to himself as he made his way back to the conference room. Finding it empty, he turned and glanced around. An assistant, a lovely girl with a blond pixie haircut, smiled at him and he couldn't help but smile back. He leaned on the partition of her cubicle, trying to remember her name.

“Hi,” she said, looking up at him.


Hello,” he said. “What's your name again?”


Margot,” she replied, fingers tapping on her keyboard.


Margot, where's Annata St. James's office?” he said. She furrowed her brow, the mere thought of Annata seeming to bring down her mood.


Oh. Ms. St. James is in office 904, down the hall.”


Tell me, lovely Margot, how many cups of coffee does it take before Ms. St. James pulls the stick out of her ass?” he asked, using his most charming smile. Margot giggled, covering her mouth with her hands.


I don't think there's enough coffee in the whole world,” she whispered, leaning in close. He laughed, throwing his head back. Well. At least she was honest.


Thanks. I'll gird my loins.” He tossed a smile over his shoulder, feeling like he was headed into a minefield. Margot waved to him, and he made a mental note to get her number before the day was out. Whistling, he walked down the side hallway. He stopped when he got to 904, raising his hand to knock on the partially open door. He cocked his head to glance inside and almost choked.

Annata was sitting on the edge of her desk, one leg lifted at an angle, her skirt bunched high on her thighs. She appeared to be checking the underside of her knee, her head tilted toward the floor. She held her braids to the side with one hand, biting her lip in concentration.  He watched her for a moment, fascinated. His eyes ran down the length of her leg, realizing that among other things, Annata St. James had killer stems and was apparently very flexible. His mind went to a bad place for a moment, and he was powerless to stop himself from imagining her flat on her back, those lovely legs, bared and clenched around his hips. Vaguely, he wondered what the soft skin of her thighs would feel like under his hands? He shook his head. What the hell was the matter with him? Annata St. James was so far beyond the scope of possibility, he didn't know why he was even bothering.

Christophe knocked loudly on the door, and took great pleasure in scaring her half to death. She jumped, almost losing her balance on the end of the desk. He pushed open the door and leaned on the doorjamb, smiling as she hastily pulled down her skirt with a scowl.


What do you want?” Annata said, tossing her braids over her shoulder.


Your coffee, Ms. St. James. Black, as you requested,” he said, his voice liquid smooth.


Oh. Set it down wherever.” She waved her hand. He could have sworn she was blushing. He entered the room and glanced around.


Small office. No view?” he asked, eyebrow raised. She glared at him.


Give me the coffee, then go,” she said.


Yes, sir.” He moved toward her, feeling like he was about to feed a tiger at the zoo. Any minute, she could reach out and maul him to death. She stood as he neared her desk, and held out her hand for the cup. He set the cup on the edge of the desk and she gave him a deathly look. “What were you doing?” he asked, dropping his eyes to her leg.


Mind your business,” she said.


Does it have to do with the run in your stocking?” he asked, matter-of-factly. Involuntarily, she stiffened, her knees practically knocking together. “I noticed it during the meeting.” He dragged his eyes from her knee to her face. “Very unprofessional.”


Get out,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. The chest which he now noticed was rather soft and ample.


Do you need me to run out and get you another pair? I'm sure you'd hate if The Old Man saw your wardrobe malfunction.”


Out,” she said. He knew he should go but he was having too much fun. His eyes never leaving hers, he moved around her desk and sat in her chair.


Comfy.” He put his hands behind his head and leaned back. She stared at him, her face placid. But looking closely, he saw her left eye was beginning to twitch, ever so slightly. “I think I like this office. Maybe I'll take it for the summer.”

She laughed, the sound musical, but tinged with evil. He licked his lips, readying himself for whatever she was going to throw his way. She picked up the coffee cup, shaking her head.

“You think you're cute, don't you?” she said, propping her curvy hip against the corner of the desk. She was so close now, he could reach out and touch her. His traitorous heart began to beat hard in his chest.


Do you think I'm cute?” he asked, leaning closer to her. She leaned in, too, a braid slipping over her shoulder and hanging in the void between them.


I think that if you don't get out of my office, you're going to have a cup of steaming, hot coffee in your lap,” she said, her voice smooth and calm. “Black coffee.” He glanced down between them, realizing she was tipping the cup of coffee directly over his tailored pants. A scalding drop landed on his knee.


Shit,” he muttered, standing abruptly. “These cost more than you make in a month!” he seethed, anger flaring up. She set the cup on the desk and crossed her hands on her thigh.


You can go now,” she said, smiling serenely.

 

***

 

Annata's heart was thumping in her chest, but she remained still and outwardly calm as Christophe stood in front of her, clenching and unclenching his fists. His eyes were dark and raging, and she had to admit that there was something incredibly sexy about him when he was angry. He looked less like a spoiled child and more like a man. Shaking the silly thought from of her head, Annata took a deep breath and motioned to the door.


If you don't mind, I have work to do.” She raised an eyebrow. “You do know what 'work' is, don't you?” she asked. He snorted out a laugh, then swept past her, heading for the door.


Nice to meet you, Annata St. James,” he said on his way out.


Wish I could say the same, Christophe Van der Kind,” Annata replied, sitting in her chair and facing the computer. He stopped at the door, opening it slowly. She felt his eyes on her and she told herself not to look back at him. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction.


You know,” he said, lingering in the doorway. “I think it's going to be an interesting summer.” She tried, but she couldn't stop herself from glancing back at him. His good humor had seemingly returned, if the smile on his face was any indication. “Enjoy the coffee,” he said. Then he was gone, closing the door lightly behind him. The little shit. She sighed. She would only have to deal with him for a few short months, she reminded herself. Then Christophe Van der Kind would go back to wherever he came from. He was dangerous, she sensed. It was hard for her to keep herself in check around him. Not that she thought William would fire her for trying to knock some sense into his son... but it still left her uneasy. She didn't want to make an enemy out of anyone at International, especially not the boss's son.

BOOK: Breaking the Ice (St. James Family #0.5)
10.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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