Tainted Love: Anything For You Series 2

BOOK: Tainted Love: Anything For You Series 2
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TAINTED LOVE

 

(Book 2 of Anything For You)

“Trust is like glass. It is fragile, it cracks and eventually breaks. Once it's been broken, it will never be whole again. Just like relationships.”

 

Juliana and Michael have been together for many years and yet somehow, things haven't been the same. No matter how hard she tries to be with him, he does what he wants and forgets about what his real priorities should be.

 

Danger lurks around the corner. Joana has had her eyes on Michael for a long time. Although she has been a good friend of Juliana, she did not care for their friendship anymore. All she cares about is him and she would do anything and everything to take him away from her. But will she let her?

 

Gabriel is hopeful. His desire and his attraction to Juliana have not faded away no matter how hard he tried to dull them. He hoped that one day she would be able to see that Michael has been neglecting her and that she deserves better. Will she let him show her what she's been missing or will she stay by Michael's side instead?

 

This story continues the journey for 4 people through love and hate where they will find out that relationships are never easy no matter how hard you work hard to keep them.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Gabriel was in the meeting room, listening in on the exchange of ideas as well as the presentation before him and yet, no matter how hard he tried, he found it hard to concentrate. As his gaze continued to roam around the room, he found who he was looking for. Although she was far away and standing in the far corner of their now crowded meeting room, he saw her. She wore her usual thick-framed eyeglasses with light make up and her hair tied on top like a messy bun. She wore a short-sleeved dress that was cut until her knees. The dress was colored black with white stripes and it hung on her on all the right places accentuating her curves. Gabriel felt his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed hard. The mere sight of her would leave him hard for her despite the fact that she was not doing anything sexual to him. He remembered that it had been a week since she was in his home. Juliana had decided to stay away from him for a week, which had pissed him off immensely, but seeing her now had made things seem better for him. He devoured every single detail as he continued to look at her. It did not matter if there were other people around him. They were all too busy with the meeting anyway.

 

              Juliana felt hot. Something was wrong. She fidgeted. This meeting was going longer than expected, and for the rest of the team who had been standing for more than thirty minutes now, she sympathized with them. She was after all, not seated in one of the executive chairs. This meeting was supposed to be important and yet, she felt herself distracted. She squirmed as she did her best to stand up straight. Her face looked interested even when deep inside she protested. She wanted the meeting to end soon. She still had a deadline to catch. She frowned mentally as she remembered that the articles that she needed to write today needed a lot of research, especially since she wasn't into different kinds of diets. The thought of her munching on a tomato at night due to hunger was not exactly exhilarating. Water diet was a big no-no and so was being a vegetarian.

 

She loved her bacon. She licked her lips as she made a mental note to have some for lunch. Her stomach growled, which startled her. Luckily, nobody heard it and even if they did, nobody cared to stare at her or even admonish her for it. She fanned herself as she felt hot. She wondered if it was because they were all cramped up in the meeting room or if she just really felt flushed today. It was a warm summer day after all. Her eyes wandered around the room in search for Lisa but she was nowhere to be found. Juliana wondered if she would ever come around. It was then her eyes met his. Gabriel's eyes were hooded as he looked at her. There was an intensity in his gaze which unnerved her. She knew she was already in a relationship and yet whenever she saw him, she felt her heart beat faster. Could it be that she was infatuated with her boss already? Great! Now, she was just like every other woman in the damn meeting room. She quickly looked away so as not to incite more attention from him. She blushed as she felt the need to look at him again only to see him still looking at her. She cursed under her breath and scolded herself inwardly. She wasn't going to fail now! After a week of staying away from him, she was standing here in front of him in the meeting room with other people. With a resigned sigh, she realized that meeting him today was inevitable. He was still her boss after all.

 

“Before we end this meeting, we would like to remind everyone that we will be asking all of you your suggestions regarding this matter today. Back in your stations, there are pieces of paper wherein you should write your ideas with us and before today ends, leave all of them in this box which we will collect at 5 P.M. this afternoon. We expect everyone to participate as this is for the betterment of Crave...”

 

              The blonde woman said as she spoke confidently in front of everyone. She looked like she's in her late 40's but it was hard to tell. Everyone called her Mrs. Dunham. Mary to some. She had been one of the senior staff at Crave and had contributed a lot for the company already. Gabriel acknowledged that and despite the tempting distraction in front of him, he knew he had to be professional. He wanted to change the image of Crave in his own way, but he felt that it was still too early for that. For the past two years, he had done nothing but continue with what everyone had gotten used to, and despite some of his ideas being different, he let them slide. Now, he knew he had to start somewhere. The meeting and the participation of everyone, especially the senior staff, were both going to become regular practices in his father's company from now on.

 

No matter how inconvenient it was to many of them. At the thought of inconvenience, his gaze darted again to Juliana, who he knew was not just feeling uncomfortable under his penetrating gaze, but as well as her high heeled shoes, which made his blood boil. He had to look away from her fast before he started having dirty thoughts again. As the meeting was about to be adjourned, Mr. Brown stood up to speak in front of everyone.

 

“Next month will be another Crave anniversary and as a tradition that Mr. Frank Mitchell has started, a week from now, we will be having a writing competition among ourselves to celebrate this event. This is not just to celebrate how Crave began, but we are hoping that this will also promote camaraderie among all of you to keep working in harmony. To those who would like to participate, you have to write an article that's related to food, lifestyle and health. Mr. Gabriel Mitchell and all the senior staff will be in charge of picking the winner. Remember that there can only be one winner. As you all know, we do not usually announce what else is at stake before the competition begins. We will only be announcing it a week from now when all of you have already submitted an entry. The only reward that you should know about right now is that whoever wins will get their article published in next month's issue as the cover article, so you better give this your best. You all only have six days to accomplish this. Good luck and we hope to read a lot of good entries this year,”
Mr. Brown, a jolly old man, said.

 

As Gabriel listened to the rules of this yearly competition that his father started, he realized how good his father was as a leader. It was no surprise that the company that he built from scratch was now one of the top publishing companies around apart from Summit, which was one of their leading rivals in the business. When he heard that everyone could join this competition, he wondered if Juliana would actually do it. He knew she could be timid and despite the fact that she always worked hard, he was uncertain if she was into these kinds of activities.

 

Juliana never really struck him as a competitive individual, although deep inside he wished that she would join somehow. When Mr. Brown said that there was more than one reward for winning the competition, he found himself intrigued as to what other reward will be given to the winner. He wondered if he could actually decide the other reward by himself. Then it hit him. If Juliana joined the competition and won, what kind of reward would she be expecting? He made a mental note to himself to talk to the senior staff regarding this other reward. He was itching to voice his opinions about it and somehow he hoped they would let him decide this by himself. He was their boss after all.

 

              The meeting adjourned with no sign of Lisa. Juliana wondered what happened to her. When she was about to go back to her station, she decided she should investigate what happened to her friend first. When she got there, she took a peek at her friend's station across the hall from hers, and found it was empty. She pouted as she had walked all the way to the other side of the office just to greet her but she wasn't there. As she was walking down the hallway, she stopped midway when she saw a familiar figure at the end of it. His frame was big and she knew he would tower her. He stopped walking and looked at her. He did not know what to do. She did not know what to say.

 

They were both in an awkward situation that they did not intend to experience. Gabriel cleared his throat first and started walking again. When he passed by Juliana, he felt like stopping. Her perfume was in his system. When he scented her, he felt the need to touch her, to feel her, just like last time. But he restrained himself due to many reasons. He knew that Juliana did not want to be gossiped about. Neither did he. He knew that gossips could be cruel, especially to the faint-hearted, and he wanted to protect both of them from that.

 

“Good morning, Ms. Austin.”
Small talk. He needed just that from her and he would be fine.

 

“G-good morning, Sir,”
she said as she tried to smile in front of him.

 

“I trust you've been well...”
he said as he smiled at her.

 

“Y-yes. I've been good. Busy,”
she responded.

 

“Good to hear that. I thought you've been avoiding me.”
His voice sounded hurt and she noticed.

 

“Avoiding you, Sir? Why would I? I would never,”
Juliana denied but Gabriel knew she was lying.

 

Before Gabriel could react to her, his phone started ringing which startled him. He immediately answered his phone. Juliana knew the conversation was over. She slowly walked away from him. Once he already knew who was calling, he put the person on hold, to say goodbye to her first.

 

“Goodbye Ms. Austin,”
he said before returning to his call.

 

“See you around, Sir.”
But those were words she never meant. The only question remaining was until when could she stay away from him?

 

              Gabriel did not expect to be called by someone while he was trying to make some small talk with Juliana. Although she started out aloof with him, she had become worse after the incident. He did not know whether she was ashamed of what happened or she just did not care for him. He only hoped that she was avoiding him because of the gossip it would generate and not because of his other negative thoughts. He shook his head as he continued his conversation with the caller. He could not afford to be distracted. It was a business call after all. His issue with Juliana would just have to wait.

 

Michael rushed to park his car. He had woken up late today and got stuck in traffic. He promised himself not to go drinking again with his co-workers on a weekday. He was glad that none of his superiors noticed him tiptoeing to his table. He sighed as he turned his computer on to get ready for today's work when suddenly he was startled when someone tapped his shoulder. He cursed under his breath and tilted his head to see who had disturbed his peace. He exhaled as he saw Joana smiling at him. She was wearing a tight black dress that made her look like a fashion model. Her slender physique combined with her high heels made her look taller. Her face seemed bare except for her red lips and light blush. Her hair hung loose behind her, which seemed to glitter in the bright room. Her blue eyes were alert and alluring, which she accentuated even more by wearing dark eyeliner around them. He grumbled as he looked away. He did not want to see her now, now was not a good time, but how could he turn her away? Even if he wanted to, he knew he couldn’t be that rude.

 

“Hi Mikey!”
she breathed as she smiled at him.

 

He sat upright and decided to do some small talk at least, which he hoped would be enough to sate her and make her stop bothering him for a while. He did not need to be reminded of his deal with her. He was in too much trouble already because of it. Seeing her just worsened his feeling of guilt on the inside.

 

“Hey Jo!”
He forced himself to look at her and smile.

 

Joana knew she was not welcome. She never was and yet, she persisted on being with him. She hated quitting and right now, she planned on continuing to seduce him. Even if it meant looking like a desperate woman who was always clinging to him. She looked around and saw that everyone was busy before leaning down to him to whisper in his ear.

 

“You're late. But don't worry. Your secret is safe with me,”
she teased, making him frown.

 

He did not know if she was just being friendly with him or if she was flirting. He knew he was just pretending to be her boyfriend so that her stalker of an ex-boyfriend would stay away, but the way she was acting right now did not amuse him. He would rather be with Juliana as she flirted with him but he knew that was not happening. He was at work and so was she. Time to think of a way to ditch Joana, who still looked at him expectantly as if waiting for his playful response, but he was in no mood for that. He decided it was time to tell her that all this attention was making him uncomfortable and as much as he would like to help her, he did not want to look like he was cheating when he wasn't.

 

“Jo, you know, you really need to stop being too friendly with people. They might misunderstand. You know how people love to gossip,”
he reminded her.

 

Although his approach was not as direct as he would have wanted, he found himself having a hard time expressing himself. He never really had it easy when it came to expressing his true feelings. The smile on Joana's face subsided as she realized that Michael was not feeling the moment. She stopped leaning on him and put on a straight face. He was right. She did not want people to think he was cheating. But somehow, she wanted people to see them and to gossip that they were having an affair. At least this time, she wouldn't mind being linked to him. He just had a girlfriend. He was not married. There was nothing to be ashamed of. She knew she was shameless but at least not shameful.

BOOK: Tainted Love: Anything For You Series 2
10.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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