Between Love and Loathing: Chapter 29

CLARA

Having Dominic Hardy warn me of my punishment after a meeting meant that literally anything in that meeting wasn’t going to hold my attention.

I tried. I really did.

He was talking about what I’d mentioned to him, changing the colors of different parts of the resort. Everyone was scribbling notes, and I was doodling swirls on a notepad because I couldn’t concentrate on a word anyone was saying.

I’d totally reacted wrong to not getting a text from him earlier that day, especially after he shared with me why. It made sense, too. He was a perfectionist in everything he did and didn’t trust anyone else to do it because he’d been burned. I saw how he protected those he cared about and was realizing when he failed to do that, he held himself more accountable than anyone else would.

And now I wondered, had I pushed him too far with spending his money? I told the florist we would most likely be changing a few things but now I couldn’t stop the adrenaline, the fear, and the excitement of what he would do to me after this.

“Well, that’s a lot of changes in the last two weeks, right?” Rita’s voice sounded high-pitched and a bit stressed, actually. Dominic’s changes would have everyone working hard, but the buzz in the room seemed to point to them all agreeing with it.

“If there’re no questions, I’ve got a little pick-me-up for you all. Dominic catered in lunch with dessert.”

The announcement was followed by wait staff dressed in white and black, like always, walking in with silver trays of food. The small lunch sandwiches had flaky crescent buns and an herbed spread over either egg and ham or a vegetarian option.

My eyes locked on that food, heat rising to my cheeks. Paloma glanced over at me while most people dug in and mumbled a thank you to Dominic. No one questioned where the food had come from, but I knew right away it was a small restaurant down the street. She must have sensed my irritation because she grabbed my hand before she chewed her cheek and then mouthed a sorry before she took a tepid bite.

Could I be completely and utterly disrespectful and refuse to eat this? He’d catered in food and then after we ate that, little brownies from a bakery down the street were brought in.

Brownies I could have made. It would have been a perfect opportunity to show Valentino and the other restaurant owners that my desserts had the potential to be an option on their menus.

Instead, he’d asked an outside restaurant he didn’t even care about. I lived with the man.

Was about to screw him in a hallway.

Normally, I would have been excited to try anything that smelled this good, but I really just wanted to shove his face in it.

When I glanced at him, he was looking at his stupid phone, taking a bite of the brownie I should have had the opportunity to make.

I heaved a sigh and stared back down at the food. The scent of it danced in the air, and I could appreciate the caramel and chocolate smell. I took my first bite and had to practically hold back a moan. My phone vibrated on the table, and I snatched it up.

Dominic: Licking your lips like that in my meeting is going to get you in trouble, little fighter.

I narrowed my eyes. Didn’t he know how mad I was right now? Even if I was enjoying this dessert.

Me: Why? I’m not hurting anyone.

Dominic: No but having three men on my team watch you eat is going to get them hurt by proxy. So, knock it off.

Me: You ordered the food, not me. If I had, I know where I would have ordered it from.

Dominic: You’re mad I didn’t order from you?

Instead of answering, I took a big bite and made sure to lick my fingers clean after, moaning for extra effect. Valentino next to me shifted in his seat and then leaned over to whisper that the food was really good, wasn’t it?

I hadn’t actually believed that anyone was watching but I laughed and nodded uncomfortably before setting my brownie down immediately. I really was only trying to grate on Dominic’s nerves.

Dominic: See? That moaning should only be for me. Forget my office. Just stay here once the meeting is over.

Me: Not a good idea. I’m not sure I can handle being alone in a room with you when you’ve so rudely ordered another person’s food. I might demand you get on your knees and apologize.

It was only supposed to be a joke. I saw the way his jaw flexed, how the muscles in his neck tightened before his phone clattered down onto the conference table. “Meeting’s over. I have an urgent matter that needs to be attended to.”

The only person that stopped to question him was Rita. “Dom, I actually have some sketches we should glance over quickly.”

Her eyes were on me, though, waiting for me to move out of the room. I didn’t want the attention, nor did I want people catching on to the fact that Dominic and I had once or twice had relations in the resort. I stood, but Dominic grabbed my wrist and glared at Rita. “Not right now. Send it to my email.”

“Well, then, Clara, let’s go.” The woman was bold even as she saw his hand on me.

“No, you.” He looked at me with fire in his eyes. “You sit down. You’re staying here in this conference room with me. Rita, you’re dismissed.”

I knew she left the room because I heard the door slam much harder than necessary. “Could you be any more blatant by demanding I’m to stay here?”

“If you want me to. I can make sure to leave the windows transparent when I get on my knees in front of you. I won’t be gentle when I apologize though. Expect that the lace is going to be ripped off of you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Dominic,” I said, but my voice was breathy, and I knew I was blushing as my eyes flicked over to the windows overlooking the hallway. Our colleagues were still out there, talking and mingling.

“You worried they’ll see how I can make you come, baby?”

My body reacted to his words, even if I knew it was wrong. We were in the workplace, in broad daylight, with literal eyes on us. He pressed a button that dimmed the windows a little, but I still saw their faces, still saw their bodies.

“Sit down on the table and spread your legs, Clara,” he commanded.

“Honestly, my text was a joke.” It wasn’t. I licked my lips, and he took the back of his pen to drag it down my arm where even that touch caused goose bumps to rise on my skin.

“You don’t joke about your food, love. I was trying to give you time off, not hurt you.” He brushed the back of his large knuckles across my cheek.

“My feelings aren’t hurt,” I whispered, but they were. I needed recognition in this industry, to feel a part of the team. “I want to prove myself, and I missed the opportunity.”

“To whom?”

“The team. The chefs. They think I’m where I am because of my stepdad and you.”

“So, someone gave you a chance? People either make the best of opportunities or squander them, and you’ve been proving yourself since the day you got here.”

I wasn’t taking his logical train of thought right now. “Well, whatever. Like I said, the text was a joke.”

“Your text was bait, and I’m taking it.” He grabbed my hips and hoisted me onto the conference table.

My eyes widened and my head snapped to where everyone outside was talking. I heard someone laughing, and it felt like Valentino’s eyes were on me.

“Everyone is still outside. They can see—”

“You can see them, cupcake. They can’t see you … unless you want them to.” He questioned as my breath hitched where his hand dipped into the lace. He hummed. “Ah, I see. My girl likes to give a show then. Like a little bit of risk, Clara?”

I shook my head fast no, but I knew my body gave a different answer. I’d never been into exhibitionism, but with Dominic it felt forbidden and dangerous. It felt like I could have him spiral out of control much like I was. I wanted it but knew we couldn’t do it.

Before I answered him, he leaned in and whispered, “I’m not giving them a line of sight to the pussy that’s mine today, baby. Today, I’m selfish.” His hands massaged my thighs so close to my sex under my dress, strong and rough like he knew exactly what I wanted.

When he ripped the lace from my pussy, I gasped. Valentino’s face frowned at the door. He and Rita were still out there, discussing something. I bit my lip, knowing I had to be quieter.

“Don’t bother wearing these to work anymore. It’s not necessary when I’m going to ruin them. Now, how would you like your apology?”

“H-how?” My mind scattered in all different directions, my body on such high alert that his question caught me off guard.

I was losing the battle of resisting him when he was this close, his smell all around me, the length of him now pressing against my pussy as he stepped between my legs to murmur, “Want me to fuck the anger out of you or get on my knees to show you how much I like your food better? I’ll do either.”

“This … I don’t think this is helping further the resort plan, Dominic. We shouldn’t be doing this here.” My heart galloped at too fast of a speed. Dominic Hardy should have been the man I was staying away from. Yet, he pushed me to see my full potential, aggravated the confidence out of me, and made me express every emotion. No man fought for success as hard as him, no one commanded a room like him, no one earned respect like him, and no one touched me like him.

His sharp and intense stare felt dangerous and hot on my skin. “Are you sure? I seem to recall that you went to Valentino for advice about your bakery today instead of me. Maybe I need to establish that I know what’s best for you and your bakery, not some random dumbass.”

“He’s not random. You chose him and his brand from millions.”

“And I’m also inclined to choose to fire him if he comes near my girl again.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” I shoved him angrily and then tried to wiggle backward on the conference table away from him, but his hands clamped down on my thighs and yanked me back so I was directly up against his hard length. “So one guy is helping me out while you have countless women happily helping you, including Rita. Maybe you and Rita can—”

His hand tightened. “You think my cock gets rock solid like this for anyone else, little fighter?” he grumbled, completely serious. “You’re driving me crazy spending my money, changing up my resort plans, walking around in these dresses that dance and sway with bright-ass colors that don’t belong anywhere in my damn presence.”

“You like the colors. It’s why you’re implementing my idea,” I shot back as his head dropped down to suck on my neck.

“I hate them, but I like you.” He thrust his cock against my clit, and I breathed out his name, not able to control myself even as both Rita and Valentino looked at the door this time. Dominic didn’t stop. He actually chuckled as he felt my body tense, and then he bit and kissed on my neck.

I whisper-yelled at him, “Don’t leave marks, Dominic. I don’t have a sweater to cover them up.”

The voice that left his body was deep and gravelly, almost near a growl full of frustration. “You didn’t answer my question before, little fighter. Am I fucking you or tasting you?”

Feeling the indent of his trousers had me wanting his cock sliding into me more than anything, but I still hesitated even as my hips moved up and down against him as his tongue and mouth expertly moved over my sensitive skin. “I think I deserve both,” I blurted out, my mouth obviously having no shame as I watched two of our colleagues frowning with disapproval at the door. Immediately, I followed up with, “Sorry. No. We shouldn’t—”

I didn’t finish the sentence. His hand sliced up my skirt to feel my pussy, soaking wet.

I fell back on my hands to watch Dominic Hardy become the man everyone knew him to be.

Determined.

Effective.

Brilliant.

And a master at everything he put his mind to. That included him getting on his knees before me and lifting my skirt. He dragged one finger up my thigh as he set about ravaging my pussy. He took his time. “Legs wider, baby. I always want full access to what’s mine.”

“Not yours really.” But I totally spread them anyway.

He rubbed his hand back and forth across his jaw. “Might be fake dating, baby, but this pussy is mine for real.”

With that, he didn’t hesitate in descending on me again like the ruthless man he was. He devoured me, unrelenting as he rolled my clit between his fingers and thrust his tongue deep inside me. He didn’t want to take his time here. He wanted to establish that he could unravel me within seconds. His eyes were determined as he held my gaze, one hand gripping my hip so hard I knew there would be bruises later. My fingers dug into his hair, wanting it just as badly before I went over the edge.

My breath came faster and faster. And I know Valentino and Rita couldn’t see me, I knew they had no idea of my position, but there was no way my breathing was quiet enough. How her jaw dropped and then snapped up before she licked her lips and straightened her jacket before she walked off in a huff was a clear indicator they knew exactly what we were doing. I couldn’t be bothered by the fact that Valentino stayed just a second longer, his jaw tensing. All I could do was try my best not to scream.

Right before I did, though, Dominic’s hand was on my throat, squeezing it so tight I couldn’t make a sound. I orgasmed over his tongue silently and then he let go as he came up to kiss my mouth, my sex and his saliva mingled together with mine. The taste was all-consuming, like we’d mixed all our emotions up with our desires and our frustrations and somehow found a raw pleasure in them.

He went to my ear and said, “No one gets to hear the sound of you coming on my mouth but me, little fighter. Not unless we agree otherwise.”

My eyes flicked to where Valentino had been standing, but he was gone now. I guess they could wonder, but no one could confirm for sure now whether I’d been letting our boss eat me out in the conference room.

“Jesus, Dominic, we can’t do that here ever again.” I shook my head as my mind started to clear, but he had the audacity to press his thumb into my swollen clit.

“That so?”

I whimpered, locking eyes with his hungry green ones. “Dominic, enough. Your apology was more than acceptable. And I couldn’t come again if I tried—”

“You’re not trying. I am. And I don’t try. I just do. Now, lie back, baby. Let your boss give you another one. This time, scream as loud as you want.”

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