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Drawn to Mr. King: Chapter 5


    pings into my inbox, and I delete it immediately.

What am I doing? I need to get my head on straight, or I’m never going to get any work done.

I click on the next email in my inbox. It’s from Veronica; confirming the schedule for the test group day we are setting up with a local kids’ library group to gauge their reactions to the designs for White Fire. I check it over, type out a reply with some timing amendments, and then move on to the next email. It’s the latest instalment of Martin’s manuscript. I click open and read the first few lines.

I’m not going to lie. Cancer sucks. And it’s not the kind of sucking that I like to think about when I hear the word sucking. No, cancer doesn’t suck balls. Although, I wish it did. I’d be in empty ball heaven.’

I chuckle to myself as I lean back in my chair. I’ve already read the latest instalment three times, finding something new to laugh at with each one. It’s been a welcome distraction from thinking about a certain redhead.

I snapped the pencil I was holding when Tina told me she asked Megan to be the lead illustrator. Snapped it clean in two without even knowing I was doing it.

Of course, Tina made the right choice. Megan is talented and will do an incredible job. It just means that avoiding her is going to be even harder now. As much as Tina is project manager, I will still be required to oversee things and have the ultimate word on what’s approved. I’m still going to see her in her tight little black pencil skirts, the curve of her beautiful ass on display. I remember how the curve of it feels beneath my fingertips, what her skin tastes like, the scent of her skin.

I get up out of my chair and pace around my office.

This is ridiculous.

I’m a forty-four-year-old man, for God’s sake. I’ve had nights with women before and not given it a second thought afterwards. This shouldn’t be any different.

I check my watch. It’s almost six pm. I can probably catch Christopher leaving work if I try him now. Talking to him will clear my head. I sit back down at my desk, punching the keys on the desk phone to bring his stored number up.

“Hey, Dad,” Christopher’s voice puffs down the phone.

“You okay, Son? You sound out of breath?”

“I just had to run to grab the phone, that’s all,” he replies.

“Aren’t you on your way home now?” I ask, checking my watch again. He’s working late.

“I was, but we had a chihuahua who swallowed a magnet. Surgery ran over.”

“Dedicated as ever.” I smile with pride.

“Something like that.” He blows out a breath. “Tiger is Leah’s Nan’s dog. I think she’d have had my balls if anything happened to him. She packed his pyjama t-shirt for him to wear in recovery in case he feels cold.”

I let out a low chuckle. “The way to a lady’s heart is through her Nan’s dog. Man, that must be where I’ve been going wrong.”

“Must be, Dad.” Christopher laughs.

“Your mother’s been asking when you are bringing Leah to visit,” I warn him.

“Oh, God. Mum will measure Leah for a wedding dress when her back is turned. Then it’ll be the ‘when are you having kids?’ conversations.”

I can’t disagree. That’s exactly what Penelope wants. We were so young and unprepared when we had Christopher. It was a huge learning curve, juggling new parenthood with my degree and Penelope studying at night classes, too.

I get the impression she feels like she missed out somehow. It was all about survival then. She probably feels she could enjoy a grandchild now. Enjoy them and then hand them back later.

“She means well,” I say.

“I know, Dad,” he sighs. “So, what’s new with you?”

Besides being uncharacteristically fucked in the head over a woman?

I clear my throat. “I’m all good here. Work is busy. We’ve just started on that massive project I’ve been telling you about.”

“Oh, yeah. How’s that going?”

A jangle of keys followed by a clunk of a door being shut tells me Christopher just got into his car.

“It’s going great. Listen, it sounds like you’re ready to head home. I won’t keep you. Get yourself a beer tonight. You’ve earned it after saving Tiger from death-by-magnet. And keeping your balls.”

Christopher’s easy laugh echoes down the phone. “Okay, Dad. Speak to you tomorrow. Love you.”

“Love you too, Son.” I hang up and close my eyes, resting my head in my hands on top of the desk.

It’s time I headed home, too. God knows I could do with some decent sleep. It seems like a distant memory since I last had an unbroken night.

I get up from the desk and grab my cell phone. My thumb catches the screen, and it lights up.

Three missed calls and a text from Joanna.

Joanna: Jaxon, we NEED to talk. Call me back. Don’t make me come to your office.

I grind my teeth as I shove the phone into my pocket. I’m not calling her back, not tonight. Today has been bad enough already.

That shit can wait.


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