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Drawn to Mr. King: Chapter 8

Megan

    into Barre class. Can I call you later?”

I cradle my phone between my ear and shoulder as I dig my gym card out of my bag and swipe it to get through the turnstile.

“Of course you can. If you’re not too busy enjoying the new toy I got you, that is.” Lydia sniggers down the phone.

“Like I can ever look at that thing and not see Jaxon’s face looking like he’s about to unleash hell on earth!” I hiss, lowering my voice as I pass the guy on reception and offer a polite nod as he smiles in welcome.

I push open the changing room door and head to an empty locker, throwing my gym bag inside. “I swear he looked as though he was about to breathe fire. Either that or have a heart attack.”

“Megan, he wants to fuck you again,” Lydia says matter-of-factly.

Fuck with my head more like.

Who says they’re going to call after a night like we had together and then doesn’t?

Jaxon King, I guess.

God, I’m naïve.

“Have you listened to a word I’ve said? He looked like he was going to murder the next person who even looked at him wrong.” I say to Lydia as I unzip the pocket on my bag and pull my padlock and water bottle out.

“I heard you. And I’m telling you, King fox wants to fuck you until you can’t remember your own name. Why else would he look so pissed off that someone sent you a sex toy as a gift? He obviously thinks it’s another man. I would use it to my advantage if I were you.”

I roll my eyes. Lydia has told me her theory already today. But I just don’t buy it. If Jaxon King really is interested, then why is he so cold and angry whenever I see him? It’s like he can’t stand to be near me. Which makes two of us.

My days are a lot simpler when he doesn’t show up unannounced. At least when it’s a scheduled meeting, I know to be prepared for his glary-eyed, moody bullshit.

“I gotta go, Lyds. Speak later, okay?”

“Okay. Enjoy your workout, Meg.” She hangs up, and I slip my phone into my bag and close and padlock my locker.

Up in the dance studio, I slip off my trainers and socks and place them against the wall along the edge of the room.

It’s a busy class tonight, and there are a few unfamiliar faces. Hardly surprising, though, Yolande, the instructor, has a cult following. She’s an amazing teacher. Not just for her technique in class, but for the way she makes you feel so good just for showing up. She says we all need to take time for ourselves, for our mind and body.

She smiles and raises a hand from her place at the front of the room, the wall of mirrors behind her reflecting her greeting. I wave back as I find a space.

“I was told I would ache in places I didn’t know existed after this,” the lady next to me says with a nervous laugh.

I turn to her. She’s younger than me—probably in her early twenties—with chestnut hair and glowing skin. She’s wearing a pale pink workout outfit. My eyes drop to her tiny, toned waist in envy. If it’s her first time, she will probably recover better than most.

“Maybe a bit. But you’ll feel amazing. Yolande knows what she’s doing.” I smile back.

She nods, her eyes glancing to the front and back again. “That’s what I’ve heard. Thanks—” She looks at me expectantly.

“Megan,” I reply.

“I’m Abigail.” She smiles.

I catch Abigail’s eye twice throughout the class, and she pulls a funny face at me when we are told to hold a demi-plie for one minute. I grin back at her. My inner thighs are on fire too. But what is it they say? No pain, no gain?

“My God!” she puffs, patting her forehead with a towel when class finishes. “How often do you do this?”

“Three times a week,” I say as we walk down to the lockers together. “I’d love to come more, but my work’s been busy lately, and my boss, well, he’s been insisting I work late.”

I don’t know why I’m telling her this; she’s practically a stranger. But she seems nice enough. The sort of woman I could be friends with.

Abigail laughs. “Men can be a pain in the ass, even if you don’t have to work with them. For the supposedly simpler of the sexes, it can be a real puzzle figuring out what’s going on in their heads sometimes.”

I nod as Jaxon springs to mind. “You can say that again.”

Abigail looks over at me. “It was nice to see meet you, Megan. Maybe I’ll see you in the next class. If I can still walk tomorrow, that is.”

“You’ll be fine tomorrow. It’s the day after you need to worry,” I joke as I give her a wave and head out the door.

Thirty minutes later, I’m home and showered with my butt parked on the sofa in my unicorn print pyjamas. There are some upsides to being single. These pyjamas—a gift from my cousin—being one of them. I like them more than most of the men I’ve met this past year.

I sigh as I flick through the channels with one hand and balance a bowl of noodles in the other. Nothing on, as usual. I turn the TV off and pick up my laptop instead, resting it on my legs as I eat.

“Hey,” my housemate Rachel calls, coming in and plonking herself down next to me on the sofa.

I turn and smile at her. “You feeling more human now?”

“Oh, God!” she groans, resting her head back against the sofa and blowing some short, dark strands of hair from her eyes. “I hate red-eye flights.”

“Yep, they’re the worst,” I agree, giggling.

She landed from Chicago this morning and went straight to bed. I remember the feeling of working a flight all night, keeping yourself up at three AM by drinking coffee on the aeroplane jumpseats whilst talking about anything and everything with your fellow crew members. Usually, it was sex, poo, and more sex. Flight attendants are notorious over-sharers.

“What you up to?” She looks over my shoulder as I type.

I’m not even sure why I’m doing it, but I type Jaxon King into Google and hit enter. Lydia will be disappointed in me. She would have done this weeks ago.

Nearly all the entries are press pieces about various book releases or publishing news. The latest ones are all about White Fire. Phil even gets a mention as the Head of Design at Articulate. I bet he printed that one out to put next to his bathroom mirror. Ready for when he gives his ego a pep talk. I snort into my bowl. I caught him doing it in his office once. He didn’t see me. It would have been easy to have made a sound and embarrassed him, but I’m not cruel. I’m all for self-love, but this was something else. I’ve never seen a grown man growl at himself before.

“Oh, just looking up the guy I told you about.”

“The silver fox you fucked in the penthouse all night long and then showed up as your new client slash boss?” Rachel arches a brow at me.

“The very same one. Also, the one you failed to mention your ex knew the surname of.” I cringe. “I’m sorry.”

I look at Rachel the second the words leave my mouth. I got that art commission because her ex-boyfriend was the one whose company completed the re-design of the hotel. Another artist let him down, and I stepped in to help out. He and Rachel had a very messy break-up after that night, and she hates to even hear his name now.

It makes my heart ache for her, as they seemed so right for each other. But our pasts and secrets have a way of catching up with us when we least expect it.

Rachel used to sell her worn panties from her long-haul flights to an anonymous buyer online. It was her dream to buy her own home, and the extra money allowed her to do just that. That’s the house we’re sitting in now. But that kind of business and new boyfriends?

They don’t mix.

“It’s fine. His name may as well be added to the dictionary as a new curse word, but you’re right. If I hadn’t been so wrapped up in my own shit, I might have remembered that he told me his name that night and saved you some hassle.”

I feel my nose wrinkle up. “Believe me, hassle and Jaxon King were always destined to go together. Knowing his name earlier wouldn’t have changed anything. I didn’t know until the meeting that his company were our big new client…. and it doesn’t change the fact he never called after that night.”

“Asshole,” Rachel mutters.

“Yeah,” I agree as I click onto the images tab of my Google search.

My fork falls from my hand, clanging against the bowl. There, staring at me from the screen, invading my living room, his flint-grey eyes creasing at the corners as he grins, is Jaxon King. He’s stood next to a handsome, younger man with the same dark eyes. I shuffle on the sofa and glance around the room as though he’s here and I’m about to get caught out.

The text underneath reads:

Jaxon King, 44, of King Publishing, pictured at the Times Annual Book Awards, with his son, Christopher, 26.

“What the hell?!”

Rach leans in closer and reads the text. “Slimy little toad,” she hisses.

Oh my God. He has a son! No, make that—he has a son who is twenty-six!

I pull the screen closer and squint at the image.

Jaxon King has a son who is closer in age to me than he is. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the pair of them. Sure, Jaxon has the odd grey hair and laughter lines, but they look more like brothers.

I put the laptop on the coffee table. It’s none of my business. He’s made that clear by his lack of manners following the night we spent together. But what if…? I drag a hand down my face.

“Rach, if he has a son, then—”

Rach nods at me with a sad smile. “Possibly a wife, too, Meg. Or an ex-one, maybe.”

If he’s got a grown son, then does he really also have a wife?

My stomach lurches. He doesn’t wear a ring, and he never mentioned… God, I’m stupid. He wouldn’t have told me if he was married that night. But then, nobody at work has ever mentioned him being married either. I’m sure he isn’t. I hope so. There’s no way I would have spent the night with him if I thought he was married.

I don’t even know how it happened that night; it’s like someone else took over my body. I can count all the men I’ve had sex with on one hand. All were people I was in relationships with, or at least dating exclusively.

Jaxon’s eyes stare back at me from the screen.

I remember all too well the way their gaze held mine with such intensity as he pushed inside my body that night. The delicious fullness as I stretched around him and held him deep. I had cried out in pleasure when he was fully inside, and he had looked at me in such wonder.

I felt adored that night, my body worshipped by him.

It wasn’t one night for me. It was never just one night.

Maybe that’s why his silence afterwards cuts that bit deeper.


I crunch down a couple of mints as I gather up the sketches I’ve been working on and place them all in a large art folder, securing it closed with the loop and button fastening.

“You still being sick?” Lydia asks as she leans against my desk and picks up the mint packet, tipping her head back and depositing one into her mouth.

“Not much. But I just feel like I might sometimes be.” I take a sip of my water.

I’ve run out of Jaxon’s ginger ale. It was the only thing that seemed to do the trick and settle my stomach. But there’s no way I’m going to ask him for the recipe. I’d probably get my head bitten off just for opening my mouth.

“You sure there isn’t a fox cub growing in there?”

I fix Lydia with a look that tells her what I think about her suggestion.

She rolls her eyes at me. “I still reckon you should take one of these.” She reaches into her bag and throws a box down on my desk.

Pregnancy Test. Tells you up to five days sooner, emblazoned in large lettering on it.

“Lyds,” I hiss as I open my top drawer and sweep it inside. “If Phil sees that, then I’ll be back on the pile cream adverts.”

“You know he can’t do that. The law protects pregnant women in the workplace.” She folds her arms across her chest.

“So does Phil, but I bet he’d try. Besides, I told you… I’m not pregnant,” I whisper.

She looks at me for a second before huffing. “Fine.”

“What are you doing, anyway?” I raise an eyebrow at her. “You’ve been over at my desk even more than usual this morning.”

She looks over her shoulder before answering. “I’m avoiding Tim. He told me I was mesmerising, like a cool waterfall on a hot day.”

I take in her powder blue shirt dress with a grin. “One he wants to dive into?” I giggle.

“Don’t.” She points at me. “It’s even worse this week. Ruth is off sick, so they have collared me into helping in accounts. I’m using the desk next to his. I swear every time I look up, he’s staring at me.”

I shake my head. “Okay, so he’s eccentric. But at least he’s complimenting you. Maybe he’s shy, and his nerves make him come out with all these things.”

Lydia purses her lips as she considers my explanation. “Maybe. He has a hot body. If I can tape his mouth shut, then the sex might be good. I might suggest it to him,” she says as she gives me a wave and leaves, still deep in thought.

I don’t know if she’s joking, but knowing Lydia, she probably isn’t. Poor Tim, I hope he can cope.

I’m still smiling to myself as I knock on Tina’s office door with the folder of sketches tucked under my arm.

“Come in,” she calls.

I open the door and poke my head around. She looks up from her desk and smiles as she sees me.

“Ah, Megan. Come in, come in.” She puts down her pen and gestures to the seat on the other side of the desk. “Please, sit. How are you doing?”

Her warmth is always such a welcome change from Phil’s gruff reaction whenever I knock on his door. It’s another example of what a brilliant manager Tina is compared to him. She doesn’t forget that we are all human beings.

“I’m good.” I smile as I take a seat.

“Have you got over your bug?”

I look at her in surprise.

“I’m sorry, Megan. I heard you in the ladies’ room a couple of days ago.” She smiles kindly but looks embarrassed at having brought it up. “It’s none of my business. Please ignore me.” She laughs, rearranging some papers on her desk.

“No, no, it’s okay. I’m feeling better, thank you. I’m sorry you had to hear it, though.” I frown.

Tina waves a hand in the air. “Oh, it’s nothing, don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all been there. I fainted at a meeting once. Went down like a sack of potatoes. Jaxon rescheduled the entire meeting and drove me home.”

I sit up straighter in my seat at her mention of Jaxon.

“It was years ago,” she continues, “he insisted I take the rest of the day off. He said his wife had a couple of episodes of fainting, and she always benefitted from slowing it down for the rest of the day.”

Wife?

I swallow down the acid that’s burning the back of my throat. It makes sense… it all makes sense now. Him not calling, his—what I’m starting to think of as contempt—attitude toward me. He’s been married all along.

I’m such an idiot.

“So, what did you bring to show me?” Tina’s eyes drop to the folder.

My head is still reeling over the mention of Jaxon’s wife, and my fingers fumble with the folder as I open it. I take out the sketches I’ve been working on, passing them over to her one by one. Her eyes widen, and she holds out her hand for the next one until she’s seen all six.

“Megan,” she whispers. I study her face, which is serious now, her brows knitted together.

Oh, God, she must hate them.

She shakes her head, looking back at each sketch. “These are fabulous!”

“Really?” I ask in surprise.

“Yes! You’ve really captured the characters. Like this one,” she holds up the sketch of a girl with long hair, a glowing aura around her, “and this one,” she holds up another with my attempt at a mystical portal on it. “They’re exactly what I picture when I read the books.”

Her excitement spills over to me, and my face breaks into a broad grin.

“Hang on a sec,” Tina says as she jabs a couple of buttons on her desk phone, and it rings on speaker.

“Hi, Tina,” a smooth, deep voice answers.

My grin freezes on my face.

“Hi, Jaxon. Listen, I’m here with Megan. You have to see what she’s come up with.” Tina raises her eyes to mine, and they sparkle. “I’m telling you, she’s incredible.”

“Yes, she is,” Jaxon replies without missing a beat.

What?

I’m stuck in my seat, dumbfounded.

“You’ve really got to come and see them,” Tina continues, “they’ve given me some more ideas for the covers.”

There’s a pause. “I wish I could, Megan,” Jaxon says, addressing me, “But I can’t. The timing will not work out.”

Timing? Are we still talking about my sketches?

“I have another meeting in an hour. I’ll have to come by tomorrow. Unless you can send a photo?” Jaxon asks.

“No, you need to see them in person,” Tina says, clearly not happy about his answer. She taps her pen on the desk with a frown. “How about Megan comes to you? She can be there in less than twenty minutes in a cab.”

Tina raises her eyebrows at me, and I nod in agreement, even though I’d rather lick Phil’s desk clean than go anywhere near Jaxon’s office.

Silence.

“Jaxon?” Tina leans towards the phone.

He clears his throat before he answers, “yes, that’s fine.”

Great. He sounds as happy about seeing me as I am about seeing him.

“Excellent, I’m putting Megan in a cab now.”

Tina winks at me as she ends the call.


Twenty minutes later, I’m talking to Jaxon’s PA, Veronica, in the reception area outside his office.

“He won’t be a minute, Megan. He’s expecting you.”

I smile at her as I stand, admiring the framed prints on the wall. They’re all poster-sized images of popular books. All books King Publishing has brought into publication. I stop in front of one called Nights of Our Past and roll my eyes. It seems rather fitting considering where I am.

Jaxon’s office door opens, and an attractive blond woman walks out in an elegant camel coat.

“Goodbye, Mrs King,” Veronica calls.

Mrs King?

I stand there with my mouth open like an idiot.

So, this is his wife.

“Goodbye, Veronica. See you soon,” she calls in a sing-song, eloquent tone.

She gives me a smile, which makes her look even more beautiful as she passes. My gaze follows her as she heads down the corridor toward the lifts.

“Hello, Megan.”

I turn towards his voice. Jaxon is standing in the doorway to his office, his hands in the pockets of his dark blue trousers.

“Veronica?” he says, his eyes fixed on my face.

The sound of her typing pauses, “Yes, Mr King?”

“Could you please send my ex-wife the contact details for Kayla Knight? She was asking after them.”

Jaxon studies me with a small curl of his lips as he emphasises the word Ex.

He said, ex-wife.

My shoulders loosen with the confirmation I didn’t have a night of hot penthouse sex with a married man.

“Certainly. Oh, and Joanna has called for you twice, Mr King,” Veronica says.

Jaxon’s expression changes to a scowl, as though a switch has been flicked. “If she calls again, tell her I’m busy.”

“As you wish,” Veronica replies before resuming her typing.

The tapping of the keys seems loud. Or maybe it’s that the space feels smaller now that Jaxon is only meters away from me. I take in his entire body, starting at his feet. Tan leather Italian shoes, dark blue trousers, crisp white shirt, sleeves rolled up to his elbows.

My eyes stall on his forearms and the strong veins visible through his tanned skin. They were even more visible that night when his arm was tense, and his fingers were buried deep inside my body.

My back tenses, and I gulp as I raise my eyes to his face. The corners of his lips twitch, but he pulls them back into a straight line and raises a dark brow at me.

“Please, come in, Megan.” He holds an arm out, gesturing inside his office.

I walk over to the door, but he makes no attempt to move, so I turn sideways to pass him. I make the error of looking up just as I am chest to chest with him. His dark eyes are watching me, and I swear he inhales as I slip past.

His office is enormous and exactly how I pictured it would be. Floor to ceiling windows along the two corner walls, a large, dark wood desk in front and a separate seating area with twin, dark leather sofas. There are more book cover posters in here and some photo frames on his desk.

He closes the door behind him and walks over to the two sofas.

“Please, take a seat, Megan. Show me what you’ve been working on.”

Right.

We’re getting straight to business.

I can be in and out of here in ten minutes. Back to my own desk, away from his intense gaze, which hasn’t let up on its scrutiny of me since I arrived.

“Sure, thank you,” I say as I head towards the sofa opposite him, unfastening the folder on the way, ready to lay it out on the low coffee table. “Oh, Gosh!” I yelp as the folder slips from my grasp, and the papers scatter out onto the rug.

God, I’m so stupid.

It’s being here, near him. He makes me nervous.

I drop to my knees on the plush, grey pile and reach out to gather the sketches.

“Let me,” Jaxon says, joining me on the floor.

He reaches for the same drawing as I do, and our hands collide. A jolt of energy races from my fingers all the way up my arm and into my chest, where it sets my heart beating wildly.

I shouldn’t let him affect me. What’s wrong with me?

Before I can pull my hand back, Jaxon’s strong fingers close around it. He turns my hand over, exposing the delicate skin of my inner wrist. I force myself to breathe as he strokes it with the pad of his thumb, his eyes cast downward.

It feels so intimate.

He must be able to feel my reaction. My heart is pounding in my chest, so my pulse must be racing in my wrist, underneath his thumb.

He clears his throat. “I owe you an apology.”

I stare at him, my mouth too dry to form any words. His eyes are fixed on where our skin touches.

Mine smooth and pale like porcelain, his tanned and rougher.

His voice drops low, his brow furrowed, “for that night. I owe you an apology for that night and for not calling afterwards like I said I would. It should never have happened.”

Oh, he did not just say that!

I tear my hand out of his grip. “No, it shouldn’t.” I glare at him.

I can’t believe this. I preferred it when he was pretending it never happened. It was better than this. Better than hearing he regrets it and thinks it was a mistake.

He screws his eyes shut and rubs his hand over his forehead. “That came out wrong.”

“It came out perfectly,” I whisper, swallowing down the giant lump in my throat.

“What I mean is, you’re a special woman, Megan.”

Jaxon’s forehead creases as he opens his eyes and studies my face. Their depth almost draws me in, and I wish he had kept them shut. I’m stronger that way—without that connection—I imagine when I look back into them. That connection, which I swore was so strong that night that I couldn’t have been the only one who felt it.

But time has shown that, unfortunately, I was.

“I don’t take going back on my word lightly, but you deserve better than I can give you,” he adds, still watching me… waiting.

I roll my eyes. He’s even perfected the face to go with the cliched brush-off. I’ve seen it before with other guys, brows knitted together, lips turned down. If I didn’t know better, I might think he was upset. He must have had a lot of practice with the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ talk.

I shake my head, and an unamused laugh escapes my lips.

“Save it, Jaxon. I don’t want to hear it.” I gather up all the sketches and dump them onto the coffee table as I stand. “There are your sketches. Now, if there’s nothing else, I’m leaving.”

“Megan, please.” Jaxon’s eyes flash, and he jumps to his feet, taking a step towards me.

“You’ve made it clear how you feel. You don’t need to mention it again. Forget about it. I certainly have.”

I don’t think about you every day—replay that night over and over in my head when I’m laid in bed at night.

“You don’t understand, I can’t forget about it,” he hisses, reaching out to grab my chin and forcing my face up, so my eyes meet his. “It’s all I can fucking think about.”

My breath catches in my throat as I stand mute and stare up at him. The heat radiates off his body as he puts his other hand around my waist and pulls me up against his hard chest. All I can do is stare into his stormy eyes whilst blood rushes in my ears.

What on earth is he doing?

“Jesus Christ, the things I want to do to you—” He squeezes his eyes shut for a second and then opens them again, and I swear their intensity just wracked up another notch as he fixes me with a look that makes my knees weak. “You’ve no idea how much I wish things were different. You’ve no idea…” he trails off as he runs his thumb over my bottom lip, watching its path.

I’m so confused.

He says it should never have happened, yet it’s all he can think about. Which is it?

Then there’s my body. I’m so mad at him I want to put my hands against his chest and shove him away. Yet my heart is hammering against my ribs, and my panties are soaking wet. If he slid his hand under my skirt, I know I wouldn’t stop him.

How can he be so complicated? It’s like I’m spinning in circles, losing all sense of what’s happening.

He dips his head down until his lips brush against mine.

Oh, God.

My body quivers in response, and my breath catches in my throat, waiting for the kiss.

Jaxon lingers, his full lips hovering over mine. My eyes flutter closed just before he whispers, “I can’t do this to you, Megan. You deserve more.”

No, not again.

He loosens the grip on my chin, and I snap my eyes open, seizing the opportunity to slip from his grasp.

“Save the act, Jaxon.”

I back away from him, my throat burning with humiliation. He must know what he does to me. He must see how weak he makes me. How my body is putty in his hands. The realisation makes me sick; I’m no one’s fool.

Certainly not his.

“Megan—” he calls after me, but I’m already yanking the office door open.

I stride through, letting it fall closed behind me, and wish Veronica a good evening in the steadiest voice I can.

I make it down the hall and am inside the lift, jabbing the button for the doors to close.

Come on, come on.

Jaxon appears one second too late. His dark gaze holds mine through the final gap before the doors meet and the lift lurches into a descent.

Only then do I wilt back against the wall.

I’m an idiot.

He’s as good as told nothing more will happen between us. Every time I see him, he’s either rude or ridiculously confusing. I’m old enough to know better.

should know better.

But no matter what Jaxon King says or does, all I can think about is how attracted I am to him. How badly I still want him.

Despite what he’s said and done since that night, my body screams out for him to touch me again.

Something deep inside my subconscious is telling me that the night we spent together means more than a one-night stand.

It means so much more.

I just don’t know what.


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