Pacing back and forth across the bare office, I checked my watch for the umpteenth time, then smoothed the skirt of my jet black suit, cursing Cari softly under my breath. Why oh why had I agreed to go first? And why here? Who decorated this damn place?
This 'damn place' is our new office above The Playroom. With dark wood floors glossy enough for upskirting, two real sturdy looking, antique chairs that looked like they should be in the dungeon downstairs, and a desk from some 16th century shipping clerk's office—yeah, we had the classy thing down pat. But the huge room echoed every click of my fuck-me-heels, making me feel very small and out of place. Suits aren't me. Interviews aren't me. The heels . . . okay, I loved the heels. Black with red flames, high enough for a suicide dive.
Admiring the shoes killed another thirty seconds. Then I checked my watch again. Did Cari say 11:00 EST or Central? Am I early or late?
The door burst open, slamming back into the wall hard enough to put a hole in our new paintwork. The chandelier above tinkled. Two grey-uniformed men strode in and headed straight for me. The bronze and steel sub-rifles slung over their shoulders were unfamiliar and sprouted way too many shiny metal add-ons.
"Hey, guys! This room's reserved for --"
They grabbed my wrists, hauled my arms back, and then clicked on a pair of handcuffs before I could say another word.
A shadow in the hallway and steady tromp of feet told me I had another visitor.
"Quiet," my left-hand guard said, growling near my ear. "Dankyo prefers the room secure.”
"Am I allowed to sit?"
The room didn't exactly shake, but my bones seemed to and the metal circles of the cuffs made me all too aware of my helplessness... which I didn't like one bit. I bent my knees and then kicked back so my heel skinned the guards shin through his pants.
"Let me go, asshole. You have no idea the people I've got in here." I raked my brain for who I did have. Shit. All the good ones had the night off.
Someone took over the doorway. A big man.
Notgoodnotgoodnotgood. I straightened and my eyes widened into full I’m-scared-spitless mode. I so did not sign up for this!
His broad form drew me like a bee to honey--every goddamn lickable inch. Well-dressed, well-groomed, he looked like a deadly gentleman. Under his black jacket shoulders hulked--just wide enough for me to have to stretch my arms around. The hint of muscle under his dark brown shirt gave me the urge to undo every tiny button and reveal...mmmm a whole lot of tasty trouble.
But my fingers twitched as I imagined the feel of his ruler-straight brush-top of shaven hair.
Is this Theo? He seems...different?
"Don't." He tugged off a pair of black gloves as he approached.
I swallowed and managed to get my tongue working. "Don't what?"
"Don't make threats. I dislike them." His smile was as dry as the chaff on a field. I felt my courage blowing away. "However, I do like women in handcuffs."
"Cari..." Need a drink. Or several. And air would be nice too. "She arranged an interview. Would be easier if I could get comfortable."
"Very well. Sit."
I wiggled away from the guard and tipped sideways into the nearest chair. My skirt made itself into a belt and I did my best to tug it down with my hands bound. The leather upholstery stuck to my skin.
"So...um..." Time for questions. I had some, didn't I? "Theo. Where are you from?"
His dark eyes assessed me, strayed to my skirt and where my bare thighs showed. "Pull down the skirt for her Matthews, please."
The left-hand guard, a dark-haired brute, leaned down and used both hands to pull at the skirt. "Lift your bottom, darling. It's caught."
"I'm from a small Asian country that was long ago over-run by the GAM--the Greater Asian Monarchy. They used to call it Yazakistan."
"Miss," the guard said, with a smirk. "Your bottom?"
"My bottom? What the hell do you want to do..." It occurred to me that Theo had said something. About my skirt. My cheeks went red as road flares. I arched my hips to lift my butt and didn't look at the guard as he fixed my skirt. "And Mr. Theo, would you like to tell us a little bit about how you met Claire?"
"You are mistaken. It's Dankyo. The colonel has prior arrangements. If you would prefer to terminate the interview?"
My lips parted a little--okay, my mouth hung open. And I managed some kind of sound...nothing close to anything coherent.
As if my reply was irrelevant, he put his large hand on the other antique chair, pulled it over as if it was made of feathers then sat--it was like watching a car being crushed into one of those cubes--the muscle control just in that simple movement was…
Very distracting. Mind on the job, Bianca.
He leaned forward, hands on his thighs. "Answer me, please."
Right. Answer. I blinked. What's the question?
Took me a second, but I remembered. Terminate the interview? Are you kidding me?
I managed to keep most of the squeak out of my tone. "No. I don't want to terminate it." My lips twitched. Being a smart-ass should make up for embarrassing myself. Kinda my MO. I gave him a swift once over. "You'll do." Twisting so I could slouch a bit, I cleared my throat. "So how long have you been with Theo?"
The moment took on that long slow empty feel, like when you've said something wrong. His eyes narrowed slightly and I chewed my inner cheek. Then dropped my gaze to my shoes. Really love these shoes. Really hating Cari right now.
"I never 'do,' Miss Bianca. And I am not 'with' the colonel. I am his head of security and I perform my duties to the very best of my abilities. Though Theo Kevonis may allow me the pleasure of friendship, I never forget my place and neither should you. I have been in his employ since before the war. Nine years. I owe him my life, my livelihood and I will never allow anyone to get within a mile of him if they have any intention of disrespecting...or hurting him. Clear?"
My eyes stung a little. First I'd humiliated myself, then I'd proceeded to piss off a guy I had a bit of a crush on. Time to end the interview and crawl home to bed.
"Crystal." I licked my lips. "So should I assume we'll be seeing more of you in the future?"
"Here? I doubt it. With the unrest at the border, another war is likely. I have more important things to do than being interviewed at a club. However" -- he stood and shucked his coat off his shoulders, carefully pulled his arms from the sleeves and placed it over the chair -- "I believe you told Cari you'd like a spanking?"
"I...." The chair under my butt warmed up and my thong panties dampened. I squirmed. "Um...."
"Perhaps Matthews might oblige and put you over my knee." He sat again. The leather creaked. For the first time I saw a mischievous gleam in his eye and the slightest curve in his mouth.
*Note from interviewer, Bianca Sommerland- Please excuse me if I'm out of commission for awhile. Ow!