Best Friends, Secret Lovers

By: Jessica Lemmon


“Belinda said—”

“Mac is a horse’s ass. He’s been pissed off since I pulled my friends into the inner sanctum instead of him, and this quarter’s numbers are the perfect excuse to summon the townsfolk to bring their pitchforks. Belinda wants me to run from him like a scared rabbit.” He glowered at Sabrina. “Do I look like a rabbit to you?”

“No. You don’t.” She gripped his arm in an attempt to connect with him, to break through the wall of anger he was behind. His features softened as his mouth went flat and a strange sort of awareness crackled in the air between them. An electric current ran the length of her arm and skimmed her form like a caress. Even her toes tingled inside her Christian Louboutin pumps.

She yanked her hand away, alarmed at the reaction. This was Flynn, her best friend. Whatever rogue reaction her body was having to him was...well, crazy.

She shook out her hand as if to clear the buzz of awareness from her body. “You’ll have to tell me what’s going on sooner or later.”

He watched her carefully, his blue eyes revealing nothing. They were more gray today thanks to the color of his suit jacket. Handsome even when he was angry.

Veronica was an idiot.

A surge of anger replaced the tingles. Whenever she thought of his ex-wife’s betrayal, Sabrina wanted to scream. He was too amazing a person to settle for someone who would discard him so carelessly.

“Flynn.”

He sighed, which meant she’d won, and she had to fight not to smile. The elevator doors swept aside and he gestured for her to go ahead of him. “My office.”

She led the way, walking into the glass-walled room and waiting for him to follow before she shut the door.

His assistant, Yasmine, was out sick today so Sabrina didn’t bother shutting the blinds. The only other two people on this floor wouldn’t heed a closed blind any more than she would. Like her, Gage and Reid had an all-access pass to everything Monarch and everything Flynn. Their loyalty to him ran as deeply and broadly as her own, which was why she pegged him with an honest question the moment he propped his hands on his waist and glared down at her.

“What is going on with you?”

Admittedly, her intervention was about six weeks too late. She’d assumed he’d bounce back any moment. A possibility that grew further and further away as the days passed.

“Meaning?”

Short of grabbing him by the shoulders and giving him a good shake, she didn’t know how to reach him except to ask point-blank. “Meaning, what was the screaming about downstairs? What was it really about? I don’t want some generic comment about how you and Mac don’t see eye to eye.”

“Nothing.” His face pleated.

Deciding to wait him out, she straightened her back and folded her arms over her chest. She wasn’t going to let him throw up a smokescreen and keep her out of this any longer.

“No one here believes I can do this job,” he said.

“They’re wrong.”

“They want my father back. They want a ruthless, impersonal asshole to sit in this office and deliver their bonuses.” Flynn sat down in his chair and spread his arms. “I’m filling the ruthless, impersonal asshole part of the request and they’re not appeased. They’re like...like an active volcano that needs a virgin sacrifice.”

She lifted an eyebrow at the metaphor.

“Know anyone?” His lips twitched at his own joke.

She smiled and the tension in the room eased. “I’m sorry to say that my V-card was awarded to Bennie Todd our freshman year in college.”

“Your first clue that was a mistake was that his name was Bennie.”

“Yuck. We’re not talking about him.”

His eyes flickered playfully. The Flynn she knew and loved was still inside the corporate mannequin she was currently addressing. Thank God.

He’d always sworn he’d never turn into his father. And yet after his father’s illness and subsequent death, after finding out Veronica had screwed him over, Flynn had devolved into a close simulation of Emmons Parker.

His face drawn, he stood and gestured for her to take his chair. “Have a seat. I want to show you something.”

She sat in his plush, ergonomic chair and he leaned over her, the musky smell of him familiar and not at the same time. He’d been this close to her a million times, but this was the first time she noticed her heart rate ratcheting up while he casually tapped in the password on his laptop. What was with her today? Had it really been that long since she had male attention?

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