A Valentine’s treat for fans of Working Girl!
Valentine's Bonus Treat
In this exclusive bonus read, Tess finds herself whisked away for a fabulous Valentine’s Day adventure!
I opened the handwritten note, crossed my legs and smoothed it out on my thigh. My heart swelled and I smiled when I read the words again.
Come away with me. Be ready at 9 a.m. Don’t pack anything.
That was all. No X’s or O’s, no profession of love. No name or initial. Just instructions. Demands. Expectations. And I was going to do exactly what it said.
I touched the bold script with my fingers. I knew who it was from and I could almost feel his energy captured on the page, as though it had absorbed his very essence. He’d touched this thick ivory sheet of paper, had written the note to me. He’d folded it and put it in the envelope that had been slid under my door last night before I got home from work. My heart fluttered and heat rushed to my core. He didn’t even have to be in the same room with me and I got wet for him. Seeing his handwriting gave me shivers. Maybe that’s because I knew what those hands could do when they touched me. I sighed and rested my head on the leather seatback as a wave of raw desire swept through me. If only he was here on this jet with me right now.
I’d waited in my vestibule at the designated time. We hadn’t combined our homes yet. Part of me was ready to live with him, but the other part still wanted to experience my new-found sense of independence. And he respected that. When the long, sleek limo had pulled up curbside I expected him to be waiting for me in the back seat. But it was empty except for some fine Costa Rican coffee and delicious New York bagels.
I looked out the window of the private jet I’d been whisked away on and smiled. He was full of surprises, my man. I loved that about him. And it was so much better flying in his jet than in that damned helicopter.
My trust in him was obvious. I was here, traveling to an undisclosed location with no idea what to expect when we landed. Was it wrong to be so terribly excited about whatever was to come?
I looked out the window. We were above the clouds and every now and then a flash of turquoise peeked through a break in the puffy layer below. The sun streamed in, beautiful, golden, hot. I turned my face so the rays hit me dead on and my thoughts about him raised my body temperature more than the heat of the sun ever could. I squeezed my thighs together and pressed my hand to the sheet of paper still resting on my lap. Where was I going? Somewhere tropical if the color of the water below was any indication.
This was an adventure I hadn’t expected. It was fortunate I had a lull for a few days at work before my next project began. But then he’d have known that as well.
‘Excuse me, Miss Tess.’ I turned to the flight attendant.
She held out a long box. It was white with a beautifully tied silk ribbon.
‘Oh my. What’s this?’ I took the box from her. It was heavy and I quickly put the paper on my leg into my purse and set the box on my knees.
She gave me a mysterious smile and shrugged her shoulders before placing a glass of champagne on the table before me.
‘I have no idea. But I was told to give it to you at this precise moment. If you need anything, please ring for me. I’ll be in the galley for the rest of the flight.’
‘How much longer?’
‘I can’t say for sure.’
‘Ah, the mystery continues. You’re sworn to secrecy.’
She widened her eyes and nodded her head slowly, smiling. Her grin was contagious and I found myself returning it before she turned and disappeared to the back of the aircraft.
I fingered the bow the middle of the box. I was pretty sure roses were inside. Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day. Our first one together. I knew he’d been keeping something secret and this whirlwind flight must be it. More and more, he was revealing a deep romantic streak. I’d fallen hard for him – there was no denying that. I’d do just about anything he asked of me.
I gently pulled on the bow and it slipped undone, the wide red ribbon puddling in my lap. I held my breath as I lifted the lid off the box. An exquisite scent rushed up at me and I inhaled the perfume. Inside nestled a rainbow of long-stemmed roses. I was awestruck. He knew I adored roses, but could never pick a specific color as my favorite. It looked like every conceivable color was in this box. I lifted out one that was on top, a gorgeous coral, and buried my nose in the velvety petals. I loved how they felt next to my skin.
I saw an envelope tucked between the stems and tissue paper. Putting the rose down I picked up the envelope and quickly opened it.
A color for each the wonderful sides of you and to all those I’ve yet to discover. Look closer – you might find something exciting.
My heart leapt. What else could be in the box? I dared not let my imagination run wild. Don’t jump to any conclusions, I told myself, but my fingers shook as I gently moved the roses aside.
When I saw it I burst out laughing. Part of me had thought I might find a ring inside, but this was just perfect. It would go very nicely with what I was wearing beneath my clothes as well. I was thankful for taking some extra time with my toilette this morning and selecting the perfect lingerie – especially since I was told not to pack anything. I pressed the blindfold to my cheek, closed my eyes and remembered. So much had transpired since that night last year.
The plane banked and began its descent. My anticipation for what lay ahead spiked and suddenly I was nervous. I buckled the seatbelt and watched out the window as the clouds gave way to wispy horsetails and then a lovely blue sky. I looked down at the clear turquoise water below. Small islands and coral heads were scattered among sparkling waves. He was down there somewhere. On one of those islands.
Waiting for me.
The jet swooped low, gave one last seriously tilted bank that had me catching my breath and then zoomed in on a small runway carved out of the local fauna. Palms and thick bushes with bright spots of color whipped past as the jet slowed. When it turned to taxi back up the runway I gasped seeing just how close we were to the ocean. If it hadn’t stopped the plane would have shot right into the sea.
The flight attendant appeared when the plane came to a standstill. She didn’t look at me or say anything, which I found rather odd. All she did was open the door and disappear into the sunny outside.
‘Hmm, that’s weird.’ I glanced around and stood up. It was like I was on a mystical plane taking me to a fantasyland. I gathered my purse and the box of flowers and paused at the doorway. I was nearly blinded by the bright sun. I blinked.
Heat rushed in. The stairs had been lowered and there was no one else around. I hesitated, suddenly unsure what to do. The engines still roared and I wondered if the jet was going to turn around and head back to New York.
I backed up a little and wondered if I should wait on the plane. I let out a yelp when strong arms slid around my waist and pulled me against a powerful chest.
‘What!’ I gasped.
Held tight in a set of iron-hard muscled arms, unable to move, I was pinned against the body behind me.
His tantalizing scent enveloped me and that wonderful, deep voice I’d grown to love whispered in my ear. I relaxed against him and sighed, utterly astonished he’d been on the jet the whole time.
‘Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. Are you surprised?’
This time he let me turn around in his arms. He took the rose box from me and carefully placed it on the table under the window.
‘What do you think?’ I lifted my face to him and gazed into his eyes. What I saw in them made my heart melt. ‘Where were you? It’s not easy for you to hide on this plane.’
He chuckled. ‘I was up in the cockpit.’
‘Flying the plane?’
He nodded. ‘I know you’re not much of a Valentine’s Day girl, but let me try and sway you otherwise.’ He smiled. ‘A little bit of romance, flowers,’ he nodded at the box he’d just put down then winked at me, ‘and adventure. Have I got your attention so far?’
‘Yes, you have. Wait, you’re a pilot … and “So far” … you mean there’s more?’ I asked him.
‘Of course.’ His voice was almost a whisper and whiskey smooth with desire.
‘You’re overwhelming me all over again,’ I whispered.
Our gazes locked, he lowered his head and his mouth covered mine. My eyelids fluttered shut. It wasn’t a sweet kiss, not innocent, but hungry, like he was burning up for me. As I was for him. He pulled me tighter until I felt every muscle and bulge. His tongue found mine, and I melted against him. It didn’t matter how many times we kissed. It was always like the first. He left me breathless and craving more.
He broke the kiss and pressed his forehead to mine, his breathing ragged. It sent a deep sexual thrill through me that almost buckled my knees.
‘I didn’t know you could fly,’ I said inanely.
‘There’s still lots we need to discover about each other.’
I nodded and swallowed. ‘Where are we?’
‘Does it matter?’ He pressed his lips to my temple and kissed me down to my ear. I couldn’t hold my head straight and let it fall to the side where he dove in to find the curve of my neck.
I moaned and shook my head knowing he was expecting an answer. ‘Mmm, no, I guess it really doesn’t.’
He chuckled and lifted his head to catch my gaze. ‘That’s my girl.’ He took my hand and picked up the box of flowers. ‘I hope you found it.’
‘What? Oh, yes,’ I murmured. I knew exactly what he was talking about – the blindfold. My brain started to work again, rising up through the spell of desire he never failed to cast over me. ‘And what’s this about not packing anything? How am I supposed to survive for however long we’re here without a bag?’
‘Don’t worry. You’ll have everything you need.’ He stepped out of the plane, paused to look over his shoulder at me and gave my hand a tug. ‘Come. No time to waste.’
I laughed and followed him down the steps into the hot tropical sun.
No indeed. No time to waste.
All seven parts of WORKING GIRL are available now! Who will be your man of the week?