“Are you sure?” Taking my hand, he ran a finger from the inside of my arm to my palm before dropping the buttons and closing my hand around them. My breath caught in my throat and my heart pounded fiercely against my chest.

I jerked my hand back as if I’d been burned. “I’m sure.”

“I could have sworn the blouse you wore the other day had little silver buttons. The pink one? I remember because I noticed one of them was loose when you came looking for me upstairs.”

If possible, I felt my face heat further. What was he playing at? Was he trying to insinuate that I had orchestrated a way to get him alone in the conference room?

Leaning in closely, his breath hot on my ear, he whispered, “You really should try to be more careful.”

I attempted to maintain my calm as I lowered my hand from his. “You bastard,” I replied through gritted teeth before he pulled away, looking taken aback.

How could he look surprised, as if I’d been the one to break the rules? It was one thing to be a dick to me, but to jeopardize my reputation in front of other executives—he was going to get an earful later.

Throughout the meeting we cast glances at each other, mine fueled with anger and his with increasing uncertainty. I looked down at the spreadsheets in front of me as much as possible to avoid looking at him.

As soon as it was all over, I gathered my things and got the hell out of there. But as expected, he was hot on my tail all the way to the elevator until we were both seething silently in the back, on our way up to the office.

Why wouldn’t this thing hurry up, and why did someone on every floor decide they needed to use it now? People all around us were talking on phones, shuffling files, discussing lunch plans. The noise grew to a heavy buzz, nearly drowning out the verbal ass-kicking I was giving Mr. Ryan in my head. By the time we reached the eleventh floor, the elevator was almost at capacity. When the door opened and three more people decided to squeeze in, I was pushed farther into him, my back against his chest and my ass against his . . . oh.

I felt the rest of his body stiffen subtly and heard him take a sharp breath. Instead of pressing into him, I stepped as far away as I could. He reached forward and gripped my hip, pulling me back again.

“I liked that ass against me,” he murmured, low and warm into my ear. “Where do you—”

“I’m two seconds away from castrating you with my heel.”

He leaned even closer. “Why are you suddenly more pissy than usual?”

I turned my head and said, in barely a whisper, “It would be just like you to make me look like a career-climbing whore in front of your father.”

He dropped his hand, slack jawed. “No.” Blink. Blink. “What?” Confused Mr. Ryan was surprisingly hot. Bastard. “I was just playing around.”

He genuinely looked like the thought had never occurred to him, and it probably hadn’t. It was easy for him to play games from his perch at the top. He was the workaholic executive. I was the girl halfway up the ladder.

The person on our left glanced over and we both stood straight, looked forward. I elbowed him sharply in the side, and he pinched my ass hard enough to make me gasp.

“I won’t apologize,” he said under his breath.

Of course you won’t. Dick.

He pressed into me again, and I felt the length of him grow even harder, the traitor warmth spreading between my legs.

We reached the fifteenth floor and a few more people filed out. I reached behind me, slid my hand between us, and palmed him. He exhaled a warm puff against my neck, whispering, “Fuck yes.”

“Fuck. Sorry!” he hissed into my ear. I let go, dropping my hand and grinning to myself. “Christ, I was just playing around with you.”

The sixteenth floor. The rest of the crowd exited in a single rush, apparently headed to the same meeting.

As soon as the doors closed and the elevator began to move, I heard a growl from behind me and caught a quick, sudden movement as Mr. Ryan slammed his hand against the stop button on the control panel. His eyes turned on me and they were darker than I had ever seen them. In one fluid motion, he pinned me against the wall of the elevator with his body. He pulled away just long enough to give me an angry glare and mutter, “Don’t move.”

And even though I wanted to tell him to f**k off, my body begged me to do whatever he said.

Reaching over to my discarded files, he plucked a sticky note off the top and placed it over the camera lens set into the ceiling.

His face was only a couple of inches from mine, his breath coming out in sharp bursts against my cheek. “I would never imply you’re trying to f**k your way to the top.” He exhaled, bending into my neck. “You’re thinking too much.”

I pulled back as much as I could, gaping at him. “You’re not thinking enough. This is my career we’re talking about. You have all of the power here. You have nothing to lose.”

“I have the power? You’re the one who pressed into my dick in the elevator. You’re the one doing this to me.”

I felt my expression soften; I wasn’t used to seeing him be vulnerable with me, even a little. “Then don’t blindside me.”

The sound of the building all around us filled the elevator as we continued to stare at each other. The ache for contact began to build, first in my navel and spreading lower, between my legs.