I lay back, began doing sit-ups a bit faster than was necessary.

Sunday night as I lay in bed I replayed the plan in my head. I was thinking about her too much, and differently. I had to be tough and make it a week without touching her. It was like detoxing. Seven days, I could do that. Seven days of not touching her and this thing would be out of my system. I could finally move on with my life. There were just a couple of precautions I had to take.

First, I couldn’t be goaded into arguing with her. For some reason, the two of us arguing was like some sick form of foreplay. Second: no more fantasizing about her, ever. That meant no more reliving sexual encounters, no more fantasizing about new ones, and no more picturing her naked or with any of my body parts coming in contact with any of hers.

And for the most part, things seemed to go according to plan. I was in a constant state of discomfort and the week seemed to drag on, but aside from a lot of dirty fantasies, I remained in control. I did my best to stay busy outside the office, but during the times we were forced together, I kept a constant distance, and for the most part we treated each other with the same polite aversion we had before.

But I swear she was trying to break me. Each day it seemed that Miss Mills looked sexier than the day before. Every day there was something about what she wore or did that brought my mind back to the gutter. I’d made a deal with myself that there would be no more lunchtime “sessions.” I had to stop this, and imagining her while masturbating—hell, imagining her masturbating—wasn’t going to help.

Monday she wore her hair down. All I could think about as she sat across from me during a meeting was wrapping it around my hands as she went down on me.

Tuesday she had on a formfitting knee-length skirt and those stockings with the seam up the back. She looked like some sort of hot secretary pinup.

Wednesday she wore a suit. That was unexpectedly worse, because I couldn’t get my mind off what it would feel like to slide those pants down her long legs.

Thursday she had on a perfectly ordinary V-neck blouse, but twice when she bent over to pick up my pen I got a good look down her shirt. Only one of those times was on purpose.

By Friday I thought I would explode. I hadn’t jacked off once all week and was walking around with the worst case of blue balls known to man.

As I walked into the office Friday morning, I was praying that maybe she would call in sick. Somehow I knew I wouldn’t be that lucky. I was horny and in a particularly bad mood, and when I opened the office door I almost had a heart attack. She was bent over watering a plant in a charcoal gray sweater dress and knee-high boots. Every curve of her body was on display. Someone up there really hated me.

“Good morning, Mr. Ryan,” she said sweetly, stopping me as I passed her. Something was up. She never said anything sweetly to me. I eyed her suspiciously.

“Good morning, Miss Mills. You seem to be in an exceptionally cordial mood today. Did somebody die?”

The corner of her mouth lifted in a devilish smirk. “Oh, no. I’m just excited about dinner tomorrow, and meeting your friend Joel. Henry’s told me all about him. I think we really might have a lot in common.”

Son of a bitch. “Oh right. Dinner. I’d completely forgotten. Yes, you and Joel . . . Well, since he’s a mama’s boy and you’re an overbearing shrew, you two should find a pretty solid love connection. I’d love a cup of coffee if you’re getting one for yourself.” I turned and headed into my office.

It occurred to me that it might not be in my best interest to let her make my coffee. One of these days she was likely to put something in it. Like arsenic.

Before I’d even sat down, she knocked at my door.

She set my coffee down hard enough that some of it spilled on what she knew damn well was a custom-built fifteen-thousand-dollar desk, and turned to look at me.

“Are we having the scheduling meeting this morning?” She was standing near my desk in a pool of sunlight. Shadows draped across her dress, accentuating the curve of her br**sts. Fuck, I wanted to pull her tight nipple into my mouth. Was it cold in here? How could she be cold when I was sweating bullets?

I had to get the hell out of here.

“No. I forgot about a meeting downtown this afternoon. So I’ll be leaving for the day in about ten minutes. Just e-mail me all the details,” I replied quickly, heading for the safety and coverage of my desk chair.

“I wasn’t aware of any off-site meeting today,” she said skeptically.

“No, you wouldn’t have been,” I said. “It’s personal.”

When she didn’t respond I chanced a glance up and saw a strange expression on her face. What was that look? She obviously looked mad, but there was something else. Was she . . . was she jealous?

“Oh,” she answered, chewing on her lower lip. “Is it with someone I know?” She never asked questions about where I was going. “I mean, just in case your father or brother need to get ahold of you.”

“Well . . .” I paused, trying to torture her a bit. “In this day and age, if someone needs to get ahold of me, they can call my cell phone. Is there anything else, Miss Mills?”

She hesitated for a moment before lifting her chin and straightening her shoulders. “Since you won’t be here, I was thinking that I’d like to start the weekend early. Maybe do some shopping for tomorrow night.”