“I know this is terribly rude of me,” he said, motioning to the phone in his hands. “But I’ve just checked my mobile and I’ve a few things that need attending. Nothing too urgent, but Jo’s called with some names and dates I need for a conference call with Tony. Would you—” he paused, eyes apologetic. “I know you’re not my assistant, or under my report in any way, but would you mind listening and jotting the information down?”

I heaved a sigh of relief, both that there seemed to be a reason for his distraction, and that I might be spared the pain of another two hours of this.

“With pleasure,” I said, taking his cell. “These team meetings have nothing to do with my department. Give me a job, any job, before I lose my mind.”

The wall separating the conference room from a smaller waiting area was about twenty feet long and floor-to-ceiling glass. Inside the space were a pair of white leather couches, a handful of sleek iron tables, and two matching chairs. A wall of exterior windows looked out over a street lined with restaurants and newly flowering trees. I deposited myself on the couch, pulled out a notebook and pen, and began opening his phone.

I startled at the sound of his voice in the doorway.

“Oh-six-oh-nine, I know,” I blurted, and then blinked up to see him staring at me in surprise. I gave him a slow, wincing smile. “You should probably know I want the floor to eat me now,” I said. “Because, hello, stalker.”

He laughed. “Perhaps I’m not very clever with my passcodes.”

“I guess if you stare at a person enough you pick up all sorts of things,” I said, throwing in an awkward cough for effect.

But Niall only laughed again, shaking his head and throwing in another “thank you” before turning to leave. “Oh and Ruby?” he said, pausing just at the door.

“Be sure you listen straight through. Some of them are quite long and . . . there’s one at the end that’s particularly important.”

“Got it,” I said, and didn’t even pretend I wasn’t watching his butt as he walked away.

From the sofa, I could see him perfectly. He’d stopped at the refreshment table for a bottle of water before taking his seat, and I wondered if it was a trick of the light that made him look slightly flushed.

Given that some of the voice messages were apparently on the long side, I reached for my purse, happy when I found my earbuds tucked away near the bottom. I inserted the plug into the jack and placed one of the buds in my ears, then keyed in his password. Four messages. The first, predictably, was from Jo, and I listened while she rattled off a list of names and corresponding dates, and carefully wrote each one down. The second and third followed along the same lines, and within three minutes an entire sheet in my notebook had been filled.

I looked up and checked into the meeting again, catching him discussing something with a person seated nearby. Without the benefit of his voice, I could see the way his mouth formed the words differently than those around him, his accent visible at a distance. He used his lips more, held the shape of the words longer. I wondered what it would be like to hear that voice at home, in my ear while it panted out commands, telling me what he needed.

One day I should write a novel full of all the things I wondered about that man.

Pressing play again, I caught Niall’s eyes for just a second before he blinked away. The last message started, and I waited, trying to discern exactly what I was hearing. Someone breathing . . . the hum of an air conditioner . . . faint traffic? The shuffling of fabric filled the line—almost as if a piece of clothing were being dragged over the receiver—and I picked up the phone again, checking the connection to make sure I hadn’t knocked something loose.

But then I heard, “Ahh,” and that . . . well, I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

I knew that voice. I’d spent the last six months with my ears straining to hear him step out of the elevator and onto my floor, to speak during meetings. For him to speak to me. This was Niall, and he was . . . I think . . .

“Go slow. I want your tongue to play with me before you show me what you look like when you beg for it.”

I blanched. Had I somehow stumbled onto something I wasn’t supposed to have? Was this even Niall? It seemed impossible that he would record anything like this, let alone give it to me to hear.

Unless he didn’t know it was being recorded. Was he . . . with someone? Should I tell him I had this?

“Did you think about this earlier?” he said through the tape. “When you licked your dessert from your spoon, or sucked the sauce from your thumb, did you imagine you had my cock between your lips?”

Dessert? Was he talking about . . . ?

I straightened and glanced toward the conference room, not sure if I was surprised when I found him already looking at me. I didn’t know how long he’d been watching, but when he nodded, slowly, I was certain he knew exactly what I was listening to, and that he’d orchestrated this entire thing so I could.

He was getting himself off, thinking about me going down on him . . .

He must have done this last night after dinner—Holy shit!

It was sixty-eight degrees in that office, and I was sweating.