By Lynn Burke
Release Date: June 17, 2019
After his step-father nearly ruins both his family name and business, Damien Fiorenza becomes suspicious of everyone—except for his long-time partner, Ethan Lord. He doesn’t trust people in authority, much less the woman who weasels her way into his walled-up heart alongside his lover of fifteen years.
Ethan dislikes his empathic abilities, especially since they allow him to feel his mother’s indifference towards him, her only son. Damien, however, has always made Ethan feel needed. Appreciated and protected. But, he can’t voice what Ethan is desperate to hear. Falling for their new secretary is unexpected, but she encourages and supports him in ways Damien won’t.
Shaylia Bright’s father chose his secret family over her and her mother. Ever since, she’s striven to be the best she can be, unable to stomach being second best. Although an office romance is taboo, she can’t deny the passionate chemistry among the three of them and finds herself drawn to both her bosses.
Problems from their pasts threaten to block the HEA they’re heading toward. Will Shaylia be able to accept herself as less than perfect, and will Damien lower his defenses? Ethan holds the key to their healing, but can he overcome his own demons before it’s too late?
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ABOUT LYNN BURKE:
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
Zoey has had erotic dreams about her boss, Sebastian Montcrief, for the longest time, but doubts he would ever look at her as more than an employee. When his cousin Andrew Montcrief joins Bellmont Enterprises, Zoey and Andrew team up to win her the attention of the elusive Sebastian.’
At the office, I did my work as usual, trying to keep a low profile. I smiled when people walked by, but tried to mind my business otherwise. The women didn’t seem to like me, not since my very first day. I kept to myself. Well, mostly.
Landon Wells was a close friend and colleague, and the only person I really talked to in the office. As a gay man, he had it rough. The other guys in the office either avoided him or made snide remarks about the fact he preferred men. There were definitely grounds for him to file harassment charges against them, but he just let it slide. He always said that there were small minds everywhere, and it was easier to ignore them than to try fighting the whole world. Still, I would have slapped them with a lawsuit. But that’s just me.
My email dinged and I opened a message from Nancy, Sebastian’s secretary. Groaning, I dropped my head in my hands. Great, another meeting. I was still completely embarrassed over the last one. Sebastian had asked me a question repeatedly, but I’d been too busy fantasizing about having sex with him to hear anything he’d said. I’d been mortified when Landon nudged me with a snicker and nodded toward the boss, knowing exactly where my mind had been — in the gutter.
I grabbed my pen and notepad, and headed for the conference room, wishing there was a way I could sit with my back to my boss. It was the only way I wouldn’t fantasize about him; at least I thought I wouldn’t. Then again, Sebastian was yummy enough that I’d probably daydream about him regardless.
When I entered the room, only a few people had made it. Hurrying over to Landon, I claimed the chair next to his. Brett Sawyer sat on my left and leered at me. I rolled my eyes and turned to Landon, planning to ignore the annoying Brett.
“What do you think the meeting’s about?” I asked softly.
Landon shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
I chewed on my lower lip, a little worried. Our stocks had dipped a bit in the last few weeks, and I’d heard rumors of budget cuts. Usually that translated into lay-offs. Not only did I not want to be parted from my delicious boss’s company, but I couldn’t afford to lose my job. My apartment might not be much, but it was mine. No, it wasn’t my living expenses that I couldn’t afford, it was my shopping bills. I had maxed out all of my credit cards, much to my horror. But I was addicted to clothes and shoes. My overstuffed closet bore witness to this fact.
When Sebastian walked in the door, I felt my heart flutter in my chest. No matter how many times I saw him, my body reacted to him on sight, wanting him with an intensity that bordered on being embarrassing. Good thing men weren’t entirely like dogs, otherwise they would have smelled my arousal every time the man came near me.
He smiled broadly at all of us, everyone now gathered around the large table waiting on whatever news he had to impart.
“Good morning. I know you’re probably wondering why I called this meeting and I promise to keep it brief.” He met our eyes, his gaze resting on each of us in turn. Did he linger a little on me, or was that just wishful thinking? “I’ve decided to bring in some fresh blood to help with marketing so my cousin, Andrew Montcrief, will be joining us starting Monday. He’s a likeable guy so I’m sure everyone will get along well with him.”
Brett’s hand slid up the slit of my skirt, and I turned and glared at him. When he just grinned unrepentantly, I smacked him in the arm — hard. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried something like that and I doubted it would be the last. The man couldn’t seem to keep his hands to himself and didn’t understand the word “no” in any language. I’d complained to H.R. a few times, but they hadn’t done anything. So I’d decided to ignore him as much as possible.
“Zoey, is there a problem?” Sebastian asked, one eyebrow arched.
“Um, uh… No.”
“So you were swatting a fly on Mr. Sawyer’s arm?”
“Uh, no… that is, um…”
“I’ll see you in my office after the meeting, Zoey.”
Amidst the snickers at the table, he turned away from me and immediately began speaking again. My face flamed in embarrassment, and I looked beseechingly at Landon. The louse only shrugged and grinned, knowing full well why I’d smacked Brett.
I couldn’t focus for the rest of the meeting and was somewhat surprised when everyone stood to leave. It had ended without me hearing a single thing — not good. Thankfully, it looked like Landon had taken excellent notes so I could just get everything from him later, even if it meant enduring a bit of teasing about my infatuation with the boss.
As I stood, Sebastian motioned for me to follow him to his office. His assistant glared at me as I walked past her desk and into Sebastian’s office. When I heard the door click shut behind me, my shoulders stiffened. While being alone with him might have been my ongoing fantasy, I wasn’t sure I trusted myself. With my luck, I’d assault the man and practically beg him to have sex with me on his desk, the floor, or anywhere else he wanted.
“Zoey, care to explain to me what happened today?”
I swallowed. No, not really. “Well…um…”
“Sometime today, Zoey.”
“Brett tried to stick his hand up my skirt,” I blurted out, inwardly wincing. Subtlety was not my strong suit to be sure.
“I see.” He pursed his lips. His beautiful, full, kissable lips.
I jerked my attention away from his delightful mouth and focused on his eyes. Not much better really, but I had to look somewhere. My gaze started to drop and I forced it to stay on his face. I would not look at his crotch in hopes of seeing how big his cock was, I absolutely… okay, so I peeked.
“Do you want to file a complaint against him?” he asked, and my eyes jerked back up to his face.
“No, that’s not necessary.” I wasn’t about to tell the man I’d already filed several complaints. I somehow doubted he wanted to hear that his H.R. department wasn’t doing an adequate job.
Both eyebrows lifted. “He’s done this sort of thing before?”
I nearly snorted. “Uh, yeah. A few times.” More like a few hundred.
“I’m sorry you’ve been having problems with him. The good news is that he’ll be reporting to Andrew starting Monday, and my cousin won’t tolerate any foolishness. If Brett touches you again, just tell Andrew and he’ll take care of it.”
He gave me a small smile and I thought my legs would buckle. “You can go back to your desk now.”
I nodded again and slowly walked out of the office, thankful my legs would still hold me up. I left the door ajar on my way out.
Sour Grapes, a.k.a. Nancy, glared at me once more. I felt like sticking my tongue out at her, but refrained — barely.
Available 6-29 from Changeling Press!