Juliana looked as though she wanted to rake her blood-red nails down his face. He didn’t say anything. Just waited. Finally, she yanked the ring off and dropped it on the ground before turning and walking out.

Jake shut the door with quiet finality behind her.

“What have I done?” If Sarah had a buck for every time she asked herself that question over the last three days, she’d be as rich as Jake Anders, no, Aaron Martinez. Curled up on her sofa, she rested her head on her knees.

“What am I going to do?”

She’d quit her job, a job she loved. She felt as though her heart had been ripped from her chest. Until Jake Anders entered her life she’d been happy and content. She achieved her goal of rising to the top position, not counting her boss’s job as CEO. Jake’s arrival had changed everything.

And not just her sex life! Though she had to admit, before Jake she’d had no sex life for a long time, by choice. Sex with Jake had been so incredible and wonderful that she doubted she’d ever find another partner who’d make her feel the way he did. She veered away from exploring why Jake affected her so differently than any other man.

Sarah stood and paced. A glance at the clock showed it was 2 p.m. Her mind went immediately to her work schedule and what she’d be doing. “Forget it.” She wasn’t at work but damn, she wanted to be there.

She hated change. She liked things to stay the same. Safe. She glanced around her apartment, pleased by the clean, uncluttered presentation. She’d had a nice safe life, both at home and work. Even Cory, though dull as dust, had been safe and no threat to her goals. She knew what to expect from him and he’d never asked more from her that she’d been prepared to give.

And that had been the problem between her and Cory. There’d been no spark, no excitement. Until Jake, she hadn’t known that she even wanted or needed something else in her life.

Jake had changed her. Even her satisfaction with her job. With Mr. Joe gone Sarah didn’t want to be someone else’s assistant. She wanted the top spot. She wanted a nameplate that read: Sarah Sweeney, CEO.

“And people in hell want ice water. You blew it, Sarah. Big time.”

The ringing of her phone startled her. She whipped around and stared at the table where the phone sat. She didn’t answer it but allowed it go to voice mail instead.

“Dammit, Sarah, pick up the phone.”

Jake again and this time, he sounded irritated. Good. “Go away, Jake,” she muttered. “Not talking to you.”

“You can’t just quit, Ms. Sweeney.”

Sarah gave a bark of laughter, grabbed a pillow from the couch, and held it tight. “Ha! I did just that, Mr. Anders. I quit. There. I said it again.” Her voice was edged with tears.

“We need to talk, Sarah.” Jake softened his voice.

“Nope, said everything there is to say.”

Jake’s voice went silent, and then he hung up. Sarah closed her eyes. How many calls did this make? Nine? She went back to the couch and picked up her cell phone. She stared at the dark screen and counted to three. On four, the screen lit up with an incoming call. Jake. She pressed the button and sent him to voice mail.

“Okay, Sarah, snap out of it. You quit. Can’t undo that so move on,” she told herself. She needed to find another job. A ding from her phone announced an incoming text message. She looked. Lainey.

You okay?

Sarah thumbed back. I’m fine.

Want me to call?

No. Need time.

K. Here for you.


She set her phone down, went into her office and booted up her laptop. Best way to stop feeling sorry for herself was to be productive and that meant looking for another job.

Jake rode up the elevator to Sarah’s apartment. He didn’t blame her for being pissed. He’d hidden his true identity but his reasons for doing so were sound. And, he hadn’t lied exactly. Just omitted all the details. His degrees did include one in accounting, how could he know what was going on in his businesses if he didn’t understand the numbers?

His uncle Joe had insisted he get his minor in accounting and he’d been right. Jake had already caught one employee embezzling. Had he not understood the books and numbers, he might never have known.

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