"Is Mr. Darcy coming soon?" Lizzy said. She stood in the open door of her office, one hand on the doorknob and the other holding a pen she was tapping on her thigh. She was speaking to no one in particular, addressing everyone within earshot.
Rigby Steinberg walked by balancing three steaming cups of coffee. "No sign of him yet, Ms. Bennet," he said. "I'll call you when he's here."
"Call me Lizzy please, Rigby," she said, and turned to walk back to sit behind her desk. He'd been Jade's assistant for a month now, but for some reason Lizzy couldn't get him to call her by her first name, the way he did everybody else.
"Sorry, Lizzy, ma'am."
Pulling up the messaging app on her MacBook, she typed a message.
Lizzy: It's nine thirty. Is the meeting with Darcy still on?
Jade: Yes. He hasn't called to cancel, so I'm assuming he's just running late.
Lizzy: Well, just let me know when we're starting. Oh, and Jade?
Lizzy: Does Rigby call you by your first name?
Jade: Of course. Why?
Lizzy: Never mind.
Sighing, Lizzy went back to writing the article she had been working on earlier. If her diva of a boss wasn't going to show up anytime soon, she might as well get back to work.
"I can't believe I actually spent the night with Asher Darcy," said Danielle. "This is so surreal."
They were in bed, naked. She was lying on her side, facing Darcy who was on his back.
He rolled to his side to look at her, and tucked one arm under his head. He reached out to trace a finger lightly on the curve of her hip. "Do I feel real enough to you right now?" he said.
She bit her lip, shivering lightly at his touch. She nodded.
"Your place is amazing," she said, looking around her. "You live here all by yourself? It's so big."
"This is my place that's closest to work."
"Wow. How many apartments do you own?"
"A few. I stay here most of the time." It wasn't entirely true. He owned the building, and the penthouse was only for entertaining his dates. "I'll give you a tour sometime."
It was doubtful that he would ever see her again after today, but there was no reason to bring up that little detail.
"I would love that." She looked positively giddy with excitement.
"We could do it today, but I suppose you need to leave for work soon."
"Oh no. Paul gave me the morning off for my birthday. That was sweet of him, right?"
"He said I should spend the morning doing whatever made me happy." She giggled. "I don't think you were what he had in mind."
"Probably not." Word of Danielle's evening with him would get to Schuller soon enough. Asher was willing to pay good money to see the look on the man's face when he found out his godson had gotten his assistant into bed before he could. "But I'm going to have to go soon. I'm late for a meeting."
Her eyes went wide. "Did you ... Are you late because of me?"
He was, in a way. He smiled. "You're hard to resist, Danielle."
He had awakened to find her mouth working over his morning erection. It was not the first time he had gotten such a stimulating ... wake-up call, but she did bring such tireless enthusiasm to the task. So he lay back and let her bring him to an orgasm so intense he was swearing incoherently throughout.
"Any chance I could ... make you stay a little longer?" she said.
"Maybe." He rubbed his thumb on the hollow of her hip. "Do you think you can take the rest of the day off?"
"I don't know." She looked unsure. "But maybe Paul won't be too mad if I did."
"I suppose he'll be in desperate need of you today. Isn't he meeting George Linklater today? He's a family friend," he added when he saw her surprised expression. "He mentioned it over lunch last week."
"Oh, the meeting with Mr. Linklater won't be until Thursday. He'll be flying in from Paris right before the meeting." She pressed the tips of her fingers on her mouth. "Oops. no one was supposed to know he's in Paris. He's meeting with his lawyers to discuss his offshore accounts."
"So he doesn't need you today then?" Darcy murmured. He brought his fingertips up her navel, then further upward to the hollow between her breasts.
"I don't know." Danielle's breathing quickened at his caresses. "Will it be okay if you miss your meeting?"
"Tell you what." His fingers played with one nipple, expertly rubbing the sensitive tip. He smiled when she caught her breath. "How about you warm up the steam shower while I call my office. I'll join you as soon as I get things sorted."
"Asher..." she whispered.
"I'll be with you in a minute."
She pulled herself up reluctantly. Leaving him a lingering glance, she walked to the bathroom.
At the sound of the shower, Asher picked up his cellphone on the nightstand. He dialed a number.
"Harold, listen. Linklater's in Paris. The trip was a secret, apparently, which is why we couldn't get a hold of him. You'll need to fly there to meet with him before he comes back to L.A. on Thursday for that meeting with Schuller." He paused, listening. "Yes, I'm sure. Trust me on this." He glanced at the door of his bathroom. "I agree. Three days is an awfully long time for him to disappear just to meet with his lawyers. I think he's spending some of that time with his mistress... No, not that one. His current lover is Chante Mercier. Aspiring model, although with those teeth I don't think her career will be going anywhere."
"You coming, baby?" Danielle said, peeking out of the bathroom door.
He nodded. Holding the phone away from his mouth, he said, "I'll join you in a second."
She smiled and disappeared back into the bathroom.
"Don't fuck this up, Harold," he continued, speaking on the phone. "Keep me posted."
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Thanks to everyone who liked this chapter!
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Billionaire Asher Darcy has a reputation as a devious businessman and shameless rake. Prickly liberal feminist writer Lizzy Bennet hates him on sight, and the feeling seems to be mutual. He's manipulative. She's a control freak. They have to work to...