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by Bridget Midway
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica/Romance
Description: Genre: BDSM Multicultural Contemporary
Cherish Burke has it all: a large corner office and a very efficient, if not sexy, assistant. As a high-level executive at Stratum Corporation, and one of two African-American directors, she has her sights set on becoming president of the business someday. In the meantime, she harbors fantasies about someone else taking over all of her responsibilities?but not at work. From the BDSM novels she's read, she's learned to lust for a Dom who can control her. Who knew that that Dom could be her assistant?
Perry Stone fought to be Cherish Burke's executive assistant. Who wouldn't want to work for the woman? She's made huge strides in the business world. Plus she's not bad on the eyes. When he catches her after work reading some daring books, he discovers a sexy side of her that he never suspected.
When they start a strictly BDSM relationship, Perry wonders if Cherish can see beyond his status and job to want him to be in her life always. Cherish doesn't know if Perry is using her just like so many before have done. Can they have a relationship that can last, or should they just keep it to casual Fridays?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Domination/submission theme and elements, bondage, wax play.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: June 2010
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [163 KB]
Reading time: 105-147 min.
"Fuck, I love Fridays!"
Cherish Burke glared at her friend and colleague, Vonda, sitting across from her. As executives at Stratum Corporation, especially as African American executives, Cherish had to wince at Vonda's use of vulgar language. Luckily for her, no one sat around them in the company's cafeteria.
"Easy, V." Cherish cut her salad into smaller bite-size pieces.
"What?" Vonda swept her fingers over her bangs that hung down to her eyes.
Cherish scanned the area around them before speaking. "As members of upper management, we need to act with decorum and tact."
Her friend cocked her head in a way that signaled a profanity-laced tirade. Instead she took a deep breath. "Don't think I don't get the fact that they're watching us like hawks around here." Vonda picked up her bottle of water. "We crashed through the glass ceiling, and they're still picking shards out of their eyes." She shook her head and took a swig of her water.
After eating a bit of her salad, Cherish wiped her mouth before speaking. "I do love my job, even with the scrutiny."
Vonda snickered. "I knew you would. You love organizing and keeping things straight. But at the end of the day, don't lose yourself in all of the drama around here." She cut her gaze to the side, and a sly smile slithered across her face. "Speaking of straight, here comes your boy."
Cherish turned to see her executive assistant, Perry Stone, strolling toward her with papers in his hands and a stoic expression on his face. Seeing him sent a ripple through her belly. And she smiled to herself with the notion that Perry could be "her boy" as Vonda had so named him. Considering she never had a man love her enough to offer her a ring in a promise of marriage, she couldn't claim dominion over any man.
Cherish brushed her fingertips over the string of pearls around her neck. Just because she didn't have power in her romantic life didn't mean she couldn't rule with an iron stiletto at the office.
Nothing about Perry personified authority, which made it easy to rule over him. He styled his mousy brown hair in the standard corporate manner, parted to the side. Although he never slouched or looked down when he walked, his slender frame fed the idea that he had to be some sort of pushover.
With her previous assistant--a quiet yet efficient, mature woman who wore glasses with a chain connected to them--Cherish couldn't care less what the woman did for fun, or even if she was married or had children.
Perry. He proved to be an enigma, one who snagged her interest and kept her aching to unravel the silent mystery surrounding him.
Perhaps the fact that she hadn't really dated in over four years had something to do with her obsession with him. That and other activities, secret ones.
Obsession. That accurately described how she regarded her employee. Cherish had checked his personnel file when he became her assistant. She wondered if he knew that she was two years younger than him. If he did know, did it bother him?
His personnel file didn't reveal whether his towering height came from his mother's side of the family or his father's. Did he get that lean physique from swimming or did he work out? Or how many women and girls throughout his life crumbled when he stared at them with those sky blue eyes? And how did this straitlaced, clean-cut corporate rat-race runner develop calluses on the palms of his hands?
Cherish set her knife and fork onto her plate and placed her hands in her lap. With each step he took toward her, her heart pounded harder and faster, matching rhythm with his footfalls. The thumping sounded in her ears, drowning out the idle chatter in the sun-drenched room.
"As fine as he is, rumor has it that he's playing for the other team," Vonda said in a whisper as she leaned toward Cherish.
The statement forced Cherish to whip her head around. "What?"
"Folks around here say he's gay. Someone said that she spotted him going to that big warehouse bookstore downtown on a Friday night one time and--"
Cherish snapped her attention to Vonda. "Who saw him? Did she say when? Did she see him with anyone?"
Vonda shrugged her shoulders. "Didn't say. Man, if I didn't know any better, I would say that you were interested in him."
At that statement, Cherish snorted out a chuckle. "Don't be ridiculous. If someone is going to make a claim like that, they had better come up with some great supporting evidence to prove it." She kept her voice strong to show conviction in her words. After speaking, she chewed the inside of her cheek.
"Gay or straight. Doesn't bother me one bit. Hell, I have a few uncles and cousins who came screaming out of the closet." Vonda stared at Cherish's assistant and sighed. "Just seems like a waste. You could have had him chasing you around your desk or more if you wanted. What is it that you do want, Cherish?"
Cherish rubbed the back of her neck with her hand. The mere thought of doing something so inappropriate at work inflamed her face. After her fingers brushed the clasp on her pearl necklace, she dropped her hand back down to her lap.
"For one thing, I don't want to know anything about his personal life." Thank goodness Vonda didn't know about Cherish scouring his personnel file. "Point two, if he is gay, which I don't think he is, that's his business. And the final point"--and she had to make this quick before he reached their table--"I would never do anything improper with an employee at work."
She cut her gaze away from Vonda. Her stomach wrenched at the tale she'd just told. Her statement couldn't be classified as a lie. She had concluded it by including the phrase "at work."
"Your loss." Vonda managed to get in the last words just as Perry stood by their table.
"Sorry to disturb you at lunch, Ms. Burke." His deep voice rolled over Cherish.
Cherish took a deep breath and held it until he spoke again.
"I have those papers you requested. You said you wanted them as soon as possible." He held them up as though he had to prove to her that he had them.
Cherish exhaled, relieving the burning in her lungs. "Please set them on my desk. With everything that I have going on right now, the last thing I need is to have my work scattered around. What about sending out the invites for my meeting in two weeks?"
"Sent this afternoon. You should have a copy in your e-mail in-box. I also took the liberty of setting up your cabin reservations for the company executive retreat."
"You're taking part in Mr. Utterman's weekend excursion?" Vonda crossed her arms over her chest as she stared at Cherish with her mouth agape.
Cherish couldn't believe how easily Vonda managed to switch between her real persona and her business one. Just minutes earlier, her friend cursed like a Tourette's sufferer.
"Something wrong with that if I do?"
Vonda cleared her throat before speaking. "I would prefer my stellar performance, the accounts I secure for this company, and the money I make for Stratum to gain me notice as opposed to a business bonding session."
Bonding session. If her best friend only knew.
Perry faced Vonda. "If I may, ma'am, participating in activities like these set up by our CEO could only further her career." Perry glanced down at Cherish for a moment before returning his gaze to Vonda.
"You might be right. I just can't imagine kayaking, hiking, and building fires as a way to get closer to the boss." Vonda spun her now empty water bottle between her hands.
The crackling sounds from the plastic bottle sounded like what Cherish had imagined the campfire would sound with its popping and clicking. She hadn't thought about the trip at all until Perry took it upon himself to make her reservations. Could she actually spend time in the woods away from her normal routine?
She stared at her friend's hands until Vonda's voice broke her out of her daydream.
"You are way too soft and tender to do something as rough as this."
At the mention of the word "rough," Cherish swallowed hard and kept her gaze away from Perry, feeling like he could read her thoughts and knew the intimate fantasy filling her mind.
"If you change your mind about the excursion, I can speak with your assistant to match accommodations with Ms. Burke's."
Vonda chuckled. "That's awfully nice of you, but my assistant is very competent. Whatever I decide to do, she'll be able to handle it."
Perry responded with a slight nod.
"I don't know if I'm going." Cherish lowered her gaze. She gnawed on her lower lip before raising her head to connect her stare with Perry's.
Perry's glare melted her bones into butter.
Cherish had to regain her composure, a semblance of her control. "I haven't decided yet." She cleared her throat. "I have lots of work. Lots of projects that need my attention. Taking a weekend off seems a bit frivolous."
Cherish interrupted his response. "End of discussion. My colleague is right to a certain extent. My performance should speak for itself. I shouldn't have to frolic in the woods to prove anything. And I don't appreciate you taking it upon yourself to decide what's best for me and my career. You're my assistant, not my boss or--" She hesitated, nearly blurting the one title that would crumble her, make her burst into flames, excite her.
Perry raised his left eyebrow and released a long breath through his nostrils.
Cherish sat up straighter once she realized how much her shoulders had slumped. She pointed to the bundle in his hands. "Leave them on my desk next to the presentation folders that should have come in today." She stared at Perry, who, although he continued staring back at her, wore a forlorn expression. "The folders did arrive today, right?"
"I'll check on the order again, ma'am."
Cherish released a very unprofessional growl that characterized her irritation. "You told me that yesterday. And you assured me that the folders would be here today."
"Yes, ma'am. I apologize. I was preparing other items for your Diamond Unique project and this one aspect slipped my mind."
"It's one missed thing that could make me come off as unprepared." She shook her head. "Am I giving you too much work? Is multitasking not your thing?"
"Again, I apologize. I thought I knew what you would want."
"I just need you to do what I ask. That's it. Is that clear?"
He nodded and remained quiet.
His silence forced Cherish to wring her hands, stretching the skin until they burned. "I should be finished here shortly. Please have an answer on those supplies by the time I return to my office."
He offered a smile. "If you need me, Miss Burke, I'll be at my desk."
Just as he turned to leave, Cherish blurted, "Have you eaten your lunch yet? I mean, I hope you didn't wait for me to--"
"I'm fine, ma'am." He smiled, and all the pictures on the walls, the tables around them, and the chairs melted.
Or maybe Cherish had finally lost her mind. She blinked a couple of times before she refocused.
"Thank you for thinking of me." He turned and hurried out of the break room.
Her gaze automatically dropped down to his ass. God, what an ass.
As though picking up on Cherish's lecherous thoughts, Vonda said, "Sucks that he's gay."
"He's not gay." Cherish crossed her legs. "That I know for sure," she mumbled.
Cherish shook her head. "Nothing."
"You were really hard on him. I guess the little nickname your former assistants gave you was right on the money."
Cherish picked up her utensils again, but her appetite had vanished. Being hard on Perry had nothing to do with perpetrating a myth. She had a standard to maintain. She couldn't be known as a pushover, not at work.
"Look at that. Your assistant comes up, and you get all straight and rigid." Vonda nudged Cherish's arm. "I mean, look at you. It's Friday and you're still in a suit with your pearls on and your hair in a bun. You can relax. It is casual Friday." To punctuate that fact, Vonda leaned back to show off her very laid-back black denim jeans and her fitted top that showed more cleavage than someone in her position should expose.
Cherish smoothed her hand over her skirt that hid her thick thighs. "I like my outfit. I want to be respected. People expect me to dress like this."
Cherish remained mum. She stared at the remaining salad left on her plate as she pondered over her words.
"You need to loosen up, sistafriend. There's a whole world out there. The job is great and all. But woman cannot exist on work alone. You have to let loose and have some fun, right?" Vonda nudged her friend with her elbow and winked.
"I have more than just work."
"What? I never see you do anything."
Cherish pushed back from the table and lifted her tray. "I don't have to do every social event with you. And I certainly don't have to tell you everything about my life."
"No, you don't. But as your friend, I want to know that you're happy. Hey, why don't you come on out with me tonight? I'm going to be hitting this hot new club down at the oceanfront. Supposed to be the spot."
"Hmm, braving the nightlife in Virginia Beach during the summer. I'll pass."
Vonda opened her mouth to protest, but Cherish cut her off. "But you have fun. If I don't see you before the end of the day, have a great weekend."
At approximately 5:01 tonight, Cherish would live the life that Vonda didn't know about, couldn't know about, ever. Every week, Cherish looked forward to Friday. That was when she truly thrived.