Title: Say You Hate Me
Series: Love at Work #4
Author: Amanda Richardson
Genre: Enemies to Lovers/Office Romance
Release Date: May 11, 2021
My love life would be almost comical if it weren’t so depressing. Why can’t romance be like it is in the novels I love? I stupidly assume things can’t get any worse, but then I get fired from my job. Good one, universe. Now I have no choice but to work for my brother and his surly business partner, Anderson.
We can’t seem to get on the same page about anything. He’s judgmental and rude, and I can’t stand him. To make matters even more trying, he’s ridiculously hot.
I never agreed to bring on a new marketing manager, and certainly not her. My business partner leads with his heart, and when he hires his sister, her ability to crawl under my skin is insurmountable.
So, why does she make my heart race every time she’s close? When things escalate, I lose all semblance of control, which just makes me angrier. I can’t keep my hands off her, even though she makes me crazy.
Hatred can drive a person insane, but so can love.
The Love at Work Series consists of interconnected standalones, all having to do with falling in love at work. They can be read in ANY order!
I’m about to look into an up-and-coming mailing list service when Luca pops his head into my office.
“Are you on?” he hisses, pointing to his watch. I glance at my calendar.
His eyes widen. “The Zoom call with our Whole Foods rep. It should be on your calendar.”
I look at my schedule again. “I only have a call with Gena at two to discuss the magazine feature.”
He sighs. “Fuck. I probably forgot to add you. One second.”
He turns and leaves. I scour my emails, but I never got an invitation. Just as I’m about to get up, Anderson saunters in.
“I just sent you the link,” he says, pulling the chair from the corner and placing it next to mine. When he looks up at me, he shrugs. “Luca’s taking the meeting in his office. I figured you’d want company.”
“Sure, by all means, make yourself at home,” I mutter, clicking on the link he sent me. My screen pulls up the Zoom meeting, and I keep us on mute as I adjust the angle to show only our shoulders and faces. When I glance over at Anderson, he’s leaning back in his chair—my chair—looking down at some papers with a pen in his mouth.
Instinctively, I cross my legs under my desk as a man I’ve never met begins a presentation, sharing his screen. I keep my eyes focused on the slideshow, trying to pay attention to the numbers he’s explaining. After a minute, my eyes wander to the occupant in the seat to my right, but his eyes are narrowed in on the screen, ignoring me completely. I tamp down the blow to my ego—I’d worn my bright red skirt suit on purpose. I’m about to uncross my legs when Anderson’s hand lands on my knee, and I stiffen.
I glance at him again, and his expression gives nothing away. From our tiny square on the bottom left, it just looks as though we’re two colleagues sitting appropriately spaced apart in a nondescript office. No one could know he’s feeling me up under the desk. His jaw is hard, his eyes laser-focused on the screen, and he’s fidgeting with the pen with his free hand. He flicks his eyes to me for a second, and my office grows hot—so stiflingly hot. His eyelids are hooded, his pupils dark, as they narrow ever so slightly. As they convey exactly how he’s feeling. His hand moves up, underneath my skirt, and I clamp down on my tongue so that I don’t yelp out loud.
“Natalia actually has some interesting ideas for the logo,” Luca says, and my name coming from the speakers on my computer surprises me. I wasn’t expecting to be called out—and I sure as hell wasn’t expecting to be called out with Anderson’s hand up my skirt. Thank god it’s just a Zoom. His warm, calloused hand slides up even farther, making contact with the lace of my panties. He brushes against my slit once, and I nearly gasp as I unmute us.
“I—um—yes,” I mutter, clearing my throat. I pray to whatever gods exist that my skin isn’t blotchy right now—that my cheeks are a normal color. “In doing some market research, I’ve discovered that logos for health food companies are always nearly—um—” I breathe, shaking my head and clearing my throat, uncrossing my legs as one of Anderson’s fingers slides underneath the fabric of my underwear. “Sorry. Where was I?”
“Logos for health food companies are always nearly…” Luca finishes. His expression in the little square is one of impatience.
I swallow. Whole Foods is our biggest client. I can’t fuck this up. Not after everything Luca has done for me. I grind my teeth and steel my resolve, ignoring the way Anderson’s finger uses my own wetness as lube, sliding his thumb against my clit. I can’t think straight, and I’m sure as hell not about to push his hand away. I’ve never been so turned on.
“Right. Logos for these companies are almost always green in color, modern-looking, with wholesome graphics,” I add, clearing my throat as Anderson quickens his pace. I shake the hair off my shoulders and arch my back slightly, parting my legs. It’s so fucking hot in here that I might faint. Electric currents run from my core down every limb, and I resist the urge to move against him. “Gather’s logo is great, but eventually, I think we should tweak it.”
The man on the screen—Kelvin—cocks his head. “I like the idea of a wholesome element. It would fit in better with our branding.”
I nod, breathing heavily now. I hope no one notices the way my nostrils are flaring, the way my eyes flutter slightly as Anderson works the bundle of nerves at my opening.
“Right,” I add, nodding. “The logo we have now is fine, but if we are really trying to break out into the restaurant industry, we should probably find something that looks good on the outside of any dining area, that represents exactly what Gather—” I gasp as Anderson inserts two fingers, involuntarily spreading my legs as wide as they’ll go. I cover it with a cough. “As I was saying, we want to find a logo that represents everything Gather stands for. And since we started with juice, and that’s the current logo, I think we should be thinking more organically.”
“Like a leaf?” Anderson asks, his fingers curling and thrusting into me, delicious and slow.
I turn to face him, knowing he’ll see everything written on it—everything he’s doing to me—in a Zoom full of people. The fucking prick. He’s taunting me—again.
I nod, trying to keep my body from shaking as he inserts a third finger.
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Amanda Richardson writes from her chaotic dining room table in Los Angeles, often distracted by her husband and two adorable sons. When she's not writing contemporary and dark, twisted romance, she enjoys coffee (a little too much) and collecting house plants like they're going out of style.