These two are one of my favourite couples, so I hope you readers will love them as much as I do. As a release day treat you can read the entire first chapter here on my blog.
So, grab a cuppa and settle in to join Hannah and Logan at the start of their adventure....
Hannah Watson has little time for romantic entanglements. After all, she hasn’t met a man yet who can beat her little battery-operated friend.
Until the new CEO arrives. Known for his ruthlessness in business, he’s also every woman’s wet dream—hers included. His temper alone should be a turn off, but her libido is not listening to reason.
Logan Bryce doesn’t tangle with his employees—ever—until curvy little Hannah makes all of him sit up and take notice. Who knew the starchy, always respectably dressed Ms. Watson had such a naughty side? Her proposal to auction off willing celebrities and suitable staff for a ‘date’ has appeal, especially with Hannah, herself, on the auction block.
The terms of the auction are clear—a twenty-four hour commitment—plenty of time to get her out of his system.
What can possibly go wrong?
Be Warned: mild BDSM, sex toys, spanking
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Doris O’Connor Copyright © 2018
“The theme of the evening will be ‘Violence is never the answer’.” Hannah finished her presentation with as much flourish as she could muster, considering the stunned silence that made the room fall as silent as a morgue.
"That's insane. You're supposed to be making the company money, not costing them a fortune." James from finance piped up, his ridiculous put-on posh accent grating on her nerves like it always did.
Why he felt the need to adopt that around the new CEO was beyond her. By the looks of Logan Bryce, he hadn't exactly spent any time in the posher circles. Hannah had done her homework on the new boss. While he kept his private life under very close wraps, it was common knowledge that Logan was a self-made man. Brought up in the East End of London, he'd worked his way up the corporate ladder. An innate knack for investment had made him rich quickly, and nowadays he made his business taking over companies, making them better and selling them for profit. As luck would have it, Premiere Events had slid onto his radar, and they all had to fight to keep their jobs.
He’d said he wanted extraordinary proposals, and she thought she’d delivered. So, she was willing him to look up and at least acknowledge her existence. However, his head remained bowed over her written reports the entire time she’d been speaking. His rapt attention could’ve been a good sign had she not recognized her personnel file. No doubt he was plotting how best to sack her, and she’d just given him the perfect ammunition to do so.
"Well, let's not be too hasty in that assessment, James." Monique, who’d delivered a flawless proposal for the wedding of a minor royal prior to Hannah, smiled her saccharine sweet smile and leaned forward to give everyone around the conference table a good eyeful of her boosted cleavage.
Predictably Logan's gaze shifted to the wanton display of the other woman's wares and stayed there. Monique and Hannah had been friends of sorts before this takeover and the every-person-for-themselves-scramble to keep their jobs, which Logan Bryce had forced on them all. For that reason alone, Hannah ought to dislike him, but the opposite was true.
She was far too aware of him as a man. Everything about him intrigued her. He stood at well over six feet, with a shock of messy black hair which was too long for the usual executive type. Black eyes, which seemed to have the ability to look right into your psyche. Add muscles, which strained against the fine cloths of his tailor-made suits, and Logan Bryce commanded attention wherever he went. He bought and sold companies like other people changed their clothes, and everyone had been in a flutter of apprehension when he’d purchased Premiere Events. No one more so than Hannah, who’d been here ever since she’d left school, had worked herself up the ladder, and was damn proud of her achievements. If they meant there had been little room for romantic encounters, then so what? They didn’t make little battery-operated friends for nothing, after all, and Hannah was on very intimate terms with hers. Who needed a man? Then Logan happened…
Every time she looked at him, her thoughts went down decidedly naughty avenues, which no doubt had a lot to do with her coming up with this auction plan in the first place. Still, if he sacked her, she would at least sleep better at night and not be plagued by erotic dreams of his large hands all over her body.
“An auction would be fun, especially if the staff joined in. I dare say we would garner a lot of attention if we put you on the auction block, Mr. Bryce.” Monique tittered in laughter like some darn schoolgirl with a crush, and Hannah rolled her eyes.
Really, could she be any more obvious in her attempts to get into his good graces and his pants?
Those large hands of his tightened on the papers he held, and Hannah couldn’t tear her gaze away from the way his knuckles whitened.
“I’m not for sale, Monique. Nor would I expect any of the staff up there unless they wanted to be.” His deep, gravelly voice held an edge of steel and disapproval, which settled straight in Hannah’s lower regions. Lordy, that voice. If it was possible to come from the sound of a man’s voice alone, then Logan’s would definitely fit the bill. Sex on dangerous legs, that was her new boss. If the rumors were to be believed he discarded women with the same speed he sold companies. The man was a player for sure, another reason to leave her fantasies where they ought to be—locked away in her head.
Logan ran a hand through his hair. His shirt sleeve raised just enough to reveal the edge of an intriguing tattoo under his cufflinks. Hannah idly wondered how many he was hiding under the veneer of the business executive. She could just as easily picture him on the back of a motorcycle.
Jeez, there I go again with the inappropriate thoughts. Focus!
“Tell me, Ms. Watson, are you willing to auction yourself off for this charity?”
Logan focused his attention on her, and that internal pep talk she'd just given herself evaporated like mist on a summer's morning. Okay, maybe it had been better not being under his focus because the unwavering stare made her feel like his prey about to be devoured by the lion.
"I … that is…" Hannah gave up trying to talk past that huge lump in her throat and made a grab for her glass of water instead to lubricate her rusty vocal cords. Logan's eyes crinkled up at the corners as though he was amused by her, and that thought spurred her on. "Of course not. That would be inappropriate, and I'm not for sale either." She pulled her shoulders back and straightened her spine for good measure. Unfortunately, that action made the already stretched fabric of her sensible white blouse tighten further and the button gave way. Naturally, his gaze immediately dropped to the girls, and Hannah hastily flung her arm over her bust. Damn her naturally big boobs and the over generous curves in all the wrong places Mother Nature had decided to bestow on her. Men only ever saw her boobs first. Add to that her naturally blonde hair and fair complexion, and she'd always had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously. Sure enough, the odious James sniggered at her ill-timed wardrobe malfunction.
“Oh, I don’t know. I would bid on you for sure, little Hannah.”
Her lack of height was another bone of contention, but before she could as much swing around to glare at James, Logan intervened.
“Need I remind you of our rules on sexual harassment, Mr. Herringey? Ms. Watson would be perfectly within her rights to lodge a complaint.”
Hannah barely bit back her gasp of astonishment, while James turned a very unbecoming shade of green.
“I didn’t mean anything, and … well, she has come up with this idea, so what’s a man to think other than—”
"Other than that Hannah made a perfectly valid, and I have to say a unique, proposal in aid of a very good cause." Logan interrupted the other man, and it was beyond gratifying to see James squirm in his seat. Beads of perspiration gathered on his forehead, and he visibly swallowed. Served the little weasel right. Every woman in the firm knew to stay out of reach of his wandering hands. It was good to know that those days seemed to be over under the new CEO. "That was what you were going to say, right, James?"
The head of finance opened and shut his mouth in a very good impression of a fish out of water, and then settled for a tight nod.
“Yes, of course, sir, but you can’t seriously think this a valid proposal. Such an event would leave us running at huge deficit, and—”
“Enough!” That one word sliced through the air with the force of a whip, and everyone jumped, especially as it was accompanied by Logan’s fist pounding the conference table. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath in, and then addressed Hannah again, as though he hadn’t just scared them all half to death. The rumors about his temper were true then, and that should really kill any attraction she felt to him dead right there. Having grown up with the threat of violence hanging over her and her sister, thanks to her mum’s string of abusive boyfriends, Hannah shied away from any male prone to a temper.
“Forgive me, do you need a moment to…” Logan waved in the general direction of her chest, and Hannah fought the immediate blush which crept into her cheeks. Damn her fair skin.
"Yes, thank you." She mumbled the words and, turning her back onto the room, hastily fixed the button back in place. Monique rolled her eyes when Hannah turned back around, not that she had any chance to respond to the other woman's silent sneer because Logan continued.
"Like Ms. Watson quite correctly pointed out, sometimes you need to invest to gain the later benefits. With the government's drive to raise awareness of the rising issue of domestic violence, this is a timely and worthwhile proposal that I am happy to support. Hannah, you will be project manager for this. Monique, you will be her assistant. James, I expect that you will make available the necessary funds to ensure this event is a great success."
He paused, looked around the room and smiled. When his dark gaze landed on her, Hannah had to remind herself to keep on breathing.
“I’m counting on you to make this a success.”
"Yes, sir." Try as she might she couldn't project her voice past a breathy whisper, and his smile deepened, turning sinful. Hannah’s traitorous body reacted like a puppet on a string. Her nipples firmed and pushed against the confines of her cotton bra, and she squeezed her thighs together to relieve the ache between her legs. Lord help her, if he ever truly turned on the charm, she would be putty in his hands. No doubt he knew his way around a woman's body, and judging by his darkening gaze he knew exactly what effect he was having on her. Damn the man and her wayward libido.
He reached under the table as though he was adjusting himself, and that thought did absolutely nothing to calm down the rapid beat of her heart.
“Very well then, go. Make it happen, all of you.”
Hannah didn’t need to be told twice. She legged it away from him and the sinful temptation her boss represented, as fast as her wobbly legs could carry her.
Logan smiled to himself as he approached the Savoy’s Lancaster Ballroom several weeks later. No expense had been spared for this event, and little Hannah had done the company proud. Not only had she secured an impressive number of celebrities willing to allow themselves to be auctioned off, it seemed she had changed her mind about being on stage herself. He’d been surprised and, if he was honest with himself, somewhat irritated when he’d seen her on the auction list. Ever since her passionate delivery of a proposal clearly very dear to her heart, and her subsequent wardrobe malfunction, his body responded to her nearness with the predictability of a teenage boy’s. It was irritating and uncomfortable in equal measures.
He was an experienced man for fuck's sake, and that brief glimpse of creamy flesh spilling over the top of a sensible cotton bra shouldn't have had the power to wake up his libido with the force of a roaring lion. That's exactly what it had done, however. It had taken a hell of a long time for his erection to subside, which meant he'd had ample time to sit in that chair and peruse her proposal in some detail. Like her personnel file had suggested, Hannah Watson was a hardworking, trustworthy individual, a real asset to the firm. Too bad the previous owner—a chauvinistic asshole—the worst Logan had ever had the misfortune to associate with—made it a habit to promote only the males of the company.
Add to that the underlying air of sexual harassment, and one of his first tasks of CEO had been an overhaul of the policies on equal employment. Logan might be a ruthless bastard when it came to the companies he took over, and he had no compunction in tearing a company apart and rebuilding it, but he appreciated hard work and loyalty when he saw it, and Hannah had all those things in spades. A little dynamo who hid her curves under sensible work attire that made a man itch to discover what lay beneath.
Not that Logan was that man. No, with the current shitstorm in his private life, the last thing he needed was to get entangled in any sort of romance. And little Hannah Watson definitely was the happy ever after type, or so he had thought until she'd come up with this proposal. Maybe the little dove held a naughty side after all.
He swiped a flute of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter and perused that list in his hand again. She was definitely on there, so maybe he could finally use this opportunity to get her out of his system.
His breath stalled in his lungs when he spotted her. She seemed to be in a heated discussion with Monique. He was well aware that the other woman's nose had been put out of joint when he'd made Hannah her superior for this project, and there didn't seem to be any love lost between the two women now. Seeing them seemingly engaged in a discussion over the auction list gave him pause for thought. Monique had been in charge of the print outs, so it wouldn't come as a terrible surprise had she put Hannah on that list out of spite.
While that was a sackable offence in its own right, and one he would deal with once this auction was over, it also played right into his hands.
Damn, the little dove looked good enough to eat. Gone was the sensible attire, and in its stead, was a vision in red. The dress hugged every one of her curves, and while it hid more than it concealed, the cut-out back showed off acres of creamy skin. She left her long blonde tresses loose, and they framed her face in soft waves and tumbled halfway down her back, playing peekaboo with the graceful curve of her spine. A wide band of fabric held the gown together in the middle of her back, a concession for a bra to support her ample rack, no doubt, and his mouth watered at the thought of sampling those curves. A thigh-high side slit revealed surprisingly long pins for someone so small, and the fuck-me stilettos on her slender feet would look damn good flung over his shoulders as he ate out her sweet little pussy. All that leashed passion he sensed in her would make for an explosive time in the sack no doubt, and he suddenly couldn't wait anymore. Some folks were dancing, and it would be the perfect excuse to hold her in his arms and to test her response to him.
Monique’s eyes widened, and the heavily made up brunette plastered a fake smile on her face when she spotted his approach.
“Mr. Bryce, so good to see you here. I thought you weren’t coming?”
Hannah swung round, and he caught the full glare of her expressive eyes before she lowered her gaze and murmured her own greeting. He didn't miss the flush of anger on her pale cheeks, or the way her breasts heaved with her sharp inhales. The little spitfire was wired all right.
"Have I interrupted something, here?" he asked.
Monique shook her head. "Of course, not. There was a simple misunderstanding with the scheduling, which I shall now sort out. Do excuse me, and Hannah was just telling me how much she loves to dance." Monique had the audacity to wink at him and then teetered away to have a word with the Master of Ceremonies. Hannah growled under her breath, fury coming off her in waves so palpable his dick gave up any pretense of behaving himself. Thank God for well-tailored trousers and the cover up his tuxedo jacket afforded.
"She is too much," Hannah finally said, and she shook her head when he offered his arm for her take. "No, I can't dance. I'll just step on your toes, and I need to stop her. She put me on that blasted auction sheet, and—"
His finger over her lush lips stopped her tirade, and this time her skin bloomed in the instant blush of aroused woman, as he leaned in and whispered in her ear.
“Hush now, little dove, you need to relax. The turnout is excellent. You should be very proud of yourself. As for being auctioned, think of the charity and all the money you could personally raise. Now sway with me. We’re attracting attention.”
Hannah bit back what sounded like a very unladylike swear word, when she seemed to realize that he had maneuvered them onto the dance floor. She made a grab for his shoulders when he slid his hand along her back and rested it on her skin, just above the line of her dress. A telltale gasp escaped her when he drew her in closer, and she no doubt noticed his erection. Logan began to move, and she followed, even as she shivered in his arms.
"Relax, you're shaking like a leaf. Surely dancing with me is not such an abhorrent thought?" Amusement tinged his deep voice, and Hannah drew a shuddering breath into her lungs and shook her head.
“No, sir,” she whispered.
“Good, because I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I spotted you in this dress. You look stunning by the way. Now, trust me, little dove, and just let yourself go. This will all work out just fine, you’ll see.”
A snort was her answer this time, but she did follow his lead and soon relaxed in his arms as the magic of the dance worked in his favor. He twirled her around the dance floor in ever faster moves, and when she stumbled it gave him the perfect excuse to pull her in even tighter. It was torture and bliss all rolled into one as her soft curves fit against the hard planes of his body, as though she was made just for him. A far too fanciful thought but with her short puffs of breath hitting his jaw, it seemed fitting. Logan rested his chin on her head, and something like a whimper escaped the woman in his arms, as she sank into his embrace. All too soon the dance was over and the strange bubble they’d been in evaporated.
“Thank you for the dance, sir, but I’ve got duties to attend to, so please let me go.”
“Logan, please. Surely, we’re familiar enough after that dance to be on first name terms?”
A shiver went through her, and she shook her head.
“I beg to differ, sir. We only danced, in full view of everyone, so that’s hardly—”
“I could arrange for a more private dance, if you prefer, sweet Hannah.”
Hannah scowled and pushed him away with surprising force for someone so small.
With that, she turned and left him standing on the dance floor.
"We shall see about that, little dove." Logan murmured the words to her departing back and did what he came here to do, originally, network, while he kept an eye on his prey. It took every ounce of self-control he possessed to not march over and plant his fist in James Herringey's podgy face when the man cornered her a short while later. While Logan was too far away to hear what the other man was saying to her, it was damn obvious Hannah didn't appreciate the man's advances. Her body language practically screamed “get off”. The complete opposite of how she’d been in his arms. No doubt, having seen her on the auction sheet, the guy was trying his luck. The thought of anyone bidding on her and winning the right to spend time with her made that never far away ball of fury in his gut tighten. His hands fisted into balls, and he took deep breaths to control the red mist which had clouded his younger years. It was the sole reason why he'd agreed to this event truth be told. It wouldn't do to lose his temper here. That never achieved anything, and he didn't want to be responsible for another young woman lying in a coma. One was one too fucking many. He shook his head to clear it of those dark thoughts. Remnants of the nightmare that had been and was his life. Things he could never atone for in a million lifetimes.
The Master of Ceremonies announced the start of the auction.
“Ladies and gentlemen, now that we’re all nicely warmed up, let’s get on with the real reason why you’re all here. Who would like to go home with a date tonight?”
Loud cheers rang out, James's one being one of the loudest, and Hannah looked as though she wanted to be anywhere but there. She slowly inched away from the other man, and, arms wrapped around her middle, watched the proceedings with a deep frown pulling her brows together.
“We’ve had some last-minute additions to this list, so without further ado, let’s begin. First up for auction is none other than our Deputy Mayor. Let’s all put your hands together and welcome her to the stage.”
The assembled crowd of London’s finest erupted into applause, and Hannah joined in without much enthusiasm. Oh, she was far too easy to read, carrying her emotions on her face.
With everything else in his private life going to hell in a hand basket, he could do with a distraction. She didn't know it yet, but little Hannah was at his mercy, and before the night was over she would be his, come what may. Logan didn't usually mix business with pleasure. There was too much risk of muddying the waters when you got involved with someone at work, but the terms of the auction were crystal clear. She was his for twenty-four hours only. Plenty of time to discover the truly passionate woman he sensed underneath the professional mask she wore. Plenty of time to get her out of his system. That was the only reason she'd been occupying his thoughts lately. Once he'd sampled the delights of her submission he would be able to move on. He always did, after all, and he had no reason to think this time would be any different. It had simply been too long since he last got laid.
“Next up for auction is the delightful Ms. Hannah Watson.” The Master of Ceremonies’ announcement shook Logan out of his thoughts, and he smirked at little Hannah’s reaction. If ever there was a woman who shied away from the limelight, which now quite literally shone on her, it had to be her. His little dove looked so pale and fragile under the spotlight trained on her, it made him want to march over there, wrap her up in his arms and take her away from all this spectacle. That impulse alone should have made him abandon his plan. Logan had enough emotional entanglements waiting for him at home, but the thought of anyone else gaining the right for her company rooted him to the spot.
"Up you come, Ms. Watson. I should add that we owe tonight's splendor to the fair hands of this lady. I have it on good authority that this whole event was Ms. Watson’s brainchild, so let's put our hands together to show our appreciation, shall we?"
Thunderous applause accompanied Hannah's progress onto the stage, and not unlike the nickname he'd bestowed on her, she appeared ready to take flight. Her crystal blue eyes looked too big for her heart-shaped face, and even across the room, he could see the wild staccato of her pulse in her neck. Her impressive rack strained against the confines of her dress, her breath appeared to come in short gasps, and she looked on the verge of a panic attack as the bidding started.
Logan hung back, silently amused at the way the bids stepped up rapidly. It seemed he wasn’t the only one in attendance tonight who appreciated a real woman when they saw her. He barely bit back a laugh when Herringey from accounts realized he couldn’t afford her.
“Going once, going twice, for five thousand pounds on the lovely Hannah. Do we have any more?” The Master of Ceremonies raised his hammer one last time and waited. Just before he brought it down Logan intervened.
A collective gasp went through the assembled crowd, and Hannah dropped her head and appeared to be praying for divine intervention. Monique gave a very good and most unattractive impression of a goldfish—he really would have to deal with her come Monday morning—while the silver-haired guy, who had driven the bids up thus far, threw Logan a glance, and then shook his head at the Master of Ceremonies.
“Sold for ten thousand pounds to none other than Logan Bryce. Thank you for your generosity and come claim your date.”
Logan slowly made his way across the room, and by the time he reached the stage some color had returned to his little dove’s cheeks. In fact, she positively vibrated in fury, and, sure enough, when he drew close and nudged her chin up with his forefinger, the furious look in her eyes would have felled a lesser man. Too bad for her that her outrage only served to make him harder. It would be such fun, indeed, to tame the little spitfire in front of him.
“Shall we get out of here, little dove?” he asked.
“How dare you? I’m not going anywhere with you. You’ve set this up, haven’t you? Well, you’ve had your laugh at my expense. I will not do this. I can’t. I’m not for sale, damn you.”
The words, delivered in a hissed whisper for his ears only, brought with them more of the subtle flowery scent he'd noticed earlier. It wasn't a fragrance he could place. Certainly not one of the more cloying, expensive perfumes he was used to from the women in his acquaintance. Hannah's scent was all her. Fresh and light, it brought to mind meadows in the summer breeze, like the kind his brother and he had played in when they were children. Long before Rick had been responsible for beating his wife into a pulp. Long before Logan's own and far too painful brush with the women's refuge.
“Are you not, my dear? Yet, here you are, to all intents and purposes mine for the next twenty-four hours.” He blocked the hand poised to connect with his cheek easily enough, and pulled Hannah away and off the stage and their fascinated audience.
“Now, now, little dove, violence is never the answer. Isn’t that the motto of the evening?”
Hannah kicked his shin, and he cursed under his breath as pain shot up from that abused part of his body.
She looked utterly mortified at her action, as confirmed by the words tumbling out her mouth.
“Jeez, let me go. This isn’t me. I’m sorry I kicked you, but for God’s sake enough of this.”
Amusement replaced his annoyance, and he chose to wind her up a bit more.
“That’s the oddest apology I ever heard, I have to say.” He didn't release his grip on her wrists. Instead, he marched her backwards until her back hit the wall, and using his considerable body mass crowded her in.
“It also changes nothing, and, besides, do you really want the charity to lose ten grand, because you don’t trust yourself in my company?”
He grinned at her outraged gasp.
“You wouldn’t renege on your donation?” The breathy question shot straight to his groin, and he shifted to relieve the ache in his balls.
“Maybe not, but are you really willing to take that risk, little Hannah?”
She opened her mouth to no doubt chew him out some more, but whatever she read in his expression stopped her.
“Don’t stop protesting now. It’s rather amusing to see you fight this thing between us.”
“What? There is no us. Let me go. I’ll scream.” That breathy moan of a reply wouldn’t disturb the wings of a butterfly, but it made him even harder.
He dipped his head and whispered the next words into her ear.
“You don’t really want me to let you go, do you?”
She gasped in answer. Hot little puffs of air ghosted across his jaw, further testament that she wasn’t as unaffected as she’d like him to think she was. Hannah bit her lip, and the hand she had poised on his chest to push him away curled into the lapels of his tuxedo, instead, and raising herself up on tiptoes, she reiterated in kind.
“Yes, I do.”
His big shoulders shook in silent laughter, and she arched away slightly to glare up at him. It only made his amusement deepen.
“I mean it. Let. Me. Go.” She accentuated every word with a tug at his jacket. He did just that, and she would have stumbled had he not put a hand out to steady her. The minute she got her bearings on the killer heels she wore, he released her, stuck his hand in his trouser pocket and pulled out a key card.
“Fine, have it your way, little dove. If you change your mind this is the key to my suite.” He held it out to her, and when she took it smirked down on her. “Be very sure this is what you want, however.” He leaned in and dropped his voice to that growly whisper guaranteed to get to the ladies. “Let’s be absolutely clear about what I want. If you choose to use that key, you’re mine to do with as I see fit, little dove.” He paused and traced the outline of her lips with his thumb. The urge to kiss those plump lips drove him hard. What’s more she wouldn’t resist him. The subconscious way she leaned into him, parted her lips, and her little tongue darted out to touch the tip of his digit told their own story. Such a fucking turn-on.
However, there were too many people milling about, and they’d given the gossipmongers enough to hark on about.
He smiled and cupped her jaw instead.
“I don’t do love. I don’t do commitment, and whatever you decide will have no bearing whatsoever on your standing at work.” He nodded when she couldn’t seem to help her tiny jerk of reaction. “Neither will I renege on my donation. I’m not that guy. However, I would very much like to fuck you, my sweet. No strings, no promises, just one night of fun. And it would be fun, that I can promise you. So…” He withdrew his palm slowly, and Hannah shivered at the loss of contact. “Over to you, Ms. Watson.”
Have a great day, and do stay naughty, now, folks.