Home > Her Gentle Capture (The Alfieri Saga #2)

Her Gentle Capture (The Alfieri Saga #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Alfieri Saga #2 - Her Gentle Capture

Her Gentle Capture (The Alfieri Saga #2)
Elizabeth Lennox

romance

 

Chapter 1

Oh, he made her mad! In fact, no one had ever infuriated Adriana so thoroughly!

Shifting uncomfortably in the contoured plastic chair that was too high to easily cross her legs, she resented even his choice in furniture. She didn’t care that he probably hadn’t helped choose it. He never sat down here in the depressingly grey cafeteria so he wouldn’t have any idea how uncomfortable the chairs are, she thought.

She tossed the unnaturally orange cracker filled with wanna-be peanut butter back onto her paper napkin, dusting her fingers and taking a sip of her diet soda. She was even reduced to lunching on chemicals, she realized. She used to be so healthy, but now? She didn’t have time to go to the grocery store lately. When she came home from the office at night, all she wanted to do was crawl into bed and recover from the relentless demands of him.

Why did he even keep her around? Any report she handed to him was wrong and he spent the next hour telling her how to fix it. Any analysis she submitted wasn’t deep enough or long enough. And when she tried to get help from someone other than him, he snapped at her, telling her that he was the one who wanted the report and he should be the one to instruct her on how to fix it.

Adriana looked down at her chemical and salt-laden lunch and lost her appetite. She was quietly sitting in a lonely corner of the cafeteria, trying to get a few minutes of peace. Peace from a man she had wished to perdition on more than one occasion. Why couldn’t others see through the charming personality that Mitch Powell showed to the outside world? She acknowledged that he was astonishingly good looking with that tall, virile physique and the intelligence to back up that look. But they should talk to the people who shivered in their boots whenever those laser blue eyes slashed in their direction during a meeting. She remembered the first time it had happened to her and, even now, she shivered with a strange sensation that she couldn’t identify, just like she’d done that day.

Her cell phone buzzed and she desperately wanted to ignore the text that had just blinked onto her screen. She knew exactly who had sent it and she didn’t want to see the message. She even turned her phone over so the screen was facing the table instead of staring up at her. While she glared at the inanimate object, deep down inside, she knew that ignoring the message would only make things worse. She rubbed her forehead, trying to work up the strength to read the message. Taking several deep breaths, she calmed herself down. She could do this, she told herself. She was a strong, capable woman with a good mind and a great attitude. Well, except when it came to him.

Shaking her head, she tried to dismiss the negative feelings and anxiety. This was her job. She couldn’t ignore the text. With shaking hands, she picked up her phone and glanced at the message. “Reports are incomplete. We’ll discuss.”

No “hi” or “hello”. Not even recognition that she’d gotten the rotten personnel reports to him earlier than requested. Just a horrible admonishment that she hadn’t completed them to his satisfaction.

And what was wrong with them anyway? As far as she knew, they were complete and accurate. She’d double checked her numbers before finalizing the information, knowing that the man had a brain that could retain the most minute details. She’d ensured that all of the personnel pages linked together with the financial calculations she’d done for him yesterday and everything was right on target.

She stared at the message while her mind went over the reports, trying to think back, go through the details again. What could possibly be wrong with them? She’d done all the requested charts, pulled up extra data to validate her assumptions and even gone so far as to get competitors’ data so she could show how far ahead his company was compared to the others in the industry.

She tossed her crackers and diet soda into the trash with a flourish of frustration. She couldn’t even finish her “meal”, as pathetic as it was, because she was too angry and resentful to eat anything now. It didn’t matter that she didn’t want the stuff anyway. It was the principle of the issue!

She counted to ten, trying to calm her racing nerves and quiet her trembling knees. Unfortunately, the first time through didn’t help, so she did it again, counting to twenty this time, taking deep breaths. She’d learned this technique early on while working with Mitch Powell. She refused to let him know how nervous he always made her feel, because he might like that and Adriana was against giving Mitch Powell any sort of pleasure.

When she once again felt a bit more in control, she buttoned her suit jacket, stood up straighter, firmed her resolve and then almost stomped to the elevator. She’d show him finished! She’d just quit! She’d get out of this stupid company and…what? Her steps faltered as she stepped into the elevator. She hesitated to press the button that would make the car go up to the top floor, worried about her next step. Quit her job? What would she do next? Go crying to daddy and ask him to give her a job in one of his companies? Admit that the horrible and obnoxious Mitch Powell had won?

Never!

She pushed the button and, while waiting for the elevator to take her to the top floor, paced back and forth, taking more deep breaths. She could do this! She could get it right and smugly rub his nose in her reports’ perfection.

She might be learning a great deal by working for this man, but that didn’t mean she had to like him. He had pathetic, adoring fans wherever else he went, she definitely didn’t need to be part of the insipid crowd. They were a groveling, ignorant throng that didn’t know the despicable man beneath the…she hesitated because she didn’t feel like complimenting him right now, but he truly was handsome. She’d give him the strong features, the hard jawline. And those blue eyes could be warm. Not when he was looking at her, but he had moments.

Okay, and he was tall and well-built. That was an inescapable fact. Powerfully well-built, unfortunately. She’d harshly admonished herself for staring at his impressively broad shoulders on several occasions lately. She also had to give him credit for working out. The other men in the office generally had varying levels of belly flab. Not on Mitch Powell! She suspected the man worked out like a demon. He had to in order to keep that level of fitness.

Some might even call him “buff”. Not her! But some might.

Then again, Lucifer was reportedly a very beautiful angel and look where he lives now! She stifled a chuckle at this thought.

At least it was quiet over here in her silent, peaceful little corner of his empire. Sitting down behind her desk, she pulled up the reports in question, skimming through the information to try and figure out what might be missing. She’d been so careful, she couldn’t imagine what she might have done wrong. As she looked through the charts and graphs, she shook her head, confused. It was all there! What could he possibly think was missing?

She felt his presence before she heard the voice. There was just something about the man that made the air around him vibrate with energy.

“Where have you been?” the deep, irritated voice demanded, stepping into her tiny, grey office. He barely even looked up from the file folder he was reading. Just a simple flash of those cold, crystal blue eyes towards her, then back to business.

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