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Built to Last

By:C.M. Steele

Chapter 1


Joseph


I sat in the seat facing the front desk at the bar. My espresso and my tablet rested on the counter top as I watched her walk in. Her long legs were striding to the reception area with haste. I didn’t have to look at my watch to know she was running late, I’d been waiting here for longer than I should have just to see her come in. For two weeks, I’d been watching her via the surveillance cameras. I had been doing a routine inspection of the systems we have in place when she caught my attention.

Everything at the hotel was running smoothly as usual, but I couldn’t say the same thing for myself. I was lost to the camera and the lovely Rachael Harrison on the other end of the lens. Thankfully, the footage had been sent via an email attachment that linked to the network, so I could be alone with my instant fascination. She was the reason I decided to make an impromptu trip to the hotel. I had to see her up close and personal before I lost my mind. My fantasies were on the brink of wearing me down.

She smiled at the young guy that worked alongside her most of the time. It really pissed me off, and someone’s schedule was going to be changed one way or another. It may be a dick move, but my ‘give a fuck’ flew out the window the second I laid eyes on her. I pulled her HR file, and I wasn’t pleased at all she was more than a bit too young for me. That was what took so long to get here. She was just barely legal. At twenty-eight, I was ten years older. The gap was huge, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me.

I took a sip of my coffee, letting her get settled before I stopped over there to talk to her. As the head of the Middleton Hotels, I couldn’t just ask her out. It was one of the big rules for the company, and I was all about rules. There were three of us boys, and as the oldest, I tended to always be the one who was uptight or as they put it - a “fucking stick in the mud.” It was a part of who I was, and in all these years, no one has been able to change that in me until a week ago. Yes, I saw her two weeks back, but I had maintained control of my desire and temper. It took one look at her laughing with Lance, the player wannabe, to piss me off.

I rearranged my schedule and headed up here. There were some renovations going on so that had been my excuse. I was here to evaluate the progress. Instead, I had little to no concern about the hotel’s construction. I was focused on the beauty at the desk. Her hair was swept to the side in an elegant and neat ponytail that rested on her shoulder. It was smooth and sleek and I wanted to fuck it all up.

“Mr. Middleton, would you care for another coffee, sir?” Dylan, the barista, asked.

“No, thank you,” I said, taking the last drink of my cup and pushing it to the edge. I gathered up my things and walked up to the front desk. The other employee winked at her before stepping out of the registration area. Perfect timing.

My heart was dancing an Irish jig in my chest as I grew near. She looked up from the computer and our eyes met. A subtle, soft, almost inaudible gasp left her parted lips. I stared longer than I should have, but there was something passing between us, or so I thought.

“Mr. Middleton, we were not aware that you would be visiting the hotel today,” she exclaimed in noticeable embarrassment. So that was what the tension was. She recognized me.

“Yes, Rachael. I’m here for a visit. And as it happens, I will need a room for the night.”

“Yes, sir,” she said quickly, her face still flush from the surprise.

“Relax, Rachael. You’re not going to get fired for not having a room ready. It was a surprise for a reason.” Yes, a reason solely based on her. She was a hundred times more potent in the flesh. My body and its unrelenting need was starting to make standing in front of her very uncomfortable. The fit of my suit did little to hide my growing cock, and I was grateful that I was where she couldn’t see my bottom half or the jig would be up. Lust flowed through me as I watched her type into the computer then look up at me with that hospitable, fake smile she plastered on for the guests.

“Ms…”

“Harrison.”

“Yes, Ms. Harrison, please remember that a smile should be genuine. I can see that you are a bit frazzled still.”

“Sorry. Here’s your key to the penthouse suite,” she said, sliding the keycard across the marble surface. I reached for it, just to get a simple touch of her hand, but she was quick and I barely grazed her finger nails. The minor touch was more than enough to send my body into a rutting need. For the first time in my life, I felt desire for something more than success.

“Thank you, Rachael,” I said, taking the card and walking away without another word. It was too hard to speak when all the blood had left my brain and headed south. I always made smart moves and wanting Rachael wasn’t smart, but as they say, we are all fools in love. Fuck, was I really in love with her?

I headed up to the lavish suite and took off my suit jacket and tie, then rolled up my sleeves. I was about to kick off my shoes and plan when I remembered that I’d left my overnight luggage at the bar. Forgoing the tie and jacket, I hurried down, tapping my keycard in my hand, smiling at the fact that I’d get one more stolen moment with her for the time being. I walked past the desk when another guest in a suit gave her a once over. I growled to myself as I made my way to the bar.

“Here you go, sir,” Dylan said, “I put it behind the bar.”

“Thank you,” I muttered, taking the bag and walking past the desk again.

Our eyes met and I raised my bag up and it garnered a genuinely perfect smile. Fuck, I wanted to kiss those lips as soon as fucking possible. How I was going to do it was a mystery to me. First things first, I needed to spend some time with her. Next on the list, fire her ass. After that, fuck her until we both can’t walk or think.

Stepping back into the room, I headed straight for the bathroom and a fucking frigid shower.





Chapter 2


Rachael


My entire body shook as my fantasy man walked up to me. Joseph Middleton had been my celebrity crush for what seemed like forever. I remembered seeing him at one of my family’s parties when I was about fifteen. I wasn’t allowed down from my room because it was for adults, but I had peeked from the top of the staircase. He was the kind of man that set my heart thumping from day one, and three years later I was still crushing hard.

We never met, but I would hear about the brothers and how my father wanted me to marry Jacob, the youngest one. I wanted Joseph, but that was out of the question. He was out of my league. I was just a kid to him, and he thought I was just a simple, little, nervous girl shocked at his presence. I thought I just fucked up again with the man who made me fuck up the last time. I’d been caught daydreaming and written up for it just yesterday. I deserved it, I suppose. I’d only gotten caught four times since I started. It was like somehow, they knew I was dreaming of him and he came here to straighten that shit out.

Of course, that wasn’t why he was here, but it would suck if they told him about my lapse. It was going to be a very long night. I had midday shift that ran from eleven in the morning to nine at night. It was still better than the graveyard shift, and I had classes in the morning so the day time shift was out of the question.

I didn’t need to work at all, but the little perverse girl looking to be a glutton for punishment looked for a job where I might actually get to see him. My parents wanted me to just focus on school, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work here. My first year of college was almost over and I hoped that they would stop in. Jacob showed up last week to talk to the supervisor for an hour before leaving, but handsome Joseph, the man that set my heart pounding and my knees weak, hadn’t made an appearance until today.

I felt like the bumbling idiot that I presented to him instead of the brilliant, sophisticated young woman I was. When he walked away, I mentally begged him to come back. And like that, he was back or just passing by. I bit back a moan when I saw him without a suit jacket on and his sleeves rolled up in that sexy way that made most women melt.

He gave me a cold stare as he headed toward the bar. I thought maybe he was meeting someone there for drinks. It was early for that, but someone like him could have any woman any time he wanted, and well, I wanted him more than he could ever understand. In a sign of embarrassment, he smiled at me as he passed by again with his bag raised up for me to see. I couldn’t help but grin like a fool right back at him.

It was about seven-thirty when a woman who I recognized arrived. She stepped up to the desk with her nose in the air and a snooty look just for me. “Where is Mr. Middleton?”

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I said, drawling out the ma’am so that she took my reference of her being older. “Who are you? And is Mr. Middleton expecting you?”

She opened and closed her mouth like I should know who she was. Before she could react, Joseph stepped up to the desk. “Roxie, what are you doing here?”

“You were supposed to meet with the Devonshire Group in the morning.”

“Actually, the meeting was moved to tomorrow here at the hotel’s Conference Room A. I messaged you that earlier.”

“Oh, I mustn’t have seen it.” He looked at her funny, before turning to me. “Can you get me a menu for a local pizza place?”

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