One of Cunningham’s assistants placed a client folder on the edge of Elle’s desk. “It’s my wife’s birthday, so I’m going home early,” he said, already moving away. “You don’t have anything to go out, I hope.”
“No. See you tomorrow.” Elle opened the folder and flipped through the pages of glossy ads. “You’re kidding me!”
The assistant, who had only just disappeared out of view, stuck his head around the corner, blinking in surprise.
“Not you,” Elle said with a distracted smile. The new client was an upscale bridal shop. Elle cursed under her breath as she looked over photos of previous campaigns. Cunningham—wealthy co-owner of Cunningham & Associates, where she worked, and one of her three demanding lovers—had to be out of his mind sending this project to her.
She flipped through the ads trying to find a single instance where her aesthetic could be applied. The art had an elegant yet romantic quality, marked by long, flowing lines. It was confident with a touch of upper-class fairy tale.
Her work was confident, too, but with more of an “ordinary folks” vibe. Just like her.
Thinking that the client sought a change of direction, she dug around until she located the interview summary. Nope. They wanted a similar design to announce the opening of their newest location.
Elle closed the folder, took a deep breath, and opened her email.
She carefully typed: Cunningham, While I appreciate the vote of confidence, I don’t think I’m qualified for this project. Maybe it’s better if you give it to Marcy since she has a lot of experience with high-end boutiques.
Which Cunningham damned well knew. Why was he doing this to her? He was normally all about matching the right artist to the job. She had never designed something like what this client wanted.
Now that they were trying to begin a real relationship, did he expect her to go from awkward Elle to Elle, upscale artist? When he’d said that being in a relationship with three men wouldn’t be easy for her, she thought he meant that the logistics could get complicated.
She typed Cunningham’s name into the recipient field. Her finger hovered over the mouse, but those few millimeters felt like an uncrossable ocean. Sending the email would mark a new phase in their relationship. Since the moment she’d met Cunningham, she had never, ever told him “no.”
That worked just fine for sex, where they wanted the same thing: she needed to have her body full of hard, alpha males, and he enjoyed watching her struggle to accommodate and serve him, Jonathan, and Nolan.
He liked to spank her.
Make her scream his name until she went hoarse.
Elle shifted, feeling herself getting wet. If she told him “no,” he might punish her with his large, firm hands.
Or he might just walk away.
A flutelike chime sounded, and Cunningham’s name popped up. Her heart fluttered in her chest—could he possibly know she was on the verge of denying him?
But no, he just wanted a status update on the Caulfield project.
She quickly responded that she was actually ahead of schedule, then looked at the time and decided that she deserved to take a lunch break. Because a toasted bagel slathered in cream cheese and with a slice of tomato would make everything sunnier.
Smiling, Elle worked her feet into her heels and grabbed her phone and purse.
Even before she’d stood up, Cunningham had sent an email back. It was one sentence long.
Then we will have lunch together.
Lunch with Cunningham wouldn’t be at the deli Nolan had gotten her hooked on. Cunningham would take her to a snooty place where an obsequious waiter would give her a black or white linen napkin based on what color skirt she wore.
Elle looked down at her silky button-down shirtdress. It had been chosen by her lovers—they provided her a proper business wardrobe as part of her employee compensation package—and this tangerine shirtdress was one of the few semi-casual
R.L. Stine - (ebook by Undead)