You have to hear this AMAZING news from me. Thanks be to God and to everyone who has bought "Shocking Affair" in the last 48hrs, anyone who shared my post or told their friends about my hot new release.
I saw the red label on my book 24hrs after the release! Halleluyah!!! I have not had an Amazon Bestselling New Release in over 7yrs of writing romance novels.
I'm so thankful to God and to you all. I love you even more now.
Have you got a copy yet? Don't miss reading about my sassy CEO and my rascally janitor.
Read Chapter One for FREE!!!
~ A Flirty & Feisty Romance Novel ~
She is the CEO and he is the janitor.
“Brilliant, beautiful and bold, Michelle’s the CEO of Hotshot Publishers. I’m the janitor assigned to clean her office. She has her eyes on me. The truth is, I don’t date powerful women. In fact, I don’t date at all, but it doesn’t stop my eyes from finding hers in a room. Suddenly, she asks for my help. I want to refuse, but I’m curious.
Besides why would I turn down my boss? Maybe just this once, every inch of her sexy body will know my touch even if it’s the last thing I do. If I get hooked, it’ll be a shocking affair. Suddenly, her old crush appears and then I realize I want something from her…”
~ Toye Williams
“Striking from head to toe, there’s something about Toye, the janitor that distracts me as I work. Maybe the tattoos designed along his muscled arms play havoc on my mind, or the rippling muscles beneath his fitted top is the reason, I’m not sure. When you’re at the top of your career, holding on to a relationship is tough. Yet, my stomach scrunches every time I see him. He sends me a mysterious glare and a stay-away-from-me frown when our eyes lock. I reject accomplished men who want me. With Toye, maybe it’s the chase I enjoy or the fact I know I shouldn’t date the janitor. Whatever it is, I’ve got a favour to ask of him. If he says yes, I’ll do what I’ve got in mind. If not, I might settle for my old crush.”
~ Michelle Taylor
From the Author of Guilty of Love ~ A Sweet & Steamy Romance
Michelle’s stomach muscles tightened.
Her fingers circling the silver pen on the desk grew sweaty. She crossed her feet at the ankles under her high-back, black leather swivel chair.
To be honest, she had felt this way for months since she set eyes on Toye. The words on her lips searched for a way to get out, but they were stuck in her throat.
Grow some spine, her head roared. It’s now or never. Say what’s on your mind.
“Don’t touch that!” Michelle spewed out, rearranging the folders on her desk to buy time. She only spoke up to get Toye’s attention.
The janitor did not glance at her, not even a quick look over his broad shoulders. Beneath his tight-fitting dark grey t-shirt, his muscles rippled as he wiped the delicate vase on the glass shelf.
A neat pile of work sat on her table waiting for her expert attention. Instead of earning her fat pay by the second, her eyes followed the sweep of Toye’s long arms stretched even wider as he worked.
Thankfully a yawning gap separated her desk from the tall, dark man now cleaning the flowered vase painting on the wall in her office with arms tattooed as if he was a walking piece of exquisite art.
Two months ago, when she requested for Toye to be stationed in her office to clean all day long, it had seemed like a great idea–a selfish one, no doubt. She wanted him where she could keep an eye on his body. In truth, it was not just his body she found fascinating, his dark aura also mystified her.
Feeling unusually fuzzy on the fourteenth day in May, Michelle sighed.
“Did you hear me?” Speaking in an even tone, Michelle tried to get his attention again. If he did not respond to simple instruction, how could she ask what was on the tip of her tongue?
The man who had a body toned to disrupt her mind and a mysterious personality to boot, carried on brushing the delicate artwork as if she had not spoken.
Her cell phone vibrated on top of her diary sitting on the table to her right. The pealing sound almost cut off her Monday morning drool, but not entirely. Michelle’s fingers hesitated to tap the green button to receive the call. Instead her eyes shadowed every undulating muscle in Toye’s upper back and arms. He was distracting. Oh, not just distracting, he captivated her thoughts by doing what he did best.
For the most part, the janitor acted as if he was invisible and unable to speak. Well, she was not quite sure, anyway, whether he could talk. He never responded verbally to her commands. Worse still, he barely looked at her when he worked. The few times their eyes had clashed, his dark pair exuded silent shady messages she could not interpret. Yet, a slow tension hung between them, strong at times, magnetic even. She had no clue what to do about it, until today.
You’re the CEO, her heart croaked, and he’s the janitor.
As a professional herself, Toye’s distant attitude did not matter to her, because he took great care when he cleaned every inch of her office and the delicate pieces of decoration she treasured.
Her phone continued vibrating and the sound finally shooed her out of her slobber.
“Hello, Mom!” She inserted fun into her tone.
Michelle shook her head and breathed out. It was half eight on Monday morning.
“I can hear you sigh,” her mom scolded mildly.
Michelle heard Momma, her grand-aunt Evelyn sigh. It sounded more like a fire cracker.
“We were at your place yesterday. You didn’t come home, again,” her mom stated, her tone a tad shy of directly accusing her of abandoning her family.
Michelle stood up and carried two folders in her arms. “Dad, Mom and Momma, good morning. I really love you all, but I’m at work. Whatever needs to be discussed will have to wait till I get home.”
Along with her grand-aunt Evelyn, they all lived on the same street on Grosvenor Street in London, and her family took it upon themselves to drop by her house several times a week. Of course, they knew when she was home and always happened to be passing by to say hello and to chat—a terrible idea. Sometimes, she felt smothered and disappeared from home for days. While family meant a lot to her, oftentimes she found their fussing overwhelming.
“You’ve got the management meeting starting in six minutes,” Liam reminded her from the doorway with a tiny grin touching his square jaw.
Grateful for her personal assistant’s interruption, Michelle nodded at Liam. “Thanks.”
Swallowing her irritation at her family’s unwanted intrusion, Michelle circled her desk.
“Dad, Mom, Momma, I’ll see you later at home. I’ve got a very important meeting. Bye.”
“Are you really coming home tonight?” Momma chirped in just as Michelle stood beside the janitor who had his face averted.
A striking masculine scent raced to Michelle’s nose. She inhaled slowly as the air surrounding the man born to clean seemed to hold a sharp dose of scent she did not have time to explore.
Covering the phone with her palm, she murmured to Toye. “Whatever you do, try not to break that delicate piece on the window sill.”
Without a glance at her, the janitor nodded and moved along the wall as if she were interrupting his smooth routine.
Grinding her teeth together, Michelle returned her attention to the call. “Yes, I’ll come home tonight. See you all later.”
“We’ve arranged for dinner,” her dad stated just before she tapped the end button.
A sharp groan leaped out of Michelle’s mouth. “Dinner at my place again?” Then she grinned as the perfect excuse she needed to get what she wanted from Toye stared her in the face.
“Yes,” Jackson Taylor confirmed in his don’t-argue-with-me tone.
Before they could delay her further, she agreed. “Fine, Dad. See you all at dinner tonight.”
Michelle gave her watch a fast glance. Two minutes more. What she had in mind to ask Toye would have to wait.
Hurrying out of her office, she forgot all about the impending dinner and Toye’s crafted body.
Along the corridor, her heels clacked against the marble flooring. The click-clack sound grated on her nerves. For some obscure reason she was more unnerved this morning. She had read everything relating to the buy-over decision the board members needed to vote on within the next hour, so that was not what bothered her. It could not be the spontaneous dinner arrangement her dad just dropped on her a moment ago. It must be the growing connection she had with the man who said very little.
“Michelle?” a voice called out.
Cold shivers swept through Michelle like a hurricane. She halted her stride as if hit by a bullet train. The voice which boomed from behind her did not belong to one of the fifty or so staff she encountered in the office building every day. Neither did it belong to anybody she had interacted with recently.
Yet, the deep, authoritative voice commanded her attention. Even though she had less than two minutes to spare before her meeting, she turned around.
Toye stood with his eyes honed on hers.
The folders in her hands slipped down, hit her feet and she blinked.
Without trying, the janitor made her jittery and her chest thudded a little.
“I’ll get the folders,” Toye said, squatting at her feet.
Michelle ducked her head lower to stare at him. His dark hair, plaited into cornrows, was secured at his neck with a band. She had not really noticed he had more hair than most men, not that it was any of her business.
Quickly willing herself to take control, she straightened her spine. “I thought you had some speech impediment or something,” she told him when he handed over the files.
A soft chuckle bubbled out of his lips and floated upward. “Do I sound like I’ve got a speech impediment? I only speak when necessary.”
Now her eyes searched his lips. For the first time she observed he had full dark lips. Was he a smoker? Only men who smoked several packets of cigarettes a day could have such dark lips. His plump lips were very well shaped in fact, but why was she admiring his lips anyway? This was weird, very weird.
“Did you have something to say to me?” she asked with an impatient grin aimed at unnerving him.
“Nothing serious. I wanted to tell you that if I didn’t clean the decorative pieces on the window sill, they would gather a pile of dust, and that would tarnish the image of the company.”
His dark eyebrows and trimmed moustache vied for her attention and his husky voice warmed her skin. She drew her eyebrows together.
“Okay. But they’re special. Can we talk about this later or some other time?”
He bent down again and brushed his fingers over her left feet.
Michelle jumped back and the folders crashed out of her hands a second time. Warm tides jerked up her legs to the pit of her stomach, toughening the knots.
“What are you doing?” Her words were forced through clamped lips.
The janitor shrugged, his shaped beard an attractive feature on his angular jaw. “The folders hit your legs earlier, so I wanted to take away the sting. I didn’t intend to make your skin crawl or anything.”
“Oh,” she exclaimed, suddenly feeling foolish at her over-the-top reaction.
“Maybe some other time. Go on to your meeting.” Giving her a curt nod, he bowed and left her standing there with her mouth slackened.
When she recovered enough to get her thoughts back to the meeting at hand, Michelle texted her assistant, “I want every info on Toye Williams.”
“I will start right away,” Liam texted back.
Pulling in a strong breath, she exhaled slowly, tucked in her stomach and walked to the meeting room with her head held high.
Once the meeting ended, Michelle chatted briefly with Jessica, the head of publishing and Violet, the head of marketing about closing the book deal that came in seventy-two hours ago from a promising newbie author.
“Close the deal, Jessica, and you can get the commission straightaway.”
A determined glint rested in Jessica’s hazel eyes and she smiled. “Consider the deal on the way to being closed. I’ve got a lunch meeting with the author at two.”
Nodding at the woman with a success rate many admired in the publishing industry, Michelle faced Violet. “And I know you’ve got a new marketing angle to promote the new book. Let me see the final artwork as soon as you finish.”
“Of course, Michelle.”
“Have a great day, ladies.” Michelle nodded at her team and strode out of the meeting room.
Something needled Michelle’s thoughts as she walked briskly back to her office.
Liam met her by the door. “You’ve got a meeting in an hour with the company publicist.”
“Great. May I have milkshake please? I feel funny.”
“Yes. I’ll order one right away. Do you want to sit down?”
Michelle did not provide an answer, instead she headed straight to her desk and sat down. “Liam?”
Her assistant who had one foot at the door, looked behind. Michelle gestured with one hand for him to come inside. “Shut the door.”
“Any problems?” Liam asked, his dark hair cut low to disguise his recently receding hairline.
“Could you send Toye to my office please?”
Liam’s expression did not waver as he replied. “Of course.”
“Is he Nigerian?”
“Yes, I believe so. When do you want to see him? He’s probably in the canteen at this time.”
“Now.” One word was all she said.
Liam nodded with a complete understanding of the one-word-reply. He had been asked to make his way out of her office and find Toye Williams, and he did.
Michelle rubbed her fingers along her temple and exhaled. If only work was all she had to think about, her life would be far simpler. Family pressures took a giant part of her brain. If they did not drive her insane, no one else would. Soon, she must do something about the quiet agony.
Meanwhile, she opened the file in front of her and studied the submitted artworks one after the other. Then she lifted the ad for the upcoming book from the most successful author in their portfolio, who happened to write thrillers. She skewed her head to peer at the creative drawings. Then she scribbled notes along the edges. The artwork team would make changes later. The ad would hopefully launch Andy Boyd’s new book to a wider audience, at least that was their target.
Just as she shut the folder, her door opened. Michelle did not have to look up.
Slow tension crept down her back. It turned into a solid unyielding sheet at the base of her spine. Without checking, she knew Toye was in her office.
The rigid tension appeared anytime Toye was nearby. It had been this way for over two months. Every time he worked in her office, a small knot either rolled through her spine or lodged at her neck. No matter who else was in her office, she felt the same way, and it was frustrating not knowing what the heck was going on inside her body.
Silence stretched far and wide between them.
The man said very little almost all the time. Why?
Didn't men like to talk? In general, they liked the sound of their own voices. Not Toye, he was quiet to a fault. When after several minutes, he finally said nothing, she looked up. He stood by the door, but his eyes faced the painting of Montana at sunrise on the wall to her right. Although his presence was overpowering, he could be overlooked because he made himself unobtrusive at will.
“Earlier, I’m sure you heard my family say they’ve organized dinner for tonight in my house,” she said.
Toye turned his head and stared at her. A dark force accompanied his gaze—a force that seemed to push her back. So, she leaned back in her seat. Maybe it was safer when he averted his gaze, she reckoned.
“I heard, but it’s none of my business.” His tone was brusque and formal, and his voice held a commanding sting as if he had not brushed his fingers against her feet hours ago.
Lowering her head, she carried the blue folder and dumped it in the out tray on her left side. “I need your help tonight.”
She held her breath, waiting for his response.
Nervous tension coiled in her belly, compressing its hold for long seconds.
Then she heard his sharp intake of breath. Was he going to turn down her request without finding out what she needed from him?
Instead of looking up, she opened the next folder and pretended to study the content. Counting to twenty in her head, she hoped he would ask the follow-up question, what can I do for you?
At last, no words came out of his lips.
Dragging in a long breath enriched with his fragrance, she sat forward and weaved her fingers on the desk. “If you could show up at my house tonight, I would really appreciate it. I need help with cleaning up once the dinner is over and we might talk afterward.”
“I’m contracted to clean your office here at Hotshot Publishers on Great Portland Street, not your private residence, Michelle.” His voice was as sharp as hot steel blade, whipping her senses to a standstill.
At the same time his words were like a sweet rebuke. She had crossed the line and she knew it, but she would have it no other way. There was something going on between them. It was silent, but present and she intended to dig deeper to find out what exactly was meant by the cramps in her belly.
She lifted both hands and shut her eyes.
“I know. I’ll pay you whatever you bill me. I trust you with my office and I believe I can trust you with taking care of my home. I don’t want to bring in strangers to clean my house. I had a few nasty experiences in the past.”
“Or maybe you could clean yourself.”
His words came out with ease, and it lacked any bite. It sounded as if he was giving her valuable tips for free, rather than a vicious attack on her character.
“That’s an option I’m not in the mood to explore. This is high season in the publishing industry. I’ve got too much work to do. My family doesn’t understand the demands of my job. I just need you to be around to lighten things up a bit.”
“Not just to clean up, then?”
Looking at him from her seating position, she sighed. “It would give me peace of mind if you could do me this favour.” It was a huge favour if she were totally honest.
“What if I had prior plans?” His questions were short and punchy.
“I would understand.”
Then she paused and stood.
“I take that back. I would beg you to cancel and bill me higher for the inconvenience.”
He nodded as if he understood. “Money answers everything in your world?”
She groaned, because she heard the same comment in different versions all the time. People assumed if you were in a good place today, it was handed to you on a platter of gold.
“Do you expect me to feel awful because I’m willing to make up for cancelling your plans?” She avoided his gaze, locking her eyes on the painting of the coastal Mount Carmel in Israel, given to her by the Jewish author who wrote science fiction.
“What time do you want me at your home?”
Turning slightly, she burrowed her eyes at his wide chest framed by the stretchy fabric of his top. Then she dared lift her eyes to his for a few seconds.
His eyes grew dimmer and his lips flattened into a thin strip.
“If you really don’t want to do it, could you please recommend someone you trust? Anyone of your colleagues, maybe?” Hopefully, he would not take her up on her second-rate offer.
Instead of taking the buy-out, Toye walked the few paces to her desk. Standing on the other side, he towered above her. Lord, he was a tall man, finely sculpted and tattooed heavily on both arms. He was extremely attractive, but not for her, or so she imagined.
A hammer went off in her chest, loud and scary.
Standing so close, he had the markings of a shadowy bandit, dangerous and fierce. Maybe it was best she did not let him into her home.
“I’ve not declined your offer.”
His words drove sweet relief into her chest.
“Then accept and let me get on with my work.” She licked her lips and wished he would stand back.
“I accept. What time?”
Chest thudding, she dropped into her seat and reached for her schedule.
“Be there at seven, please. Here’s the address.”
She pushed the black diary toward him, tore off a post-it-note and handed him a silver pen engraved with the company logo.
He brushed his eyes over her face briefly before he collected the pen. Their fingers swept past each other.
Heat steamed her face, fingers tingling where they touched his. He did not seem to notice. She swallowed slowly, glad at his acceptance.
With bold movements, he wrote down her address and stuffed the paper in his pants pocket.
“Anything else?” One of his brows shifted upward and then down. It was not a funny expression, more of a get-off-my-back countenance.
Breathing heavily as if she was in dire straits, she nodded. “Yes. Wear anything you want. It’s just family, I hope. Pretend you hear nothing at dinner. My family can be, let’s say, a bit hmm…of a surprise.”
“Pretending not to listen is what I do best.”
She bobbed her head.
In fact, it was the exact reason she chose him.
Toye had passed the fly test many times. Anyone who worked in her office went through the test, unknowingly. All she had to do was reveal what sounded like a company secret while they were the only other person present. Then she would wait to see if the ‘news’ appeared in the magazine, newspaper or social media within a week. If it did, she fired the employee or contractor. It meant they could not be trusted. She had repeated the test for Toye five times already since he was deployed to clean her office. Nothing appeared anywhere. The man had sealed lips.
“What type of ‘surprise’ can I expect?”
Disconcerted from her muse, she twisted her lips. “Well, I hope tonight will be alright, considering I’ve not been home in days. See you later.” She lifted her gaze, and instantly regretted doing so.
Toye pierced her skin with black daggers shooting out of his eyes. It was as if he hated the sight of her. Yet, something hot blew in their depths.
Seconds ticked by.
He did not move.
Feeling flushed, Michelle gripped the arms of her seat. She wanted to tell him to go on to his duties. Instead she swallowed.
“I got your milkshake,” Liam announced from the doorway, interrupting their charged encounter.
Blinking to clear the haze in her head, Michelle accepted the large plastic cup with a blue straw inserted through the cap from Liam and hurriedly took a long sip.
“Thank you.” She nodded at her assistant after she sucked at the straw and swallowed.
“I understand the instruction, Ma’am,” Toye said, dismissing himself as he took slow strides out of her office.
Liam looked from the receding back of the janitor to her boss who sipped her milkshake as if it was a life-giving drink.
“Did you call him up for disciplinary action? I could follow it up with Human Resources if you want.”
Waving away her assistant’s helpful offer, she shook her head. “Not at all. When do I get the details I requested about him?”
“By the close of work today.”
“Good. I want to remain undisturbed until my next meeting.”
“Okay.” Liam made an about turn and shut the door on his way out.
Michelle dumped the milkshake on her desk and rose to her feet. Then she clasped her fingers around her neck. Strain locked itself in her spine. Maybe she should stop to get a massage before dinner. She could use one right now.
For a moment, Toye’s dark eyes confronted her vision. Who was he and why did he act as if he was more than the man who cleaned her office? He unsettled her and she did not like it at all. His black eyelashes and eyebrows formed a secret fan for his penetrating eyes. From whichever side you looked at his face, it was all sharp angles. In her opinion Toye belonged in a magazine for hot male models. What was he doing cleaning when he could be out on the runway making money with his gorgeous features?
How is this any of your business, her scruples screamed.
Shaking away every non-work-related thought, Michelle returned to her chair. She read the marketing reports submitted by Violet for the new genre she had been pushing for months.
Meanwhile her stomach walls curled at the novel thought of having Toye in her house. Inside her head, she wondered what would happen at dinner tonight.
Would it be intense or amusing?
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Flirty & Feisty Romance
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