Need to start at the beginning? Click here for Part 1 then use the link at the bottom of each post to advance to the next chapter.
I tug on the fitted blazer of my suit. I never could figure out why they make these things so short. I have a long torso, and it always feels like my clothes are fit together like a set of children’s toy blocks, with no overlap to spare. I wouldn’t mind a couple extra inches to prevent an accidental tummy share.
I hear the sound of a door and look up from where I am contemplating my clothing to see a man enter the lobby of the offices. When I’d first entered the building that houses Goreman and Dunlop Designs I had been greeted by a smiling, adorable, effeminate man in skinny jeans and a sweater who told me that Claude Goreman would be out to greet me shortly.
I expected an equally effeminate, obviously gay man to step out of the office. Right or wrong, that’s how I pictured the interior designer I was supposed to be meeting.
Instead, what could arguably be considered the most gorgeous specimen of manhood waltzes into the room on long legs. Well over six feet tall and built like a mountain, the man approaches, his broad chest getting almost as much attention from me as his chiseled, beard-covered face. Dark eyes peek out beneath nearly black hair that hangs just a little too long. And a faultless smile graces his strong jaw.
No way this is Claude the interior designer.
“Hi,” he says, holding out one massive hand. “You must be Janice. I’m Claude.”
Oh. My. God.
I manage to reach out my hand and tuck it into his. His firm, but gentle, shake doesn’t last nearly as long as I would like.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Janice. I understand we’ll be working together on the Cimmeron building project.” His voice is deep and rich, like dark maple syrup being poured slowly on thick buttery pancakes.
Get a grip, Janice!
I force myself to move, nodding weakly. He asks me to follow him and I make my feet tread across the carpet in his wake. In fact, it’s impossible not to. I am drawn to him like I’m a little magnet and he’s the giant refrigerator I cling helplessly to.
Claude and I settle into a small, rectangular conference room. He sits me opposite himself at a varnished oval table. One wall of the room is a floor-to-ceiling window with views of downtown. I can even see my office just a few blocks away. The other three walls are adorned with pictures of the interiors of various buildings.
I might pay more attention to my surroundings, but it’s hard to do with a giant piece of eye-candy sitting in front of me.
We talk about the project, the general outline of how we’re going to proceed, and schedule the next few meetings together. When I get up to leave, Claude comes around the table and takes my hand in his, again. Only this time he holds on to it.
“I am really looking forward to working with you, Janice,” he says. A sparkle in those warm liquid eyes makes my stomach get up and float away.
“Um…” I swallow hard. “Me, too, Claude. Me too.”
I rip my gaze away from his, pull my hand back, and turn around to leave.
I am so screwed.
Read Part 4 here