One of these days, she promised herself, she would get her act together and manage to get out the front door on time consistently.
She’d always been late; in fact, it ran in her family.
“Late again, young lady?”
Max made a face at the deep rumbling tone from directly behind her and turned to frown up at Rafe Jennings, the head of security at OmniCorp. “Don’t mess with me, buddy. It’s already been a bad morning!” she snapped.
One dark brow rose incredulously at her tone, but he didn’t say a word. Instead he simply crossed his arms over the broad expanse of his chest and looked down at her.
She sighed. It was her own fault she was late and there was no reason to take her frustrations out on Rafe. He was one of her favorite people in the building, and truth be told, she found him immeasurably attractive—not that the sentiment would ever be returned. Max was all too aware of how unattractive the opposite sex found her short, pudgy figure.
“I’m sorry, Rafe; it’s been a bad morning. I realized when I went to put my wash in the dryer that I washed my cell phone last night. I spent so much time on the phone with AT&T this morning, I didn’t make it out of the apartment until eight-fifteen,” she offered in the way of an explanation.
“You don’t think it would have been a better choice to call after you got to work on your morning break?”
Max snapped her teeth together with a frustrated click. “Possibly,” she said succinctly. “I guess we all live and learn!”
She gave him another glare before turning away from the security desk and sailing down the hall with an exaggerated sniff of disdain.
Rafe bit back a laugh as she snapped the last bit out before sticking her cute upturned nose in the air and spinning away from him. Her green eyes had practically shot sparks.
Maxine Reynolds was one spunky woman. He loved the way her black knee-length skirt hugged her full bottom. His little Max was blessed with some delightful curves—from her large full breasts to the delicious bottom that seemed to beg for his attention.
He’d been flirting with her for months but was beginning to think it would take a sledgehammer to make her realize it. One way or another though, little Miss Maxine’s days as a free agent were numbered.
Rafe had tried to be patient and let her get used to his friendship, but it was past time to start laying plans in place. She was too pretty to remain free for long and he didn’t want another guy poaching his girl. Max also needed a firm hand to help ground her and keep her organized and he was just the man for the job.
He wondered how she’d respond to a good spanking. Would she run screaming for the hills at the mere suggestion, or would her eyes glaze over and heat with desire? Rafe groaned under his breath and readjusted his trousers as he realized the effect his thoughts were having on his cock.
It was definitely time to stake his claim.
Max came into the building and immediately searched the security desk for Rafe; she grinned when he looked up at her with a smile. “Look, Rafe! Isn’t my new phone cute! I love it! Best of all I can surf the Internet much faster and open some pretty large files. It’s great! And it’s red!”
Rafe stood and grinned down into her pretty smiling face. “Yes, red is a really good color for you, Maxine.”
She made a face. “How many times do I have to tell you to call me Max?”
Rafe tapped a finger lightly on the end of her nose. “I like Maxine.”
Max blew a strawberry blond curl out of her eyes and frowned. “Maxine is a blue-haired old lady holding a cigarette in one hand and a malt duck in the other.”
“Maxine is a pretty little sprite with strawberry curls and big green eyes who needs to get her butt to work on time,” he said firmly.
Max blinked. He was making fun of her! Heat crept up her neck and tears of mortification filled her eyes as she realized he knew how she felt. He knew she thought he was sex on a stick with a capital S and was laughing at her about it!
“Rafe, that was just plain mean!” she yelled up at him before turning and hurrying away to her cubicle. He didn’t have to rub her face in the fact that a Greek god such as himself would never be interested in the likes of her. She knew he was out of her league. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, for goodness’ sake. But to tease her about her crush was horrid! Max sniffled; she’d really thought Rafe was better than that.
Her shoulders slumping dejectedly, Max sank down in her office chair. Then she remembered her pretty red phone and almost laughed with glee as she remembered her phone could surf the Internet and she could access her account at Amazon—so she could read stories of love and romance with men who weren’t afraid to take the plucky heroines in hand, quite literally.
If she wanted to, she could even read stories at her desk. No one would know. After all, a little pick-me-up was warranted after Rafe had been so mean.
Of course, she hadn’t counted on so thoroughly losing track of time by continually reading just one more chapter. Before she knew it, she’d ‘just one more chapter-ed’ through lunch and the better part of the afternoon. Max flushed guiltily as she realized she’d accomplished absolutely no work all day.
It’s not as if I am not one of the best workers here most the time, she thought to herself in an effort to excuse her behavior.
Her face flushed again and her bottom tingled as she thought of the three delicious stories she’d read that day. Each and every one of them had featured a no-nonsense hero who spanked the daylights out of his heroine repeatedly.
Max couldn’t help but picture herself over Rafe’s strong thighs. The thought made her shiver.
Even though she was a big girl, he made her feel small. Rafe was at least 6′4″ with wide shoulders, a broad chest that tapered neatly down to muscular hips and thighs. Add the coal black hair and deep blue eyes and he was enough to get any woman’s heart beating double time.
She gave a despondent little sigh. Rafe was the homecoming king type and Max knew she was so not homecoming queen material.
No sense stewing about it, she thought, then grinned as the clock flashed five. The day really sped by when you were goofing off.
On her way home she hit so many red lights, Max looked thoughtfully at her phone. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to read a little at the lights. After all, it wasn’t like she would be moving, just sitting.
Once the idea occurred to her, Max couldn’t resist. She spent every red light on the way home emerged in another tale of spanking delight.
In fact, she was enjoying the drive so much more than usual, Max drove around her apartment block four times to finish the current chapter she was reading.
Rafe smiled across the desk at his boss and friend, Tom Brooks. They’d gone to college together and when Rafe had finally had enough of the politics involved in working for the CIA and was ready to go into the private sector, Tom needed someone to head up his security department.
Rafe had been with Tom for over a year and never regretted his decision to sign on. When Max was hired a few months ago, it was the icing on the cake.
They usually got together after work every Monday to have a drink in Tom’s office and discuss any security issues that had arisen the week before. He grinned as Tom pulled out the single malt Scotch and poured them each a healthy dose.
The business part of their meeting was over and they were just remembering when they’d been freshmen at Texas A&M. They’d been so green they could’ve grown corn in their ears.
Tom suddenly got a serious look on his face. “Do you know what’s going on with Max?” He’d seen the writing on the wall between his old friend and his research clerk.
Rafe frowned. “What do you mean?”
“She’s always been a great worker but the last week or so, her productivity has really slipped. I can usually count on Max to put out the work of three people and lately she’s barely managing to finish anything and nothing on time. It’s not at all like her and I don’t really want to write her up. She’s a sensitive little thing.”
“You want me to find out what’s going on and talk to her about it?”
“Yes. I don’t want to have to go to any disciplinary action. I just want my dependable Max back. If you talk to her, I can just pretend we never had this conversation and her career won’t be affected,” Tom reasoned.
“I really appreciate your giving me the chance to deal with this, Tom. I know Max’s career means a lot to her,” Rafe said softly, wondering what had gotten into the little minx. “You want me to talk to her about being on time while I’m at it?”
Tom laughed. “I don’t want to push my luck. I’m not sure anything can help Max in that department.” Rafe laughed with him and shook his head. He had a feeling he could work wonders with Miss Maxine but he would keep that thought to himself.
Rafe frowned as he watched Max at her desk. She didn’t seem to be doing anything but staring at her phone. What in the world was she doing?
He cleared his throat and watched her start guiltily, punch a few buttons, and stick her phone in her pocket before turning to her computer with a studious look.
“What are you doing, Maxine?” he asked in a stern voice.
Max nearly jumped a mile. “N-nothing… I was working.”
A dark brow rose almost into his hairline. “Looked to me like you were playing with your phone.”
She glared up at him. “I was just answering a text from my sister, Mr. Nosy.”
“Hmmmm,” was all he said before walking back toward his own office. He had been watching Max off and on for a couple of days and all he’d ever seen her do when she didn’t think anyone was watching was stare at that phone.
He shook his head and decided he’d keep giving her rope because it was only a matter of time before she hung herself. He wondered how long it would take her to get in a situation beyond her control; one that would enable him to step in and seize the day, so to speak. He never expected it to happen on his way home from work that very day.
Rafe looked in his rearview mirror at the driver of the compact little Chevy Sport and realized Max didn’t even know she was behind him at the light; she was too focused on whatever was in her lap.
When the car to her right loudly honked, he watched in horror as Max jumped and gunned the gas; there was little he could do except brace for impact.
He climbed down from the cab and hurried to check on Maxine; she was just getting out of her car and obviously shaken.
“Rafe, I’m so sorry… I…” she began tearfully.
“Are you okay?” he asked, grasping her lightly by the shoulders and giving her a once-over.
Max nodded miserably, then she looked at the front of her car and looked like she was about to burst into tears. It was completely crumpled in like tissue paper. Rafe’s chrome bumper didn’t look bad at all, just a few scratches and streaks of orange paint. Then she pointed to the green fluid running out of her car.
“Transmission fluid,” Rafe said with a frown as he walked to the driver’s door of her car. He decided just to be safe he’d better turn it off and when he leaned in to do just that, a light from the floorboard drew his attention. Closer inspection revealed her pretty little red phone. He frowned as he noticed the words on the screen; he read a few lines as he picked it up and whistled. Someone named Jack was whaling the tar out of a girl named Amanda’s butt.
It was a spanking story. A grin lit his face as he locked the screen on Maxine’s phone and dropped it into his shirt pocket. Isn’t this ironic? he thought to himself and wondered if Max would eventually appreciate the irony of her situation.