Storm Damages

By: Magda Alexander
Chapter 1


______________

Elizabeth

Washington, D.C.

June

I BURST THROUGH my office building’s entrance, cursing the subway emergency which delayed my arrival at work. Spotting an elevator’s closing door, I race for it. “Hold it!” I can’t be late. Not today of all days.

My desperation catches someone’s attention because an arm darts out to halt the door’s progress. The gold watch and white cuff hint at a man, and a large one at that, going by the size of the hand.

Breathless, I jump in and turn to thank my Good Samaritan. And just like that, my brain shorts out.

Gabriel Storm. The British billionaire who put the “B” in bad boy. Heir to an earldom. And COO of Storm Industries, the company on the other side of the multi million dollar deal my law firm has been retained to negotiate.

He’s tamed his blond hair by cropping it short, but a rebellious sun-streaked strand curls over one tawny brow. Tall, broad-shouldered, with the face of an angel. A devil more like, if half the tabloid reports about him are true. Somehow, I don’t think they’re false. What living, breathing woman would pass up the chance to snack on those sensual lips for an hour or two? As if all that hotness is not tempting enough, his eyes are the color of a Caribbean ocean—aqua, clear, mesmerizing.

He steps to the side to make room for me, but even so, his shoulders take up half my space. Not that I mind. Men are my Achilles heel, my Kryptonite. I love their smell, their taste, the sounds they make when they come inside of me. But between a full-time job, law school, hours of reading cases, and study groups, I barely have time to sleep, much less date.

Which is why I gave them up.

“Which floor?” His upper crust Brit accent curls around my spine, making mush out of me.

“Uh, nine.” I reach across to press the ‘9’ button, and a whiff of his scent reaches me—expensive cologne, clean soap, and a base note I suspect is just him. My legs, already wobbly from the mad dash from the Metro, turn to Jell-O. Damn! No wonder women stuff panties in his pockets. The man is pure sex on a stick.

If anybody could tempt me to break my no-screwing-men vow, yeah, it would be Gabriel Storm.

The door closes and someone coughs, alerting me to the other people in the elevator. Hoping no one noticed my temporary lapse of sanity, I look behind me. Only blank expressions greet me. Thank God. It won’t do for a rumor to spread around the office that I’ve been caught drooling over the COO of the company we are negotiating against. No one would take me seriously after that.

I do the polite thing and wish good morning all around, get back a couple of nods before the car reaches the second floor, site of my law firm’s cafeteria. As soon as the door opens, the smell of cinnamon drifts into the car. Stuffed French toast day. Knowing what’s coming, I step to the side to avoid the stampede. Not that I blame them. With a limited supply of the delicious treat, it’s every employee for himself.

When the doors slide shut, Gabriel Storm and I are the sole occupants in the car. For seven floors, he’s all mine. I dare another glance at him only to find his gaze fastened on me.

Lazily, as if he has all day, he devours me from head to toes. Normally, I would fuss or fidget under such an intent stare, but I splurged on a black Donna Karan jersey dress, and I know I’m looking my best.

“Splendid morning,” he says.

Every one of my toes curls at his sexy drawl. “It is now.”

I smile.

He smiles back.

And then the blasted elevator jolts to a dead stop.

My stomach plummets as childhood memories of being trapped in a closed space beat down on me. Hoping to keep the panic at bay, I take a deep breath. “It does that every once in a while.”

“Does it?” He doesn’t appear too worried, which is fine, I’m terrified enough for both of us.

Perspiration trickles down my spine and my breath grows short. I tell myself it’s not the first time this happened. That nobody’s been hurt before. “It’ll start up in a second.”

“I’m sure it will, Miss . . .”

“Watson. Elizabeth Watson, I’m Thomas Carrey’s assistant.” I stick out a trembling hand.

“Elizabeth. Just like our queen. Gabriel Storm.” To my surprise, he doesn’t shake, but kisses my hand while that mesmerizing aquamarine gaze never wanders from mine.

The elevator jerks again and I clutch him, digging my nails into his hand. “Sorry, I don’t do well in tight spaces.” With a supreme effort, I beat back the nausea churning in my stomach.

“No need to apologize.” His eyes crinkle at the ends. “Feel free to grab anything that meets your fancy.”