Running on Empty
by Allyson Young
J.R. Redding saves ailing companies, and if his relationships with his personal assistants raise eyebrows, whatever works. He steps in to save Alanna Giles’s company and get closer to the beautiful blonde. Her father agrees that Alanna fill the position of his P.A.—not that she’s to assume the submissive role J.R. demands—yet.
Alanna must recover the money her father stole and return it to the company—without alerting J.R. She knows what his assistants provide, but if she refuses, can she ensure her little sister is financially secure? She takes the position, leading J.R. to believe she’s agreeable—to everything.
Truth will out, and J.R. fires Alanna, as he can’t abide liars, though she hasn’t been lying to him for some time. She loves him.
As she leaves, tragedy strikes, and J.R. faces the fact he dismissed the woman he loves. Do his skills extend to saving her?
He didn’t bother to hide his displeasure this time, not even minimally. “Don’t go behind my back again. I don’t disrespect contracts. If you and I turned out to be incompatible, it wouldn’t have reflected on our preliminary payout figure.”
Inclining her head, she agreed. “I won’t. I apologize. I forgot my place.”
She ignored his comment about contracts because he was a despicable man even to remind her. The traitorous tinges of arousal hadn’t totally faded before his ire, and she found that far more disconcerting. His hard strength called to her, even as she was wary of it.
“Don’t forget it again. You won’t like the consequences. And no, you won’t be fired. I have other ways of dealing with disloyal employees.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to inquire if he was required to deal with large numbers of them. “I won’t forget, Mr. Redding.”
“Justin or JR.”
“No. You’re my boss.”
“And more, Alanna.” His tone was reasonable if the flaring in his eyes wasn’t.
Feeling her face flush, she lifted her head and stared him down. “Having sex with you doesn’t change facts, Mr. Redding.”
“Let’s get things out in the open, sweetheart. You appear to be carrying a huge chip on your shoulder. You agreed verbally. And you read the contract and agreed to it. You wanted this.”
“I know better than to waste my energy in a futile battle.”
JR barked a huff of laughter. “You could have refused and quit. Found a position elsewhere. One you wouldn’t have found so distasteful.”
“Not an option.”
Oh, no. She wasn’t going there. “I don’t have to explain myself, Mr. Redding. I agreed to be your PA, and all that entails from your … perspective, for the next six months or until my father is recovered enough to take over. We’ll ensure the viability of the company. What else matters?”
“I don’t force women.”
That bold statement made her head swim. The man was indeed a piece of work. A gorgeous, hot piece of work who appeared to believe that having his personal assistants sign a contract giving him not only their job skills but total access to their bodies with a nondisclosure agreement attached wasn’t forcing women.
But then, the other women before her hadn’t likely felt forced, and he was simply protecting himself from a lawsuit. With a hitch in her chest, she again wondered how many of them moved on or were moved on with their hearts broken. Not that there was any worry for her in that regard. She might be drawn to him physically, but she didn’t like him—or trust him.
“I signed the contract. You won’t be forcing me,” she repeated, suddenly struck with the fear he’d release her and pack it in himself. And the company would fail without his guidance, and her sister would suffer and—
“Jesus, Alanna! What is it with you? Do you have some kind of condition going on that you blank out?”
“What?” She pulled herself out of the anxious spiral. She had to convince him! “No, I’m fine. And you won’t have to force me. I want to do this. I do. I … I’ve found you attractive from the beginning as you probably noticed, and, well, I decided to quit fighting it.”
“Ah… Good. Well, one last thing. If I do anything to you or ask you to do something you absolutely cannot abide, you’re to say the word breakpoint.”
He was talking about a safeword. Holy shit. Oh, God. She tried to breathe evenly but knew the rapid rise and fall of her chest was giving her away.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.” He was obviously brooking no argument and never had he looked so arrogant and determined.
“The contract said submissive. I stroked it out, and you initialed it. I’m not interested in BDSM.”
“And we aren’t entering into such a formal relationship, I assure you. But I am demanding sexually, and I sense something in you that has me believing you’ll meet my needs.” He smiled again, and her belly lurched. “I’m only ensuring you won’t be pushed too far.”
She hardly knew this man. They’d struck sparks each and every time they’d met, and she hadn’t cared to get to know him better, especially when he was taking over and making her uncertain about the future.
And when she’d said she didn’t like him, it was true. He was difficult to like because he embodied every male quality she’d decided to dislike and avoid.
She wanted a kind, gentle man, one who respected her wishes and treated her sweetly. She hadn’t found that fictional individual, and it wasn’t likely she would, considering the cutthroat nature of the business she worked in and its demands on her time, let alone her commitment to Lonnie.
But that didn’t mean she ever wanted to like Justin Redding. So the compatibility he thought he’d picked up on was chemistry, something she’d already acknowledged.
“Suffice it to say I’ll hold up my end of the bargain. You won’t have to force me.”
“I didn’t mean to imply I’d have to force your body, Alanna. I have considerable confidence in my sexual expertise. But I won’t force you to submit to me. You’ll come to that on your own.”
Fat chance. “When would you like to get started? I’ll fetch my laptop.”
“No need. We’ll be brainstorming for now. And we’ll start immediately. Strip.”
Her movement to rise from her chair was arrested. Her brain turned the command over in her head. She cautiously looked his way.
He stared back, waiting, not moving a muscle. She had agreed to this, had willingly consented to his demands. She’d made her choice, no matter how she might want to make it his fault.
“Did you ask me to strip?” She thought she might ask, just in case…
“I told you.”
About the author:
Allyson Young aka Peri Elizabeth Scott lives in cottage country, Manitoba, Canada where she and her husband pretend to work well together in their seasonal business.
She has always enjoyed the written word, and after reading an erotic romance, quite by mistake, decided to try her hand at penning one. That was followed by a mix of spicy (Ally) and sweet (Peribeth) romances in various genres as well as a post-apocalyptic adventure without a lick of romance by Peribeth.
A bestselling Amazon author, a hybrid, and a coauthor, as of May 2020 she has published seven series and several standalones, with others in the works.