A Beauty Uncovered(7)

By: Andrea Laurence

 Then she heard it. The click of a lock and the turning of a doorknob. She’d roused the beast from its den. She was getting what she wanted.

 And suddenly, she was nervous. She tried to go through everything in her mind that Agnes had told her. Scarred…don’t react…ignore it… She braced herself for his appearance and her non-response.

 The door flung open, and her stomach tightened into a knot. She expected him to charge angrily at her, but instead, she only saw his profile as he walked over to the surveillance camera and tugged down her sweater.

 It must be the other side of him that was damaged because what she could see was…nice. Really nice. He was tall and strongly built, which was surprising for a computer geek. His expertly tailored navy suit stretched across wide shoulders. He had dark brown, almost black hair that was short but a little shaggy and curling at the collar. And his strong jawline, high cheekbones and sharp nose gave him quite a regal and aristocratic air.

 He was actually quite an attractive man. He almost had a movie star quality about him. Sam preferred her men tall, dark and handsome, and he seemed to fit the bill. She didn’t understand what he was…

 Then he turned to face her. Sam struggled to hold a neutral expression as he walked to her, but it was hard. The whole left side of his face was horribly scarred. The skin was puckered and twisted from his temple to his jaw and down his neck. It extended back to his ear, warping the cartilage and pushing his hairline back about an inch from where it was on the other side of his face. His eye, nose and mouth were unscathed, but as he reached out to hand her back her sweater, she saw why.

 His left hand was scarred, as well. You could almost see the outline on his face where he had reached up to protect himself from something. She didn’t know what, but it must have been horrible.

 She swallowed hard and accepted her sweater, refusing to break eye contact. That part was easier because he had the most amazing blue eyes. They were dark blue like the most expensive sapphires, and they glittered just as brightly, fringed by thick black lashes. Sam could easily lose herself in those eyes and forget about everything else.

 Only the loud click of the phone cord being plugged back in pulled her away. She looked down in time to see him snatch up his lunch. He paused for a moment, narrowing his eyes at her with a mix of irritation and confusion.

 Unsure of what else to do, Sam smiled widely. She knew she was probably in trouble, but she’d used her brilliant smile on more than one occasion to smooth over her mistakes.

 He didn’t smile back. Instead, he turned and stomped back into his office without speaking. He slammed his office door so forcefully that Sam leaped in her seat.

 And then…silence.

 She kept waiting for a scolding from the speakerphone. An email telling her to pack up her things. Certainly she was due for a tongue-lashing via instant messaging at the very least. But it was silent in the office.

 Maybe she did know how to handle him. Agnes certainly wasn’t the kind of woman to take orders barked at her. Perhaps he needed to know what his boundaries were with her. His boundaries were abundantly clear and she’d respect them. For now.

 Finally she was able to relax and eat her own lunch. Or at least she tried. A few bites into her wrap, the headache and nausea from earlier had faded, but something else seemed to be gnawing at her.

 Her mind kept straying back to those beautiful, deep blue eyes.

 Given the stern warning from Agnes about his face, Sam had expected him to be…ruined, somehow. But he wasn’t. Yes, he was scarred terribly. It made her sick to her stomach to think of what he must’ve gone through to have scars like that. But that was only a part of him. The other side of his face was strikingly handsome. He was tall and muscular. She could easily imagine running her hands down the hard muscles of his arms and pressing her body against the wall of his chest.

 And those eyes…

 The tingle of anxiety from earlier had now become a tingle of another variety. Sam twitched uneasily in her seat and took a deep breath to wish away her misplaced desire.

 “Enough of that,” she said aloud. “We are not doing this again.” Picking up her wrap, she took another bite and tried to force her mind onto her lunch and off of her boss.

 If the fiasco of her last job taught her nothing else, it was that work relationships were bad. Relationships with your boss were catastrophic. Especially when they were married and conveniently left that fact out of every conversation they’d ever had.

 Sam was naive when she had let herself fall for her boss, Luke. She’d let her guard down for the handsome, charming liar. But she’d learned a hard lesson she wasn’t about to repeat. Given the circumstances of this job, she never thought it would be a problem. Brody was a grumpy, scarred recluse. Not exactly sexual fantasy material. But now she had seen him and things had changed. Which was frustratingly pointless. Agnes said Brody wasn’t married, but he was as off-limits as any other employer.

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