Author: R.K. LILLEY








I was fucked.

Done for.

Profoundly screwed in the head.

The issue, of course, was my assistant, Devereux.

She was slowly but surely driving me crazy. I was literally going to lose my mind.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Hiring her was supposed to bring order to my life.

Instead she’d brought disorder. Chaos. Vexation. Irritation. Malaise.

Joy. Fun. Comfort. Exuberance. Delight.

I was obsessed with her.

She was stubborn. Standoffish. Painfully honest. Take no prisoners efficient. In summary, a termagant.

And even I, oblivious bastard extraordinaire, was aware in some corner of my mind, of every well laid plan I’d ever had slowly crashing down and exploding into dust.

I was simply no match for Devereux Laurent

It all started with one innocent conversation with my good friend Dair.

“Iris found someone that she swears would make the perfect assistant for you. She’s organized, meticulous, and highly intelligent. She has management experience, but evidently has decided that she’d like a change, and is extremely interested in learning more about the literary world.”

I had assistant issues. It was a notorious and long standing problem of mine. I needed someone to pick up all of the loose ends in my life. Instead, I had a history of hiring the wrong people and then allowing that to blowup in my face.

I needed to hire someone I wasn’t attracted to, but more importantly, someone who wasn’t attracted to me.

My goal was to find an assistant I didn’t want to, and wouldn’t, fuck. Someone who would actually stick around and do their job.

“I’m listening,” I told him pleasantly. “Please tell me she’s fifty years old. No wait, sixty.”

“She’s young, but not at all your type, though she is actually Candy’s cousin. You remember Candy? She was your assistant a few years ago.”

I rolled my eyes at that, because he knew as well as I did that my memory was excellent, but I found myself confused. “How does Iris know Candy’s cousin?” I tried to wrap my mind around that strange connection.

Dair’s smile was beyond fond and into sappy. “You know Iris.” He said his wife’s name like she was the key to the universe, and I totally got it. The woman was off the charts hot and crazy enough to keep his life interesting. “She makes friends with everybody. She went out dancing with Candy and they hit it off, and they’ve remained friends. Recently, Candy invited us to a family barbecue where she met your new assistant, Devereux, who was visiting from out of town.”

“You make it sound like a done deal.”

Dair glanced around my disastrous office pointedly. “What have you got to lose? This place is a mess, and you’re behind on everything, right? Your emails, your social media, your deadlines, God only knows what else. She’s available to start right away.”

“Explain what you mean by not my type,” I said, interested. I really did need an assistant, especially one that would do some actual work.

“Not like Candy. Or the ones that have followed her. Devereux is smart. And wholesome. She’s not interested in you, she’s interested in learning about the book world, and having a job.”

My nose wrinkled up in distaste muddled with a bit of reluctant fascination. “Wholesome,” I tasted the word. It didn’t taste bad. Just utterly foreign. “That’s not something you see every day.”

Dair laughed. “No, my friend. It’s not something you see every day.”






OUR FIRST MEETING was a bit awkward, for her more than me, but I figured it was necessary. Best she knew up front just who she was working for.

I answered the door for her myself. It was early for me, ten a.m. on the dot.

Had I told her to come this early?

Dammit, I had. What had I been thinking?

Well, I hadn’t intended for the party to go so late the night before. Or to keep on going once most of the partygoers had left.

At least I was awake. And clean. In fact, I was barely dried from a shower wearing nothing but the damp towel I’d used to dry off tucked haphazardly around my hips.

I grinned at the sight of her.

At first glance I knew she’d do. “My new assistant, I presume?” I inquired.

“Devereux Laurent,” she said stridently, pushing up her glasses and holding out her hand. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Thorn.”

I shook her hand, tilting my bemused head to study her.

She was cute, with a very nice face, which wasn’t good. She had clean, neat features, and big brown Bambi eyes that were probing to the point of disconcerting. Not the best-case scenario.

But she’d do.

She wasn’t a dime, just based on her figure and wardrobe alone, which I gave a point in her column.

She was wearing a long, dark green, bulky skirt that nearly dragged on the ground, a loose, black turtleneck blouse that covered her entire throat, and a boxy blazer that hung well past her hips.

She wouldn’t stop traffic with two red lights strapped to her ass.


I couldn’t see her shoes, but I just assumed they were as hideous as the rest of it. Good. Nothing sexy to see here. She’d come to do a job, and that job was not to seduce me.

Still. It was as hot as a hairdryer straight in your face outside. “Aren’t you hot in that?” I asked her.

“Aren’t you cold in that?” she asked back, deadpan, her eyes staying on my face, never drifting down once to openly check out my tanned, ripped to shreds, barely covered body.

I smiled. A bit of sass never went unappreciated by me. Another point in her favor.

I flexed my abs and her eyes shot down for a brief second before shooting back up at me and glaring.

My smile grew. I wasn’t like my friend Dair, some humble, unassuming hunk.

I knew exactly how appealing I was. I was big, built, hot, and used it shamelessly at every opportunity. Good looks were a weapon just like every other asset a person carried around, and I made a point of using my assets at every opportunity.

It didn’t hurt that I was a shameless hedonist.

I continued to study her blatantly.

Her hair was brown bordering on black, and must have been thick going by the size of the chignon she had it wound into at the back of her head. She wore those square framed glasses that were so in right now. Normally I didn’t like them, but on her they looked adorable. Point against her.

She wasn’t wearing makeup, which was a point in her favor.

But her lips still looked soft and were naturally pink. That was a point against, since that color made me think of her nipples, and I looked at her breasts under her baggy blouse. They were well covered, but I could still tell that there was something substantial there. You couldn’t hide a big chest, not from a connoisseur like me.

She was petite, which was a point for her. I usually liked them tall and leggy, with outrageous curves, like her cousin Candy, who incidentally had been my short-lived assistant a few years prior.

Devereux didn’t even reach my chin, and though I couldn’t see her legs under the awful skirt she was wearing, I was confident that they weren’t long enough to wrap around me properly.

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