Nathan Lawford, Blaine Technologies’ chief financial officer, is known as the Iceman. He conducts his personal and business affairs without emotion, never allowing himself to become involved with anyone. When Nate sees something or someone he wants, he negotiates, paying a simple, set monetary price.
Now he wants Camille, the company’s green-haired intern.
Camille Joplin Trent never expected to be paid to pleasure the man of her dreams. She can’t quite figure out why this is a bad thing. Nate is intelligent, handsome, sophisticated, everything she’s ever wanted in a lover and never thought she could have. Their contract is for a month, thirty lust-filled days of making every sexual fantasy they’ve ever had come true. At the end of this month, the rules state their relationship will end.
Of course, Camille has never been good at following rules.
This is the morning I break Nathan Lawford, Blaine Technologies’ notoriously uptight chief financial officer, the executive employees call the Iceman.
I hum the words to an extremely vulgar hip-hop song as I stride through the concrete-and-glass lobby, my phone in my right hand and the straps of my backpack slung over my shoulder.
Not even Jerome, the company’s powerful high-security guard, could dampen my enthusiasm today. He searched my black canvas bag for a record twelve minutes, wrinkling important papers and poking his clumsy fingers into delicate electronics. He leered and sneered at me, and I said nothing, tolerating the harassment.
Because today Nate will touch me.
I’ve spent months defrosting the Iceman, following rules I’ve crafted, rules he isn’t aware of. I can’t touch him unless he touches me. I can’t see him outside of our morning elevator rides unless he approaches me. I can e-mail him but not call him, check his agenda but not change it.
Even with these self-imposed restrictions, I’ll win, my victory growing more certain as our daily skirmishes escalate in intensity.
Every morning Nate takes the same elevator at the same time, his schedule as rigid and unbending as he is. Every morning I share the same elevator car. He looks at me. I look at him. We exchange a couple of verbal barbs, some increasingly steamy sexual innuendos, and then we part ways, going to our different floors, our different worlds.
I’m the green-haired rebel intern. Nate is an unemotional rule setter, a huge immovable wall I can’t stop pushing against, a challenge I can’t back away from. He drives me absolutely wild and I will have him. On my terms.
I glance at my phone’s screen. Sh** on a stick. I have three minutes to trek to the elevators. Clipping my phone to my skirt’s frayed waistband, I march faster, the heels of my shoes ringing against the gleaming white marble tile. Video screens hang from the walls, displaying happy images of the conforming masses. Dark-suited corporate clones linger around the paid-to-be-perky receptionist.
Loitering isn’t an option, as there’s no flexibility in the Iceman’s timetable. I turn the corner and my heels squeak on the floor. No one is waiting for the elevators, the area empty. I press the up button three times in rapid succession, pleased that I’ll have Nate’s complete attention during our five-minute elevator ride.
Privacy is essential for my plan to work, as I’m not the type of woman any career-minded executive would choose to acknowledge publicly. I glance at my reflection in the elevator’s shiny metallic doors and wince. Although I no longer wear my temporary tattoos or visible body jewelry, the green hair and the holes in my ears, nose, and bottom lip remain, declaring my rebel status to the world.
This is who I am, who I’ve always been. I break rules. I push people. I don’t fit in anywhere. I tell myself I’m okay with this. In my heart I know I’m not. But I can’t change, not even for the Iceman.
The bell rings, the doors to elevator number four open, and my heart pounds. Nate stands in the back right corner, staring down at his phone, appearing as unapproachably handsome as usual, his blond hair short and neat, his broad shoulders clad in a form-fitting black suit, his crisp white shirt accentuating his golden tan. His tie is always black, always plain.
He wears the same clothing combination every day, and I want to peel the monochromatic fabric away from his kicking hot physique and lick him from his head to his toes. This impulsive act, while certain to be sexually satisfying, violates the rules of my game. He must touch me first. I keep my hands to myself and stride into the elevator, my hips swaying and my head held defiantly high.
Nate glances upward, our gazes lock and hold, and I forget to breathe, to think, to move. His eyes are the palest, coldest gray, a frigid blast of icy wind on a hot Californian day, and I want him as I’ve never wanted anyone else, my need for him carnal and raw.
He slides his phone into his jacket pocket and the silver Rolex on his wrist gleams. This symbol of wealth and the establishment, a physical reminder of who Nate is, doesn’t squelch my lust. It perversely feeds my fantasies.
In my overactive imagination Nate doesn’t stay in his corner. He stalks toward me, hooks one of his arms around my waist, pulls my curves into his muscle, and—
“Miss Trent.” His crisp businesslike tone returns me to reality.
“Nate.” I mimic his curtness, breaking an unspoken company rule by addressing a top executive by his first name. I tap the button for the legal floor. This is the law-enforcing, super-quiet department I’ve been sentenced to. I don’t fit in there, but then, I’ve never fit in anywhere.
Except here. I belong in this elevator car. I belong with Nate. I claim the corner across from him and openly study the object of my obsession. “You spent another weekend alone, I see.” The lines around his mouth and eyes are deeply etched, attesting to his many months of celibacy. This pleases me. I don’t want Nate to touch any other woman. He’s my iceberg to melt.
He raises one of his eyebrows. “Have you added stalking to your long list of crimes?”
I roll my eyes. I was found guilty of three minor misdemeanors while I was a careless teenager and now I’ve been labeled a criminal for life. “Don’t flatter yourself. A blind woman can tell you’re not getting any.” I stretch the truth. His expression is as cold and as emotionless as it normally is.
Nate frowns, glances at his reflection in the mirrored walls, sweeps one of his hands over his perfect hair.
“What’s the matter?” I grin at him as I set my backpack on the floor by my feet. “Are all of the hookers in LA on strike?”
He returns his gaze to me and narrows his eyes. “You’re well informed.” Ice drips from his words, his coolness indicating I’ve scored a direct hit. Many people subjected to Nate’s subzero demeanor assume he’s a frigid, unfeeling bastard. I recognize it for what it is—a shield, as effective as my sarcasm and green hair.
“You bet I’m well informed.” It didn’t take me long to discover that every well-dressed, insanely beautiful woman appearing beside Nate in the newspaper’s society pages was a high-end escort. His hooker fetish doesn’t bother me. Nate is a faithful, serial-monogamous John, taking a long time to choose the right escort and then paying for her exclusive attentions.
“You’re not hideous.” I unbutton my formerly black blazer, the sole suit I own faded from having been hand washed every night. “Why do you pay for sex?”
“Everyone pays for sex in one way or another.” Nate visually tracks my movements as I shrug out of the garment, removing one more barrier between us. “Some muddle the price with talk of love and feelings. I prefer straightforward, honest negotiations.”
Cynthia Sax lives in a world where demons aren’t all bad, angels aren’t all good, and magic happens every single day. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you”, they will do anything for the women they love. They live passionately. They fight fiercely. They love the same women forever.
Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.