Excerpt from Analise's Journey: Bundle

“When are you going to come out and have drinks with me, Analise?” Leaning against the corner of her drafting table, Grim looked down at her expectantly. As usual he was dressed in one of his many suits, which she had to admit, on him looked spectacular. The dark gray went well with his tousled curls and made his blue eyes pop. Blue eyes that saw all too much, she thought, resisting the urge to shift in her seat.

It had been nearly a month since she’d arrived in Chicago and started her job. And despite all the new and exciting sights and sounds of the big city, she was feeling restless. She was used to being busy all the time, and her work wasn’t taking up as much time as her schoolwork had. She had Lena, but the other woman worked too, and had a full time man, so she felt guilty monopolizing her time despite her own loneliness. All of which led to her frequent bouts of fidgeting in Grim’s presence. It was obvious he was aware of it too, because less than two weeks ago he’d started to ask her out.

“You’re my boss, Grim. I can’t go out with you.” She pushed back from her table, wishing she’d gotten a few more hours of sleep before coming into work today. She hadn’t slept well last night, and Lord knew she didn’t want to even think about the never-ending dreams, which were the cause - let alone the star of them. Especially when he was standing right next to her, wanting to know why she was refusing to have drinks with him for the fifth time in as many days. Pushing aside the memory of her dream where she was being shared between Grim and a mystery man, she plastered a smile on her face when he sighed.

“Not your direct boss, however. You report to Samuel. There’s no conflict of interest…”

She wadded up a piece of paper she’d been doodling on and tossed it towards the waste paper basket about five feet away next to her regular desk.

“Surely you’re not that hard up for a date? Besides, that girl down at the Starbucks has her eye on you, or so the rumor mill says. I’d really miss my morning java if she decided to take a dislike to me because she found out you asked me out.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t want to take her out. I want to take you out. There’s this great little jazz club down on East Hubbard. You’ said you wanted to try out some of the local clubs. Andy’s Jazz Club is about as local as they get. Not only is it low key, but it has excellent music and food. What do you say? I heard that they were having live music tonight. I’ll even spring for the cover charge.”

She chewed on her lower lip. With Lena out of town with Mason for the weekend, she’d figured she’d spend her weekend curled up with her Kindle, some hot steamy erotic ménage stories, a cheap bottle of champagne, and her B.O.B., the small clitoral vibrator she’d broken down and bought a week after meeting Grim. “I don’t know. I still think it’s not a good idea to date someone I work with…”

He shifted closer. “Then don’t consider it a date.”

She eyed him. “Then what would you call taking me to a night club?”

He smiled. “Having a drink with one of the guys from work and enjoying some good live Chicago Jazz. People have ‘after work’ drinks with their co-workers all the time.” He gave her a look that reminded her of her basset hound, Emily, and she gave in, unable to resist him anymore than she had Emily. Going to a jazz club with her boss on a Friday night was probably better than getting schnockered on cheap alcohol, followed by a marathon of masturbation. Besides she could always fall back on them tomorrow night if tonight was a bust.

“Fine. But I’ll take the “L” to the club, and if I even think it stinks of a date, I’m out of there.”

He frowned. “Fine as long as you let me drive you home if you stay. I don’t like the idea of you riding the Red Line all the way up to Loyola from Near North at midnight. The area where Andy’s is at during the day isn’t bad, but at midnight…no, I’d feel much better if I drove you home.”

She sighed, uncomfortable with having to rely on him to get her home. She dropped her gaze to the left, pretending to study the design on her desk. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. “I don’t want to put you out…”

He squeezed her shoulder, drawing her attention back to his face. “You wouldn’t be putting me out. I live up near Loyola and I’ll be going that direction anyway - I live off of North Clark St. Didn’t you tell me you lived just off campus near West Pratt?”

She grabbed her water bottle and nodded. “Yeah.”

He smiled. “Great. It’ll be just a hop and skip to get back on North Clark.”

“Alright, you convinced me.” She shook her finger at him. “But I meant what I said, Mr. Harkin. No funny business.”

He drew a cross over his chest with his pointer finger. “I promise, there will be no funny business…unless you decide you want it. See you tonight at six. I’ll send you the address. It’s less than a two block walk from the station on Grand.” His watch beeped. “Crap…I have a call I have to make. But here’s my cell number…” he jotted it down on edge of her drafting paper with his pen. “…I’ll text you with exact address after my call.” He looked up, his blue gaze nearly mesmerizing. “I want you text me when you leave the station, so I can be out front to meet you.”

When she opened her mouth to tell him it wouldn’t be necessary, he pressed his finger against her lips, leaning forward. “No, no arguments I don’t have time right now. I know you’re a big girl, but how am I supposed to pay your cover if I wait inside? Now be good.” He strode from the room as if his ass was on fire.