69 Million Things I Hate About You(8)

By: Kira Archer

He barely held in his exasperated sigh. Her expression warmed slightly when she bid Brooks good night, and Cole once again had to keep himself from complaining. Neither one of them had done anything remotely inappropriate. It was none of his business even if they had, except for the inconvenience it would be to him.

As soon as she’d left, Brooks turned to him. “Crustin? Really?”

Cole shrugged. “I’m running out of things to call her. It never occurred to me she’d let me go on calling her the wrong name this long. I’ve had to start getting creative.”

Brooks chuckled and shook his head. “I’m surprised she hasn’t dumped your coffee on your head or something else equally painful that you totally deserve.”

“I think she’s come close a time or two. I’d prefer it to the ice queen routine she usually has going on.”

“If she annoys you so much, why don’t you fire her and get someone else?”

Cole frowned again. “I never said she annoyed me. Besides, she’s an excellent assistant and those are hard to find. So keep your hands off her,” he added, a little more vehemently than he’d intended.

Brooks held his hands up. “Hey, I know the rules. Poker club etiquette. No dipping dicks in anyone’s company ink. Isn’t that the saying?”

Cole snorted. “Close enough.”

“No wives or girlfriends, no sisters, and no assistants. I got it.”

“Or mothers.”

“Oh, one time.”

Cole laughed. “Let’s go eat.”

“Finally.” Brooks pushed himself out of the chair and followed Cole out of the office. They were just in time to see the elevator door closing on Kiersten’s pert little ass.

Brooks let out a low whistle. “Don’t know how you do it, man, but more power to you. I’d have to fire her so I could date her.”

Cole glared at him. “You don’t date.”

“For her, I’d make an exception.”

Cole kept his mouth shut in the interest of maintaining his friendship. Brooks was just being Brooks. So why the hell did it bother him so bad that all that testosterone was directed at Kiersten?

Chapter Four

Kiersten hurried out of the little convenience store, lotto ticket tucked safely in her bag. Hopefully, the little slip of paper or one like it would pay off one of these days. Probably not a great retirement plan, but hell, nothing short of winning the lotto was going to give her enough freedom to ditch her miserable job for good and do something amazing with her life. Not that she’d quite figured out what that was yet, either.

She hurried up the block to Cole’s apartment building and nodded at the doorman, giving him a grateful smile when he held the door open for her. Many days, she’d stay and chat, but she was already running late for her night with the girls. She headed straight through the lobby to the elevator, using her key card to gain access to Cole’s floor. If she took care of things here quickly, she should be able to get home with enough time to get some food in her before they drew the lotto numbers.

The doors opened onto the huge loft space that was a tasteful mix of old world elegance and modern lines, with every smart device known to man tucked away in some corner or another. The place was totally wired, but hidden cleverly enough you’d never know it.

Kiersten marched through the entryway and into the kitchen area where Linda Rosnizikov, Cole’s housekeeper, was straightening up.

“Good evening, Mrs. Ros,” Kiersten said, giving the woman a warm smile.

“Hello, dear. I’ll be finished up in a bit.”

“No rush. I’ll be a few minutes.”

Mrs. Ros nodded and went back to her work. Kiersten made her way upstairs to Cole’s bedroom, her eyes straying as they always did to his bed. Yes, the man was aggravating to the thousandth degree. But he was pretty to look at, and he’d be sexy as hell laid out on that bed. Of course, the fact that she was there to lay out his clothes for the week kind of killed the image.

She went into his giant closet and took out her phone, pulling up his schedule. She made sure all this week’s clothes were in the pile for dry cleaning and went to work pulling outfits for the coming week. The closet had a long cubby for each day. She selected seven suits, shirts, and ties for each day and hung them in their respective cubbies, adding socks, shoes, and underwear to the shelf above each rack. Cole always went to the office, no matter the day.