It was supposed to be just another day at the office. A relatively safe one, too. That’s how I thought of the days when I wasn’t going to spend much time with Landon Heath—my incredibly sexy boss who was too damn tempting for my own good. We’d wrapped up a project the week before, and my focus had shifted to the designs for a hotel that was in the final stages of construction.
For four blissful days, I’d been able to hide away in my office and avoid basically everyone while I immersed myself in lighting plans, fixtures, finishes, hardware, furnishings, textiles, window treatments, paint color, wallpaper and accents. I threw myself whole-heartedly into the project for two reasons. First, I still felt like I needed to prove myself, even though everyone was more than happy with my work over the last couple months.
But I knew I’d been lucky to land the interior designer job at Heath Construction. I’d only earned my bachelor’s degree a couple weeks prior to the job being posted, and they could have gone with a more qualified applicant. They also could have chosen someone who didn’t have the complication of needing a work visa to stay in the United States like I did.
Not that it was incredibly difficult to get one since I was Canadian. All I’d really needed was proof of a job offer—which Heath Construction had provided—and to be able to show I had strong ties to my home country. With my parents, three older sisters, two older brothers, and a bunch of nieces and nephews living there, that had been easy enough to demonstrate.
The second reason was a tad bit more complicated. Okay, more than a tad considering Landon was about nine inches taller than me at six foot three. With a lean, runner’s body, thick, light-brown hair and intense hazel eyes; he was a distraction I didn’t need, considering he was my boss... at a job I needed to keep if I wanted to stay in the United States. Which is how I’d been able to summon the super-human willpower it had taken to tell him no each time he’d asked me on a date over the last two months.
Almost every single day since I’d started working here. Quickly heading towards one hundred times.
It was so damn hard to keep turning him down, but I knew it was for the best. I loved my job, my cute little apartment, and the freedom I had from my family that living in another country provided. A family who loved me so much, they thought they had the right to interfere in every facet of my life. I wasn’t willing to risk it all because Landon was sexier than sin. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself. Over and over again.
“Damn him for being so persistent,” I mumbled to myself.
“Did you say something?”
My head jerked up at the sound of the feminine voice in the doorway. It was Samantha, our receptionist and Landon’s younger sister.
“Nothing important,” I assured her.
“Okie-dokie.” She walked towards me and dropped a stack of mail on my desk. “Lots and lots of catalogs for you, as usual. But there’s an envelope in there you may want to look at ASAP ‘cause it looked important.”
I dug through the pile and found the envelope she was referring to at the bottom. It was impossible to miss with US Citizenship and Immigration Services listed on the upper left corner.
“Crap. Crap. Crap,” I chanted to myself as I tore it open. Then it turned to “fuck, fuck, fuck” as my heart dropped. I read through the letter quickly the first time around, and then much more slowly to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding what it said. Unfortunately, the meaning didn’t change the second time around.
“I’m fucked,” I groaned.
“Not yet you aren’t,” Landon growled from the door as he barged into my office and slammed it shut. “If you were, I’d know it because I’d be the one doing the fucking.”
His raspy voice slid over my skin and heated it. Just the sound of him talking had my panties wet, and I’d been avoiding him all this time because I’d thought he’d be the reason why I had visa problems.
“All those wasted opportunities,” I muttered.
“Not wasted,” he corrected. “Foreplay.”
“I don’t have time for this right now, Landon. Not when my whole world is falling apart,” I cried, waving the letter in the air.
“You sound as bad as Samantha did when she told me to get my ass in here.” He tore it from my hands, and I dropped my head to my desk while he read through the letter.
“It’s just an additional interview, Zoe,” he said soothingly, in a failed attempt to calm me down.
“My visa was approved by an immigration officer at the border two months ago. It was easy peasy. I showed him my TN visa application letter, my bachelor’s degree, and my passport. I answered some questions about how long I planned to stay in the country. About how often I planned to go home to see my family. Boom, I was approved. Which means they shouldn’t have any additional questions for me,” I retorted as I jumped to my feet and paced back and forth. “Except, someone apparently has it in for me since they received a tip that I lied about my intent to stay here for only three years. Who would do something like that?”
“Calm the fuck down,” he ordered, as though it was that simple.
“Calm down?” I parroted. “That’s easy for you to say since you’re not the one in danger of being deported!”
“Neither are you.”
“I beg to differ”—I stormed towards him and jabbed my finger in his chest, absently noticing how firm it was—“since an appointment at an immigration field office sure sounds like the start to yanking my work visa to me.”
“You know what?” he drawled. “Don’t calm down. Feel free to freak the fuck out because in the end that will work out even better for me.”
“What in the heck are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about you and me, Zoe. You’ve been denying what’s happening between us for two, fucking long as hell months,” he growled, his eyes lit with determination. “You’ve used your work visa as an excuse to keep yourself away from me. Well guess what, Blondie? Giving in to me is your way out of this mess.”
“I still have absolutely no idea what you mean. Maybe you can dumb it down for me since I’m blonde and all,” I muttered sarcastically, not a big fan of his nickname for me.