His Challenging Lover

Elizabeth Lennox - The Thorpe Brothers #4 - His Challenging Lover

His Challenging Lover (The Thorpe Brothers #4)
Elizabeth Lennox


Chapter 1

Autumn stood by the side of the receptionist’s desk, praying the woman wouldn’t say the words that would once again break her heart. Just ask for any other name, she silently prayed. Any name, even someone who didn’t work here would make her feel better.

Unfortunately, fate wasn’t playing nice today.

“I’m here to see Xander Thorpe,” the blond woman with the almost dripping red lips said while flicking her thick, blond hair back over her shoulder.

Autumn knew that the hair flip was only to show off her impressive bosom, perfectly displayed by the deep V of her red dress.

Diane, the receptionist, acted professionally, exactly as Autumn had trained her. She turned to her computer with a gracious smile, her fingers poised over the keyboard as she said, “Do you have an appointment?” Diane knew that her boss, the amazingly lovely brunette with the deep brown eyes, was standing beside her stiffly, watching to see how this exchange played out. And everyone knew that there was something going on between Autumn and the gorgeous Xander Thorpe, although none were entirely sure what that “something” was.

The blond bimbo, as Autumn now thought of the latest female intrusion, laughed and waved her hand. “I don’t, but I’m pretty sure he’ll see me,” she said and smoothed her hands down her hips. “Just tell him Jessica is here to speak with him.”

Diane knew the process. She typed the information into the computer, then sent off the notice to Xander’s assistant, a new woman by the name of Tilly. She was a temporary employee, brought in yesterday when his last one quit without any notice. Xander had a bad habit of going through assistants at a horrible rate. With gritted teeth, Autumn slapped the file folder down onto the table and walked quickly out of the area. Her feet pushed her faster, desperate to not see…

Unfortunately, Autumn didn’t make her escape fast enough. When the woman in red entered Xander’s office and closed the door, the jokes and money from the other staff members quickly started exchanging hands.

“How much did you win?” James, one of the third year lawyers asked another associate just as Autumn hurried past his desk.

Autumn gritted her teeth and shook her head, walking quickly by him but trying to paste a calm-looking smile on her face. As usual, wagers were being settled now that the previous girlfriend, a lovely brunette, had been replaced by the gorgeous blond. Autumn desperately didn’t want anyone in the office to know how painful she found the betting. Xander’s love life served as entertainment for the rest of the office, but it hurt her more than it should. Every time a new woman came into his life, Autumn hated Xander just a little bit more. Why should she even care who he dates? He could date anyone he wanted! She just wished he would keep his personal life outside the office.

Maybe that’s what bothered her so much about his philandering ways. She hurried down the hallway, ignoring the laughter and money changing hands. It looked like a new pool was being set up. If Xander would keep his private life more private, it wouldn’t bother her so much. She preferred efficiency and order, trained her support staff to work hard, look and act professionally and be exceptionally helpful and competent.effective. The bets about how long the current flavor-of-the-moment would last reduced everyone’s productivity.

Autumn knew that the betting on Xander’s love live occurred but she never participated. Everyone thought she was just being polite and trying to ignore her boss’s dalliances. But she knew better why she wasn’t delving into the bitter world of Xander’s girlfriend office pool.

Axel and Ash were walking towards her and she quickly looked down. But Axel wasn’t having any of that. He caught the flash of pain in her eyes and touched her arm gently, obviously concerned.

“What’s going on, Autumn? You look like you’ve just lost your best friend.”

Autumn laughed bitterly. “Oh, goodness, nothing so dramatic as that,” she came back, her shoulders squared off against the pain ripping through her silly, vulnerable heart. “It’s just the changing of the guard.” At their blank looks, she sighed and said, “Xander’s old girlfriend is out and a new one is in. Everyone in the cubicles is paying up on their bets and placing new wagers on this next woman.” She was looking downwards, wishing she could just