Some Like It Charming - By Megan Bryce
Mackenzie Wyatt looked up from her desk as two women went running by as fast as their fashionable heels could take them and sighed.
He was here.
She could turn off her email alert and she could refuse to answer his calls, but she always knew when the lord of the castle had arrived. The surge to the ladies room, the frantic tidying of desks, the energy in the air. It all pointed to one thing–
Ethan Howell O’Connor had entered the building.
It was his after all. And she understood that he needed to make an appearance occasionally, she just wished she could know ahead of time so she could take the day off. He delighted in tormenting her, and truth be told, she delighted in tormenting him. But she was hardly ever truthful with herself about Ethan O’Connor.
She’d given up shutting her door years ago. One unlucky visit she’d tried to hide in the ladies room, but he was nothing if not dogged, and he’d sent another woman in to get her. After the poor woman had stopped hyperventilating, Mackenzie had found him sitting behind her desk, eating a Snickers from her emergency stash, grinning that lazy grin, and laughing at her with those sharp green eyes.
She’d stopped hiding right then, and she’d stopped being nice. Very few people realized she had been playing nice, Ethan included. But even she knew it wasn’t a good idea to insult the boss. She just couldn’t seem to help it when she was around him.
But no man took her Snickers without paying the consequences.
Their relationship, if it could be called that, had turned in to a verbal sparring match that was overheard and repeated at every water cooler, and most of the staff wondered why she hadn’t been fired yet. She could only tell them that Ethan found her amusing.
She tried not to let him get to her, but two minutes of lapping at his toes was all she could last and then the dam would break and she would find herself insulting the man everyone agreed was the most charming and handsome they’d ever met.
A hush stole over the floor and Mackenzie rolled her neck. She cracked her knuckles.
She did not run a brush through her honey brown hair, like the co-worker who’d run to the bathroom at the first news of an Ethan sighting. She did not apply another quick coat of mascara around her tawny eyes, like the woman who was hunched behind her desk trying to see her reflection in her black coffee cup. No, Mackenzie kept her expression cool and sniffed her small upturned nose.
And pretended that her heart wasn’t trying to beat its way out of her chest. Because no matter how handsome or charming or annoying or fake Ethan was, he was the only person who could make her break her cool. She would find that exciting if she didn’t detest him quite so much.
Mackenzie forced her concentration back to her work but she knew where he was. She could tell by the murmur of voices, the laughter. No one seemed to be able to do any kind of work when he was near and she didn’t know how anyone in the New York office got anything done. She thanked God every time he visited that Los Angeles wasn’t his home base.
The murmuring and laughter grew closer and louder. He’d picked up an audience and people found things to do near her office. The most charming man in the world vs. the woman who said what she thought and never pandered to authority.
Round one. Ding.
“Hello, Mackenzie. Hard at work, I see.”
She looked up at tall, lean man and kicked herself. She never remembered how good he looked. When he was away she easily forgot how his long eyelashes framed green eyes with a hint of playful devil in them. And how his blond hair framed a face so pretty it just couldn’t be real.
“Hello, Mr. O’Connor. Causing a fuss again?”
He smiled and shut her door behind him. She gave him a look that quite clearly said what she thought about that and he laughed.
She stood and walked around him to open the door, wishing she’d worn higher heels. With Ethan she needed all the help she could get.
“You’re not playing by the rules, Ethan. They’ll bug my office if they can’t hear the show.”
She heard him opening and shutting the drawers of her desk and she sternly hid her smile before she turned around.
She said, “How many desks do