(The following is an unedited, unformatted sneak peek of Mastering Mari, Hot Texas Bosses 3.)

 

 

Mastering Mari

Chapter One

 

    “The thing to remember,” Debra said as we stepped into the elevator of yet another professional building. “Is that Gary’s not your boss.”

    I’d had to spend my first week of work for Norton Medical Supply with Debra Klodzko, who wasn’t at all thrilled about having to waste time introducing me to the doctors she was dumping. Since she’d been top sales person after Gary, when he received the promotion to sales manager, she had first dibs on his prime customers.

    Debra overflowed with pompous confidence and cleavage. Although her face wasn’t a particularly attractive one, even I didn’t notice for a couple of days, distracted by her huge breasts and hair redder than anything found in nature.

    Today, she was a human defibrillator in her crimson suit with matching lipstick. Underneath, her open-at-the-top white blouse was barely noticeable because of the eye-popping boobage on display. She was enough to shock any man back to life.

    I blinked repeatedly, trying to release myself from the hypnotic effect of her bosom. “How is Gary not my boss?”

    “Gary doesn’t make you your money. Whatever doctor you’re with at the moment is your boss. Get him whatever he asks for.” She checked her makeup in the mirrored panels of the elevator. “If he wants tickets for his daughter to see the latest Disney kid in concert, get them. If he cops a feel of one of your boobs, offer him the other one.”

    I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, right.”

    She turned and looked pointedly at me. “You think I’m kidding?” The elevator doors opened onto the fourth floor. “Remember Dr. Eschew from yesterday?”

    I nodded. He’d looked about ninety.

    “I gave him a blow job once.”

    I cringed. “Oh my God!” I tried to stop myself from imagining Dr. Eschew with his pants down.

    “He’d taken one of those long-lasting boner pills and needed some relief, so I helped him out.” She shrugged nonchalantly. “Now he’s my best customer.”

    “I will not be giving any blowjobs...at least on the clock.” Actually, I hadn’t been giving or getting sex of any kind since I moved to Houston from California a couple of months ago. Okay, for quite a while before that, to tell the truth.

    Looking for Mr. Right had gotten old. A guy would be handsome, attracted to me, nice...but there was always something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. I’d ended every relationship within weeks.

    “Suit yourself,” Debra shrugged again. “Just don’t expect to keep this job long. Some of these doctors are on a power trip and they don’t appreciate anyone making them feel less than omnipotent.”

    I guess it didn’t enter her mind that dressing her voluptuous self in such a suggestive way might give them reason to think she was selling more than just medical supplies.

    She pointed to the list she’d been carrying around on a clipboard all day. “Your last few doctors are in this building. I don’t know them ’cause they were Gary’s. Except this Dr. Maddox. He’s brand new around here. Took over for a retiring OBGYN who generally favored our competitors. I’ll see you Monday.”

    She stepped back onto the elevator and pushed a button.

    “But, wait, I--”

    “Fly, little bird.” Her fingers wiggled in a dismissive wave. “I’ve got my own nest-egg to work on.” The elevator doors closed, leaving me standing in the fourth floor foyer alone.

    I looked down at the comments next to doctor Maddox’s name. “Sees reps only at lunchtime on Fridays.”

    “Shit!” My watch said 12:30, and chances were, I wasn’t the only rep trying to see the new doctor today.

 

~

    I’d been waiting an hour in a room full of pharmaceutical reps who’d all gotten there before me. The place was upscale with comfortable upholstered chairs and pleasant lighting. I played games on my smart phone, hoping I looked like I was doing something important.

    Finally, the last rep came out and a young, round-faced nurse invited me back.

    “Just go back to his office at the end of the hall,” she said.

    My pumps tap-tap-tapped to the door she’d pointed out. Pushing it open, I stepped inside.

    A tall, dark-haired man in a lab coat was faced my direction. His backside was propped against his desk as he scribbled on a prescription pad. To his right, sat the tumbled pile of drug samples my predecessors had left.

    “Hi.” He glanced up so briefly, I knew he hadn’t really seen me. “I’m trying to get the call-in prescriptions done from this morning.”

    Holy crap! As he continued writing, I stood in stunned silence. Just when I was convinced Debra had snatched up all the young, handsome doctors, I was standing in front of one who could have stepped off the silver screen.

    His bone-structure was all man, every feature well-defined. A jaw just strong enough without being too square. Straight, perfect nose. An assertive chin. I swallowed, the gulp sounding loud to my ears, but he didn’t seem to notice. Moments later, he looked up and his eyes met mine.

    He could  have seemed too stern with a face that chiseled, except his eyes held an earnestness framed in surprisingly lush black lashes. As if the artist who drew him for me knew just where to stop--right on the line between pretty-boy male model and rugged action movie star.

    I’d never understood why women waited in a crowd, screaming for their favorite celebrity. Or why they hurled underwear on stage when singers performed.

    Now, I knew.

    This guy could make me scream. Oh, I’d gladly thrust my favorite lace bikini underwear at him. And the matching bra. In fact, I’d throw my coveted shoe collection if I wasn’t afraid of putting out one of his beautiful eyes.

    I’d thought they were black at first glance, but when he lifted his face to look at me the second time, the light hit his irises.

    They were dark, dark blue. Deep and mysterious, like the ocean at midnight.

    Once I got past my initial awe, I noticed he was staring at me with his lips slightly parted, an odd look on his face. What was that expression?

    I glanced down to see if my hurried lunch had left stains on my blouse. Nothing appeared out-of-order.

    So why was he peering at me like that? He was the one who looked like he’d just come from a “sexiest man alive” photo shoot.

    His lips opened and closed as if he was trying to speak. I listened intently, but no words came out of his mouth.

    “Hi, Dr. Maddox, I’m Marissa Montero,” I said in an exaggerated professional tone. “Your new rep from Norton Medical Supplies.”

    Dropping the prescription pad on his desk, he straightened to his full height. He was obviously much taller than my five-foot-seven, since my eyes were now level with his chest.

    Okay, truth be told, I was only five-seven when I was wearing four inch heels. But since I wore them most of the time, I reasoned that it had become my true “functional” height. Even my driver’s license said five-seven.

    My eyes tracked up his chest until I met his gaze again. My mind flashed to a split-second sensation of being in a rowboat on a lake. The recurring dream I’d had for years. With it, came the usual swell of positive feelings. Joy. Contentment. Like all was right with the world.

    That dream, so full of emotions I’d never truly experienced, had ruined every relationship I’d ever attempted with a man. I was always looking for a feeling I never had with them.

    But as Dr. Maddox and I stared into each other’s eyes, I felt it, along with a connection I couldn’t possibly have with a man I’d only met a moment ago.

    He blinked several times and shook his head as if to clear it. He checked his watch.

    “I’m sorry. I have patients coming in,” he said. “I’ll need you to come back at five.”

    Was this a brush off? I didn’t want to come back at five just to be told he’d left early. Maybe he didn’t want to waste time with me. Hurt panged in my chest, which was ridiculous. There was no reason to take this personally.

    “I can leave you my card,” I said as I fished in my pocket. “I just wanted to introduce myself and see if you had any questions.” I held a card out to him. “No need to bother you later.”

    As he reached toward me and took the card, his fingers brushed lightly over mine. Electric heat flamed up my arm and singed my lungs.

    My legs didn’t want to move. My body was refusing my brain’s messages to leave his presence. After lingering for several long seconds, I turned to go.

    “No!” he said suddenly.

    I startled and spun back toward him, wide-eyed.

    “Come back at five.”

    Surprised by the commanding tone, I lowered my gaze involuntarily. My eyes rested on his right hand, which now held my business card. I watched as he stroked the edge of it slowly with his index finger. My nipples strained against my bra as if hoping for the same caress.

    “I have some questions for you,” he said in a softer tone. “If you can come back.”

    “Okay,” I replied, still not sure what was going on. “I’ll be back at five.”

    I turned and fled his confusing presence.

 

~

    The door shut behind her.

    Chase took several shaky steps backward. When he hit his desk, he eased himself onto the edge, in need of the support it offered.

    It was her. After all these years, she’d just popped into his office, into his life, like it was no big deal.

    When he’d looked up and seen her, he was speechless. He’d thought he was hallucinating.

    Once he realized his impossible dream was finally coming true, he’d needed time to pull himself together. Over the years, he’d convinced himself if he ever actually saw her again, she wouldn’t live up to his memories. She couldn’t possibly be as beautiful as he’d made her out to be in his fantasies.

    But she was. More so. The years had turned her into a strikingly attractive woman.

    What had driven him crazy all this time was that there was no logic to it. How could he have been so fixated on someone he’d met so long ago, when they were both teenagers?

    Yet, he thought of her every day.

    Camp Longhorn in the Texas hill country hosted kids from all over the state each summer. He’d been from Houston. She’d been from somewhere down in South Texas.

    Although fifteen at the time, he looked eleven. His cousins Dix and Mason had always been tall for their ages, but Chase’s growth spurt didn’t come until his sophomore year in high school. Mason had nicknamed him “Runt,” and that name followed him everywhere he went until he got big enough to scare the crap out of anyone who used it.

    From the first day he’d seen Mari, he’d been smitten, but she didn’t know he was alive. She was fourteen, but with all the trappings of a woman. High, firm breasts, enticing round ass, naturally tanned legs that led up to the bottom of her short shorts. He admired her from afar, too nervous to approach her.

    That was, until the day when he found her alone at the Ice Cream Shack--a side window of the cafeteria someone had hung a sign over. Even from the back, no question who that glossy brown mane belonged to.

    Chase came up behind her just as she realized she’d left her money at the cabin. He bought her a double scoop cone and they’d ended up skipping the belt-weaving class and spending their afternoon together.

    They took a rowboat out on the lake, and talked for hours. Everything about her that day was branded into his memory.

    She wore a deep red spaghetti strap shirt with miniature red lace trim along the neckline. She’d left the three tiny buttons at the top undone. Her denim shorts were rolled up at the bottom. On her feet were black flip-flops. Her exposed toenails had been painted to match her top.

    As they talked and laughed together, wisps of hair floated magically around her face in the soft breeze. Her huge brown eyes shone when she smiled at him, making him forget he was a small, geeky kid. Making him feel like a superhero from one of the books in his comic collection.

    He must have played his mental DVDs of her tens of thousands of times over the years. But her appearance wasn’t what had made the permanent imprint on his heart.

    That day, he was sure he’d found his soul mate. He was thrilled to learn she was smart as well as beautiful, since he was a science geek himself.

    She got his every joke, his every reference, something he wasn’t used to in kids his age. He shared thoughts with her he’d never dreamed of saying aloud to anyone. And she understood. Before the day was over, they were finishing each other’s sentences.

    And while he was with her, he forgot about his shitty dad. About his parents screaming at each other every night. Life was good with Mari.

    The next day, when he saw her, he expected her to run to him excitedly and fill him in on the twelve hours they’d been forced to spend apart the night before. But when she walked by with her gaggle of girlfriends, she’d spared him only a sly, secret smile.

    He’d decided it was enough. And for the best. He knew how she’d be teased if she admitted to feelings for him. He didn’t blame her.

    Later, as parents were arriving to pick up their campers, he found a moment alone with her. He passed her a slip of paper with his phone number and watched as she folded it and put it in the front pocket of her white denim shorts.

    She promised she’d call and told him if their parents wouldn’t let them get together sooner, she’d see him at camp the next year.

    He didn’t hear from her. But when he realized how fast he was growing that year, he started lifting weights as his mind chanted, “Mari, Mari, Mari...”

    The next year, at camp, he got off the bus like a conquering hero. Ready to show her and everyone else they were a match now. Not just emotionally, but physically.

    But she hadn’t come back.

    Sometimes, over the years, he’d only let himself dwell on that first day with her. Then he could have his romantic fantasies. Making love with her and laughing and making love some more.

    Other times, he couldn’t stop reliving his humiliation. She hadn’t cared enough to touch base even once. The realization that she hadn’t seen through his scrawny exterior to his soul as he’d thought was heartbreaking. While he was falling in love, she was just passing time.

    At those moments, his fantasies grew darker. He’d bend her to his will. Make her his obedient slave. Torture her mercilessly with instruments of pain and pleasure until she knew without a shadow of a doubt that no one could make her hot like he could.

    Tease her until she begged for mercy. Until she begged for his cock.

    But when he saw her today, all he could think of was their time on the lake. The most beautiful day of his life. And he was that fifteen year old kid again.

    He forgot Mari’s rejection. He forgot about his ex and her betrayal. He forgot he’d just signed papers ending a marriage and had sworn off relationships forever.

    A surge of excitement somersaulted through him as he imagined Mari coming back to see him at five. She’d looked like she hadn’t recognized him, but he’d changed a lot--for the better, he knew. He was sure he just needed to jog her memory and they could pick up where they left off that day on the lake.

    After all, a woman couldn’t forget her soul mate, could she?

 


Chapter Two

 

    At five on the dot, I opened the door to Dr. Maddox’s waiting area.

    It was empty. The room was in shadows, since the overhead lights were out. The only illumination was from the sun streaming in through the windows behind the vacant reception desk.

    The place looked abandoned. My suspicions were true. He was gone for the day. But why would he insist I come back if he didn’t really want to talk to me?

    Jerk.

    Since the door was unlocked, I assumed an office manager must be around, preparing to shut the place down for the weekend. I should at least let her know I came, as promised.

    “Hello?” I called out as I opened the door between the waiting room and exam areas. No one answered. As I advanced slowly down the hallway, the echo of my high-heels was more exaggerated--the only sound other than the low hum of the air conditioning.

    All the exam room doors were open. Each one I passed was empty. As I neared the end of the hall, I was down to three doors--one exam room on the left, the office manager’s office on the right, and Dr. Maddox’s office directly in front of me.

    “Hello?” I called out again.

    “In here,” a deep voice replied.

    I stepped to the doorway of the last exam room, and pushed it open. I sighed inwardly. He was just as breathtaking when holding a file as he was with a prescription pad.

    Strange that the light was off in here, too, but at least there was a long window for light.

    “Dr. Maddox, I don’t know if you remember from earlier, but I’m--”

    “Mari,” he said softly.

    Strange. He’d called me by my nickname, not the name I’d given him earlier. Except for my family, no one had called me “Mari” in years.

    Without the lights, his eyes appeared black, yet there was a warmth in his gaze. The feeling hit me again. Like there was some inexplicable connection between us.

    He smiled.

    Oh, God! I didn’t think he could get any more handsome than he was the first time I’d seen him, but now... My lungs stopped working. I felt lightheaded. The smile took him over the line from incredibly handsome to irresistibly beautiful because it looked like such a special one...just for me.

    I certainly hadn’t expected to be greeted with such a caring, inviting look. The one that said we were old friends. Old lovers. Where was the professional detachment?

    I glanced around, suddenly uncomfortable with its intensity and the urges it stirred within me.

    You’re here for work, Mari. This isn’t a nightclub.

    “Is everyone gone already?” I asked.

    “Yes, this is our early day.” He watched me expectantly.

    “So, um, I’m your new rep, and I just wanted to come by and introduce myself.”

    “Completely unnecessary.”

    What did that mean? Did he feel like I was wasting his time? My anxiety level spiked. I should leave. But, wait, he’d asked me to come back, and the expression on his face was at odds with what he seemed to be saying.

    “Your skin is unforgettable,” he said wistfully. “Creamy.”

    “Creamy?” Three-quarters of my ancestors had come from Mexico. My skin was nowhere close to the color of cream.

    “Like creamy cinnamon,” he replied. “It’s beautiful the way the natural light reflects off it.”

    I opened my mouth, but wasn’t sure how to respond. It was an odd comment in a professional setting. Why was he being so familiar?

    He blinked as though he’d just come to and noticed how strange he sounded. “Photography is my hobby,” he explained.

    Okay, maybe it wasn’t so weird if he was thinking in terms of a photographic subject. But his description echoed in my mind. So unusual, yet hauntingly familiar.

    “Creamy cinnamon,” I repeated. “Believe it or not, I don’t think that’s the first time someone’s described it that way.”

    “No, it isn’t.”

    What was he talking about? How could he possibly know? Lucky for him, he was hotter than he was weird. Women were probably more than willing to overlook a few eccentricities in a gorgeous doctor.

    “I’m Chase Maddox,” he said, an earnest look in his eye. “You don’t remember?”

    I was so confused. “Remember?” I repeated. Had we met before? I searched my memory banks. Where had I gone since I’d been in Houston? The coffee shop every day, the dry cleaner, lunch out with my friend Krysta twice.

    But if Dr. Hottie and I had any interaction whatsoever, there’s no way I would have forgotten.

    He folded his arms across his chest. His eyes went cold. The muscles in his cheek flexed. He was angry and I didn’t know why. This was so awkward. What should I say?

    “Not important,” he said, waving his hand in a dismissive gesture. “But I do have some questions for you about these samples your company sent over.”

    Whew. He’d let it go. Now I just hoped I could answer his questions.

    He walked to a tall cabinet and pulled out a cardboard box. I recognized our company logo on the return label.

    “These new exam gowns.” He pulled a plastic wrapped stack of gowns out of the box. “The pamphlet says patients feel more comfortable in them, but do you have any reason to believe they’ll work for my purposes?”

    He slid the plastic off and handed one to me.

    I held it up by the shoulders. “I’m sure the patients will like the Norton Exam Dress,” I said. “It’s got more coverage than the old vests and lap drapes. It’s shaped more like a dress, but it’s got hidden slits for breast exams, plus the two slits up the sides so the pelvic exams are no problem.”

    The shape and colors would also flatter most women, which was probably important to Dr. Maddox’s patients in particular. Any woman would want to be at her best in front of a doctor who looked like he should be peering at her through her TV screen.

    “Well, I can see how that might be true, but I don’t like to use my patients as guinea pigs, and I’m not sure these gowns are practical enough.”

    Was it my imagination or were his eyes luring me in? Like a hunter willing his prey into a trap.

    I shook off the feeling. If I was enthralled, certainly it was by his uncommon good looks, not by anything he was up to.

    Besides, my company was really pushing the exam dresses. They were the only ones like them on the market and, if they caught on, the profit potential was enormous. My commission could be huge, considering how many of these things Dr. Maddox would go through in a month. I needed to keep my head in the game.

    “What if you tried them on a non-patient first?” I asked.

    “I can’t exactly ask my nurses to do it,” he replied. “I just inherited them. I could get sued.”

    “No, of course not. Maybe your girlfriend?”

    “No girlfriend.”

    “Oh...” I tried to think outside the box, but nothing was coming to me.

    “Actually, you’re the only person who benefits from me buying these, so I guess modeling one would be in your job description.”

    “Me?” I squeaked.

    “Who else?”

    “Well, I...um...” I’d read the training manual from front to back and this was a situation they’d neglected to cover.

    “Put this on,” he said as he handed me a gown. “Open the door when you’re changed.” He walked out and shut the door behind him, apparently assuming I’d do as I was told.

    What had I gotten myself into? I stood in the middle of the room, undecided about what to do next. It was my job to sell these products, but was he really concerned about the utility of the dress or was this something else?

    But, what was the worst that could happen? A picture flashed through my mind of Dr. Maddox’s finger thrusting into me as he ripped the top of my paper dress open, exposing my breasts.

    My pussy contracted, and I knew I was creaming myself. The worst thing that could happen felt like the best thing.

    I shook my head to clear it. I tried to take in a deep breath. My lungs trembled as the air entered them in short bursts.

    Remember why you’re here. You have bills to pay. Loans to repay. Just sell him the damn dresses.

    Before I could change my mind, I began removing my clothes--jacket, blouse, skirt. I hesitated at my bra.

    I visualized him slipping his hands into the sides of the dress. A thrill skittered over my skin at the imaginary feel of his fingers circling my nipples.

    Before I could talk myself out of it, I unfastened my bra and hung it in the little corner closet with my other clothes. Once I’d slipped into the dress, I looked at myself in the long mirror provided on the inside door of the closet.

    The dresses came in assorted colors. He’d handed me the deep red. A perfect shade against my skin.

    These exam dresses really were pretty awesome. The crew neck gave a feeling of modesty, the cinched in waist was flattering to the figure. What woman wouldn’t prefer these over those unwieldy vests and lap drapes or those ugly hospital gowns?

    A few seconds after I opened the door, Dr. Maddox was back. But this time he was much taller.

    I realized I shouldn’t have taken my heels off. Those four-inch pumps may have only boosted me to five foot seven, but they’d added a couple of yards’ worth of confidence.

    His six-foot-plus-plus frame now dwarfed me. He seemed so much more... powerful. I tried to ignore the twinge of appreciation between my thighs.

    He leaned his backside against the table. “Turn around.”

    I did a complete three-sixty. When I looked at him again, he’d assumed a “thinking man” pose, his hand in a fist with his index finger pressed against his lips.

    His silence plucked at my already raw nerves. I had to say something.

    “This will put your patients at ease, instead of making them uncomfortable,” I said. “And, as silly as it sounds, having their choice of colors is a nice luxury under the circumstances.”

    “A woman always wants to feel attractive.”

    I shrugged and nodded.

    “Do you feel attractive?”

    That was a loaded question. If I said “yes” I would sound egotistical. If I said “no” it would make the product look bad.

    “I love this color,” I replied.

    “That’s why I picked it for you,” he said. “I remembered how--” He stopped abruptly.

    What in the world could he be talking about? He sounded like there was some sort of history between us. He was definitely confusing me with someone else.

    “Anyway, I’m not sure about the practicality issue. How am I going to do the exams?”

    I trailed my hand along the sides of the dress, next to my breasts.

    “These are hidden openings in the top portion, on each side and in the middle so you can do the exam from either side of the table. The paper ”fabric“ overlaps so it’s not obvious, but the openings are long.” I slid my hands down to my thighs and turned to one side. “And the slits on each side of the skirt make it easy to do the pelvic.”

    “I’m still not convinced,” he said. “Could you lie down on the table?”

    Heat scorched my internal organs. This felt so wrong...and so hot.

    “I, um...”

    “Do you want to prove the usefulness of the gown or not? Your choice.”

    “What are you going to do?” I asked, unable to keep my voice from pitching higher.

    “I have large hands. I’m going to slip my right hand into the panels to see if this will work for me.”

    As I stared at his big, masculine hand, I quivered with excitement. He was going to insert it into my gown. Did he assume I was wearing a bra? I was frozen in place.

    “Now...please.”

    Apparently, my body was preconditioned to do his bidding. As I lay down on the exam table, I tried to steady my breathing. He moved closer until he stood over me.

    Then he waited...and waited. This felt like the same amount of time they required on reality shows right before you found out who got kicked off. All we needed was the music--boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom...

    “Touch me!” I almost screamed.

    When had I become such a freak that this was a turn on for me? I still wasn’t even sure if the motivation was professional or sexual on his end.

    Slowly, he eased his hand into the slit. His warm fingers skimmed over the tender flesh of my breast. I took in a deep, shuddering breath and arched, pressing it into his palm.

    His eyes flicked down to mine. “You took your bra off,” he said, eyebrows raised. As his hand scalded my breast, my face heated along with it. I’d never realized a situation could be so arousing and so embarrassing at the same time. But I knew now I didn’t want this to be only professional between us.

    “No, I wasn’t wearing one.” I hoped he didn’t look in the closet.

    His hand slid away. “Is the middle slit the same size as the side slit?” he asked.

    It was. Exactly the same size.

    “I don’t know,” I replied, hoping he’d have to try it for himself.

    His gaze met mine again. I thought I saw a question in his eyes. He was asking if I liked it, if I wanted more.

    There was no way I could admit to being hot for him in this situation. Maybe he wasn’t asking at all. Maybe I was imagining his expressions to mean whatever I wanted them to be. But just in case, I allowed my tongue to creep out and wet my upper lip invitingly.

    I watched his throat swallow hard as he slid his hand into the middle opening, cupping my other breast.

    An electrical jolt shot through me from nipple to clit. A tiny whimper escaped my lips. It echoed in my head as loudly as my shoes had echoed on the hard floor, but had he heard it?

    As he was pulling his hand out, his thumb brushed firmly over my nipple.

 

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