Little black dress was Shelly’s uniform. She wore it when she went to battle and this meeting felt like a battle. Tom was a tough negotiator, but she was tougher. She had to be as a woman in her job, law was a male-dominated field.
Worst of it was, Tom was handsome, and if she wasn’t facing him across the deposition table, she’d like to face him across a dinner table. Or the bedroom. He screamed Dominant, and the submissive she buried deep within herself squealed to be allowed to kneel before him.
That’s why she wore the uniform, to remind herself she had to remain tough, firm. She owned several black dresses, from severe to sexy. Today she chose in the middle, an attempt to put him at ease, to seem friendly. It was difficult to leave the sexy one in her closet, but she escaped it calling her name, whispering she could kneel for him, she didn’t have to hide her true nature any longer.
In her firm’s conference room, she armed herself with papers, proof her client was correct. Proof they deserved their settlement demands. A secretary at her firm, a nice woman named Linda, showed Tom into the room and Shelly grappled with her breath. He wore his battle uniform, a custom tailored suit, his weapons still in his briefcase, as he set it on the table, flipping open the top, creating a barrier he could hide behind before the battle started.
Was this round five? Or six? Maybe only the fourth. Damn, he was distracting.
“Good morning.” His deep voice tried to push past her defenses, perhaps she should have found something bullet proof. Her navy blue pants suit, might have been a better choice.
Shelly straightened her shoulders. No, she was ready for the meeting, for him. “Good morning. Did you get a coffee?”
“No, this shouldn’t take long. My client has an offer I think you’ll be happy with.” He pushed some papers across the table, when she reached for them her fingertips brushed his hand and they both froze at the sparks. His eyes met hers as she stroked his skin, and it was like someone attached her directly to the source of electricity.
She yanked the papers to her side of the battle field, sitting down in her trench, she read the proposal. They agreed to her terms, except the payout was 80% of what they sought. They wouldn’t go to trial, that was messy and expensive. Settlements were easier, corporations versus smaller corporations, she represented the small fish, and Tom was the big bad shark.
“If you’ll let me call my client, I’ll have an answer shortly.”
He nodded, but their eyes met again and the hum flared between them, like a light switch being turned on. She left and called her client, who agreed to the terms. She took a minute to drink her coffee and breathe before she returned to the conference room.
“Lock the door,” Tom commanded, and without thinking Shelly complied, then he smiled a shark tooth smile that gave her pause, even if she hid it.
“They agreed and my secretary is arranging an appointment with them to sign the paperwork. We’ll get in touch with your office when it’s done.”
“Good, now that we have settled, we have something else to discuss.”
“I think that was all for today.” Shelly started stacking her papers.
His feet clicked on the wooden floors as he rounded the table, he stood a few inches over her but it felt like more when she glanced at him. “There’s still the matter of you submitting to me.”
She blinked at him, slowly, trying to ignore her heart thundering, and her knees bending as she imagined kneeling before him, following his commands. “I think you’re mistaken.”
“I’m not, when I said lock the door, it was a test that you passed.” Tom curled his hand around her neck. “We desire each other and our business will be concluded.”
Shelly’s mouth opened and closed, like a fish; when he pulled her closer she didn’t stop him, no, she leaned into him. His kiss was like his voice, his body language, the wording in his contracts: careful and controlled. His lips worked her mouth open, his tongue taking a deposition, and she wasn’t sure she had the right answers, but she tried to be honest.
Tom’s mouth made a convincing argument for submission, but he grabbed her hair and pulled her from the kiss. She awaited final judgment with her bent head. “Look at me and tell me you don’t want to kneel,” he whispered, but he laced the command in his words, a subtle threat.
She lifted her gaze to lock with his, summoning her willpower, her convictions. “Not until those papers are signed, Mr. Smith. After our business concludes, you can make an appointment with my secretary for negotiations.”
She used his surprise to duck out of his grasp. He thought he had an easy victory today, but she couldn’t until she saw her own victory to the end.
“We aren’t done here,” Tom said, as he returned to his side of the trenches.
She straightened the hem on her battle dress, the uniform served her well again today. “We’ll see, Tom. We’ll see.”