My Corinne Michaels Books Facebook Group read along voted on which scene they’d like most to hear in Jackson’s POV. They chose Chapter 7 when Catherine sees Jackson for the first time after they meet. IF you haven’t read Beloved yet, please do not read this!
Chapter 7 in Jackson’s POV from Beloved
Glancing at the time I realize I have a few minutes before the new publicist arrives. Great. Another woman in my life to boss me around, I need this like I need a hole in the head. I wish I was back with my boys where I could pretend life doesn’t fucking suck fat ass. Too bad it does. I need to get this company back on track or get rid of it. Danielle has done everything I asked but it’s not fair to her. Time to man the fuck up and take over.
I open an email from Mark going over a few new bids he thinks we should make for Cole Securities. Two in Iraq, one in Africa and another in Afghanistan—all look promising. The growth in Virginia stays steady, which I’m extremely grateful for. I don’t know how I’d handle two failing companies.
As I start to reply to the email, the phone rings from the security desk downstairs.
“Cole.” I say clipped, already feeling the frustration rolling off of me in waves.
“Mr. Cole, good evening sir, this is Paul. Just letting you know Ms. Pope is on her way up.”
I sigh and run my hand down my face. This is the last thing I want to deal with today but Danielle demanded I meet her. I just got back into the city today and she was waiting to pounce on me as soon as I got in the office. She’s more than eager to get back to the job she was hired for.
“My pleasure,” he says and the phone disconnects.
I can’t put this off any longer. Things need to get in motion with the new product and Danielle and I agreed that Catherine is best qualified. Piper disagreed but the video sealed my decision. I think she has the vision we need to go forward. Who am I kidding? I know nothing about any of this shit. I’m just pissing into the wind, hoping I don’t hit anyone who walks by. Which is where this chick comes in, hopefully she has better aim.
I roll my sleeves up and head toward the elevator thinking about what I can do to get out of this meeting quickly. The gym is calling my name and I need to blow off some steam.
I run my fingers through my hair and try not to pull it out in frustration. This sucks. After what feels like forever, the elevator dings and I look over. As the door opens, the world stops for one second.
It literally stops and nothing exists except her.
She stands there in a dark blue dress and fucking red heels. I can’t believe it. The restaurant girl is Catherine. The one who ran away a week ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about since. Un-fucking-believable and yet absolutely perfect.
I stare at her as her hands cover her mouth but not before my name escapes. “Jackson,” she says quietly but I know I heard her. It seems she’s thought about me as well.
I take a second to really look at her. She’s even better than I remember. I clear my throat and say the only think I’m capable of. “You’re Catherine Pope?” I need to be sure because she’s not getting away this time.
This day just got a whole lot better.
I give her my hand since she’s still standing on the elevator. When she touches me the same feelings from the restaurant resurfaces. All I can think about is what it would feel like to have her underneath me—or on top—I’m not picky. Fuck. What the hell is wrong with me?
She’s hasn’t said a word yet. Which I find interesting.
Her body is trembling and my mind flashes to how many other ways I can make her shake. I know she feels this too.
Needing to break the silence again I clear my throat. “You’re even more beautiful than I remember.” Shit, didn’t mean to say that but it’s true. The way her cheeks turn bright red makes it all worth it. But now I have the fucking problem that she’s my goddamn employee. Well…kind of.
I start to think of the ways to get around this. I’m not letting this go so easily. It’s been too long since I’ve felt anything for a woman. She will be mine. I’ve never felt so strong about someone before. Each second she stands there I fight emotions I don’t want to feel yet I know I can’t.
“Thank you, Mr. Cole. CJJ is proud that you chose our vision to take your company forward.” She smiles and I feel my dick harden.
Shifting to try to hide the fact that just her smiling makes me a fucking twelve year old with a hard on, I laugh. “Oh, let me assure you, this project is quickly becoming my favorite,” I look her up and down really appreciating how perfect her body is. Yeah, fuck Virginia. New York just got a whole lot more appealing. “The more I think about it, the more I think I’m going to enjoy working with you.” I watch her lips part and she brushes her tongue across it the images flash through my mind of other places I want her mouth.
Great, there goes my dick again. This is going to be an interesting few months.
“Shall we get to our meeting?” She says her voice quivers and I smile again. At least I’m not the only one fucked here.
I decide to play with her a little. It’s fun watching her try to keep herself professional when her body is an open book. Her eyes tell me how turned on she is. Her breathing accelerates and I watch her chest rise and fall. “We’re going to play it that way, are we? Okay, Ms. Pope. Right this way,” I stare into those brown eyes watching as her pupils dilate. Just like when we met, only this time there’s no way she can escape.
She mumbles, “Thank you.”
I can’t fight the urge to touch her again. I know I should be professional but I don’t give a fuck. My hand touches her back as a tremble goes through her body. “Are you cold?” I ask huskily.
I watch the flash of her eyes tell me she’s not going to be so easy. Fine by me, Catherine. I’m all for a challenge and I never lose.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you.” Catherine’s voice is steady and firm.
She makes me want to push her against the fucking wall and show her what else is firm.
Standing in the doorway so she has no choice but to touch me again. I’m not going to make this easy for her. I hear her sigh trying her best to get around me. I stifle a laugh not wanting to piss her off. We still have to work together and this is just getting started.
She looks around at the ridiculously decorated office. Fucking Danielle and her obsession with purple. I keep waiting for Barney to pop out of the walls singing.
Needing to clarify I’m not a pussy I explain, “I just moved into this office. The person before me was obviously a female. Danielle was the acting CEO for the last ten months. I haven’t had time to change anything.” I close my eyes trying to rid myself of the woman before Danielle. I won’t go there.
“I understand. But for the record, purple’s not your color.” She says under her breath.
And just like that I can’t think of anyone else but her. I smile and give it back to her. “No? And what color would you recommend, Ms. Pope?”
She looks around pretending to give it some thought. “Hmmm, I’d say pink.” Her eyes lock on mine as she grins. “Definitely pink.”
Deciding to get closer to her so I can enjoy her reaction, I take the seat next to her. I like watching her squirm a little.
Those fuck me eyes of hers close and when she opens again I have to shift to hide my growing erection. Down boy. “Pink, huh? Well only real men wear pink, and I assure you, Catherine, I’m all the real you’ll ever need.”
She coughs clearly not expecting that. Fuck, I can’t believe I said that.
This chick is going to be the death of me.
If you enjoyed the Belonging Duet, be sure to grab CONSOLATION which is AVAILABLE NOW on all retailers. As an author’s note … I had originally intended to write Mark’s book after Jackson, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Natalie. She just called to me on such a deep level. I truly hope you’ll see how she handles picking up the pieces.