Title: Yes, Mr. Van Der Wells
Author: S. Ann Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Running for my freedom.
Running for my life.
I’m running because everything hurts.
And all I want to do is breathe.
The old me was bold and wild and reckless and privileged.
The new me is timid and freak-stricken and weak and broken.
All I want is freedom.
All I want to do is breathe.
A complicated relationship? That’s the last thing I’m about right now.
Something casual and easy? I’m down for that.
But he is not.
He wants to own me.
He wants me to own him.
He wants to save me.
I’m too terrified to give in.
All. I. Want. To. Do. Is. Breathe.
But it turns out, Noah is the air that I need to do that…
Noah’s eating his breakfast and sipping my abandoned coffee when I return from my “shower”. He’s looking like the picture of wealth in a gray V-necked sweater and black slacks, damp hair finger-groomed back from his face.
He scans me as I reenter the kitchen, while I raise an eyebrow at my coffee in his hand. “You showered again?”
My palms smooth down the front of my uniform. “Yep. Felt a little icky from the spilled coffee.”
Taking a sip of my coffee, he shifts his eyes to my hair. “Coffee got in your hair, too?”
My hand reaches up to pat my hair. It’s damp, held up with a claw clip. Uh-huh, I’d ducked my head under the shower to drown my pathetic masturbation noises, because, well, I’m hella vocal.
“Yes,” I stress, fixing a hand to my hip, daring him to challenge that, even though he very well could, considering he saw and knew the coffee splashed only my feet. “And why are you drinking my coffee? You couldn’t pour your own?”
Cutting a piece of pancake, he slathers it around in a sea of syrup before forking it into his mouth. “I pay you to do that.”
He has a point, so I don’t lip further and pour myself a new cup of coffee.
Noah finishes up, wipes the corners of his mouth, and fixes his gaze on me. Again. “I notice you don’t run at all. Mornings, or evenings. That morning in the park in Brooklyn, was that a one-time thing?”
“Nope.” I shrug. “I love running actually. But I guess I just don’t have the motivation to anymore.” Translate, not even my love for cardio, sweat and a palpitating heart can get me to leave this apartment.
“I can be your motivator,” he volunteers. “Run with me in the mornings.”
“Ah, I’m sorry, I just made that sound like a suggestion, didn’t I?” he cuts in. “It’s not. You run with me in the mornings. New amendment to the contract. Also, I’m told you order groceries in instead of going out?”
What the hell? Who’s ratting out? Does he have people watching me or something? “I wasn’t feeling well those times,” I prevaricate.
“You do realize you haven’t set a foot out of the building in over two weeks, right?”
“I have agoraphobia,” I lie again, staring him head on.
Unbeknownst to me, the bastard has been paying more attention than I thought, observing, studying. And now he’s digging. He’s not stupid, so he’s probably figured it out by now than I’m hiding, and is curious about from who or what, thus poking his nose were it doesn’t belong.
“Really,” he stresses, amused lips twitching at the corners. “That would have been the perfect answer if I didn’t know you’re lying.”
“Save it, Lotty,” he curtails. “You’re running from something, and I wish you would just tell me so I can help you.”
“I don’t need your—”
“Until you learn to trust me as more than your ‘boss’, I’m going to need you to re-sign this amended contract. Before I leave.” With one finger, he pushes the suspicious manila envelope that’s been sitting next to his plate across the counter to me. “If you do not agree with the amendments, your employment is terminated, effective immediately.”
I stare at the envelope, not wanting to open it. Employment terminated. Effective immediately. If I disagree. And disagreeing is not something I can afford at this juncture. I don’t have enough saved up, plus the penthouse is spectacular.
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah with all those boring points,’ Reckless Lotty mumbles with an eye-roll. ‘What about his chest, and his throat, and his super intense, intimidating hot-as-sin stare?! No, we most certainly cannot disagree until we’ve had our fill of him.’
Rational Lotty groans, “Oh, dearest Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, why do I even bother?
“Just tell me what you added,” I begrudgingly mumble. “In case you haven’t noticed from the last contract signing, I don’t like reading boring crap.”
“And she wants to become a lawyer,” Noah murmurs as he draws the envelope across the counter back to him, opens it and slides out the contract. He shakes the envelope and a pen falls out. Placing the pen on top of the contract, he pushes it across to me once more. “I’m responsible for your well-being, your safety, and your comfort. You run with me in the mornings. You will have a driver slash bodyguard assigned to take you wherever you need to go and keep you safe—you’ll meet him this afternoon. It is my duty to provide you with anything, material or otherwise, that will contribute to your comfort here and peace of mind in my home slash your workplace—and you deserve the right ask for what you need whenever I fail to recognize that need.”
Mouth hanging open, I blink at him. Then, I explode, “Are you kidding me?! I don’t need to have a law degree to know that this is bullshit! You do not find terms like that in a contract unless it’s for a pimp and his hooker!”
“A contract is a contract. Doesn’t matter what’s in it. There’s no standard format to draft a contract. It could be as informal as two signatures on a napkin. Once you sign it, you adhere to the terms.”
“I’m your housemaid. What the hell? You want to buy me stuff, assign me a body guard and force me to run with you? What’s the next amendment going to be? Huh? That I’m required to be naked and spread-eagled in your bed before you get home in the evenings?”
His casual, amicable demeanor shifts as his whole body goes rigid. Eyes frosting over, lips pressing together, he picks up the contract and shoves it back into the envelope. “You don’t want to sign it, fine. I was trying to help, because that’s who I am. I help people. I don’t take advantage of lost and screw-up little girls. I crossed the line with you a couple of times when I knew I shouldn’t have, and I apologize for that. It was not professional.
“But you know what, I’m done caring. You’re as jumpy as a rabbit, goddamn terrified of who-knows-what. You have no phone, you take classes on a piece-of-shit laptop, and you use a handbag that’s held together with a safety pin. I have a habit of caring too much about people, and that’s where I always go wrong. Obviously, girls like you prefer the callous type, the men who show no attentiveness or care at all, the men who notices nothing, that way you can analyze the shit out of it and convince yourself that it means the opposite. But the one who does care, the one who sees you, he’s the one accused of trying to take advantage. My bad, Lotty. My bad.”
Tall, dark, and seriously pissed-off, he tucks the envelope under his arm, turns, and strides off.
‘Way to go,’ Reckless Lotty grumbles. ‘That’s what happens when you listen to Rational—’
‘Hey!’ Rational Lotty snaps defensively. ‘I did not tell her to disagree. Frankly, I think it’s a good deal. She screwed that up all on her own.’
“So, does that rant mean I’m fired?” I call after him.
Noah stops and begin to turn, but then the elevator pings, pausing him.
“Goooood morning, Mr. Van Der Wells,” I hear a sexy-as-hell male voice sing with a panty-melting British accent, followed by strong footfalls across the wooden floors.
Noah frowns. “You’re early, and I told you I’d meet you downstairs. That keycard I gave you is for emergencies only.”
“But I do have an emergency,” the sexy-as-hell British voice returns. “I needed a place to hide my hard-on. This tight little wench downstairs, a total prick tease—”
“Too early,” Noah clips.
The owner of the sexy-as-hell voice turns the bend just then, and…wow. Wow. Just…wow.
Reckless Lotty faints.
Rational Lotty is speech impeded.
This man, or this Adonis, or this Roman King, is hot. Great height, really great bod, lush brown hair cropping just below his ears, brilliant, mischievous blue eyes, and nice, luscious lips fixed into a smirk. Light denims, a white-as-heaven button down shirt, a lock of brown hair flopped onto his forehead, masculine hand holding a Starbucks cup. He appears to be around Noah’s age, but his aura tells his disposition is less mature.
I’m standing there ogling the Adonis when his wandering gaze locks on me, and his smirk morphs into a grin. “Yes, yes, yes,” he says cockily, answering a question no one asked. “I woke up like this.”
Usually, I hate cocksure pricks, but I can’t help the giggle that escapes me as I purposely step from around the kitchen counter so he can get a full view of me. Without hesitation I would have a fling with this man in a broom closet or in a men’s public bathroom if he demanded it. Then I would kick him to the curb for being an arrogant asswipe.
Noah’s frown deepens as he glances between me and his friend.
Adonis shifts his gaze to Noah, taking a sip of his coffee before saying, “I see now why you wanted me to wait downstairs, old chap.” Bedroom blue eyes moves to me again. “Is he treating you fair, pretty filly? If not, I have an open position, yeah? I know nothing about cleanliness. I’m a nasty, dirty, filthy little lad.”
Smiling coquettishly at him—yes, I’m playing a game here. Unfortunately, Reckless Lotty is still unconscious, so I have to wing this one—I bite my lip and glance down coyly at my shoes, swaying ever so slightly from side to side. “Actually, that would be great. I just got fire—”
“You’re not fired,” Noah’s hard voice slices in. He looks as if he’s about to combust. So green he could be a tossed in a salad bowl.
Booyah! Right where I want him.
Raising wide, artless eyes to him, I ask with feigned timidity, “I-I’m not?”
Now Noah’s frown dips so deep it can pass as a scowl, and I bet he’s wondering what on earth is going on, who’s this innocent, wide-eyed girl, and what am I playing at?
Keeping my job, that’s what I’m playing at. Because I screwed up royally.
“No, you’re not,” he grounds out. “We’ll talk when I get back.”
Like a kid on Christmas morning, I clap my hands and bounce on my toes, before advancing toward him with my hand out. “Here, let me sign this real quick so you can go.”
Noah watches me like he has no idea who I am as I extricate the envelope from under his arm, slide out the contract and pen, hastily scrawling my signature. Handing it back to him, I smile something brilliant. “There.”
Turning to Adonis, I say, “Sorry about that. Turns out we just had a misunderstanding.”
“No worries.” He gives me a licentious scan. “Do you have a bloke, sweetheart?”
Before I can get a response out, Noah growls, “She’s nineteen.”
Eyes glued to my rack, Adonis replies, “Turn that nine upside down and I might care about age. The younger, the tighter.”
I tamp down my snicker, only because Noah looks like he’s this close to ripping his friend’s head off.
Completely oblivious to Noah’s bristling, Adonis seizes my left hand and gallantly presses a kiss on the back of it. “I’m Q for Qwesie. Qwesie James. Noah’s wingman, the horns on his temples, the venom on his tongue…” He pauses, frowns. “No. Wait. That doesn’t sound right.”
This time I laugh out loud. Noah doesn’t. Still scowling.
“If I were you,” I advise Q, “I’d let my hand go. “My boss is this close to head-butting you into unconsciousness.”
Ann Cole is a passionate writer and reader, and a lover of anything that distracts her from the real world. Reader first and second a writer, S. Ann Cole is an exaggerator, a laugher, sometimes overly chatty, sometimes overly shy. She’s afraid of cats, dogs, snakes—heck, she’s only tolerable to gold fishes in a tank. Because if they do jump out and try to attack her, the suckers will surely die!
She hates fireworks, schmaltz and arrogance.
She loves carbs, Chris Brown and humility.
She lives nowhere and everywhere.
Jokey people are her utmost favorite people to be around, as laughter is the way to her heart.
Never mind her foul-mouth (she’s working hard on changing that!), she loves GOD. Fiercely. And believes prayer is the essence of all good, great, wonderful and miraculous things, and the most powerful privilege given unto man.
Ann hopes that one day, the right day, when it’s her time (because nothing happens before its time), her hard work will be noticed and appreciated.
When Ann’s not abusing her computer keyboard, you can find her nosing a novel, watching anything on television that makes her laugh until she breaks into hiccups (loves Disney , TBS, and Impractical Jokers!) studying the Bible, or sipping red wine.