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Just in case you didn’t know this is for National Novel Writing Month.
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When her chest started to scream for air, she amazingly kept her cool and took a deep breath in and then let a long breath go. Her eye completely stopped twitching and on the outside, she looked like a clear level headed woman, but on the inside she was a frazzled hot mess. Just when her hair looked the worse and her clothes were wrinkled and sweaty, she had to meet a man she’d idol for the longest in the technology business.
It had nothing to do with the fact Axel Black was sickeningly filthy rich. That meant absolutely nothing to Stefanie. Being in the technology business, she dealt with millions and almost billionaires. She had been a fan of his mind. His creativity in technology had garnered him thousands of accolades and honors, plus every software developer and tech geek knew him but had never really met him. He was just like Stefanie in the fact he loved sitting behind his computer loving the sounds of clicking on the keyboard and the quietness of life, rather than networking with people or joining with others who admired his work.
She remembered reading those words on his blog and feeling an instant connection. Remembering she was an avid commentor of his blog pushed her insides to hurricane swirls in the pit of her belly.
Now she was getting that honor of meeting someone no one she knew had ever met – not even Nick had said he met him. If this was the real Axel Black, she knew she would be the envy of all her colleagues. He was so damn rich, he could probably pay someone to go around and be him so no one would know how he really looked.
Keeping her composure she outstretched her hand, craning her neck to look up at him. “Mr Black, it’s an honor to meet you.”
He looked down at her hand and then hesitantly shook palm firmly. “Really? What’s your name?”
“This is Stefanie Kent, the software-“
Axel cut off Dexter and took Stefanie’s hand again with a crook to his thin lips. “Stefanie Kent. The Stefanie Kent?” he asked.
Did his voice sound spellbinding or was it the fact she was holding her breathe again and about to pass out. Her outward appearance kept her cool as she smiled honored by the extra attention.
“I’m a fan of your work. I used the configurations and bought over three thousand licenses for a custom framework I designed for a recent client.” He leaned in close as if he were telling her a secret, but spoke in his normal sensuous deep voice. “They asked what was my secret weapon for completing the job so quickly, but you’ve got to promise never to tell.”
Don’t you dare blush! She ordered her outer composure. Stefanie let a full smile release though. “I promise I won’t if you stop this rain, Mr. Black.”
“Axel,” he insisted. “If you allow me to call you, Stefanie.”
He looked over at Dexter. “Did you invite her to coffee?”
“I tried, but she said she’s busy,” Dexter said.
Feeling awkward after turning Dexter down but very much wanting to go to coffee with Axel Black, she shrugged a shoulder bashfully. She didn’t know if she wanted to look away, but used the excuse to pull back a stray sweaty cowlick to pull her hand from his touch.
“Then obviously you didn’t specify we were taking to a unique Arabian coffee shop right across the street.”
“Have you invited Stefanie to coffee, Dexter?” Axel ask now his eyes focused hard on her.
“I really am not dressed for coffee with you,” she said feeling horribly under dress despite his workout attire. She knew her sweaty hair was all over her head and her clothes were screaming for an iron. Even walking with a guy this height in her beat up gym shoes, she only came to his elbows without heels on. This was not how she expected to meet Axel Black.
“Dexter, go to the desk and see if there are any guest umbrellas we can borrow,” Axel ordered sternly, but he never took his eyes off of Stefanie.
Did he see how nervous she was? Outwardly, Stefanie could keep perfectly unaffected by her inner turmoil. Right about now, she had a hurricane of nervous emotions going on inside of her.
When they were alone, he asked, “Was that a load of bullshit you gave him about being too busy?” He crossed his thick arms over his thick chest.
She blushed at being caught in a lie and tickled by his brusque tone. “He’s slightly involved with a so-call friend of mine and I just didn’t feel comfortable, sir,” she admitted.
His cheek twitched a little and he looked like he grimaced at the sound of her reference to Lauren, but she just thought she was paying too much attention to his handsome face.
“Well, I’m not involved with anyone you know, so you could join me for coffee, couldn’t you?” He raised a brow of inquiry, but she had a feeling this man was not used to being refused.
Hell, this was Axel Black, who she would love to pick his mind about algorithms, software designs and so much more. “I would love to have coffee with you, Mr. Black.”
“Only if you call me Axel as I’ve asked,” he insisted.
Embarrassed she nodded glad Dexter was returning with one umbrella to interrupt them and hoping he would join them.
“They only had one, sir,” Dexter admitted.
Axel took the umbrella and said not even looking at Dexter, but outside at the rain above Stefanie’s head, “When you return to the office, could you let my assistant know I’m canceling my morning, Dexter. I left my phone in my car four blocks away.”
“Yes sir.” Dexter looked a little disappointed he wasn’t going.
Stefanie decided to make him feel a little better. “Well you have that out of town trip this weekend starting tomorrow with Laruen right? You probably have a million things to do at the office before you leave, right?”
Both of them looked at her as if she had just spoken in Japanese.
She was glad the thunder boomed loud, which seemed to wake both men out of their stuck on stupid trance at her.
“I’ll be going,” Dexter said and walked the other way to another exit on the other side of the building.
Axel opened the door for her and opened up the umbrella. “If you don’t mind walking close, I think we both can fit.” He held out his thick arm for her to take.
Taking a deep breath knowing she would have to walk arm and arm with him, she kept her composure. Straightening up her back, she took his arm feeling the warmness and … something else. She wanted to look up at him because she knew those unique eyes were baring down at her. Stefanie didn’t dare look up at him when he began to walk, she let her breath out slowly. If she took normal breaths, she would look normal and he wouldn’t notice how nervous she was around him.
The rain was coming down too hard to even try for conversation while they were outside and he was considerate enough to take smaller strides inside of longer ones that his powerful legs seem to yearn for.
Pushing the thought away that somehow Axel Black seemed familiar, she decided to just think about all the questions she was going to ask him once they reached the cafe.
La Revanche des Trois (Revenge of Three) – Chapter 11 (c) 2011 Sylvia Hubbard. All Rights Reserved.
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