Suspension.

Total, utter suspension.

That’s the only way I can describe this feeling.

 

This…phenomenon.

 

For some reason, everything suddenly hits pause. My lungs. My limbs. My heart. Even time itself.

 

A severe, almost animalistic glare fills my entire line of vision, peering down at me. Scrutinizing. Examining. Penetrating.

 

For several seconds that never seem to budge, I stare speechlessly into the most breathtaking, striking eyes I’ve ever seen…and the stunning face of the man they belong to.

 

A solitary, singular thought comes to mind:

 

Wolf.

 

A mesmerizing, almost indescribable intensity fills them, enhancing their stunning, graduated golden hue.

 

Holy shit…

 

They’re…unreal.

 

Just…incredible.

 

Like jewels harvested directly from the sun.

 

Long, thick lashes frame them, a shade or two darker than the dense, wavy hair on his head.

 

Ho. Ly. Shit.

 

He’s…gorgeous.

 

Absolutely gorgeous.

 

The sharp edge in his eyes feels like a blade, like it could cut right through my soul as they continue to bore into mine, holding my gaze like a magnet because, for the life of me, I can’t seem to look away.

 

Belatedly, I feel a stronghold on my body, as if I’m trapped in free-fall. That’s when I realize the large hands gripping my upper arms, easily holding me up.

 

And, consequently, breaking my fall.

 

Before I can react, the man helps me up, inadvertently pulling me closer to him as he does. My heart thunders in my chest, now only a whisper away from his broad one, so loudly that I’m afraid he can actually hear it.

 

The sound of a voice in the distance snaps me out of my trance and, embarrassed, I’m suddenly very aware that I’ve been straight-up ogling him.

 

But…he’s been staring at me, too.

 

He still is.

 

This is by far the strangest interaction I’ve ever had. With anyone. Ever.

 

Neither of us says anything. We just…stare at each other. As if it’s the only thing we can do. But the sound of footsteps quickly advancing soon puts a stop to that, ending our brief…exchange.

 

I step away from him and out of his grip, embarrassment speeding back into every vein in my body and dousing me mercilessly when I realize just how crazy I must look.

 

“Ah…thank you,” is all I can manage when I can finally find my voice again, promptly averting my gaze as heat stings my cheeks.

 

Inadvertently, I spot my fallen document splayed on the floor, my skin buzzing as I sheepishly bend over to pick it up, wishing I could ignore the feel of Wolf Eyes’ gaze on me. While I’m glad I’m not in its place, somehow, I feel just as embarrassed as I would have if I was. Perhaps even more so. I’m almost one hundred percent positive that falling flat on my ass would have actually been much less nerve-wrecking than having this imposing, insanely good-looking stranger stop it from happening.

 

There you are,” the voice from before calls out, and my eyes dart behind him to see another man just a few feet away, approaching us.

 

My eyes go wide as I recognize him instantly.

 

Samuel Covington; the current CEO of Earth Capital.

 

Double holy shit…

 

For a split second, I find myself completely star-struck and scatterbrained from seeing him…until it dawns on me that there’s a reason I am.

 

I look back over my shoulder at the elevator, and I have a major face-palm moment when I see the number above it.

 

7.

 

Sigh. Of course…

 

I’m on the wrong floor.

 

Damn it.

 

Before the CEO comes any closer, I quickly mutter an apology and excuse myself, feeling unusually timid as I put some much-needed distance between us.

 

I take off again without thinking, glancing at my watch and hoping I can still catch Schapiro in time. I hit the elevator button almost frantically, exhaling in relief when it opens up immediately.

 

Against my better judgment, I look back at Wolf Eyes, unable to resist the urge to…and my stomach erupts in a flurry of wild, angry moths.

 

He’s still watching me, effortlessly securing my gaze when our eyes meet again. My heart races as he stares me down, his piercing golden eyes seemingly focused on nothing but me even when the CEO speaks to him, and I find it unnerving and strange and disturbing…and…and…

 

Arousing?

 

I quickly re-avert my gaze, practically running into the elevator, mortified when my heel buckles again as I step inside it, hating that he’s seeing me stumble for the second time in less than a minute.

 

I cringe at myself, feeling more flustered than I ever have in life. I tap the button for the 5th floor repeatedly with a trembling finger, my heart still thumping and my other hand shaking as I grip the form…somehow able to feel his gaze on me long after he’s out of sight.

 

***

 

I run into Schapiro again and, this time, I get him to sign the form—but long after his meeting is over.

 

The day seems to disappear right before me, the time almost dissipating in a monotonous haze despite my new environment, spent entirely on getting sorted and situated in the company.

It’s well after lunch hour when I finally get my ID, authenticated Pass and other clearance finalized and there’s only an hour left until closing when my payroll account is set up.

 

The whole process is extremely convoluted and long-winded and shouldn’t have taken nearly as much time as it did—and from reports of some previous interns, it typically doesn’t—but I had no option but to simply roll with the punches.

 

However, the unexpected quirks of Earth Cap’s administrative process—and the consequential massive delay they created—hasn’t bothered me as much as it did earlier in the day. Or should. Matter of fact, my mind seems to be preoccupied with other things.

 

Okay…one thing.

 

No.

 

One man.

 

I try to focus on why I’m here, getting acquainted with the space and my department, doing my damnedest not to think about him.

 

But I can’t, for the life of me, get him and his haunting, golden eyes out of my head.

 

It’s hard to imagine that a total stranger who didn’t utter so much as a word could leave such a deep, lasting impression with just one look.

 

One unforgettable look.

 

It’s a little before five when I’m encouraged to leave early—along with a pile of binders full of files that I need to familiarize myself with by tomorrow.

 

I’m not assigned to anything or given tasks yet so I do so with no objections, feeling unusually restless even though my excitement has long worn off. I can only chalk it up to all the up-and-down-back-and-forth running around and its resulting, completely unnecessary stress.

 

Oh…that and actually seeing Sam Covington in person.

 

I’d hoped it would happen eventually, some time over the course of my three-month internship, but I definitely was not expecting to see the head of my dream company on my very first day.

 

And certainly not while recovering from almost tripping over myself.

 

Still, while it was quite brief and accidental—not to mention, less than ideal—the sighting had no less impact on me.

 

Michaela’s out before I get back, the apartment pin-drop silent when I walk in. Nixon is asleep in my bed, purring contentedly as he snuggles against my pillow.

 

I set the binders down in the living room, resisting the urge to brew a pot of coffee in fear that it’ll only make me more agitated than I already am.

 

With a trusty marker and multi-colored Post-Its, I get to work, going through each binder carefully and making detailed notes for every one so I don’t forget their respective key points.

 

All the projects seem interesting, but one in particular stands out over the rest.

 

Definitely up my alley, I smile to myself, excited by the prospect of assisting on it.

 

By the time I’m on the last one, my eyelids feel like cinder blocks and I can barely lift them. All my motivation to do pretty much anything is one hundred percent gone. I can’t even muster the energy for recreational reading when it’s usually the one thing that relaxes me.

 

I retire to my room, happy that the feline of the house has decided to relocate to his mother’s chambers instead.

 

I lie in bed, feeling idle as fuck, beyond exhausted yet unable to sleep…and trying to ignore the very noticeable, very unusual throbbing between my thighs.

 

Impulsively, my fingers travel south.

 

I barely even make contact with my flesh when an intense, hot gaze flashes before me.

 

I gasp, taken aback and almost afraid of the abrupt, vivid imagery, my heart racing. My own eyes go wide at the strange, novel occurrence. My brows furrow as I try to temper my suddenly erratic breathing, swiftly pulling my fingers away from my core and settling back in under the covers.

 

Another hour passes with no change. And then another, marked by my constant tossing and turning and mindless fidgeting despite the fact that I truly don’t have the strength to do any of it.

 

With no end in sight to this odd, exhausting restlessness, I actually resort to counting sheep.

 

Yeah.

 

I tally imaginary sheep as they jump over a wooden fence one after the other until I’m muttering absolute gibberish, until I lose track of what I’m even doing…finally falling asleep at an unknown hour to the image of golden, wolf eyes.

 

***

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THIS CHAPTER MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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