Until I Kissed You Sneak Peek

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Chapter 1

Samson

 

Exhausted, I’m exhausted. I need to cut down on my international travel. New York City to Paris to London then back home to New York City in three days. I need as many days to catch up. Thankfully, Savannah can handle the office if I come in late today. It’s the main reason I hired her. She’s brilliant. Savannah.

There was a moment with her during the gala and after when I almost broke. I almost kissed her with every ounce of desire I’ve bottled up since I hired her. She’s decidedly off-limits—or she should be anyway. Yet, I invited her to the gala as my date. Savannah is striking in a pencil skirt and jacket. In a royal blue silk dress with an open back, she’s breathtaking. The color brings out the hue of her eyes offset by her midnight hair. Every seemingly professional touch sent unmistakable heat through me. I’ve never felt this level of heat before, not even with Meghan, and she was my fiancée.

Rather than wallow in my tiredness, I drag myself out of bed to dress for work. Aside from Savannah’s capabilities, my name is on the door. Coming in at ten instead of before eight after whirlwind travel across an ocean and back is a legitimate reason to arrive late after a few extra hours sleep.

I pad across my inlaid hardwood floors to my dressing room. My home is absolutely too large for only me, but it offers privacy. The Morgan family is well-known in New York City. My parents, Warren and Margaux Morgan, are members of the rich elite. By birth, so are my siblings and I. Working his way up from the mail room, my father amassed a fortune. When he married Mother, new money and old money combined. Margaux dutifully planned and attended events at Father’s request. Caring for my siblings and me wasn’t a true priority for her. We had a nanny, Maria-Luisa, most of our childhood.

Cassius, my first younger brother, recently flipped his whole life, trading in venture capitalism for owning an airline. His shift is due to his wife, Noelle. Having lost her parents as a teen, she subscribes to the notion that every choice should lead to happiness. When they met, Margaux impersonated someone else to learn more about Noelle to thwart their relationship and Cash’s career change. She failed.

At the same time, she further strained her marriage with my father. Noelle has been nothing short of a game changer for my brother, professionally and, more notably, personally. He’s the happiest he has ever been—partly because they left this city for York Beach, Maine, near our younger sister.

After a tragic accident requiring significant repair to her face, Wilhelmina, who prefers Billie now, left New York. Not only has she achieved her dream of couture dress design and owning a storefront, she found love as well. Around the time Peter and Billie met, my parents attempted to force Billie into an arranged marriage with one of our father’s competitor’s sons. At first the notion seemed off the wall until we learned that the competitor was holding Billie’s true parentage over my father’s head. Billie was successful in ending their bid to marry her off with Peter’s support. Their wedding is in the spring. I’m intrigued to see if Margaux and Warren show up without a fuss. I expect my father. Our mother, she isn’t welcome, but I’m not confident she’ll stay away.

Finally, my youngest brother, Auggie, recently finished culinary school. He is working as a head chef locally while preparing to establish his own farm-to-table restaurant. Obstacles have slowed his progress. Ideally, he wants to grow the food himself. However, building his dream is astronomical in cost and zoning issues. There simply isn’t an area in New York City to pull that off. Luckily, his best friend, Caroline, keeps him from losing his mind.

After donning a custom suit and Oxford, I ride to the ground floor.

“Good morning, Mr. Morgan. Getting a late start?” Jimmy is a middle-aged man who serves as the building concierge and doorman. He controls access to our building with an iron fist. My approved list is concise. It only includes my siblings, their significant others, and Savannah—although, she has never been here.

“Morning, Jimmy. I have a serious case of jet lag this time.”

Jimmy nods. “Have a wonderful day.”

“You as well.”

The air is brisk this morning. New York has some wonderful events, like the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center or a multitude of Broadway shows. Said events pale in comparison to the foliage and foods of fall, at least in my opinion. After a short walk, I arrive at the office. Stopping by the kitchen, I prepare a cup of coffee before walking to my office. I hear Savannah talking about the policy from my trip. As I pass, I notice she’s wearing a red sheath dress and tall heels—heels with sexy bows on them that drive me to distraction. There’s nothing professional about me noting her attire, not even in the slightest.

Once my laptop wakes, I scan my inbox with mild disinterest. I’m always connected, and nothing new has developed since late last night.

“Morning, Sam.”

It took almost three months for Savannah to stop calling me Mr. Morgan. Aside from the fact that she’s about my age, I’m not that formal.

“Morning, Savannah. Everything set on the Mancini policy?”

“Yes, they’re pleased with the policy and your insistence upon viewing the piece personally.”

Travelling overseas for one policy is rare for me. Even more rare is the chance to see Le Givre by Claude Monet in person. As far as I’m aware, it’s only one of twelve privately owned originals.

“Is it as magnificent as I imagine?” 

I can hear her jealous inner-art connoisseur just a smidge. “It is. You should travel with me next time.” As the words slip from my lips, I consider the danger of that statement. I suppose it isn’t any more dangerous than asking her to join me at that gala.

“I may take you up on that.” A small smile brightens her gorgeous face. As she walks away, I can’t help but admire her sexy legs and the sway of her hips.

Admonishing myself, I tackle my inbox. Near two, my cell phone rings. “Hey, Cash. How are you and Noelle?”

“We’re well. How was your trip?”

“Tiring but good. How is the airline industry?”

“I love it. I can’t believe it took me so long to take the leap.”

“Happy to hear that. I think you needed Noelle for the huge push.”

“True, very true.”

Cash never would’ve left investing if it weren’t for Noelle. Like me, Cash was waiting for the right woman. Until he met Noelle, he hadn’t dated anyone seriously for years before that. I understand his concerns, most of which I share. It’s difficult to know whether a woman wants to date a Morgan for the status alone. My intention isn’t to sound cocky, but since Cash got married, I rose to New York’s most eligible bachelor. He and I have been alternating in the top two spots for the last five years or so. Until I met Savannah, I hadn’t seriously considered dating anyone. Now, I want to date someone who should be off-limits. Nonetheless, I’m planning to throw my concerns out the window.

“I need to get back to these flight plans. Any word on when you’ll be here next?” Cash states.

“I can probably visit in the next two weeks.”

“Good, we’ll see you then. I’ll make sure Billie and Peter can join us.”

After ending the call, I swivel my chair and gaze at the city. After a short break, I sort through the stack of files, reviewing and signing where necessary. When Savannah knocks on my door, I assume it’s to get some lunch.

“I’m heading out unless you need something.”

I note its after six already. “I’ll escort you home if you can give me fifteen minutes.”

“You don’t need to do that.”

“I want too.” More than I should.

If she’s surprised or completely against it, she doesn’t show it.

 

 

Chapter Two

Savannah

Almost a year ago, when I applied to work at Morgan Insurance, I didn’t realize it was that Morgan Insurance. I suppose that means I should have done more research, but the starting salary was more than other commensurate positions. Right now stability is key. Scarlett needs to finish college.

I wasn’t expecting him when I arrived for the interview. Surprisingly, I held myself together enough to land the job. Now, if I could stop the butterflies when he’s near me, that would be fantastic. Honestly, the only reason stopping me from pursing him is he’s my boss.

Samson Morgan commands attention when he’s in a room. His chiseled jaw, cleft chin, and sexy smile make women swoon, myself included. His broad shoulders carry custom suits with ease. Yet from everything I see, he doesn’t date. I’m not suggesting he’s a player; I haven’t seen evidence of that either. When he invited me to the gala, I was shocked, but I also knew it was more a business event than a date. Until we danced. Swaying to a ballad with Sam was something straight out of a classic romance. The longer we danced, the tighter he held me. His fingers grazing the exposed skin of my back. I may not have seen him shirtless, but I would bet my salary that he spends hours in a gym considering how his arms felt around me. Now, he wants to escort me home. I don’t think he realizes how far it is. I suppose it doesn’t matter, I take the subway to work. Yet why does he want to give me a ride home today?

“All set?”

His question pulls me out of my reminiscing. “Yes. I’m sure you have better things to do than ride home with me.” I’m not sure how to characterize his facial expression right now. Confusion, nervous even?

“Did I do something to offend you?” he asks shyly. I’ve never known Sam to be shy about anything.

“No, I… never mind.” Attempting to squash the fluttering in my belly, I take a step forward.

He sets his hand on my forearm, causing me to stop. Sparks run through me, making the butterflies harder to control.

“Savannah.”

Dear God, my name sounds sinful coming from his mouth. It has since we met.

“No, you haven’t offended me. I’m simply surprised you want to ride home with me.”

“Why?”

“You never have before. What’s changed?”

His posture softens a bit. The look on his face, pensive. His hand still heating my arm causes the fluttering to intensify.

“Let’s get going. We can talk more on the way.”  

Moving to the elevator, I push the button. Due to the hour, the doors open almost immediately. With his hand on the small of my back, he guides me inside. The tension in the small space is unmistakable.

Once at the car, he opens the door for me before rounding the rear of the car to the other side. Sam gives the driver my address and immediately puts up the privacy screen.

“How do you know my address?”

“Aside from your application, we rode there together after leaving Cash’s the night of the gala.”

We went to check on Cash and his now wife, Noelle, that night. Sam’s mother, Margaux didn’t approve of Noelle and attempted to break them up by questioning Noelle’s motives and pretending to be a disinterested neighbor of her young client.

“You’re right. Sam—”

“Savannah.” Turning to face me, he takes my hand in his. Will every touch feel like that? If I feel this from his hand, what will his lips on mine feel like? I turn toward him, our knees touching.

“Go ahead.”

He draws in a breath and slowly lets it out before speaking. How is it possible this charismatic, charming, and devastatingly handsome man is nervous to talk to me?

“Savannah, I’m taken with you. I have been wrestling with asking you on a date since the gala. Will you have dinner with me on Friday?”

A million reasons not to date my boss run though my head in two seconds flat. Only one pushes me to say yes, the flutter in my belly whenever he’s nearby. He intrigues me.

“I would love to.”

The moment the words leave my mouth, he relaxes significantly more. His status in this city is impossible to ignore, but he seems to handle the attention well. It’s probably something we should address. Not right now. The feel of my hand in his is enough for me to grapple with.

The driver pulls along the curb. Sam releases me and hops out to open my door. He offers me his hand. As I slide my fingers into his palm, the same tingles run up my arm. He instructs the driver to wait. Sam drops my hand only to open the outer door of my apartment building. He threads our fingers together after allowing me through before him. While I realize this may seem small to some people, his manners are off the charts as far as I’m concerned. I noticed it at the gala as well. Along with his brothers, he stood when any one of the women left the table. I’m fully capable of taking care of myself, but acting like a gentleman is significant for me.

Sam is walking ever so slowly to my door, and I’m not offended in the slightest. I don’t want him to rush away either, but I know Scarlett should be home.

“This is me.” 

“I know,” he whispers near the shell of my ear, sending chills cascading through me.

I slide my key into the door before turning to face him. I tip my head up to look at him. With these heels on, his lips are a few inches above mine.

“I’ll see you in the morning. Good night, Savannah.”

The air around us is charged as he leans down ever so slightly. His lips a mere inch above mine now. The notion that Sam intends to kiss me puts my nerves on high alert. I inhale to prepare myself as my door swings open.

“I thought I heard you. Hi, Savi.”

I lower my head lightly, resting it on Sam’s chest.

“Hi, Scar. I’ll be right in.”

She closes the door most of the way and retreats into our apartment.

I lift my gaze again. “Good night, Sam. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Good night, Savannah.”

He waits until I completely close my door before walking away. Yes, I watch through the peephole. Guilty, completely guilty. Of course, I want a longer look at him.

“Savi, who is that? He’s H-O-T. HOT!” My younger sister fans herself while stating the obvious.

Scarlett is a carbon copy of me when I was younger with her dark hair and light blue eyes. She’s studying math and computer science at NYU. She’s already in her sophomore year but may need five to finish her degree. She works as a hostess at a supper club as well.

“Thanks, Scar. That was Sam.”

“He’s your boss? How do you get any work done?”

Trust me, little sister, it isn’t easy.

“Since when does he escort you home?”

“Since today. What’s with all the questions?”

Scarlett isn’t aware of Sam’s status, only that he’s my boss and owns the company. As long as possible, I’ll keep that information away from her. The last thing we need is for reporters to show up here looking for information about Sam.

“You should consider dating him, Savi.”

On it. I step out of my heels, setting my tired feet on the cool floor.

“How was school?”

“Ugh! Of my five classes, three are insanely boring, one is fun, and the last is difficult. However, my lab partner, Oliver, is adorable, even if he’s a pinch nerdy.”

“You know the deal. You need to maintain your GPA to keep your scholarship. Ask for help if you need it.”

Scarlett is under the impression that she got a full ride to NYU. The truth is, I’m paying for it. I don’t want her to struggle with student loans. After a brief break in schooling, I worked full time during the day and attended class at night. I barely slept for four years. After graduation I worked two full-time jobs and one per diem job. One job was simply to pay off my student loans as quickly as humanly possible.

“I know. Just venting. I have some work to do. See you in the morning.”

“Okay.” I continue shucking off my clothes as I climb the stairs. After replacing my dress with sleep shorts, a tank, and a thin hoodie, I hustle back downstairs in search of some dinner. My phone vibrates on the counter as I pass.

Sam: Random question. How do you take your coffee?

Me: Cream with one sugar for a medium. Why?

Sam: Just wondering. Sleep well, Savannah.

Me: You too, Sam.

I sigh. Aside from his insanely good looks, work ethic, and probably gym ethic too, I don’t know very much about Sam. Well, he’s remarkably close to his siblings. He would drop everything for any one of them or their significant others. In fact, earlier this year, he told me about checking on his sister-in-law because photographers camped outside Cash’s home while he was away for work.

After inhaling some leftovers, I climb into my bed. Now that I can, I embrace sleep. Yet images of Sam keep crossing my mind. Hopefully, sleep will claim me soon. Otherwise, tomorrow is going to be rough.