FIVE STARS FOR Chase
June 27, 2023
Primal Instincts, 1
Reverse Harem Romance / LGBTQ+
✔️ Reverse Harem
✔️ 1 Woman, 4 Men
✔️ Love Triangle
✔️ Uber Hot Alpha
✔️ Sexy fighter
✔️ A link to Coyote Ridge
What twenty-four-year-old recent college graduate would sign up to uncover a secret kink club rumored to be hidden within the walls of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate?
Why? Well, that’s easy. I’ve spent my entire life with my nose to the grindstone, doing the right thing, focusing on my future, and now I’m bored, which isn’t a good thing when you have an insatiable curiosity.
I probably should’ve considered the type of bait needed for a fishing expedition of this magnitude when I applied for the job at Primal Instincts, LLC, looking to uncover the secret world that exists only on the whispers of those who’ve never so much as glimpsed the dark, seductive inner workings because those who had wouldn’t dare reveal anything.
Now that I’m through the door, I’ve got my determination and single-minded focus to keep me moving forward. I will figure it out if for no other reason than to say I did.
Provided I don’t get sidetracked by not one, not two, but three men who are ridiculously good at keeping secrets.
“And that, my friends, is the completion of your first-day orientation. Any questions?”
Oh, yeah. I had lots.
Is there a secret sex club hidden beneath this building? Are there secret exits? If so, how do you identify them? Will I recognize the members? Do they wear masks? Pins? Wristbands? Or do they have a special tattoo?
I didn’t raise my hand since none of those questions pertained to anything I’d learned today and would likely get my fancy new security badge confiscated if they came tumbling out of my mouth.
Not to mention I was ready to be done with the whole orientation thing. I woke up that morning with a spring in my step, thinking I was about to start the first day of the rest of my life. More accurately, my new job at Primal Instincts, LLC, the company taking the country by storm with its innovation and dedication to health and wellness in all aspects of life.
Okay, fine, that was a direct quote from the LinkedIn job description I read back when I started searching for my way into this labyrinth of secrets disguised as a corporate giant. Even after listening to Nicholas Weston, a.k.a. Whiskey-Eyes, who was tasked with leading today’s session, I hadn’t yet bought into the hype. Not sure I ever would. And that wasn’t me being skeptical. Well, maybe a little. While I applauded their efforts to change the world through exercise science, my motives for being there weren’t exactly altruistic.
The good news, as Whiskey-Eyes had so kindly noted, the day was finally over.
Nick cleared his throat when no one raised their hand. “All right. I guess that’ll conclu—”
No, no, no-o-o. Don’t stop!
I could practically feel the dismissal slipping through my fingers as Nick stopped mid-sentence to peer toward the back of the room.
All heads turned, including mine, to see who was responsible for prolonging the torture.
Just inside the doorway, there was a perky brunette with an airplane-blinding shine on her lips to go with her self-tanner orange skin, smiling at someone outside the room. A second later, the mystery guest strolled through the doorway.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one whose mouth went Mohave desert dry.
At the door, Pumpkin Barbie fluttered her fake lashes and flashed eerily white teeth at the man who looked her way and nodded, an expression of obvious appreciation on his face.
Do you appreciate her opening the door, big guy? Or has she done something else for you lately?
Yep, that was me being catty. I was single. He was hot. It was allowed.
A few seats down from me, a couple of people started whispering, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. My brain stopped performing like the well-educated machine that it was because it’d been overtaken by my hormones. That was what happened when an attractive man stepped into my visual range, and this man … he was quite possibly the most attractive man on the planet.
For a frame of reference, imagine what the offspring would look like if Michael Fassbender (no one rocks a tux better), the Mountain from Game of Thrones (because this guy was massive), Liev Schreiber from Ray Donovan (for that bad boy thing), and Ryan Reynolds (just because he’s freaking gorgeous!) were to genetically mutate their sperm and have a child. In case you’re having trouble doing the mental manipulation, sinfully hot is what you’d get.
“Creed,” Nick greeted with a surprised grin.
“That’s him,” someone whispered excitedly. “That’s Creed Granger.”
This time their words processed at the same time my hypothalamus kicked into high gear as I drank in the sight of this … this … alpha male … god.
If I had a type, at least from a physical perspective, Creed Granger would check all the boxes. Then again, when I arrived this morning, I might’ve said the same thing about Nick. In my defense, I found tall, muscular, well-dressed men attractive. Even better were the ones who invested in bespoke suits. That was my kryptonite. And fine, I didn’t date much … well, not ever, really, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have a keen eye.
To be fair, that keen eye had been locked on Creed Granger for longer than I cared to admit. I’d absorbed every detail I could uncover about him since, for all intents and purposes, this man was my mark. Yes, I said it like I was some super spy when in reality, I was more like Lucy Ricardo trying to find a jewel thief on a train bound for New York—an episode abound with antics and a bad guy she all but handed the jewels over to herself. Unfortunately, my efforts to get the dirty deets had failed as epically as Lucy’s had.
At six feet, five inches, Creed Granger didn’t only appear larger than life, he was larger than life. He was one of those people who had to duck when walking into a room to avoid bruising his forehead on the doorjamb. And the bespoke suit I mentioned before … well, Creed’s was charcoal gray with pinstripes and custom-tailored to fit his large physique. There was no hiding the fact he was sporting some serious musculature beneath. Especially if the strong column of his neck was any indication.
His thick black hair was just a little too long—intentional, I figured—with a slight curl at the nape. His clean-shaven jaw looked like it’d been chiseled from granite, his cheekbones high and prominent. His nose … well, it wasn’t perfect, but perhaps it could’ve been at some point in his life. Even though it appeared to have been broken at one time or another, it didn’t detract from his devastatingly handsome face. In fact, it only drew attention to his eyes.
Oh, man, his eyes. Even from ten feet away, I could see the gloom of storm clouds in the quicksilver depths.
It was possible I was having a hot flash. And if I wasn’t, I did the moment he spoke in that deep, dark baritone that was the equivalent of distant thunder, rhythmic and soothing as it rumbled across the sky.
“Since I’m not known for long-winded conversations,” Creed began, “I have no intention of boring you any more than Nick has already.” He flashed a crooked smile at Nick, then turned his attention back to the group. “I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Creed Granger, the founder and CEO of Primal Instincts.”
I heard the words coming out of his mouth, but he might as well have been speaking Klingon. The analytical side of my brain had taken a sabbatical, making it impossible for me to do anything more than fantasize about what dirty words might come from those full, perfect lips in the dark of night.
While I couldn’t translate his language due to my libido being on the fritz, I could tell he was not new to public speaking because he was eloquent and controlled, engaging his audience with direct eye contact. He had that whole devil-may-care thing going on, suit jacket casually pulled back, hands tucked into his trouser pockets, and an expression that revealed his amusement plastered on his devastatingly gorgeous face.
I was tempted to look away when his gaze shifted to me, but at the last moment, I couldn’t, and I found myself caught directly in the path of the tumultuous storm brewing in his eyes.
I knew it was my overactive imagination, but I swore something flashed hot in those gunmetal gray depths as they raked slowly over my face. My life hung in the balance for those too-brief moments when he gifted me with a smile before shifting his focus to the person on my right. I was still staring, which was why I noticed his gaze snapped back to mine almost instantly, and this time it wasn’t my imagination. There was a twitch at the creased corners of his eyes—the barest hint of another smile, maybe?—that turned on the turbo boosters in my cardiovascular system.
Thankfully, he looked away, finishing his speech and allowing me to mentally crack the whip and wrangle in my lust. I’d never had that kind of physiological response to a man before, and I wasn’t sure what to make of it.
Nick took over in that smooth, casual manner of his, offering a thank you to Creed for taking the time to come in before he officially released us for the evening.
I grabbed my purse and the leather-bound notebook I’d been jotting notes in all day, then set them both on the table in front of me and got to my feet. I dawdled a little longer than necessary, not wanting to risk having to walk out with Wayne Parson, one of the new hires who’d been hitting on me since I arrived at eight that morning. He was one of those pretty boys who bought his clothes directly out of the Bloomingdale’s store window to prove he was hip to the current trend. You know, the kind who flashed a smile while he showed off his fake Patek Philippe watch because he thought women’s panties fell right off from the gesture alone. I figured he was harmless and likely a natural flirt, but I lost my patience with him the third time he mentioned grabbing drinks after work. My initial decline should’ve been more than enough.
The good news was Wayne was long gone. The bad news … well, it looked like my plan to dodge Wayne backfired because now I was the only person left in the room besides Nick and Creed. Thankfully, they were whisper-deep in a conversation at the front, which meant there was still a chance I could make a clean getaway.
If I tip-toed.
The moment I started toward the door, I saw Creed move out of the corner of my eye. He caught up to me when I was about a foot from freedom, pushing open the door to allow me to exit first.
“Thanks,” I mumbled, peering up at him. My breath hitched when I met his gaze. From this distance, feet and inches seemed inconsequential in describing his enormous stature. An involuntary shiver rippled down my spine when our eyes locked. I’d never seen eyes that color before. Like steel in jewel form.
“Oh, hey, Journey! I think you left this,” Nick called from inside the room.
“Interesting name,” Creed said smoothly.
My best friend, Rhylee, would’ve referred to the rhythmic rumble as his Dom voice. You know, the kind that delivered words without inflection and commanded attention with a subtle drop in vocal range from tenor to baritone.
“I could say the same,” I told him, flashing a smile and forcing myself to turn back to the room where Nick appeared in the doorway. “Thank you,” I told him when he held out the notebook I’d left behind in my haste to get out of there.
“You’re very welcome.” Nick’s hand brushed mine. “I’ll see you around.”
Will he? Or was that just something he said to all the new hires?
I flashed him a smile anyway, not sure what to say. When I turned back, I’d fully expected Creed to have left since I was sure he was a busy man, but no, he was still standing there, hands tucked in his pockets, suit jacket unbuttoned and pulled back as he leaned against the wall opposite the room. His gaze moved over me like that of a predator hunting his prey.
An enticing chill tickled my spine, but I shoved it aside, pretending not to notice. I looked left, then right, trying to remember which direction to go to reach the exit. The real exit, not the secret exit I had inadvertently looked for during one of our restroom breaks.
Creed offered assistance, standing tall and gesturing to my left before buttoning his jacket in that uber-hot way guys who wore suits did.
“I’ll catch up with you in a bit,” Nick told Creed before sauntering off in the opposite direction.
I couldn’t resist watching him walk away because I’d been wondering whether or not Nick Weston looked as good from the back as he did from the front. For the record, he did. And I’d bet money he looked good naked, too.
Geez. What was wrong with me?
“What’s your last name?”
I snapped my attention back to Creed, hoping he didn’t see me ogling Nick’s … assets. I was sure he did, but at least he had the decency not to call me on it. In my defense, it’d been a really long day.
“Journey Zeplyn,” he said as though wanting to feel the words on his tongue. That, or he was drawing the same conclusion most older people who met me did: I was named after the famous rock band. Perhaps two different bands.
And when I said older, I didn’t mean Creed was an octogenarian. Based on my aforementioned research, he was thirty-nine, which was still young, but since he was fifteen when I was born, I got to categorize him as older.
Creed gestured for me to walk. “Your parents must love rock n’ roll.”
Yep, I had him pegged, alright.
I responded with the same thing I told everyone who looked at me like that when they heard my name. “They didn’t pick the last name. Plus, Z-e-p-l-y-n. Not spelled the same.”
“And the origination of Journey?”
My cheeks warmed from embarrassment because, yes, I was actually named after a famous rock band.
“You got me. My parents are sentimental romantics,” I admitted. “‘Faithfully’ is their favorite song. But so is ‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy. And no, before you ask, my middle name is not Ozzy.” But perhaps it should be Crazy Train after this conversation.
His laugh was as deep and resonant as his voice, and another shiver ran over my skin at the sound.
“What is your middle name?”
“Don’t have one. They couldn’t choose between Aerosmith and Poison. Weird, right?”
He laughed again, and I swore I could feel the rumble deep inside me. Luckily, I didn’t falter, keeping my stride loose yet purposeful as I made my way toward the main entrance.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were running away,” Creed said casually, keeping pace with me.
“I only run if someone’s chasing me with a knife.”
Creed laughed, and I realized I’d said that out loud.
Warning! Your filter is malfunctioning. Pay attention.
“I’m heading home for the evening,” I clarified, hating that the words didn’t come out as confident as I had intended.
“I don’t mind if you run.” His tone was smooth and ridiculously sinful. “I like the chase.”
Another chill slid through me, leaving goosebumps in its wake. Of all the men who might’ve shown interest, a self-made billionaire with a sketchy past was the absolute last person I should’ve found myself fascinated by. What could we possibly have in common?
Then again, did we need to have the same taste in music or books to enjoy spontaneous orgasms?
I mentally shook my head in disgust, completely disappointed that my hormones were wreaking serious havoc on my poor, overtaxed brain. Those were not the musings of a normal girl; they were that of a hussy who’d forgotten her reason for being here. Seriously, CEO … young, impressionable new hire … making small talk late in the day … deserted office building…
Sounded like a ridiculously common trope for a porn movie.
A little too cliché.
As I kept the exit in my sights, I reminded myself I wasn’t here for orgasms, spontaneous or otherwise. Granted, I could only imagine a man who looked and sounded like Creed Granger would deliver one like no one else.
Enough with the orgasms!
My only goal was to uncover the dark underbelly hidden beneath this conglomerate. The secret world that existed only on the whispers of those who’d never so much as glimpsed the dark, seductive inner workings because those who had wouldn’t dare reveal anything. According to rumors, sharing details was the one way to find yourself banned for life.
As I continued toward the exit, with Creed keeping pace, I reminded myself I had more important things to focus on than his Dom voice or his ridiculously big hands, or the sexy quirk of his dark eyebrows.
Long day, remember?
“Which department will you be working in?” he prompted, opening the door to the landing overlooking the lobby.
“Product marketing,” I answered politely, grateful for the ability to focus