FAE OF MANHATTAN BONUS:
THE NEW HIRE
Immediately after Willow's job interview
Azalea lounged on the leather sofa opposite the roaring fireplace in Severn’s penthouse apartment, popping grapes into her mouth, while the fae prince of the New Court read through transcripts documenting everything his spies had observed that week that had to do with his realm and its rivals.
“She’s very pretty,” Azalea said.
“Who is?” Severn barked, not looking up.
Azalea rolled her eyes. “The human girl. The nanny. You hired her, right?” Her smile stretched teasingly. “I give it a week before you’re in her bed.”
His eyes flashed as he looked up. “No.”
Azalea narrowed her eyes, trying to understand where he was coming from. Severn had had plenty of sex with humans, even some who had worked for him over the years. As long as they knew what he was and weren’t under any compulsion spell, he was usually more than happy to toss a girl over his desk and make love. Fae were notoriously amorous, and Severn was no different. It was a wonder she had never slept with Severn, even after a century of working together. But Azalea mostly preferred the company of women, fae or human or shifter—every species had their charms.
“She’s beautiful,” Azalea reiterated. “Why on earth not? I figured that’s why you picked her.”
“Her looks don’t have anything to do with it.”
Azalea chuckled darkly. “Oh, so she already rejected you?”
“Of course not.” He downed the glass of champagne on the side table as he set his work aside. “It’s just that after Marco…”
He frowned, unable to continue. Marco had been like a brother to him. Even closer than his real fae brothers, both of whom he half-suspected plotted to have him assassinated to take over his Manhattan throne. Marco had started as his lawyer, there to explain the confounding human legal rules that made no sense to fae. But Marco had diligently learned fae culture and been an incredible asset to the Wilde family—not just for legal matters, but for general translation of bizarre human customs. They’d shared their secrets, he and Marco. They’d shared drinks every night with Azalea here in this very spot.
He glanced over at the empty leather chair, empty now, where Marco had always sat.
It was true, he’d slept with humans, and he rather liked their sweet innocence, especially knowing they probably weren’t going to slice his throat while he climaxed, like some fae lovers had attempted. But he’d sworn that he wouldn’t cross the line with any of his employees again. Not after Marco. He’d lowered his walls with Marco, developed a true friendship…and Marco died because of him.
Because the one thing he left out of his interview with Willow was that the fae world was royally fucked up. It was beyond dangerous. It was a world of lies, deceit, murder. He felt confident he could shelter Willow from that, as he did all his human employees. There were rigid boundaries he’d set in place, and as long as those boundaries weren’t crossed, he wouldn’t endanger any other humans with his proximity to the mercurial fae world.
Being cold was second nature—it would be easy to resist her.
He wouldn’t befriend her. He wouldn’t even talk to her more than was absolutely necessary. And no matter what, he certainly wouldn’t push her back against his desk, tug up the hem over those ridiculously sexy legs that he couldn’t take his eyes off during the hiring meeting, and kiss—really kiss, not to enchant—that spot under her ear that throbbed with warm blood, that smelled like neroli.
There was no way he was ever going to fall for Willow O’Dell.
Azalea only shook her head at him, rolling her eyes.