The One Who Got Away (Wilde Ways #12) by Cynthia Eden

Chapter One

“I quit.”

Antony Kyle blinked, then he shook his head. He was certain that he must have misunderstood the words his head of security had spoken. There was no way Ella Webb just told him—

“Did you hear what I said?” Ella asked him as she leaned forward and flattened her hands on the wood of his desk. “In case you didn’t, please allow me to repeat…I quit.” Definite satisfaction underscored each word.

His head lifted. He stared into her warm, golden eyes. Got caught for a moment, as he too often did. Then her words fully sank in, and he leapt to his feet. “What? You can’t quit!”

Her head tilted back as she gazed up at him. “Sure, I can. I just did.”

“But, but—” He scrambled for something to say. He came up with nothing.

“I know who you are, Antony.”

“Of course, you know who I am.” Now he had a quick response. “I’m your boss! You’re my head of security! You’ve worked for me two years—”

“And as of now, I am no longer in your employ. I hope you don’t mind, but in light of the fact that you’ve been lying to me for the last two years, I’ve decided that I won’t be doing a full two weeks’ notice for you. In fact, this is my notice. I’m done. Good-bye.” She straightened, turned on her elegant heels, and marched for the closed office door.

He gaped after her. Then realized…Holy shit, Ella is really leaving me. This can’t happen! He bounded over the desk and raced after her. “Stop!”

She wasn’t stopping. Or even slowing. She was opening the door.

His hand flew out and shoved the door closed again. “Ella, no!” He sounded desperate. Probably because he was desperate. “Let’s talk about this.” He stared at the back of her head. The sleek mane of strawberry blonde hair. She even smelled like strawberries. He figured it was her shampoo or her body lotion or something that she used, and the scent always drove him crazy.

Correction, Ella Webb drove him crazy. Beautiful, smart, off-limits Ella.

“You want to talk? Fine.” She spun toward him.

He didn’t back up. He probably should have backed up, but he was freaking the hell out. The day had been so normal, too. At least, it had been normal up until this horrible, nightmarish moment. He’d woken up, gone for his five-mile run, showered and changed for work. Stopped to get coffee for him and Ella—like he always did because he knew how much she hated the coffee at the company but adored the brew sold by the bakery down the street—then he’d arrived for their usual eight a.m. meeting. She’d walked in, looking like a perfect dream, and carried on business as usual…all day long.

Until she’d strolled in, just before five p.m. and dropped her bombshell on him. With two simple words, she’d just set his world on fire. I quit.

Antony shook his head. He’d probably done that a lot and just hadn’t realized it. He was having trouble wrapping his mind around what was occurring.

She’s leaving?

“I don’t like lies,” Ella snapped.

He searched for a reply and finally wound up with, “Well, that’s fair. Most people don’t.”

She jabbed him in the chest with her short, red fingernail. “You have been lying to me.”

“Ah…” Which lie was she referring to? He had actually told her more than his fair share. Though, in his defense, Antony hadn’t exactly had a choice in the matter. When you were dealing in top secret, classified intel, you didn’t have the luxury of confiding with friends.

Or with your extremely gorgeous head of security.

“I thought you were Clark Kent,” she accused as her breath huffed out.

He frowned at her. Now he felt concern for her mental well-being. “You thought I was a fictional reporter for the Daily Planet? Uh, no. No, I’m not—”

“Do not be an ass to me right now. You have no idea how close I am to losing control.”

But Ella never lost control. She was always completely professional. She handled chaos like a queen. She ran the security at Shark Gaming and Design like a total boss, and everyone at the company loved her.

Huffing out a hard breath, she fumed, “You had me believing that you were this cute but bumbling guy…”

Hold up. Had she just called him cute? Antony chose to overlook the bumbling part of her description.

“You led me to believe that you were a super-genius type. That your head was in the clouds—no, not the clouds. That your head was always buried in tech. In programming, as you created all the incredible systems and games that your players love.”