Play By My Rules

by Michelle Karise

Publication date: February 28th 2023

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance



All I wanted was a cup of tea, but I got early morning shenanigans.

Stolen beverage order? ✔️

Furious confrontation? ✔️

Asked out by a thieving, sexy, tall drink of . . . ✔️

It wasn’t the best start to my day, but it had to go up from there. Right?


It was my first day at my new job, and I wanted to make the best impression. I arrived at the office with minutes to spare, and who did I bump into again?

The gorgeous thief.

Harrison Cooper was the president of my company and my boss.

It was fine. Really. Resisting the heated flirtations and stormy kisses designed to bring me to my knees would be no problem.

Office romance? ✔️

My past exposed? ✔️

Shattered world? ✔️

Now how do I pick up the pieces?



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The Kiss

Harrison ran a knuckle from my nape down my arm. His fingers entwined with mine, he raised my hand to his lips and pressed a kiss. Not wanting to break our connection, I stroked his cheek.

His hand crept along my side. Mine rested over his heart, the beat racing a thousand miles per hour.

Legs pressed against mine and one hand gripping my waist, Harrison used the other hand to push my hair to the side. I sucked in a breath. It was as if I’d been standing at the edge of a bridge with bungee cords binding my legs and my body poised to leap as adrenaline pumped through me, waiting for the feeling of flight. I clutched his shoulders and held on for dear life.

He leaned in, his stubble tickling my jaw before he sucked my flesh into his mouth. featherlight nips on my neck and collarbone turned to sucking and biting. My nipples hardened as I fell over the edge. He chuckled when I let out a soft moan.

“Arianna, I’d better stop.”

A little mewing sound of discontent escaped my lips as he pulled away.

“That was better than I ever imagined,” he whispered, not taking his eyes from mine. His chest rapidly rose and fell.

I nodded and rubbed my fingertips over my mouth. I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I stay? Or do I leave? How will I forget what happened? What does this kiss mean? When can we do it again?

Should I quit my job?

My Subordinate

I’d instantly recognized Arianna as the beauty from the coffee shop. My dark sunglasses had granted me the freedom to ogle her but dimmed the richness of her loveliness. In the office, the morning sun rained gold on her smooth, tawny skin. Strands that matched her eye color highlighted the dark brown hair gathered at her nape.

Back at the coffee shop, I’d felt her gaze on me, sizing me up. I would have done anything to catch her attention. In fact, I’d hoped her attraction was the reason she’d stopped me. My heart had raced with anticipation that she would strike up a friendly conversation. Disappointment had filled me when she wanted to discuss her drink. A surge of exhilaration ran through my veins when she’d narrowed her eyes to tiny slits. Her top lip had snarled in fury before turning and stomping over to the counter. I’d stood in place, unable to take my eyes off her hips in those fucking ass-hugging pants.

Our encounter had been entertaining. It was harmless flirtation and the most amusing thing I’d ever experienced.

The dinner invitation overreached. I hadn’t expected Miss Williams would turn cartwheels, but I hadn’t anticipated she would flat-out refuse. How long had it been since a woman rejected me? I recalled a moment in high school when my surging hormones turned me into a skirt chasing little asshole.

On the walk back to my condo, I’d taken a sip of the drink and choked down the garbage in that cup. Cursing and sputtering, I’d removed the lid and stared at a mysterious green liquid mixed with one thousand teaspoons of sugar and covered by a layer of frothy milk.

What type of woman drinks sweetened cut grass? I’d soon find out.

It’s funny how the universe works. I’d walked away from the coffee shop thinking I’d never see her again. Now she would be my employee, reporting to me.

Her black pants and matching jacket were typical work attire. Underneath the jacket, she wore a pale-yellow blouse with a deep V-neck that fell above the swell of her breasts, exposing a tiny, dark mark on her clavicle. A stranger should not know about this intimate freckle. If she were mine, I would insist on turtlenecks when she was out alone in public.

She wore a pair of black pumps with red soles that buckled across the foot. The spiked heel brought her at least four inches taller than she was at the coffee shop. The shoes were too provocative for work and appropriate for more intimate moments. My body hardened as I pictured her in my bed, naked with only those shoes as her dark hair framed her shoulders.

Miss Williams was my subordinate. She would never be mine. And after she resigned, she would hate the sight of me.



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Michelle Karise is a type-A romance author of stories featuring black female leads and the men who love them. She spends her days organizing, planning, and executing corporate initiatives. When she’s done with her workday, she spends her evenings crafting titillating tales of infatuation, passion, and pleasure. Michelle makes her home in Missouri with her overprotective dog, Rooney.

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