Roman Will Fall (Wilde Ways #11) - Cynthia Eden

Chapter One

“I can’t work with him.” Harper Crane crossed her arms over her chest. “He’s an arrogant, controlling asshole who can’t follow even the simplest of directions and—”

“And I’m standing right here,” Roman Smith cut into her words.

“I am completely aware of that fact.” Harper huffed out a hard breath as she kept her eyes focused on her boss, Eric Wilde. “Assign him to someone else.” Yes, she was nearly pleading. “Anyone else.” Like, there was a whole building full of other agents. One of those unfortunate souls could be assigned as Roman’s training partner. It didn’t have to be her.

Unless, of course, deep down…her boss hated her. And because of that secret hate, Eric was trying to punish her by pairing her up with the way too intense Roman.

“So many other options,” she muttered.

Did Eric’s lips twitch? Harper could have sworn that they did before he carefully stated, “It’s only been one week.”

The longest week of her life. Didn’t he get that? Sometimes, people just did not mesh well. She and Roman were not meshing. At all.

“It takes a while for partnerships to hit their stride,” Eric continued. Was he trying to be encouraging? She was not in the mood for encouragement. “It’s standard for a partnership’s probationary period to last at least six weeks here at Wilde. You know that.”

Yes, she knew it. But she’d truly hoped Eric would bend the rules this one time. It wasn’t as if she’d ever asked the man for a favor before.

“Is this because of the chocolate?” Roman’s low voice rumbled.

Goose bumps rose on her arms. Why did the goose bumps appear so often when he was near? She had no clue. Okay, fine, maybe she had a teeny, tiny clue. Harper whirled away from Eric’s desk and let her glare land on Roman Smith.

Smith. She snorted. As if she bought that was his real last name. The man seemed to wear secrets like some kind of shroud. He never shared any information about himself, and, usually, he replied to all of her questions with one-word answers.

She liked to talk.

He didn’t.

She loved to laugh.

Despite her best efforts, the man had not cracked a single smile in the week that they’d been together.

And on the job, she was the senior agent.

But he was the one being bossy as hell. That crap had to stop.

This afternoon, he’d crossed the final line. Gone just too far. Harper had to unclench her teeth as she snapped, “Those chocolates were mine.”

“I can buy you more.” He shrugged.

Wow. For a moment, she was impressed that he’d actually replied with five whole words. Then those words sank in. “They were a gift from a date.”

His dark eyes narrowed. Dark, deep eyes. Ridiculously long lashes. Ridiculously handsome man.

No. Stop. Do not go there. Do not dare.

“You didn’t enjoy the date.” His words were clipped.

Again, five words. A miracle!

But… “How do you know that?” She crossed her arms over her chest. He was right. The blind date from hell had been a disaster. Sean had been handsy and boring, but when the chocolates had arrived, she’d been more than ready to pounce on those babies. She’d earned those delectable goodies by giving up two hours of her life that she would not be getting back. The box had been full of milk chocolate treats. Her absolute favorite. “How do you know I didn’t enjoy the date with Sean? I could’ve had the best time of my life.”

Roman’s head moved in a negative shake. “Heard you talking to your blond friend.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Eavesdropping isn’t polite.”


Wonderful. He was back to one-word replies. “For clarification, just because I didn’t like Sean, it didn’t mean I wasn’t going to love my chocolates. You can’t take stuff from a person’s desk without asking. Partners don’t do that. They don’t eat an entire box of chocolates and then just leave the empty box there like some kind of tease. That’s not cool. Not at all.”

While she’d been talking, Roman had been standing near the closed office door. Lounging with his wide shoulders propped back against the wall. Looking as if he didn’t have a care in the world. But he straightened slowly to his full, rather impressive height. He easily cleared six feet by several inches, and his broad shoulders and chest more than filled out the tight t-shirt that he wore.

A t-shirt and jeans. At the office. And it was a high-end office. Their clients included celebrities, royalty, billionaires. But he wore old, faded jeans.

He looked