Read Aftershock Online

Authors: Laurie Roma












A Fated
Encounters Novella

By: Laurie Roma




is going right for Caitlyn Watson. With a boss that harasses her, a broken shoe
and a parking incident she would rather not think about, all she wants is to
survive the day to celebrate her upcoming birthday. When disaster strikes, she
finds herself stuck in an elevator with the man of her dreams. Too bad she has
nothing but bad luck when it comes to him…


Taggart Steele is a man who has everything, except for the woman who haunts his
dreams. When an earthquake gives him the opportunity he’s been hoping for, he
is finally able to claim her as his. Will Caitlyn give into the passion between
them, or will the aftershock of their encounter leave them with no chance for a


Erotic Romance Novella.


by Laurie Roma

© 2013 Laurie Roma

E-book Publication: August 2013


design by Sloan Winters

by S.L. Whitcomb



RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any
including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without
express written permission.


characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual
persons living or dead is strictly coincidental. It is fiction so facts and
events may not be accurate except to the current world the book takes place in.







To my fellow authors and good
friends Susan, Joyee, Gabrielle and Hennessee…

Thank you for helping me explore
my options.


Chapter One


She was being punished, she was
sure of it. 

Caitlyn Watson heaved out a deep
sigh as she silently prayed that this day would be over soon. It had started
out as a stellar morning when Caitlyn had gotten caught in San Francisco
traffic, and the asshole in front of her hadn’t been paying attention when they
had gotten the signal to turn left. After several seconds of laying on her
horn, the jerk had finally moved, but she had still gotten caught at a light
after he had turned just as the light turned red.

Then the trolley had come and the
she was stuck for another round as she missed the turn signal
this time getting honked by the car behind her. Like it was really her fault
that she didn’t go through the light and hit a trolley full of people. Maybe
she could have, but in reality she didn’t want to go to jail for manslaughter
just because she was late to work.

She had pulled into the parking
lot of Manchester Klein to find that the only spot available within a mile of
the entrance was between two huge trucks that looked like they could have shit
her mini coop out, and still had room for more. Once she had crawled out the
driver’s side of her car, she realized that she had slammed the door on her
suit jacket…after she pulled away and heard the sound of the material ripping.

With no other option available to
her, she had walked toward the building, painfully aware that the seam in the back
of her suit jacket was now torn when the right heel of her favorite pair of shoes
had gotten caught in a crack on the sidewalk and had broken off with a s
At least it was Friday and she didn’t have any client meetings scheduled today.

Inside the safety of the building,
she had entered the elevator holding her poor, broken shoe in her hand. Caitlyn
told herself to wait until later to lament her comfortable, basic black pumps
as she limped off the elevator and made her way to her desk. Slinking over to
her desk by the front window, she dropped her briefcase down next to her broken
shoe and opened her lower desk drawer. Looking down, she eyed the pair of bright
red shoes there with resignation and, if she were honest with herself, a little
bit of fear.

What the hell had she been
thinking when she had bought them?

Banished to the bottom drawer of
her desk after the one and only time Caitlyn had worn them, she had sworn to
herself that she would never, ever force her poor feet back into those pretty
torture devices again. But then what choice did she have? Caitlyn knew those
shoes would end up killing her feet, but she reached down anyway and took them
out. Setting them down next to the broken pair, it was almost comical to see
the bright red stilettos next to her sturdy, reliable, black pumps.

, she thought,
either way I’m
going to be limping.

Wincing slightly, she put the red
shoes on and sighed.

In a gray suit with a pale yellow
shell underneath, her outfit just looked weird with the flashy red shoes. So,
now everyone would think she was either color blind or a prime example of what
not to wear. Sighing again, Caitlyn swung her feet under her desk as if to
force herself to forget the hot mess currently gracing her feet.

She typed in the password to her
computer and waited for it to power up. Caitlyn had been working at Manchester Klein,
an advertising and marketing firm in San Francisco, for almost a year now. The
company was small, but when she had gotten the job she had been hopeful that it
would be something she could excel at…and she did. She was one of their rising
stars, or she had been until she started working for Satan himself.

Carl Lowenbaum had taken over as
the head of their department after her old boss went on maternity leave six
months ago. Originally, Caitlyn had been hired on as an associate with the firm
and had done excellent work for the clients she had worked with, but all of
that changed when her new boss had started coming on to her.

Caitlyn knew her curvy figure,
pixie style black hair and aquamarine eyes were a stunning combination and
often drew male attention, whether wanted or not. Yeah, Caitlyn wasn’t the
beautiful, thin model type, but she was fine being short at five foot two and a
little more plump than was the norm. She liked food and didn’t apologize for
that. Caitlyn was also shy, almost painfully so, but forced herself to take the
compliments thrown her way. However, in this particular circle of hell her boss
had taken her shyness as a challenge for his advances.

Carl was a big man, tall and fit,
with a matching personality. At first he had been friendly with her and seemed
to take an interest in her as a rising star in the firm, only that had changed
when he started brushing up against her and lingering while he looked over what
she was working on. The man didn’t seem to know what personal space was, or he
just didn’t care.

Either way it was creepy and

Caitlyn had made the mistake of
talking about it to a few of her colleagues. She hadn’t known at the time that
Monica, who she had thought was her friend, actually had a crush on Carl, and
had reported everything Caitlyn had said back to him.

After that Carl had all but froze
her out, which wouldn’t have been a problem, but he had been using it as a means
to keep her from getting any new clients. Caitlyn still did excellent work, but
had discovered that while Carl went golfing and had three hour lunches with
clients, he had also started taking credit for all her hard work.

Carl had also implemented a team
style approach when working on client accounts, and it never failed that
Caitlyn got stuck with the majority of the work with the least amount of credit
as a lowly associate. That was when she learned that she really didn’t have any
friends at work…except for Jesse Hanson. Jesse was an eccentric man with an eye
for details, who had become her best friend since she started working at
Manchester Klein. All of the other people at work seemed fine taking and
sharing the credit for Caitlyn’s ideas, but as a manager, Jesse fought for her
and made sure to give her credit on any project they worked on together.

That was probably why Carl hadn’t
let them work together on the last five projects.

No matter what Jesse tried to do
to help, it didn’t stop the rest of their colleagues from treating Caitlyn like
shit and he could only do so much to protect her around their boss. Carl made
it clear that her career would go better for her if she learned to be a little
more friendly to him. When he had mentioned it in passing to her, he had done
it so casually she thought she had been hearing things. She had hoped he would
forget about her, but as time went on the harassment just seemed to get worse.

Caitlyn hadn’t led an easy life,
but it hadn’t been something she could complain about too much either. Simply
put, her parents just didn’t care about her. Yeah, some people would say that
as a generalization, but when Caitlyn had turned eighteen her parents had
actually told her they were no longer responsible for her and that raising her
had taken enough of their time. Not that they had done much to take care of her
when she was growing up anyways.

Both of her parents were gifted
doctors and thought it would be appropriate to pass on their genius by having a
child. When they discovered Caitlyn was a normal, average child, they had lost
interest in her and basically left her in the care of a revolving door of
nannies and housekeepers.

Caitlyn had been alone for so
long it was difficult to learn how to depend on people. She had done her best
to hide her hurt and anger from her friends, but had learned at a very young
age to be self-reliant. Moving from Chicago to San Francisco after she
graduated from college had been her big break away from her old life. It was a
chance for a fresh start, only things hadn’t exactly turned out the way she had
been hoping for.

Still, meeting Jesse had been
worth it. Caitlyn spent a lot of time with Jesse and his boyfriend George
Solomon. Where Jesse was a fantastic and truly talented artist, George was as
straight edged accountant. To the outside world they were a strange couple, but
Caitlyn loved how they balanced each other out. Jesse was a force to be
reckoned with and was the reason Caitlyn’s feet were already starting to throb
in pain from the wicked pair of red stilettos.

Damn him for talking her into
buying them.

But then again, Jesse was good at
talking Caitlyn into doing all sorts of things she wouldn’t normally do. Always
the life of the party, Jesse made it impossible for Caitlyn to fade into the
background like she would prefer. Over the last few months, Jesse had been
begging Caitlyn to quit. He wanted her to find somewhere she was appreciated,
and where she wouldn’t be bombarded by the lecherous Neanderthal Carl, but
Caitlyn was determined to stick it out.

Manchester was a stepping stone
that Caitlyn needed to achieve her secret dream of writing full-time as a
children’s author. She just had to survive working there long enough to gain
some experience, and pay off her student loans and the bills while she worked
on getting published.

It still gave her a sense of
pride to know that she excelled at what she did. The last five clients had gone
with her marketing ideas over all of the others on her team, not that she was
ever recognized for her efforts. In fact, every victory just seemed to make her
co-workers hate her even more. It served them right thought, Caitlyn thought
with satisfaction as she read over an email from a former client asking her for
her help on a new project.

The rest of her morning was
pretty low key, with no major incidents that made her want to slam her head into
her desk. She had gone through a slew of emails, working on a new proposal for
a client that she undoubtedly wouldn’t get credit for.

Taking a break, she spent a
little time covertly texting with Jesse since he was stuck in at the airport
waiting for his flight back from Seattle where he just sealed the deal for
another project with a repeat client. The office was a dismal place without him
around, but he would be back late this evening and they would be going out to
celebrate her birthday tomorrow, so she couldn’t complain…much.

Caitlyn was briefly distracted from
working by rambunctious laughter as Carl left his office with one of the
project managers, Ryan. They were leaving for the rest of the day for a big
meeting with a new VIP client at their headquarters across the street. Carl
basically thought they had the potential account in the bag. If that were true,
it would be the biggest account Manchester Klein had to date. Caitlyn had done
most of the ground work for the proposal before she had been pushed aside. She
didn’t care though. With Ryan in charge of the project, she didn’t want
anything to do with it anymore. The kiss-ass Ryan was also Carl’s drinking
buddy and an all-round asshole.

No wonder they got along so well.

“Wish us luck, doll,” Carl said
with a wink as he walked past her desk. God, she would do anything to wipe that
lecherous expression off the prick’s face.

“Good luck,” she said instead of
what she really wanted to say. After they left, she happily went back to work, feeling
lighter now that she would have the rest of the day without her creepy boss
looking over her shoulder.

It wasn’t ten minutes later that
her phone rang. She silently swore when she saw Carl’s cell phone number on the
readout. She picked up the handset and braced herself.

“Caitlyn Watson.”

 “I know who the hell I’m
calling,” Carl hissed out. “I need you at the Steele Technologies meeting

Caitlyn blinked. Wait…what? “Umm,
Mr. Lowenbaum, I thought you said I wasn’t working on the Steele Tech proposal

And why the hell was Carl

 “Consider yourself back on it,”
Carl snarled. “Grab your stuff and get your ass over to the Steele Technologies
building. Top floor. Ass. Here. Now!” He hung up before she could say anything
else and left her staring at her phone in horror.

Oh, no. This could not be

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