All He Wants


By C.C. Gibbs

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Dominic Knight is a man who is always in control. A self-made billionaire by the age of twenty-three, a genius of innovation, and CEO of a global tech empire, Knight always gets what he wants. And he wants Kate Hart. . .

A rising star of cyber forensics, Kate is well aware of Knight’s reputation as a master manipulator, uncompromising leader, and demanding lover. But she’s determined to stay cool and professional-no matter how hot and bothered her new boss makes her feel.

First he appears in her dreams. Then he comes to her in the night. And so begins a journey of erotic awakening and discovery as rich and powerful as Knight himself. In locales from the sultry red-light district of Amsterdam to the private sexual playgrounds of Hong Kong, Kate will shed every inhibition and surrender every part of herself-body, mind, and soul-to give her lover all he craves, all he needs, and all he demands . . .


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Table of Contents

A Preview of All He Needs


Copyright Page

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She'd done her research like she always did before an interview. So she knew about him. Thirty-two, Stanford graduate, adventure traveler, and a more or less self-made billionaire who'd stopped counting zeros long ago. Quirky, too, but then so many in the start-up world were. Maybe even a little more than quirky since the death of his wife. But those rumors were confined to obscure blogs in cyberspace and were impossible to confirm.

Not that she cared about the man's private quirks. She was here because his company had recruited her at MIT and working for Knight Enterprises, the most innovative venture-capital company in the world, would be a dream come true.

Arriving last night from the East Coast, she'd expected to meet with one of Dominic Knight's lieutenants at corporate headquarters in Santa Cruz. But an early-morning e-mail had sent new instructions. And here she was on a quiet tree-lined residential street in Palo Alto.

The cab driver came to a stop and pointed. "That's it."

She looked out the window, mentally flipped through her Art I memories, and decided it was one of Greene and Greene's rare, turn-of-the-century homes. The structure was surrounded by a beautiful, hundred-year-old Japanese-style landscape specific to the building design. It was an unusual venue for an interview, but no explanation had been given for the site change. Although with the possibility of being offered her dream job, who was she to question the reasons?

She stood for a moment on the sidewalk as the cab drove away, surveying the small redwood building. On her junior year J-term, she'd stayed in a mountain village in Japan, in a temple inn much like this. It was supposed to have been a long weekend but, so enchanted by the quiet isolation, she'd stayed a week. Strange that a street so near a major metropolitan area was this tranquil; she glanced around, unsure for a moment whether she was dreaming, her memories were so intense.

Then a lawnmower powered up somewhere behind her. She shook off her reverie and moved with an easy stride toward the entrance to 630 Indigo Way.

A reception desk had been placed in the center of the foyer and a secretary, who'd been reading, set down her book and looked up. She could have been some teenager taking a day off from school: ponytail, jeans, waist-skimming T-shirt, and flip-flops. The girl bore a startling resemblance to the photos of Dominic Knight. Although, according to his bio, he didn't have children.


The young girl smiled. "You must be Dominic's four o'clock. He's not here yet, but he told me to tell you to go on in." She waved in the general direction of a hallway and went back to her book.

Dominic, not Mr. Knight. Even more interesting. As if it mattered, she reminded herself and gently cleared her throat to get the girl's attention. "Actually, I have an appointment with Max Roche. I'm Katherine Hart."

Kate stood there for a moment, an awkward pause stretching between them while the girl apparently read to the end of a sentence before glancing up. "I think it's Dominic you're seeing. Lemme check." Shoving a pencil in the book to hold her page, she clicked a computer mouse, the screen on a sleek monitor came to life, and she briefly scanned it. "Nope, not Max. Dominic." She pointed again. "Down the hall, last door. I'm supposed to ask you if you want coffee." Then she smiled and went back to her reading.

You didn't have to be a mind reader to know coffee wasn't an option, so Kate followed the suggested route. The hallway was lit by clerestory windows, the lustrous light illuminating a photo gallery of sailing vessels; some large, some less so, all glorious action shots of sleek racing yachts, sails aloft, running with the wind. She stopped for a moment and leaned in close to a photo of two racing yachts. Both were full-rigged, one boat heeling so hard to starboard that waves nearly skimmed its rails. And dangling inches above the water, one hand on the rail, the other reeling in a line, drenched with sea spray, was the CEO of Knight Enterprises, younger, thoroughly wet, a wide, exultant smile on his handsome face.

"That was a World Cup race off New Zealand. Sorry to keep you waiting. It was unavoidable."

The deep, rich voice was at ear level. Jerking upright, she swung around, gasped, breathed, Holy shit, then flushed. Dominic Knight in all his dark, sensual beauty was standing there, up close and personal, his quick raking glance so casually assessing she should take offense, not feel a shocking rush of pleasure. She almost gasped at the jolt, but caught herself in time because salivating in front of Dominic Knight would be super embarrassing and useless. He did models, aristocratic babes, high-end call girls. Researching his personal life had been like reading Entertainment Weekly.

Oh God, he still hadn't moved. Was he testing her sense of personal space? Was this some kind of psychological power thing? If it was, he was winning because his tall, powerful body, sleek in a navy pinstripe bespoke suit, was way too close, way too personal. Her heart was pounding, she was having trouble focusing her thoughts, the speech synapses from her brain to her mouth were misfiring, and unless she got herself under control, she was going to blow this interview. Breathe in, breathe out. Now say something normal. "The… weather's… great… out… here." Breathless and sputtering. Shit.

His faint smile widened.

Arrogant bastard. But having finally regained her wits, she didn't voice her thoughts.

His gaze amused, as if breathless women were the norm in his life, he blandly said, "I agree. Did you have an uneventful flight?"

Before she could answer, his cell phone rang.

He glanced at the display, frowned, and grunted, "Go on in. I have to take this."

Flustered by her response to a man who was even hotter in person than in his photos, feeling more like a thirteen-year-old Justin Bieber fan than a magna cum laude graduate of MIT, she lectured her uninvited inner adolescent as she walked toward his office. Seriously. What was that all about? Haven't you seen a handsome man before? Get a grip. Better yet, go away.

The hand-carved door at the end of the hall was slightly ajar; Dominic Knight conducted business casually. How reassuring. She wasn't fond of rules and protocol. Pushing the door open, she entered a low-ceilinged room with such spectacular views of the gardens that all thoughts of her embarrassing meeting with Knight Enterprises' CEO vanished.

Dropping her canvas messenger bag on a chair, she walked to the nearest window wall and surveyed the garden that reminded her of some of the royal gardens she'd seen in Japan: immaculately raked gravel, swirled in traditional wave patterns; large, rainbow-colored koi visible in the clear, limpid water of a nearby pond; artfully arranged boulders; ancient, perfectly pruned yews and pines. A small, arched bridge in brilliant red served as a picturesque focal point in the distance. The garden was a museum-quality work of art, carefully nurtured and maintained. Dominic Knight had an eye for beauty.

"I'll personally nail you to the wall if you screw me on this! You don't say no to me! Nobody says no to me! Now do your fucking job!"

She flinched at the audible fury in Dominic Knight's voice. Each word was implacable, taut with rage, the tone unexpectedly dredging up long-suppressed memories. Jesus, she'd not thought of any of that in years. Her gut tightened like it had as a child and she thought, This job isn't going to work out. Explosive people are bad karma for me.

She had plenty of other companies wooing her. She could pick and choose. Retrieving her messenger bag from the chair, she was almost to the door when he walked in.

"Forgive me again. I seem to be repeatedly apologizing before we've even met." But he was still distracted. He'd come to a stop, run a hand through his dark hair, his gaze unfocused.

"That's all right." She slung her bag over her shoulder. "This isn't going to work out anyway."

He looked startled. Then a second later he looked down, his gaze narrowed, fixed on her. "Nonsense. Your assignments are abroad. I won't be there. It should work out just fine." At least he didn't pretend to be confused. He seemed to know why she had reservations about taking this job. Or maybe he just didn't care. "I'm told you're the best and that's what I need."

"Our needs are incompatible." She kept her voice calm with effort, as he towered over her, his sexual charisma practically sending off heat waves, his commanding air intimidating—both seriously affecting her pulse rate.

"Tell me what you need—er"—he paused—"I'm not sure I've been told your name."

"It doesn't matter."

He looked at her as if she'd sprouted another head, then sighed. "Look, could we start over? I'm Dominic Knight. You're"—his dark brows rose in query, a touch of humor in his gaze.

"This isn't funny, Mr. Knight."

"I could call someone and get your name."

"To what purpose, pray tell?" she said, staring him in the eye with her best hard-as-nails look.

He smiled. "Really, pray tell? Channeling Jane Austen?" His sigh this time was barely audible. "As to what purpose," he repeated, softly mocking, "why not to our mutual satisfaction?" His voice went down a notch. "Now, tell me your name."

His deep, velvety tone melted through her body, turning on everything that could be turned on, again. Jeez, who would have thought using your vibrator before an interview was a requirement?

"I'm assuming you have a name," he prompted, a small smile stirring the corners of his mouth.

Asshole. Was he toying with her? Or did a mouth-watering CEO with a killer body figure every woman would roll over for him if he smiled? Her mouth firmed. "If you must know, my name is Katherine Hart. Spelled H, A, R, T."

His gaze was cool, as was his voice. "Perfect. Thank you."

"Miss Hart to you." She glanced at the door.

He noticed, ignored it. "As you wish, Miss Hart." He loosened his honey-colored tie, undid his collar button. "It's been a long day." He flexed his broad shoulders with a Zen-like grace, exhaled slowly, visibly decompressed. "I've had to listen to too many long-winded people in too many boring meetings. Have you ever noticed that those who do the least complain the most and those who know the least talk the most?" He held her gaze, almost smiled. "Now what can I do to change your mind?"

How could that sudden Zen-like calm be so hot? Or maybe tall, dark, and handsome was rocking her world because she was an adrenaline junky—a prime requirement in her line of work—and just looking at all that magnificent maleness was juicing her. "Nothing really," she quickly said, needing to get away, and it wasn't just bad karma. Men didn't shake her world like this. Or at least they never had. "I just changed my mind." She took a step to her right to go around him.

He moved left and checked her progress. "Change it back."

He was like a solid wall of machismo blocking her way. She tried to keep her voice from trembling. "I can't… Sorry."

He recognized the small flutter in her voice, debated responding, decided against it. "Let's keep this simple," he brusquely said. "I need you in Amsterdam. So don't tell me no."

Jesus, that was either intimidating or damn intimidating. "Please move," she croaked.

"In a second," he said with a flicker of a smile, feeling that this difficult young lady may have finally gotten the message. "Tell me what it's going to take to get you on board. Name your price if that's the stumbling block. Max says you're beyond gifted even for a high flyer, and I need you in Amsterdam. This is important."

"To you."

"Yes. That's the point. You can't say you don't want to work for Knight Enterprises. Everyone does."

"Not everyone."

That small startle reflex again. He really wasn't used to dissent.

"Look, I'm sorry if I said something to offend you." Although there wasn't a hint of apology in his tone. In fact, his annoyance was plain. He ran a hand quickly over his face, as though to wipe away the betraying emotion. "The ball's in your court, Miss Hart."

"What if I said I want to leave?"

The pause was so lengthy, a small moment of panic washed over her before she reminded herself it was the twenty-first century.

A winter chill colored the blue of his eyes. "Do I frighten you?"

"No." She wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

He tipped his head slightly and smiled in the most disarmingly ruthless way. "Good. Then if you'll sit down"—he indicated a chair—"we can discuss my problem, your skill set, and how we might cooperate."

Deciding the chances of her fighting her way out of this office were slight to nil, she sat. "You really don't take no for an answer, do you?"

"I'm afraid not." He dropped into a large black leather chair behind his desk. "It's not unique to a man in my position."

A salient argument, but not one she chose to value. "You're putting me in an awkward position, forcing this issue."

"On the contrary, you've put me in an awkward position. I'm offering you an excellent job. Max mentioned some of our issues in his e-mails. The dark market is making inroads in some of our outlier firms. It has to be stopped. Obviously you were intrigued or you wouldn't be here. Why not accept?"

"Personality clash. I heard you in the hallway."

"Perhaps you don't understand the company's organizational structure," he said with exquisite restraint. "I doubt we'll meet again."

"I disagree. As I understand it, Knight Enterprises' organizational structure is one of authoritarian leadership. You're hands on. You demand absolute compliance from subordinates."

His mouth tightened. "You've done your homework."

"I always do. And I have several other job offers, Mr. Knight. With the worldwide level of corruption, forensic accounting is in great demand." She smiled, sure of her prima donna status in her field at least. "Yours isn't the only company losing money to the dark market."

Her cheeky smile lit up her eyes and he looked at her for the first time as if she were more than just an obstacle in his path. She didn't know how to dress, but then the clothes of the young IT set weren't couture or colorful. Neutral tones went with their left brain functions. But her hair was a riot of red curls and her eyes were a potent green. Strange word. Bright green, he corrected himself. And beneath the drab army green jacket and slacks, he could see hints of a lithe, supple body that went well with her wide-eyed innocent beauty.

His lashes drifted downward an infinitesimal distance.

Hmmm. He hadn't considered that before, too intent on talking her around to his point of view. Not an easy task with Miss Hart. She wasn't docile. Or accommodating.

A provocative thought.

But he was a businessman first; there was time enough for other things once Miss Hart had done her job. Since he'd lost Julia, he was indifferent to women for anything other than sex, and that was available anywhere. Miss Hart's sexual function was immaterial.

What was material lay in Bucharest and, according to Max, Miss Hart was the answer to their problem. "Perhaps we could come to a compromise," he said, determined as always to prevail. "You could join us as a contractor. After you finish this Amsterdam job, you can walk. You're a December graduate. Most of the major firms won't start recruiting for another few weeks. You'd still be in the game."

"I'd have to turn down my current offers."

"I'd be happy to make some calls and get some brief deferments for you. I know everyone in this business."

Nobody says no to me, indeed. How much did she want to piss off one of the most powerful men in the world? "You're persistent." She gave him a polite smile.

"So I've been told. Do you have family?" He preferred employees with a casual attachment to family. They were more likely to work the long hours demanded of them.

"You can't ask that," she flatly said.

His smile was mocking. "Are you going to sue me?"

"I won't have to if I'm not working for you."

His jaw clenched. "You can be a real bitch. Sue me for that too if you want. Now, could we stop playing games? I won't ask you any personal questions, other than will you accept my job offer?" Leaning back in his chair, he unbuttoned his suit coat, shot his cuffs, waited for her reply.

She couldn't help but notice his hard flat stomach under his white custom shirt. And the fact that he didn't wear cuff links. She liked that. She'd always viewed cuff links as pretentious. Only an observation, the little voice inside her head pointed out innocently. No one's trying to persuade you of anything.

His gaze narrowed. "What?"

"Nothing." Then Kate pointed. "You don't wear cuff links. Is that allowed when you're a CEO?"

A shrug, a bland, blue stare. "Everything's allowed when you're me. My company is privately held."

Her spine stiffened. As she opened her mouth to speak, he stopped her with a lifted finger, picked up his phone, and hit a button. "I'm calling Max. He's scheduled to fly out at seven. He'll fill you in on all the details en route. As will Werner in our Amsterdam office. Now, in the nicest possible way, I'd like to invite you to work for us. Just the one assignment in Amsterdam. Yes or no, Miss Hart? I'm done fucking around. Just a minute, Max." He held her gaze.

"You're a control freak," she muttered.

"Is that a yes?"


"Two weeks, a month, that's it. Money's no object. Come now, say yes." He smiled, a beautiful, charming, practiced smile.

Why did it seem that his smile was offering her the entire world and all its pleasures? Clearly, a lunatic thought.

"Very well," he softly said into the lengthening silence, his blue gaze grave. "Give me two weeks of your time. I won't ask for more."

A pause, a last small grimace, a barely discernible nod.

His instant smile could have melted the entire polar ice cap in under a minute. "Welcome aboard, Miss Hart. I look forward to working with you." He grinned. "At a distance, of course."

He was way too smooth and way too beautiful and way too familiar with getting his way. But, deep down, irrationally, she wanted the job more than anything. And she knew better than to fall under his spell. Screwing the CEO was never wise.

As if, anyway.

Besides, the word bondage had come up on one of the murkier blog sites in Europe. Whether it was true or not, a man that rich and powerful?

Anything was possible.


Dominic walked her out to the foyer, where Max was waiting. He introduced them, made a few gracious remarks about Miss Hart joining the firm as a contractor, said, "Thank you, Max, thank you, Miss Hart, good journey," and walked away. The fact that Max was there waiting for her would have pissed her off if she'd been given the time to properly register her resentment before being whisked off in a limo by Dominic Knight's vice president, aide-de-camp, and all-around chargé d'affaires.

That Max was ex-MI6 was immediately apparent from the top of his blond brush cut to the tips of his desert-booted toes. His British upper-class accent was both calming and intimidating. "May I say how pleased we are to have you with Knight Enterprises," he said as he settled into the seat beside her. "Nick was intent on hiring you."

"I got that impression," she said drily.

He laughed. "You'll get used to it. Everyone does or they're gone."

"That was pretty clear too."

Max merely shrugged. "I don't think he even realizes. He sees it as efficiency."

She stared him down for a second. "Don't say, 'Get used to it,' or I'll strangle you."

He laughed. "I wouldn't dare."

She sniffed. "I don't need this job, you know."

"I do know. We have a serious issue in Amsterdam, Miss Hart, so take it from me personally, we're grateful for your help. Your reputation precedes you. No one quite matches your skill set in cyber forensics." He gave her an avuncular smile. "We've taken the liberty of collecting your luggage from your hotel. It's already at the airfield. I have some papers for you to sign on the plane. Nothing out of the ordinary," he said at the sudden skepticism in her gaze. "Just the usual forms for our contractors. Pam, my personal assistant, will run you through the process. Then I'll give you an idea of what you're up against. We've been trying to sort out this mess for a while, without luck. You're the talent we need. As for Dominic, rest easy, Miss Hart, you'll find it simple enough to work for him. He's interested in results and I'm sure you won't have any problem delivering. You'll have carte blanche on this project. We're trying to avoid a PR disaster. This plant is supposed to be state-of-the-art in terms of employee health and safety. It's a pilot project for green technology and community involvement in an area of the Balkans that has high unemployment. And now morale is low, production is down, the parts aren't up to standard, workers are beginning to complain. It's only a matter of time until stories about the working conditions hit the news media. So"—he flipped his hand in her direction—"you're going to make Dominic happy and solve the mess."

Making Dominic happy was probably every woman's dream. "Someone's skimming off the top, I presume," she said instead.

"A considerable amount. At the expense of not just the employees' working conditions, but the reputation of our firm."


He smiled. "Sound like fun?"

She nodded. "I like to solve puzzles, especially complicated ones like this."

"Good. You'll have security. I don't know if Dominic told you. There's a level of criminal involvement whenever large sums of money are at stake."

Wide-eyed, she whispered, "Security?"

"It's just a precaution. Amsterdam is a long way from Bucharest. Don't worry."

"Oh crap."

Max grinned. "Charge him more."

She gave him a sideways look. "Will that bullet-proof me?"

"I'll bullet-proof you. Promise."

His quiet certainty reassured her. And Amsterdam was a long way from Bucharest. "Thanks. I'm a small-town girl. Bodyguards aren't in my repertoire."

"You won't even notice."

Late that night, actually in the wee hours of the morning, when everyone was sleeping in their bedrooms on the company 747, a knock on the door woke Max.

"Phone call, sir, in the lounge," one of the stewards announced.

Slipping into his robe, Max entered the lounge, took a seat in a leather easy chair, and picked up the call.

"Sorry to wake you," Dominic said.

"What the hell time is it back there?"

"I'm not sure. I can't see a clock. The reason I called is to tell you that I'll be in Amsterdam Saturday."

"What for?" The Amsterdam office was small, just a satellite, of little consequence to the company's bottom line.

"I'm on my way to Hong Kong. Thought I'd stop by."

It was triple the distance going through Europe. "She'll do fine," Max said. "She'll do better if you don't fuck with her head."

"I've been telling myself that."

"And you're coming anyway. She won't like it."

"You surprise me, Max. After all these years, I'd hoped you'd understand me better."

"She's not the starry-eyed type."

"I noticed."

"You may not get what you want."

"Of course I will. I always do."

"She might quit. Then our problem here doesn't get solved."

"I'll see that she doesn't quit. Now go back to sleep. I'll see you in four days."

Max swore as he set down the phone. Dominic could be a cold bastard. Or just reverting to type after his wife's death. Dominic's CFO, Roscoe Kern, had explained everything when Max had first come on board Knight Enterprises. While Dominic had become a friend in the five years they'd worked together, he was an emotionally detached person, largely indifferent to everything but his business. He might have tempered his need for control during his marriage, but it was back in full force now. In fact, his obsessive need to control was even worse than before, according to Roscoe, who'd been with Dominic from the beginning of his ascent to being one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Heaving himself out of the chair, Max grimaced.

He'd be earning his bloody pay in Amsterdam.

It was cool with a light rain when the plane landed in Amsterdam, the wind off the ocean bracing. Not that January weather was an issue inside a luxurious Mercedes. Nor was it noticeable in the short walk between the car and the entrance to a palatial town house in the old city center.

They were greeted by a discreetly dressed majordomo: simple black suit, sleek hair, welcoming smile. Kate was to be installed in an apartment in the eighteenth-century structure that had been restored to its original magnificence by Knight Enterprises seven years ago.

After Max conducted her on a swift tour of the richly decorated main floor reception rooms used for company functions, he escorted her to an apartment on the fourth floor and left her with a breezy, "I'll send someone for you tomorrow. Take the rest of the day off."

The door had no more than shut on him when a woman's voice said in accented English, "Would you like something to eat?"

Kate spun around.

A large, heavyset woman with short, fair hair, neatly dressed in a white blouse, blue skirt, and sensible shoes, stood ten feet away. "I'm the housekeeper, Mrs. Van Kessel. Lunch is ready if you'd like."

A housekeeper? Crap. Having a stranger around was going to be weird. But since she was always hungry, Kate smiled politely. "Thank you, lunch would be nice."

She was shown into an exuberantly rococo room, with pink marble pilasters, gilded everything, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the canal. A small table, set for one, had been placed next to one of the windows. A vase of coral-colored tulips provided a splash of color on the sparkling white linen cloth, and Kate had no more than seated herself on a rosewood chair upholstered in pale yellow satin than Mrs. Van Kessel appeared with the first course.

Over lunch, Kate found herself silently exclaiming, Wow, at the fine china, the heavy, ornate silver, the superb food that looked like a picture in a magazine, the unobtrusive service, the choice of wines. Was she in a dream or what?

She had repeated that question exactly to her grandmother on the phone after she'd locked herself in her bedroom.

"Nana, you should see my bedroom here," Kate said with breathless wonder. "It looks like something out of that Marie Antoinette movie I love."

"Now, sweetheart, you've worked hard to get where you are," her grandmother unflappably said. "Enjoy it."


On Sale
Jul 9, 2013
Page Count
384 pages

C.C. Gibbs

About the Author

C.C. Gibbs is the pen name of New York Times bestselling author Susan Johnson. She divides her time between the Midwest and Northern California, and considers the life of a writer the best of all possible worlds. Bringing characters to life allows her imagination full rein and researching books is great fun!

Learn more about this author