Home > The Contract (The Contract #1)(5)

The Contract (The Contract #1)(5)
Melanie Moreland

Anderson Inc. was firm on their rules. You followed them, or you were gone. They’d figuratively rip off your balls, leaving you floundering. Fraternizing within the company was a stringent no-no. David believed romance in the office clouded your mind. Anything that took your focus off work or his bottom line, he frowned upon. I assumed he was against his employees having any sort of life outside Anderson Inc. Glancing around the table, I realized every executive was either single or divorced. I had never noticed, or cared about the marital status of my co-workers.

“On a side note, Emily has left us, as well.”

It didn’t take a genius to know which assistant Alan had been seeing. Emily was his PA. What an idiot. You never got involved with someone at work, especially your PA. Luckily, I wasn’t even remotely tempted.

David droned on a bit, and I tuned him out, going back to my own problem. When others started to stand, I jumped to my feet, leaving the boardroom, not wanting the see all the handshakes and slaps on the back Tyler would receive.

Fucker.

I strode into my office; stopping at the sight of Brian perched on the edge of Miss Elliott’s desk, his wide shoulders shaking with laughter. They both looked up when I came in, two very different expressions on their faces: Brian looked amused and Miss Elliott looked guilty.

“What are you doing here?” I demanded. I turned to Miss Elliott. “Why didn’t you let me know someone was waiting?”

Brian held up his hand. “I got here a few minutes ago, Richard. Katy offered me coffee, and to let you know I was here, but I was enjoying her company far more than I ever do yours, so I wasn’t in a hurry.” He winked at me. “She is more entertaining, not to mention prettier than you. I always like spending time with her.”

Pretty and entertaining? Miss Elliott? And what was this Katy shit?

I barked out a laugh at those descriptions.

“In my office,” I ordered.

He followed me in, and I shut the door. “What are you doing here? If David saw you . . .”

He shook his head. “Relax. It’s not as if I’ve never been here before today. And what if he does see me and suspects something? Make him sweat a little.”

I paused. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. He knew Brian was the biggest headhunter in Victoria. Maybe if he saw Brian wander around Anderson Inc. it would make him a little nervous.

“Lay off charming my assistant. It’s a waste of time, and I thought you had a girlfriend.”

“I do, and I wasn’t charming her. She’s great. I enjoy talking to Katy.”

I snorted. “Yeah, she’s great—if you like doormats who masquerade as emaciated scarecrows.”

Brian frowned. “You don’t like her? Really? What’s not to like?”

“She’s fucking perfect,” I stated, my sarcasm thick. “She does everything I tell her. Now, drop the subject and tell me why you’re here.”

He lowered his voice. “I had coffee with Adrian Davis this morning.”

I crossed the office and sat down at my desk. “Adrian Davis of The Gavin Group?”

He nodded. “I was visiting Amy, and I went to see him to arrange our round of golf next week. He’s agreed to talk to Graham about interviewing you.”

I thumped the top of the desk with my fist. “Fucking great news. What did you tell him?”

“I said you were leaving for personal reasons. I told him, despite the rumors, your situation had changed and you were no longer comfortable with the direction of Anderson Inc.”

“My situation?”

“I told him your playboy days were behind you, and the way you conduct business had evolved. I informed him you wanted a different sort of life.”

“He believed you?”

Brian smoothed the crease of his pants with his fingertips, meeting my gaze. “He did.”

“Did you tell him what caused this miraculous turnabout?”

“You sort of suggested it yourself last night. I said you fell in love.”

I nodded. It was exactly what I was thinking. Graham liked the family atmosphere, and I would have to fit in.

Brian regarded me shrewdly. “Given your history, Richard, this woman will have to be vastly different from the women you’ve been linked with, especially recently.” He tilted his head. “Someone more down-to-earth, warm, and caring. Real.”

“I know.”

“Is it really worth it?”

“Yes.”

“You’ll lie and pretend, all because of a job?”

“It’s more than a job. David screwed me over—so did Tyler. It’s not the first time. I’m not taking this shit anymore.” I reclined in my chair, staring out the window. “I may be hired under less than honest intentions, but Graham will get a fucking great addition to his company. I’ll work my ass off for him.”

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