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The Contract

The Contract

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“I’m leaving Gavin Inc.” My jaw dropped. Why would he leave the company? He was one of David’s golden boys—he could do no wrong. David bragged about Mr. VanRyan’s talent and what he brought to the company all the time. “Why?” “I was passed up for partner.” “Maybe next time …” I stopped talking when I realized what this meant. If he left and they chose not to reassign me, I was out of a job. Even if they did reassign me, I would be taking a pay cut. Either way, I was screwed. I could feel the blood draining from my face. Mr. VanRyan held up his hand. “There won’t be a next time. I have an opportunity I’m exploring.” “Why are you telling me this?” I managed to ask. “I need your help with this opportunity.” I swallowed. “My help?” I was even more confused. He never wanted my personal help. He stepped closer. “I want to hire you, Miss Elliott.” My mind raced. I was sure, if he moved on, he would want a clean break. He didn’t even like me. I cleared my throat. “As your assistant at your new opportunity?” “No.” He paused, as if thinking about his words, then spoke. “As my fiancée.” All I could do was to stare at him, unmoving.

Chapter 1

I BENT OVER THE TABLE, the din of the busy restaurant fading into the background as I struggled to contain my anger. Repressing the urge to yell, I kept my voice low, fury dripping from the words. “What did you say? I’m sure I didn’t hear you correctly.”

David relaxed back in his chair, not all concerned about my ire. "I said, Tyler is being promoted to partner

”My hand tightened around my glass so hard, I was surprised it didn’t shatter. “That was supposed to be my promotion.”

He shrugged. “Things changed.”

“I worked my ass off. I brought in over nine million. You told me if I surpassed last year, I would be made partner.

He waved his hand. “And Tyler brought in twelve million.”

I slammed my hand on the table, not giving a shit if it drew attention to us. “That’s because the bastard went behind my back and stole the client. The campaign idea was mine. He fuckin' ripped me off!”

"Your word against his, Jordan."

"Bullshit, this is all bullshit!"

“The decision is made, and the offer has been extended. Put in the effort, and maybe next year will be your year.”

"That is it?"

"That is it, you will get a generous bonus."

A bonus.

I didn't want another fuckin' bonus. I wanted that promotion. It should have been mine.

I stood up so fast my chair toppled back, hitting the floor with a loud thud. I drew myself up to my full 6’4” height and scowled down at him. Given the fact that David didn’t break the 5’8” mark, sitting, he looked rather small.

David raised his eyebrow. “Careful, Richard. Remember, at Gavin Inc., we’re all about teamwork. You’re still part of the team—an important one.”

I regarded him steadily, tamping down the desire to tell him to go fuck himself. “The team. Right.”

Shaking my head, I walked away.

I strode into my office, slamming the door behind me. My assistant looked up, startled, a half-eaten sandwich in her hand.

“What did I fuckin' tell you about eating at your desk?” I snapped.

She scrambled to her feet. “Y–you were out,” she stuttered. “I was working on your expenses. I thought …”

“Well, whatever you thought was fuckin' wrong.” Reaching across her desk, I plucked the offending sandwich from her hand, grimacing at the concoction. “Peanut butter and jam? Is that the best you can do on what they pay you?" I cursed as the jam dripped on the edge of my jacket. "Goddamnitt".

Her already paleface blanched further as she looked at the red smear on my gray suit. “Mr. James , I’m so sorry. I’ll take it to the cleaners right away.”

Damn right you will. Get me a sandwich while you’re out."

She blinked. “I–I thought you went to lunch?”

“Once again, your thought process is incorrect. Get me a sandwich and a latte—extra foam - no fat and I want Brian Maxwell on the phone now- impatiently, I yanked off my jacket, making sure the pockets were empty. "Take this to the cleaners—I want it back this afternoon."

She sat stock-still, gawking at me.

“Are you deaf?”

“Which would you like done first?"

I flung down my jacket, "That is your fuckin' job. Figure it out and get it done." I slammed my office door.

Fifteen minutes later, I had my sandwich and latte. My intercom buzzed. “I have Mr. Maxwell on line two for you.”

“Fine.” I picked up the phone. “Brian. I need to meet with you. Today.”

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking, Jordan.”

“Not in the mood. When are you available?”

"I am booked all afternoon."

"Cancel "

"I am not even in the city. The earliest I can be there is seven."

"Fine. Meet me at Finlay's. My usual table " I hung up punching the intercom. "Get in here."

The door opened, and she tripped in—literally. I didn’t even bother to hide the fact I rolled my eyes in disgust. I had never met anyone as clumsy as her—she tripped over air. I swore she spent more time on her knees than most of the women I dated. I waited until she struggled to her feet, picked up her notebook, and found her pen. Her face was flushed, and her hand shook.

Yes, Mr. James?”

“My table at Finlay’s. Seven o’ clock. Book it. My jacket better be back on time.”

“I asked for rush service. It, ah, there was an extra charge.”

I raised my eyebrows. “I’m sure you were happy to pay it, considering it was your fault.”

Her face darkened even more, but she didn’t argue with me. “I will pick it up in an hour.”

I waved my hand; I didn’t care when she retrieved it, as long as it was in my possession before I left.

“Mr. James?”

“What?”

“I have to leave today at four. I have an appointment. I sent you an email about it last week.”

I waved my hand; I didn’t care when she retrieved it, as long as it was in my possession before I left.

“Mr. James?”

“What?”

“I have to leave today at four. I have an appointment. I sent you an email about it last week.”

I tapped my fingers on my desk as I observed her. My assistant—Katharine Elliott—the bane of my existence. I’d done everything I could to get rid of her, but I’d never had any luck. No matter what task I gave her, she completed it. Every demeaning chore she handled without complaint. Pick up my dry cleaning? Done. Make sure my private washroom was stacked with my favorite toiletries and condoms? Without fail. Alphabetize and clean my massive CD collection after I decided to bring them into the office? Completed—she even boxed up every CD when I "changed my mind" and had them delivered home, spotless and in order. Nit a word passed her lips. Send flowers and a brush off message to whoever I had dumped that week or month? Yep.

She was at the office every day without fail—never late. She rarely left the office unless it was to do an errand for me or scuttle to the break room to eat one of her ridiculous brought-from-home sandwiches since I forbade her to eat at her desk. She kept my calendar and contacts in precise order, my files done in the exact color-coding I liked, and screened my calls, making sure my many exes didn’t bother me. Through the grapevine, I knew everyone liked her, she never forgot anyone’s birthday, and made the most delicious cookies, which she shared on occasion. She was fuckin' perfection.

I couldn’t stand her.

She was everything I

She was everything I despised in a woman. Small and delicate, with dark hair and blue eyes, she dressed in simple suits and skirts—neat, tidy, and completely dowdy. Her hair was always twisted into a knot, she wore no jewelry, and from what I observed, no makeup. She had zero appeal and not enough self-respect to do anything about it. Meek and timid, she was easy to roll over. She mall and delicate, with dark hair and blue eyes, she dressed in simple suits and skirts—neat, tidy, and completely dowdy. Her hair was always twisted into a knot, she wore no jewelry, and from what I observed, no makeup. She had zero appeal and not enough self-respect to do anything about it. Meek and timid, she was easy to roll over. She never stuck up for herself, took whatever I dished out at her, and never responded negatively. I liked my women strong and vibrant— not a doormat like Miss Elliot.

However, I was stuck with her.

“Fine. Don’t make it a habit, Miss Elliott.”

For a second, I thought I saw her eyes flare, but she simply nodded. “I’ll pick up your jacket and leave it in your closet. Your two o’clock teleconference is set and you have a three- thirty in the boardroom.” She indicated the files on the corner of my desk. “Your notes are all there.”

“My expenses?”

“I’ll finish them and leave for your signature.”

“All right. You can go.”

She paused at the door. “Have a good evening, Mr. VanRyan.”

I didn’t bother to reply.

Chapter 2

Brian sipped his wine regarding me over the edge of his glass. "I agree that must burn, Richard. But what do you want me to do about it?""I want another job, that is what you do, find me one."He laughed dryly, setting down his glass. “We’ve had this discussion already. With your credentials, I can get you any job you want—except here. There’re two major players in Victoria, and you work for one of them. If you’re finally ready to move, give me the word. I’ll have offers for you in any major city you want to consider. Toronto is booming.”something holding you here?" I drummed my fingers on the table as I pondered over his question. I had no idea why I wanted to move. I liked the city. I like the proximity to the water, the restaurants and theatres, the bustle of a big town in a small city and especially the climate. There was something else—something I couldn't put my finger on that held me here. I knew I could relocate; In fact, it was

Heroes

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