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Surrendering Series Box Set

By´╝ÜChelsea M. Cameron

smile.

"I always do." That was one piece of Dad's advice that I always, without fail, followed.

After a quick lunch at my desk while I scanned the new quarterly report for typos, I went back to the applications that had been submitted online. A knock at my door brought me out of my work haze.

It was Mrs. Andrews, Dad's current administrative assistant and another one of his oldest friends. Nepotism, I tell you.

"Um, Miss Clarke? There is a gentleman to see you." I pulled up my calendar on my email and scanned. I'd been so frazzled lately, that I could have forgotten I had a meeting. But I was coming up blank. Mrs. Andrews was nervously hovering, half-in and half-out of my office. What was with her?




"I don't see a meeting. Did I forget to put one on my calendar?" It had happened before.

She looked over her shoulder and then came all the way in and closed the door, as if someone was chasing her.

"What's wrong?" Mrs. Andrews leaned over my desk and spoke quietly, as if someone was listening in. What was going on?

"It's . . . someone to see you about the assistant job. I don't know how he talked his way in, but he's insistent that he has to speak with you."

"Has he sent in his résumé?"

She shook her head. "He's got it with him."

"I'm not sure how I feel about that. He sounds . . . pushy."

"I'd say he's the kind of fellow who is used to getting what he wants. If you know what I mean." Yes, I most certainly did. Growing up with money meant that I practically had a degree in Men Who Don't Understand The Word No.

I sighed. This really wasn't something I wanted to deal with, but if it came down to it, security was only a button push away. I also didn't think Mrs. Andrews should have to deal with this douche, whoever he was. I'd put him in his place faster than you could say "privileged."

"I'll take care of it," I said, getting up and straightening my black peplum jacket, which was buttoned over a white shirt. I'd chosen to wear a black skirt that matched the jacket, and now I was regretting that. He'd probably see the skirt and think I was just a woman, and he could push me around. My stature didn't help either. Unless he was under average height, I'd be looking up at him, which was why I wore monster heels most of the time, especially when we had stockholder meetings, and today was no exception. Dad always called them my stilts.

Checking to make sure my honey blonde hair was still pulled out of my face, I strutted out of my office, Mrs. Andrews in my wake.

My bright red heels clicked pleasantly on the floor, alerting everyone that I was on a mission. I strolled with purpose down the end of the hall, turning the corner to get to the reception area where I stopped in my tracks. A man, with his back to me, leaned against the desk. My first impression was of a well-tailored dark-blue, nearly black suit. I'd seen a hell of a lot of suits in my life, and I can spot a custom-tailored one a mile away. I also saw a shock of dark auburn hair that was combed back, but was probably unruly most of the time, because little strands were starting to curl from the July humidity outside.

Then he turned around and I almost choked on the words I was about to spew at him. He seized my moment of silence and spoke first.

"Are you Aurora Clarke? I'm Lucas Blaine and I'm here to apply for the administrative assistant position. I was hoping to speak with you about it in person." His voice was deeper than I thought it would be. It reminded me a bit of a country singer I couldn't name at the moment. It was the kind of voice that made me quiver, deep down inside, and I hoped he didn't notice.

I finally let my eyes travel from his sleek black tie up to his face, where I nearly gulped when I saw that he had a chin dimple. He had a dusting of freckles on his nose to go with the hair, and then I met a set of eyes that were a strange color in between blue and gray. Like wet stones I used to collect on the beach at our vacation home in Maine. Or the color of the clouds before a storm.

I gaped like an out-of-bowl goldfish for a second and he held his hand out. I kicked myself as I stared at it, as if I'd never seen one before.

Shake his hand, Rory.

No! Don't shake his hand! You're here to yell at him, not ogle his chin dimple. This was only happening because I hadn't gotten laid in months. I was just a little sex starved, that was all. Looked like it was time for another session with Mr. Buzzy, my favorite vibrator. A long session.

I finally found my voice. "Listen, I'm sure you're more than qualified for this position, but that doesn't mean you can come in here and harass Mrs. Andrews. It doesn't really start you off on the right foot, you know." I tried to turn on what I liked to call my "bitch voice." It was the one I used when I had to talk over a bunch of men who all thought they were right, but none of them were. I'd dealt with far worse than this, so why was it so hard to think when I was looking in his eyes.

Stop looking at his eyes.

"I figured you'd see it as assertive," he said. "Being assertive is a good quality to have in an employee, don't you think?" He sort of turned his head to the side and, once again, I was speechless.

Oh, fuck me.

"Well, do you have your résumé with you?" He had a briefcase in one hand and I could see a white piece of paper.

"Signed, sealed, delivered," he said, holding it out as the Stevie Wonder song floated through my head. I took it from him and pretended to scan it, though it could be written in Chinese for all I took in of it, but I had to keep up appearances. He waited while I pretended read, just barely tapping his briefcase against his thigh. That could get irritating. Fast.

Finally I had to say something, so I cleared my throat and nearly choked in my own spit. Smooth, Rory.

"Well, Mr. Blaine, this a bit unorthodox, but

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