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Surrendering Series Box Set

By´╝ÜChelsea M. Cameron

und the world with Mom on his boat and I want nothing more than to make that happen."

What. The. Fuck.

I'd meant to give him a vague answer, but I'd told him exactly the truth.

SERIOUSLY, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!

I blushed and waited for his reaction.

"That's very . . . sweet." He finally said.

"I'm sorry," I said, although I didn't know what I was apologizing for. Being sweet? There were a lot of people who would never call me sweet. Raging bitch monster was more like it.

Awkward silence followed as he continued to study me and I tried not to squirm and show him that I was uncomfortable.

"Well," I said, finally snapping back into business mode. "I'll look over your résumé again, and have Mrs. Andrews give you a call."

I stood and stuck out my hand, as is customary at the end of an interview.

He stood slowly, as if he didn't want this to be over yet, but gave me a nice firm handshake that didn't linger. Hm. Most men were worried about crushing my delicate lady hands so I was used to the dead fish handshake.

"Thank you for coming in and we'll let you know," I said, because I didn't know what else to say.

"I look forward to it, Miss Clarke. Very much." He gave me a wink, gathered his briefcase and was out the door, shutting it behind him.

Je-sus Christ.

I had to sit back down and stare at the wall for a minute to recover. One thing was for sure. Actually, two things.

One, I needed to get laid. Soon.

Two, there was absolutely NO WAY I could hire Lucas Blaine.

No. Way.

Three

Part of me wanted to take the rest of the afternoon off so I could go home and have some quality time with Mr. Buzzy, but I had meetings and my revisions on the quarterly report were due at midnight or else the board would have my hide, and I didn't need to give them any more reasons to dislike me.




To top it off, I kept getting interrupted by assholes who thought that somehow, it was in my job description to do their work as well as my own. Sometimes I thought it would be better if I could do their jobs as well as my own because I'd do it right. I wrote four terse emails, asking ONCE AGAIN for various projects/reports/files that I needed yesterday, or last week, or even last month. Some people liked to put smiley faces and so forth in their emails to make them seem less mean, or terse. I didn't believe in that. Smiley faces didn't get anything done. People being afraid of you did.

But they weren't all bad.

Dad believed that no company could run without everyone being accountable, even him, which was why he had a board of trustees to make sure that happened. The only problem was that they were (mostly) a bunch of old white dudes that would be content going back to the 1950s to make sure women stayed in the kitchen and out of the boardroom. Ironic, considering they worked at a software company that was all about reaching for the future.

I took a cab back to my apartment, even though I could have taken the T. Dad had tried to make me use a driver, but I kept paying him off and then ditching him, so Dad had given up and compromised by buying me a car that I only used when I drove up to the summer house in Maine.

I'd grown up just outside Boston in a nice suburb, but had always longed for the noise and cacophony of living here. People said New York was the greatest city of all, but it was definitely Boston, hands down.

The other thing Dad had tried to insist on was a lavish apartment, on which I had relented, but only as long as my best friend from college, Sloane, could live with me. Dad adored Sloane, so it was easy to convince him.

"I'm home," I called as I slipped out of my heels and set my bag down by the door. "You will never believe the kind of day I had," I said, walking into the kitchen where Sloane was making . . . something.

"Rough day?" she said, handing me a glass of white wine. There were many reasons I loved Sloane, and this was one of them.

"Thank you. Um, you could say that." I told her everything about the interviews and then started the story about meeting Lucas Blaine as she stirred steaming and bubbling pots and pans on our six burner stove, her dyed blacker-than-night ponytail bobbing around. She'd been on a floral kick lately, and was wearing an ankle-length halter dress with a huge tropical flower print on the front. She'd accented it with chunky gold jewelry and gladiator sandals. I wished I could pull off her outfits, but I just couldn't.

Sloane was a fashion designer now, but when we'd met, she'd just been a girl from a bad family trying to get through college at an Ivy League university by the skin of her teeth. She'd made it and since then had been building a fashion empire, most of which had been spawned in this very apartment. She was brilliant, passionate and very persuasive, which is how she managed to fund everything. Even Dad wrote her a check. Anonymously, of course. She would never take money from me, and insisted on paying rent and utilities. And having the final say on all decorating decisions. Our place was cozy and cluttered, but everything fit together anyway. Bright and fun, we had lots of knickknacks and throw pillows and picture frames arranged to make the place feel welcoming.

Her blue eyes widened as I told her about Mr. Blaine. I was determined to call him that and not by his first name.

"So yeah. I am not hiring him. No way." I sipped the last of the wine and poured myself another. I was a bit of a lightweight, but this was a two-glasses-of-wine kind of night.

"Why not? I would. Then you could stare at him all day and pretend it's for work."

But how would I get any actual work done?

I sighed and decided to change the subject.

"What are you making?"

"Truffle mac, garlic asparagus, and mango sticky rice for dessert." In addition to being a fashion genius, Sloane was also an unbelievable cook. She was o

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