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A Win-Win Deal — An Executive Decision Free!

Ellison Thorne knows a good deal when he sees it and, no doubt, both he and Dee Henning would agree that a FREE download of the Kindle Version of An Executive Decision is a very good deal, indeed. Like most good deals, this one is time sensitive. Beginning October 10th through the 14th, you can download your copy and learn about Ellis and Dee’s secret weapon, which makes them the hottest business team around … in more ways than one.

Now’s the time to take advantage of this win-win deal and get a head start celebrating the anticipated November 1st print release with K D Grace and Grace Marshall. The deal’s on the table. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Blurb:

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

Ellis,

Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. Before I lose contact with all things Pneuma Inc to bask in blissful solitude of the rainforest, I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

 Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts. I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant. Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could. Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

 And in case you’re planning to write this message off as a sign of dementia due to my advanced years, I plan to invite her for drinks after I get back from Brazil and feel her out about the position. Just so you know I’m serious.

                                                                        -Beverly      

Ellis shut the email, took off his glasses and stared for a long moment at the blurred screen. Beverly was always right, he reminded himself. Then he shoved his glasses back on, opened the manila envelope and took out the information Beverly had left him. It was true, the list of work experiences and skills were impressive, and in a couple of years, at the rate she was going, Dee would be his choice for the position, hands down. But it was too soon. She was so unprepared for what she’d be facing. How could she be otherwise under the circumstances? And she was untried. He’d be throwing her to the lions. But Beverly believed in her. He prayed she was right.

He found himself reading over the personal information again, the intimate details about her that he shouldn’t know, but did. He found her intriguing in quirky ways. A love child, parents never married, spending summers in Paris, defying her mother to study business at Harvard instead of pursuing a career in music. The notes were all in Beverly’s hand. He wondered why she thought he should know all these things. Personal lives should be kept personal. There was no room for them in the workplace. But then again, there was no room in the work place for what he had done with Dee eight weeks ago, in spite of Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause.

Maybe Dee would turn him down. There was a good possibility. And then what?  He hadn’t even looked at the other resumes. The only one he knew who was at least halfway qualified, certainly more technically qualified than Dee, was Tally Barnes, but that was a moot point now.  Ellis jumped as a crisp rap on the door broke into his silent reverie. He shoved Dee’s resume back in the envelope, straightened his tie and stood to greet her.

‘Lynn? Are you in here?’ Dee entered the conference room dripping wet, turning to shut the door behind her without looking up. ‘Sorry I’m so wet. It’s pouring out there. The garage was full so I had to park in the drowned-dog section, or be late, and I make it a point to never be …’ She stopped in mid-sentence, frozen to the wet spot she was now making on the carpet. ‘Ellis!  I’m so sorry. I just assumed I’d be meeting with your secretary again.’

The classic lines of her dark blue power suit caressed her curves a little less discretely than they might have otherwise done had it not been wet. The rain had rendered her blouse partially transparent – just enough to reveal the contours of lace beneath, and he knew from personal experience just how nice those contours were.

‘Lynn told me you’d be gone,’ she was saying. But he was having a hard time paying attention to her words. Rhinestone droplets of water clung to her lashes and tendrils of damp hair curled around her ears. For a second, he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the woman glistening in front of him. She held his gaze with a half-smile, her cheeks tinged with the slightest hint of discomfort, discomfort he was sure he could match and raise. It took another second before he realized she was waiting for him to respond. He caught his breath and spoke in a mad rush. ‘I felt it was time we met in person about the executive assistant position. Can I get you a towel? I have an extra jacket if you’re chilled.’

‘Thanks, but I won’t melt, and I’m not cold. And if you don’t mind me dripping on the carpet, I have several more prospects for you to look at.’

He motioned her to follow him down the hall to his office. ‘After all you’ve done for Pneuma Inc in the past few years I think you’ve earned dripping privileges.’ He felt stupid the minute he’d said it, but it was out, and it got him the smile he’d hoped for. If she were angry at him for what had happened, if she felt in any way hurt or slighted, she hid it well. In fact she hid it a little better than he’d hoped. He’d hoped to get some idea of how she felt about him after … everything. If they were going to be working together, he needed to know if she harbored enough of a grudge to put cyanide in his coffee or set explosives off under his desk.

Amazon Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

A Win-Win Deal — An Executive Decision Free!

Ellison Thorne knows a good deal when he sees it and, no doubt, both he and Dee Henning would agree that a FREE download of the Kindle Version of An Executive Decision is a very good deal, indeed. Like most good deals, this one is time sensitive. Beginning October 10th through the 14th, you can download your copy and learn about Ellis and Dee’s secret weapon, which makes them the hottest business team around … in more ways than one.

Now’s the time to take advantage of this win-win deal and get a head start celebrating the anticipated November 1st print release with K D Grace and Grace Marshall. The deal’s on the table. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Blurb:

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

Ellis,

Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. Before I lose contact with all things Pneuma Inc to bask in blissful solitude of the rainforest, I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

 Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts. I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant. Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could. Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

 And in case you’re planning to write this message off as a sign of dementia due to my advanced years, I plan to invite her for drinks after I get back from Brazil and feel her out about the position. Just so you know I’m serious.

                                                                        -Beverly      

Ellis shut the email, took off his glasses and stared for a long moment at the blurred screen. Beverly was always right, he reminded himself. Then he shoved his glasses back on, opened the manila envelope and took out the information Beverly had left him. It was true, the list of work experiences and skills were impressive, and in a couple of years, at the rate she was going, Dee would be his choice for the position, hands down. But it was too soon. She was so unprepared for what she’d be facing. How could she be otherwise under the circumstances? And she was untried. He’d be throwing her to the lions. But Beverly believed in her. He prayed she was right.

He found himself reading over the personal information again, the intimate details about her that he shouldn’t know, but did. He found her intriguing in quirky ways. A love child, parents never married, spending summers in Paris, defying her mother to study business at Harvard instead of pursuing a career in music. The notes were all in Beverly’s hand. He wondered why she thought he should know all these things. Personal lives should be kept personal. There was no room for them in the workplace. But then again, there was no room in the work place for what he had done with Dee eight weeks ago, in spite of Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause.

Maybe Dee would turn him down. There was a good possibility. And then what?  He hadn’t even looked at the other resumes. The only one he knew who was at least halfway qualified, certainly more technically qualified than Dee, was Tally Barnes, but that was a moot point now.  Ellis jumped as a crisp rap on the door broke into his silent reverie. He shoved Dee’s resume back in the envelope, straightened his tie and stood to greet her.

‘Lynn? Are you in here?’ Dee entered the conference room dripping wet, turning to shut the door behind her without looking up. ‘Sorry I’m so wet. It’s pouring out there. The garage was full so I had to park in the drowned-dog section, or be late, and I make it a point to never be …’ She stopped in mid-sentence, frozen to the wet spot she was now making on the carpet. ‘Ellis!  I’m so sorry. I just assumed I’d be meeting with your secretary again.’

The classic lines of her dark blue power suit caressed her curves a little less discretely than they might have otherwise done had it not been wet. The rain had rendered her blouse partially transparent – just enough to reveal the contours of lace beneath, and he knew from personal experience just how nice those contours were.

‘Lynn told me you’d be gone,’ she was saying. But he was having a hard time paying attention to her words. Rhinestone droplets of water clung to her lashes and tendrils of damp hair curled around her ears. For a second, he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the woman glistening in front of him. She held his gaze with a half-smile, her cheeks tinged with the slightest hint of discomfort, discomfort he was sure he could match and raise. It took another second before he realized she was waiting for him to respond. He caught his breath and spoke in a mad rush. ‘I felt it was time we met in person about the executive assistant position. Can I get you a towel? I have an extra jacket if you’re chilled.’

‘Thanks, but I won’t melt, and I’m not cold. And if you don’t mind me dripping on the carpet, I have several more prospects for you to look at.’

He motioned her to follow him down the hall to his office. ‘After all you’ve done for Pneuma Inc in the past few years I think you’ve earned dripping privileges.’ He felt stupid the minute he’d said it, but it was out, and it got him the smile he’d hoped for. If she were angry at him for what had happened, if she felt in any way hurt or slighted, she hid it well. In fact she hid it a little better than he’d hoped. He’d hoped to get some idea of how she felt about him after … everything. If they were going to be working together, he needed to know if she harbored enough of a grudge to put cyanide in his coffee or set explosives off under his desk.

Amazon Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

An Executive Decision Now Available!

I’m very excited to announce the release of my novel, An Executive Decision! AED is Book One of The Executive Decisions Trilogy. Good things are worth waiting for, and with a lovely new cover and some spicy new scenes (Think Editor’s Cut of a film), I’m hardly able to contain myself! Romance is in the air in the executive suites at Pneuma Inc. The problem is, Ellison Thorne and Dee Henning think it’s just their secret weapon, The Executive Sex Clause, paving the way for fabulous win-win deals!

An Executive Decision is available exclusively on Kindle through October, but you can get your hot little hands on the print version 1st November.

Blurb:

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

At last Ellis pushed his chair back and looked up at her. ‘Marston refused the proposal.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Dee said again.

‘Not that it was a huge surprise, but I could have done nicely without him berating me for hiring someone incompetent and irresponsible to take Beverly’s place. That didn’t exactly make my day. What the hell happened?’

She felt the heat rising up her spine and onto her ears. ‘I overslept.’ She forced the words out into the chilled room.

‘You overslept?’

‘Yes.’ She nodded imperceptibly, feeling the scrutiny of his glare.

For a long moment he just stared at her. She forced herself to meet his gaze and held her tongue, afraid if she tried to say anything she’d burst into tears, and she despised women who cried.

‘That’s it, then? You overslept.’

She nodded again, swallowing hard.

‘Well that’s a relief.’ He leaned forward in his chair and rose almost as though he were going to leap over the desk and pounce. The tension in his body was palpable. ‘I was afraid you were lying on the freeway somewhere in a pool of blood. I’m so relieved that it was nothing so dire, and that you simply overslept.’ With each word, his voice grew louder until he wasn’t exactly yelling, but neither was there any way she could miss his message as each word drove her deeper into her chair until she felt as trapped as if she had been tied there.

‘I’m sorry,’ she forced a whisper through the roadblock in her throat, but the stinging behind her eyes warned that a swift exit would be necessary if she were to avoid the flood.

‘Sorry? You’re sorry? Tally had to pick up the slack. Do you have any idea how that looked? Just when I was starting to make progress with Marston, just when the man was beginning to listen to reason, you oversleep. You made Jamison’s deal seem all the sweeter, that’s what you did. Now, tell me what the hell’s going on.’

‘Pardon?’

He moved from behind his desk and paced the carpet in front of her like a bull ready to charge. ‘You’re supposed to be working to shore up the situation with Scribal. I told you up front that’s your major concern at the moment, then not only do you oversleep and miss an important meeting, but I find out you’ve been working on something else behind my back.’ Before she could respond, he turned on her. ‘Is Trouvères what you’ve been staying up half the night and missing meetings for? When I hired you, I never thought you, of all people, would neglect your responsibilities.’

‘I’m not neglecting anything. If you would just –‘

He interrupted her. ‘Don’t think just because I gave you this job, you suddenly know it all. I took a big risk hiring you.’ He stopped pacing and rooted himself in front of her, close enough that she had to strain her neck to look up at him. ‘You want to do something; you bring it to me first. You’re not ready to make that kind of decision on your own. You don’t have the experience it takes to…to…  You’re not Beverly.’

His words were a hard slap, felt more than heard above the roar in her ears. She wasn’t sure the ragged breathing her brain finally registered in the chasm of silence that followed his tirade was his or her own.

The phone rang into the charged atmosphere and Ellis jerked it from its cradle in a strangle hold. ‘This had better be good, Lynn. Wade? What the hell does he want? Can’t it wait?  We’re not finished yet. I can what?’ He heaved a sigh of resignation and slammed the receiver back down. ‘Wade wants to see you right now. He says I can get back to you on this, and believe me, I intend to.’ He nodded toward the door. ‘Well, go on, at least don’t keep him waiting. Pick up the notes on the meeting from Sandra.’

She stood on trembling legs and turned to go. As she reached for the door, he called to her. ‘Dee, I strongly suggest you make no more attempts to prove Marston right about you.’

Sandra joined her in the hall. ‘I have the meeting notes for you.’

‘Just put them on my desk. Wade wants to see me.’

Sandra nodded. ‘Yes, I know. I told him he did. And I told him to give you a few minutes in the ladies to freshen up first.’ She offered a reassuring smile and turned on her heels.

*****
Still breathing like a freight train, Ellis watched Dee disappear shutting the door behind her. He grabbed up the phone and called his secretary. ‘Lynn, hold all my calls. I don’t want to be disturbed. How long? Until I say otherwise, that’s how long.’ He slammed the receiver down, snapped his laptop shut and stormed down the hall to the lounge.

He shoved his way out of his jacket and tossed it across the wingback chair, then practically strangled himself in his efforts to loosen his tie. From the coffee table he grabbed up the remote and plunged the room into the wild raucous ride of the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Then he dropped onto the sofa struggling to breath, struggling to regain control, struggling to figure out what the hell had just happened. All through the meeting, when Dee didn’t show up, he was terrified that something horrible had happened, terrified that he would lose Dee the same way he had lost Beverly. And the relief he felt at seeing her. Jesus, the relief was like nothing he’s ever felt before.

If Lynn hadn’t called, if Wade hadn’t demanded Dee’s presence … If Ellis had had one more second with her, he would have yanked her up from the chair and fucked her senseless right there in the middle of the day with all of Pneuma Inc just outside his door, fucked her as though he might never get another chance, fucked her as though his life depended on it, and that’s exactly how it felt. He wiped cold sweat from his forehead and struggled to breathe. If he’d lost her, Jesus! He couldn’t even bear the thought.

Christ, he couldn’t go on like this. It felt like he was always either avoiding her or jerking off thinking about her. And damn if he wasn’t thinking about her all the time; the shape of her, the feel of her, the sass of her. He’d never wanted anything so badly. And then … and then she screws up so royally that all he wanted to do was punish her, to turn her over his knee for giving him such a scare, to … to … to fuck her until she couldn’t walk.

Buy Links:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

Welcome Grace Marshall: As Interviewed by Her Naughty Twin

It’s a pleasure to introduce my doppelgänger, Grace Marshall. Grace is no good at keeping a secret, and neither is our husband. Him I can’t lock in his room.  Her however, I finally had to until Xcite made the announcement of her new Executive Decisions trilogy official. Now that she’s been unleashed onto the world, along with her soon to be published hot romance novel, An Executive Decision, I’m very pleased to be the first to have her as my guest.

KD: Grace, you and I have known each other all our lives, and you’ve always been happy to collaberate  and make sure that I didn’t leave romance out of my smut. What made you decide to strike out on your own?

GM: Well, you know I’ve always been the true romantic between the two of us, KD, and as much as I love writing smut with you, I just thought it was time for me to go in search of my own Happy Ever After.

KD: Good for you! I think everyone should have a Happy Ever After. And wow! Are you going at it in a big way, a hot new trilogy with Xcite Romance right out of the blocks. Hon, you’re really hard core.’

GM: It takes one to know one, Sweetie.

KD: Thanks Grace. I’ll take that as a compliment. I’m really curious. You’re new trilogy, is it an effort to catch the Fifty Shades wave?

GM: KD, there was an Ellison Thorne way before there was a Christian Grey, and at the time Ellison Thorne made editors and agents nervous because he was just a little too hot, a little too risqué. He was ahead of his time, as was his outrageously competent and sexy new business partner, Dee Henning. I guess you could say that Fifty Shades was the coming of age novel that brought truly sexy romance into the mainstream all grown up and seductive. Hats off to Christian Grey for that. At last, romance for adults!

KD: You mean romance with hot sex? Well exactly! I’ve been saying that all along. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to see what goes on behind closed doors and in the back of limos and in elevators and … well you get the picture.

GM: You always were a bit of a voyeur, Hon.

KD: So tell my readers about Ellis and Dee. What makes their story so special?

GM: What makes their story so special? Four words, KD, four words, The Executive Sex Clause?’

KD: The Executive Sex Clause?

GM: It’s what happens when you’ve got two busy executives ready, willing and able to conquer the world and everything in it … but totally unable to find time for a love life.

KD: Hold on a minute, you mean sex is a part of the contract? Sounds pretty kinky to me.

GM: Oh, I don’t know, I think it’s actually quite practical. Think about it, a source of strings-free, on-demand sex would boost productivity and creativity, relieve stress, even reduce sick days. And who knows how much more two top-notch businessy types could accomplish if their junk wasn’t interfering with their brains.

KD: Wait a minute, Grace, that sound more like something I’d write. Where’s the romance? Where are the hearts and flowers? Where’s the staring longingly into each other’s eyes?’

GM: Oh, I promise there’s PLENTY of romance, KD. Because though Dee and Ellis might be able to work sex into their business arrangement, you and I both know the heart has its own agenda, and a secret like The Executive Sex Clause, a secret business strategy that cutting edge and that kinky is not going to stay secret for long. I’m sure you can imagine, there’ll be … consequences.

KD: Okay, I’m intrigued. I want to know more about Dee and Ellis and their Executive Sex Clause. Could we have an excerpt, please.

GM; I thought you’d never ask. Here’s a sneak peek.

An Executive Decision Blurb:

Over drinks one night after too many hours at the office, Ellison Thorne’s business partner, Beverly Neumann and his brother Garrett jokingly scheme the Executive Sex Clause, an innovative cure for Ellis’s lack of a love life. They speculate a source of no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity, minimize stress, and boost creativity for a busy CEO like Ellis. But they were joking, weren’t they?

Enter Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, what Dee lacks in experience, she makes up for in ambition and hard work. Dee is the queen of no-time-for-sex.

When stressful negotiations over a huge project break down, driving Dee and Ellis into each other’s arms, the aftermath is a deal even sweeter than they imagined. Suddenly the Executive Sex Clause no longer seems like a joke. Could it be the ultimate secret weapon for success? And why not, if no one else knows? But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis find out the hard way that there’s no such thing as no strings where the heart is concerned.

Excerpt:

‘I missed her again didn’t I? She’s going to think I’m avoiding her.’ Ellis dropped into the chair in front of Beverly’s desk and flipped absently through the files Dee Henning had just left. ‘It’s not her I’m avoiding, actually, it’s your silly retirement plans.’

‘You won’t be laughing when you come in here some morning and find my desk empty. You’ll be SOL big time, boy.’

He offered her an amused chuckle. ‘Who are you kidding, Beverly? You love this place and you know it. You’re not going to retire. How many false alarms have there been now, three?  Four? I’ve lost count. Face it; you’ll work here until you drop dead.’

‘Believe what you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.’ She pulled a manila envelope from the top drawer of her desk and handed it to him.

‘What’s this?’

‘My replacement. Since you won’t help, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. She’s been right under our noses all along.’ She rubbed her hands together with a shiver of anticipation. ‘Come on, humor me.’

Still holding her in a disapproving gaze, he took the envelope as though he half expected it to be booby trapped. He opened the clasp then slid the contents from inside and gave it a glance. ‘Wait a minute. This is a file on Dee Henning. You can’t be serious. You want a head hunter to take over running half of Pneuma Inc?’

‘Don’t be such a snob, Ellis. It’s not like she’ll be taking over tomorrow. I’ll be here to train her up to suit your persnickety standards.’

‘How did you get this information anyway?’ The file was too thick for a simple resume, and some of the pages looked like hand-written notes photocopied. Others were odd sizes, and the whole packaged smacked of Beverly’s scheming.

‘Portland’s a small city.’ Suddenly she seemed particularly interested in the leaves of a thriving Christmas cactus sitting on the edge of her desk.

‘Beverly?’

‘I’m friends with Irv McDowell, okay? At least I think we’re still friends.’ The look of driven-snow innocence gave way to something just slightly this side of devious.

‘You’ve been head-hunting from the head head-hunter? Dee Henning’s Jasper and McDowell’s star recruiter. Surely Irv didn’t give you this willingly.’

Beverly ignored the question and nodded at the photo he now held in his hand.

‘She’s exactly what you need on all counts. She may be only a few years out of grad school, but what impresses me is her accomplishments during that time. She reminds me of you back in the early days – young, hungry, dedicated… And pretty. Don’t give me that look, Ellis, you’d blush if you heard some of the juicy conversations about you I overhear in the ladies’ room.’

He pretended to ignore the photo. ‘Your delusions aside, it doesn’t matter — that she’s good looking, I mean.’

‘And that’s why you’re drooling over the photo? I may be old, Ellis, but there’s nothing wrong with my eyesight.’

He put the picture of Dee aside and flipped through the file. ‘What all do you have in here anyway?’ He read out loud from the photocopied pages. ‘Classically trained, voice and piano? Oh, that’ll come in really handy here at Pneuma Inc. In fact, I was just thinking of requiring it for all new employees.’

‘Stop being an asshole. It’s just background information, just stuff that’s good to know.’

The hand-written notes stated that both of Dee’s parents were musicians. Her father had sung in the chorus for the Paris Opera. Her mother was a soprano, who went to Paris on some summer program, and nine months later Dee came along. Ellis suddenly felt like a voyeur. ‘This is none of our business.’ He tried to shove the file back at Beverly, but she refused it.

‘Oh for chrissake, Ellis, there’s nothing in there I haven’t already wheedled out of the girl over coffee or drinks. Don’t be such a wuss.’

‘I’m sure she didn’t give you the copy of her finances over coffee and drinks.’

‘Oh that. Just tells us that we can’t appeal to her with money alone.’

‘Clearly she doesn’t need it,’ he said. He was surprised to find someone so young had such a good portfolio. She obviously knew how to make money work for her. She wasn’t exactly rich, but give her a few more years, and she would be.

‘My point exactly. Musicians tend to be poor, and I think our Dee has taken it upon herself not to follow in her parents’ footsteps.’

‘If the need ever actually arises for me to interview her, what makes you think she’s even interested in working for me? She’s got a growing career with Jasper and McDowell, and as you said, she’s making very good money.’

Beverly frowned. ‘Jasper and McDowell is a means to an end. Surely you don’t expect someone with her talent to settle in there permanently, do you? It’s the experience of working here with you that will appeal to her. She’s a perfectionist, never does anything half-assed. She’s always striving to be the best. She’s driven, just like you are. Remember that when you interview her.’

He shuffled pages. ‘What did you have to do to get this stuff, tie Irv to a chair and beat him with a tire iron?’

‘It’s amazing what a man will tell you over a couple of drinks.’

‘You got him drunk.’

‘It wasn’t that hard. He never could hold his booze. I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out sooner. She’s perfect for my job.’

Ellis looked down at the resume. ‘She’s not perfect for your job, Beverly. She’s too young, too inexperienced, and this is not even her area of expertise.’

‘The woman’s a head hunter, Ellis. She has to be competent in lots of areas. Besides, we’ve always been risk-takers, and those risks have always paid off. I’ll train her myself, and you’ll see, within a few months she’ll be able to run this place on her own.’

‘An opportunity she’ll never get because you’ll never retire.’

‘Forget about my retirement, Ellis. It’s time. You know it is. We need someone in training for when the inevitable happens.’

He gave up pretending to ignore the photo, which was definitely the nicest thing he’d looked at all day. Short, dark hair framed blue eyes, a straight Roman nose, and a full-lipped smile that suggested competence, with a touch of mischief. So this was what Dee Henning looked like. He’d often wondered.

‘Hire her, Ellis. It’s not just that I’m retiring, but I’m old. Hell I could drop dead anytime, then what?’

‘Oh for fuck sake, Beverly, we both know you’re too damned ornery to die. You’ll outlive me. But I tell you what, if and when you do drop dead, I’ll hire her. Hell, when you drop dead, I’ll give her your job on a silver platter and train her myself, I promise. Now can we get back to running the business here?’

Two weeks later, Beverly had sent him an email from the airport. The last email he got from her before she flew off to Brazil.

Ellis,

Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts.  I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant.  Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could.  Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

-Beverly

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© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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