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This guy could offer me the moon, and I’d hand it right back.
Never in a million years did I expect to run into the biggest crush of my childhood.
But, of course, I have.
And I’m reporting to him at the new company I landed a big-time job at.
Arrogant. Hot as hell. Total jackass.
Why he’s still single is no mystery to me. He’s not willing to settle down.
He’s always been that way, and as far as I’m concerned, he always will be.
But, boy, is he beautiful to look at. Every part of me screams “run” as my insides turn to mush.
No. Not me too…
Not again. I should be immune by now.
I know him far too well to fall into this hopeless pit of adoration again.
But maybe there’s a way around it. It’s his power that drives me over the edge of insanity.
If I were the boss instead of him, I’d hold all the cards.
Good thing I’m always up for a challenge.
Funnily enough, this guy thinks he’s going to score.
He might have to redefine what getting lucky looks like after me.
At least, that’s the plan.
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There was no place better to be during the fall season than New York City. I’d experienced fall at Harvard, in Texas, and in too many other states and countries to bother mentioning. Growing up as the son of a Fortune 250 company owner, I had traveled a lot.
The traveling made me uniquely qualified to make the sweeping statement that there was no place better to experience the season than right here in the city I’d called home for the last five years, and planned to call home for the next fifty—at least.
Once the next fifty years were done and I was seventy-seven, then perhaps the allure of retiring to Florida would become too much for me to handle, and I’d move. But for now? New York was stuck with me.
Whatever arguments could be made for any other city in the world during fall, New York kicked their ass. The weather was cool enough to drink proper beer again, not that watered-down shit I hosed my insides with during summer. I could drink whiskey neat without it being warm and making me look like a total idiot. The mosquitoes were finally gone, and the fall concert scene was fucking brilliant. It was goodbye to the golden-oldies arena tours, and hello to the greats.
And yet, none of those things mattered right now because I was stuck inside one of the sixty-something-story skyscrapers that formed the skyline of my beloved city, and I was about to fire an incompetent fuck for being, well, an incompetent fuck.
The fuck ranted on and on. “I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do. I’ve done more than you’ve asked of me, actually. Half the shit I do isn’t even near my job description.”
I turned away from the view outside my fifty-eighth-story office window calmly, and I arched an eyebrow. “Really? You’re arguing that you’ve done everything I asked of you? You think you’ve done more than I expected?”
I picked up a thin stack of paper files from my desk and looked him square in his weaselly eyes as I dropped them back onto it one by one. “Jefferson, you forgot to make the trade. Khartoum, you lost the client two million because you didn’t do your homework. Collins, you know what you did to Collins.”
The investment banker I was berating worked at my dad’s firm—my firm one day. His name was John, but incompetent fuck worked just fine.
He heaved out an exasperated sigh, his hands flying to his hair. “Those kinds of things happen. If I didn’t have to—”
I lifted a hand, frowning so hard that the line between my eyebrows felt like the Grand Canyon. “Are you actually trying to make excuses? And did I hear you right? These kinds of things happen? Because they don’t. Not on my watch.”
“If I wasn’t doing the work of five people, it wouldn’t have happened,” he insisted stubbornly. “You can’t expect us to work eighty hours a week and not make mistakes.”
I scoffed, shaking my head. “I work more than eighty hours a week, and you don’t see me making mistakes like that.”
“Well congratu-fucking-lations, Kaden. But I’m not you. I didn’t grow up in this game. I’m doing the best I can, but realistically, it’s not feasible to do everything you expect me to do.”
“More excuses.” I flicked my wrist, fighting to stay calm. “You’re not performing how I expect anyone on my team to be performing. That’s it. End of story. I’m not interested in excuses.”
“Look, you’re focusing on my mistakes only. I’ve done some good work here. Think about it. I landed the Donnelly account, I got Smith out of that bind with the SEC, and I made Parker five bar.” Frustration came off him in waves.
Christ. If the guy wanted a cookie for doing his job on Donnelly and Parker, he came to the wrong place. As for the other thing… “Smith wouldn’t have been in a bind with the Securities and Exchange Commission if it wasn’t for you. All you did was pick up the phone to call your investigator friend to clear up a misunderstanding you caused.”
His shoulders slumped, hatred burning in his dull brown eyes as he clenched his fists. Aggravation was written all over him. It might as well have been stamped on his forehead. “You’re wrong. That wasn’t my fault. What do you know about it, anyway? You weren’t even there. You were probably off partying with your billionaire boys’ club friends on a yacht somewhere.”
“There is no club,” I shot back calmly, tempted to roll my eyes. If this idiot thought he was going to get a rise out of me by insinuating I was nothing but a rich party boy, he was going to be disappointed.
I’d been dealing with shit like that all my life. It rolled off me like water from a duck’s back. I knew that I kept my head down and I worked hard, just like I always had. I didn’t have anything to prove to anyone, John included.