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Right Where I Want You
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There’s a thin line between love and hate . . . and it cuts right through the middle of their office.
Bad boys? They run right over good girls like Georgina Keller. But after a confidence-shattering breakup, she’s determined not to let anyone at her new workplace push her around—least of all the brooding creative director, a “bad boy of publishing” who’s made it clear she’s enemy #1.
Sebastian Quinn’s taste for fast cars, late nights, and beautiful women may have gotten him to the top of a leading New York magazine, but the reputation that made him is suddenly threatening to end his career.
Georgina can help Modern Man shed its bad reputation, but in order to do that, she’ll have to start at the top—and no amount of rakish charm or inconvenient attraction will distract her.
Because if Sebastian gets her right where he wants her, it means she’s going down.
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A dragon disguised as a businesswoman breathed down my neck.
I’d been in that position more times than I could count—a desperate grab at coffee before work, applying mascara in line, praying sidewalk congestion wouldn’t make me late. But on this particular day, it was the woman behind me breathing fire as she muttered, “It’s not like I have the most important meeting of my life in five minutes.”
I was actually early in hopes of making a good impression on my first day at a new assignment. Behind the café’s register, my best friend, Luciano, scribbled on a paper cup while arching a manicured eyebrow at me. He shook his head—a warning to stay put—and tapped on the name he’d written.
Message received, loud and clear. But Luciano hadn’t been the one standing there for three minutes, withering under the wrath behind me.
Although it was a big day for me, I really wasn’t in a hurry, because I’d planned ahead. The night before, I’d lain out a respectable white blouse and navy skirt suit to lead a meeting dominated by men before mapping out all possible routes from Brooklyn Heights to Midtown. I didn’t typically choose my outfits the night before like a grade schooler. The norm for me was hitting snooze too many times and leaving my fate in the hands of the public transportation gods.
But this assignment was different. I’d be working with men, and not just men, but so-called “bad boys.” And I’d been given less than a week to prepare—not only my notes, but my mindset too. Modern Man, a men’s interest monthly magazine, had already been losing market share before its creative director had been called out in a scathing exposé about sexism in the workplace. That was the environment I was walking into.
The woman exhaled another furious sigh against my hair. I turned and smiled at the brunette in a patterned blouse who tapped out something on her phone.
“You can go ahead of me,” I said.
She took a moment to finish what she was typing before looking up. “What?”
“It sounds like you have somewhere to be. I’m early, so go ahead.”
“Great.” She stepped in front of me.
The man behind her moved up in line, passing me. “I’m late for work too,” he said, turning away and effectively moving me to the back of the line.
My cheeks warmed. So he’d just assumed I’d let him go ahead too? That I wouldn’t speak up? Giving up my spot in line was a good deed—I didn’t have to do that. Well, maybe karma would handle this.
“Karma? That bitch was squashed by the M-fourteen bus while trying to catch up with my ex,” Luciano had told me once.
I didn’t agree. Karma may not have been swift, but it always got you.
I raised my hand to tap the man’s shoulder, then hesitated. Hadn’t he said he was also late to work? And I was early for once. The commute to my new job was thirty minutes, so I’d factored in possible A-train delays, traffic if I had to take a cab, or even the possibility of jumping on the ferry. I’d left myself enough time that, should disaster strike, I’d still be able to get my daily mocha latte—because not having one was on par with said disaster.
Of course, the subway had been smooth sailing and the commute a breeze.
So, I wasn’t just early to work. I had another forty minutes before I needed to walk off the elevator and into Modern Man magazine’s offices on the thirty-fifth floor of Dixon Media Tower.
I lowered my hand but stared daggers at the man’s bald spot. Do your worst, Karma.
I could practically hear Luciano’s thoughts as he stared at me and pumped dark roast into a cup. This was the sort of thing—getting pushed to the back of the line—that I was supposed to be working on. I wasn’t doing such a great job of morphing from Georgina into George, the side of me that could stride into a new workplace and take over without batting an eyelash. As Georgina, though? I did things like pay full price at the Brooklyn Flea so I wouldn’t have to haggle and apologize for slipping in an unidentified puddle and knocking over a candy display at Duane Reade.
I now had a half hour to get it together so I could confidently walk into the lion’s den. And I would—just after I’d gotten my latte.
Luciano and I air-kissed when I reached the counter, but he said, “It’s not even nine in the morning, and you’ve already let at least two people wipe their feet on you.”
“I’m early for work,” I said, handing him exact change. “It was the nice thing to do.”
“Too nice.” He tapped the screen of an iPad to enter my order. “You’re too nice.”
“So, what’s wrong with that?”