I think of Mallory and wonder what she would say about the numbers I came up with. Would she be impressed or offer her own opinion? It’s a funny and foreign thought to me, considering someone else’s opinion when making a decision. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, because I never cared what people thought of my ideas. But I find myself listening to Sarah go over everything I’d pulled together, and wondering if Mallory would agree.

Then my mind wanders further, and I think about Mallory in my bed after I’ve thoroughly loved her. Her mouth still swollen from mine, her hair messy from the things I’d done to her. We would lie there and I would talk about work. Share things with her I’d never shared with anyone else. I push the thought away when my body starts to react to the image in my head.

I wait for Sarah to finish the slides so I can answer any questions the room may have. But I’m comfortable there won’t be any. Sarah has been with me for years and I’ve never had to repeat myself with her. Ultimately I make all the final decisions at Osbourne Corp, but I understand what having a team around me can do.

I try not to think about Mallory because she’s been consuming my thoughts all day. I run my hands through my hair to calm myself, and try not to rush through this important acquisition meeting because I’m dying to get to her. Even if it’s only a glimpse. I look down at my phone to see if I’ve gotten any messages, but nothing.

The room goes over the proposal, each of them asking questions while I make notes. This is one of the last buyouts I’ll make before my plans are fully in place. I acted too soon with Mallory, and now I’m pushing hard and fast to clear everything up. I’ve had meetings all day to make this go forward, but I think things are finally settling into place. I’m cleaning up the mess I’ve made by striking quickly, and doing something I told myself I’d never do again. I showed my hand, and that has to be rectified.

* * *

With the sun setting, I dismiss the group, which is all too eager to leave. Even I can sense the tension that’s coating the room. I let them know I want responses by tomorrow with concrete plans in place. On the way out, my assistant follows behind me taking notes.

“I want the Harford deal closed by the end of the week,” I tell her, hitting the down button for the elevator.

“Hmm. How did you know I could move mountains?” she teases but I keep going, certain that she will in fact move one if need be. Jay might come off a little peppy but it’s actually her strong suit. She’ll annoy and bug anyone and everyone in this office until she gets what she wants, and that works for me because she’s getting what I want.

The elevator dings and we both get on. She hits the button for the lobby.

“What about Mr. Carson? This really is a problem. I still haven’t got an email back from him about the Stine project.” She lets out an annoyed huff. I know it’s because he’s working away from the office, meaning she can’t go knock on his door every five minutes.

“Fire him. Problem solved.”

She smirks. “Someone is extra perky today. Oh, and Taylor Campbell called. Again.”

I level her with a stare. Taylor Campbell is an up-and-coming politician and I can smell his shit a mile away. He keeps trying to get me to come to his events. Something I hate doing. All the people trying to get close, wanting to rub elbows with you. Always wanting something you can give them. I think about Mallory and how she would look all dressed up and on my arm for everyone to see. The thought is appealing but I liked the look of her in my bed more. Just the two of us.

The elevator dings, breaking me from the thought, and I exit. Jay doesn’t follow me. I turn and grab the door before it can close. “I left a few things in our share box I need you to clear out. If you work late, have one of the guards walk you to your car.”

She smiles. “Worried something might happen to me and you’ll never find someone to replace me who can deal with you?” I ignore her because she’s probably right. I used to burn though assistants every two months before her. A cold insensitive jerk many had said.

“Call Ivy and have her come in. We have a few things to finally tie up.”

Chapter Six


* * *

“How can you eat all that?” I ask paige as she shoves a giant piece of steak into her mouth before washing it down with a beer.

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