All the way from Down Under!
The New Boss
by Kathryn Royce-Martin
THE NEW BOSS by Kathryn Royce-Martin
Cassie forced herself out of bed and into the shower. She felt like crap but loved her job and wasn’t going to let a lousy cold stop her. A hacking cough shook her body as she dried off and moved to the mirror to apply her makeup. The pale, red-eyed face staring back pulled a yelp from her.
“Oh great, meeting the new boss today looking like this. Great first impression O’Neil.”
Attempting to tame her unruly, dark red curls she eventually dropped her hands in frustration.
“Nice to meet you Mr. Oakes, I’m your events manager, Quasimodo! Arrrrrrgghhhhh.”
She pulled herself together, choosing her favourite teal coloured skirt, matching jacket and a soft grey blouse. Piling her unco-operative locks on top of her head, she pinned a matching burette underneath and applied extra makeup to hide the dark circles under her eyes. She stood back and assessed herself in the mirror. Thankfully, she looked better than she felt. Squaring her shoulders, she grabbed her handbag, slid on her heels and walked out of her apartment to the lift.
Her apartment was only a few blocks from the Oakes Foundation building so she decided to walk. Entering the Oakes building, she smiled at Anne at reception and stepped into the lift. She pressed the button for the fourteenth floor, moved to the back, and pulled out her phone. By the sixth floor, only one man was left. She lifted her eyes, allowing her gaze to flick over him and froze. He was gorgeous, around six feet two, with black, shiny hair hanging rakishly over deep blue eyes. He wore designer, grey chinos and a black shirt that hugged his muscled torso.
Swallowing hard, she forced her gaze back to her phone but couldn’t resist stealing another peek. His fingers were flying across his phone screen.
Some gorgeous bimbo, no doubt. I bet she’s not a redhead with uncooperative hair and a runny nose.
When the lift reached the fourteenth floor, Cassie was surprised when he strode out and headed Andrew’s receptionist. Hesitating near the coffee machine, Cassie poured freshly brewed coffee into her cup and watched him.
“Dane Oakes, I have an appointment.”
“Yes Mr Oakes, Mr Mills won’t be a moment, please take a seat.”
Cassie gasped, and spilled coffee over her hand.
THE Dane Oakes, son of the CEO of the Oakes Foundation! No wonder he’s in the papers with different women every week, he’s hot!”
Settling himself in a chair, he glanced in her direction. She dropped her gaze, hurried to her office, closed the door and flopped into her chair. Dragging in a deep, calming breath she pulled up the file for the upcoming conference.
Dane’s eyes followed the stunning redhead down the corridor. Her hips swayed seductively in her tight skirt and her long legs in those killer heels had his heart thumping. He ran his tongue distractedly over his perfectly formed, white teeth and reined in errant thoughts of those legs wrapped around him. Hauling in a deep breath he focused on Andrew Mills approaching, hand extended.
Cassie was updating her latest project plan when there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” she called distractedly.
Andrew’s head popped around her door, “Do you have a moment?”
“Of course …”
She stopped mid sentence and her mouth went dry when Dane Oakes followed Andrew into her office. For a split second she couldn’t move, her pulse skittered, her palms were suddenly sweaty. Pulling herself together, she smiled politely and stood but lapsed into a coughing fit making her eyes stream and her nose run.
Just great. Quasimodo at your service!
When she’d recovered, Andrew made the formal introductions.
“Cassie, this is Mr Oakes. He is here to observe our operations.”
“Mr Oakes,” Cassie managed, offering her hand.
“Call me Dane, please.”
He flashed a heart stopping smile and took her hand. His voice was like warm chocolate. His touch sent little electric shocks up her arm and she bit her lip to suppress a gasp. This man was seriously good looking and her body reacted accordingly.
“Cassie is our best events manager. She’s currently working on the upcoming international news conference.”
Dane held her hand a little longer than necessary.
“I’d like to see your project plan later.”
“It should be ready for you by lunch time.”
“Good. I look forward to working with you.”
He glanced back over his shoulder as they left her office and she swore his eyes were a much darker blue than previously.
Dane forced himself to breathe steadily as he spoke with Cassie. Her delicate hand had his pulse racing and his body reacting. He’d barely resisted rubbing his thumb over her soft skin. Just a normal reaction to a good looking woman. Actually, she was downright beautiful.
His reaction to Cassie O’Neill completely surprised him. He had long ago given up on finding the one woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The women he dated now were safe. Boring. He didn’t allow any of them to truly know him.
His thoughts drifted back to the stunning redhead, in the office down the corridor. He was sure she wouldn’t be boring. Uncharacteristically, he had to ask Andrew to repeat what he’d just said. Wrenching his focus back to business, he shoved all thought of Cassie temporarily to the back of his mind. He wasn’t going to become involved with this woman. For one thing, he had to work with her, and she unsettled him. That could be bad news.
Later that afternoon, Dane entered Cassie’s office, moving with the smooth grace of a predator. Pulling a chair up beside her, he settled himself a respectable distance away.
“Okay, Cassie, show me what you have on the conference.”
She was feeling dreadful again and his devastating smile was a deadly weapon to her fragile mood. Breathing deeply, she brought up the project plan on her laptop, giving him a rundown of the budget, milestones and risks. He seemed impressed and asked a number of questions.
Dane was struggling to contain his reaction to her and that made him grumpy. With a supreme effort he tamped down his bad mood so he could focus on the great work she’d done. They discussed the project and her enthusiasm for her job took over, dispelling the nervousness she’d displayed earlier. When she had finished, she waited expectantly. Dane thought for a moment, unconsciously running his tongue along his teeth.
“You’ve done a great job so far, but I’d like to work with you on this. It’s a prestigious event and I want to make sure everything is perfect.”
Her temper flickered to life.
“It will be perfect, Mr Oakes. I have organised many similar events and have an excellent reputation. You only have to check my file …”
“I’m fully aware of that, but my involvement in this is non-negotiable. Thank you for your time Miss O’Neil.”
He strode out of her office.
Yep, his initial assessment of her had been correct, a beautiful woman with impossibly long legs and the emotional stability of a barbie doll. He shoved his hands into his pockets and stalked to his office, strangely disappointed that he’d been right.
Cassie sat at her desk, stunned, then rose, sweeping into Dane’s office, furious. His eyes lifted from the papers on his desk as she barged into his office without knocking.
“I don’t know why you’re here Mr Oakes, but I do know how to do my job. Where do you get off checking on my work as if I’m new at this? Are you trying to show your father you’re not the spoiled playboy the papers say?”
“Calm down, Miss O’Neil, and please refrain from shouting at me.”
A modicum of common sense returned and she dropped into a chair, her anger giving way to despair. Dane stood and moved around to the front of his desk. She winced as he unleashed the full force of his furious gaze on her.
“Firstly, Miss O’Neil, do not believe everything you read in the newspapers. I am fully aware that you know your job, and I do not need to explain my decisions to you. Now take a break and pull yourself together.”
Turning back to his desk he lowered himself into his chair, effectively dismissing her. Cassie’s eyes filled with tears.
“You’re not going to fire me?”
Irritated by her continued presence, he looked up, his ire dissipating when he saw her damp eyes. Dane couldn’t fathom why this woman affected him so. Damn it if his desire hadn’t ramped up when he’d seen her eyes brimming with tears.
“No, Miss O’Neil, I am not going to fire you. Why don’t you get yourself some of that coffee you enjoyed so much this morning?”
Nodding, she walked out of his office without another word, dabbing her eyes.
Andrew stood at his door, having heard raised voices in Dane’s office. She managed a tiny, watery smile as she headed for the coffee machine. She poured a cup and Andrew approached her.
“Cassie, what the hell just happened?”
“I lost it Andrew, I’m sorry. I’ll apologise later, I promise.”
She couldn’t hold back the sobs. Andrew steered her into her office, shut the door. Doing his best to comfort her, he dragged his clean handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to her. She wiped her eyes, smearing her mascara, and apologised again.
“Cassie I think you should go home.”
Agreeing, she thanked him, retrieved her handbag, and slipped into the bathroom. She barely recognised the miserable creature looking back at her from the mirror. Her mascara was streaked down her face, her nose was red and her eyes were puffy.
Oh great, I look as bad as I feel.
She splashed her face, reapplied a little foundation, then added a small amount of mascara. Squaring her shoulders, she walked out of the bathroom. She’d almost made it to the lift when she heard a familiar voice. Her shoulders sagged.
“Leaving so soon, Miss O’Neil?”
Dane Oakes leaned in the doorway, his arms crossed over his broad chest, looking every inch the arrogant playboy. She spun round but refused to look into his eyes.
“Y…yes I don’t feel well.”
He knew he should leave this, but he couldn’t.
“I’ll drive you home.”
She opened her mouth to argue, but gave in and nodded. Taking her elbow, he guided her into the lift and jabbed the button for the ground floor. She sagged against the wall of the elevator.
“My car is out the front.”
He guided her through the revolving door at the building entrance towards a bright red Ferrari, and wondered what would happen if he kissed her. Frustrated, he pulled the keys out of his pocket and pressed the button. She gaped at the expensive sports car. Impatiently, he pulled her towards it, opened the door and guided her into the passenger seat.
“Wow,” she smiled as he slid into the driver’s seat beside her.
“Nice isn’t it.”
She nodded as he accelerated into the traffic.
“Where do you live, Miss O’Neil?”
Cassie was gazing out at the traffic and didn’t hear him for a moment.
“Where do you live?” he asked again, impatiently.
She told him and he didn’t bother with any further conversation until he parked out the front of her apartment building. Opening her door, he offered his hand to help her out of the low bucket seat. She took it, feeling the same tingle she had earlier, but ignored it, too tired and miserable to care. He yanked his hand back as soon as she was standing on the sidewalk.
“Well, I hope you feel better, Miss O’Neil.”
Before she could thank him, he jumped in the sleek sports car and drove away, She watched him leave, then wearily made her way up to her apartment.
Cassie felt worse when she woke the next morning. For the first time since she started at the Oakes Foundation, she called in sick, settled back into bed and drifted off to sleep.
She woke with a start several hours later to loud knocking. Stumbling groggily from the bed, she looked through the peephole to see who was knocking, and jumped back. Why was Dane Oakes at her door? She stood for a moment, not knowing quite what to do.
When Andrew informed Dane that their meeting was cancelled because Cassie wasn’t well, Dane waited almost an hour before he left the office, then drove hard to her apartment. By the time she’d answered her door, he was furious.
“Cassie, I know you’re in there. Open the damn door.”
She opened the door to Dane, dressed impeccably, a lock of his hair hanging rebelliously over one eye. His chin was covered in designer stubble and he looked delicious.
He pushed past her and stormed into the apartment.
“Is this about what happened yesterday? Because if it is, I think you really need to grow up.
Cassie went from perplexed to livid instantly.
“Who the hell do you think you are, coming into my apartment and speaking to me like that? Get out now!”
Suddenly catching her scent, he froze, his eyed wide, and stammered an apology.
“I …Cassie, I’m sorry.”
Surprised, she watched him slowly approach. He stopped an arm’s length away and she had to tip her head back to look into his face. When she did, her pulse skittered. He stepped closer. She felt the heat of his muscular body and smelled his spicy, masculine scent. Why did he have to smell so good?
Hesitating briefly, he claimed her lips with a searing kiss. Her arms snaked around his neck and her body melted into his. Momentarily breaking the kiss to gaze at her exquisite face, he ran his tongue over his long, white fangs, growled softly and melded his lips to hers again. His tongue sought entry into her eager mouth as he scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. Her intoxicating scent drove him wild.
Suddenly, it all made sense. She was his true mate! That explained why he’d had trouble keeping his fangs hidden around her. He grinned. He desperately hoped she’d agree to being changed into a wolf, or he was screwed!
Kathryn Royce Martin
My website is: https://kathryn-royce-martin.com/author/kathrymartin/
My facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KathrynRoyceMartin
New bosses can be pretty intimidating while getting to learn what they like and don’t like, don’t you agree?
I hope you enjoyed Kathryn’s short story and give a shout out to her!
Thanks, Kathryn, for sharing with us today, all the way from Australia!!!!