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“You’ll be working one floor below on the nineteenth,” Mr. Carter said as he
escorted her to the elevator. “That floor is for our online marketing division.”
He pushed the button. “Go down there and ask for Nora. She’ll give you the
full tour and walk you through the papers you need to sign.”
“Right.” She nodded along. “Thank you again for this opportunity.”
The elevator dinged, and she stepped inside.
“It will be a pleasure to work with you, Miss Campbell,” he said. “Also
make sure you speak to Aiden Carter before you leave. You’ll be reporting to
“Carter?” Sydney repeated.
“Yes,” he said as the doors closed on his smiling face. “My son.”
Sydney took the short ride down to the nineteenth floor and stepped out into
a space that was the complete opposite of the one above.
Fast-talking, slick-suit-wearing people were milling about, working at desks,
or carting around posters and vision boards. The room she was standing in was
clearly for the day-to-day workings. There were rows of teak desks with
uncomfortable swivel chairs, and they were all penned in by conference rooms
and bathrooms and a breakroom.
Sydney picked one of the desk people at random and marched up to them.
She tapped him on the shoulder, and the man spun around in his chair to look up
“What?” he said bluntly, a sneer on his handsome face.
Sydney frowned at his tone. “I’m looking for Nora.”
He jerked his thumb at the person to his right. “Then you should be over
there bothering her, shouldn’t you?”
He spun back around, dismissing her, and she stomped over to Nora’s desk.
“Hi, are you Nora?”
“That’s me.” Nora rose from her seat and extended her hand. “You must be
Sydney struggled to keep her eyes from falling out of her head. Nora was
stunning. Like just-wandered-out-of-a-fashion-shoot, songs-written-about-her,
Her oval face boasted angular cheekbones, a rosebud mouth, and a pointed
nose all underneath a mass of luminous brown curls. Nora tossed her hair and
gave her a smile that reached all the way up to her whiskey-colored cat eyes.
Sydney grasped her hand and gave it a firm shake. “Nice to meet you. Mr.
Carter said you would give me a tour and tell me what papers to sign?”
“Well if that’s what the boss says then grab a seat and I’ll be right back with
the employment contracts,” she said cheerfully.
She stepped out from behind her desk and strolled off. She soon came back
with stacks of papers that she plopped down in front of Sydney.
Sydney took her time reading through everything. She paid special attention
to the salary and benefits package, but it was all there written in ink like Mr.
When she was done, she handed the papers back to Nora.
“Perfect. Now follow me, and I’ll give you the grand tour.” She set off down
the hall, walking briskly, and Sydney hurried to keep up.
“So there is the breakroom and the bathroom, but everyone uses that, so I
would suggest the one on the other side of the building. The copy room is down
the hall right next to the supply closet, and you’re welcome to use any one of the
conference rooms to get work done as long as they’re free.”
Nora’s mouth was running a mile a minute as she took Sydney in and out of
almost every room on the floor. Her head was spinning when they finally arrived
back at her desk.
“So do you have any questions?”
“Yes,” she said. “Where is my desk?”
She chuckled. “In Mr. Carter’s office, of course. That’s the room at the end
of that hallway.”
Sydney followed her finger and saw she was pointing at the one hallway she
didn’t take her down.
“And where is Mr. Carter?” Sydney asked, looking around.
“He is getting ready for a very important meeting.” Nora lowered her voice
like she was sharing gossip instead of just the day’s schedule. “The Carter
Group’s in the running to handle the entire marketing campaign for Elevate.”
Sydney’s eyes bugged out. “You mean that new tech company that’s going to
debut the first smart house? That’s huge.”
“Yep,” she nodded. “The account is worth millions, and Mr. Carter Senior
wants it bad. As a result, we’re all a little on edge today.”
“Absolutely,” she breathed, “landing an account like that would make your
Maybe even get you that job as marketing director.
“I should go meet Mr. Carter,” Sydney said quickly, “and start prepping for
the meeting. Can you tell me again where the other bathroom is?”
“It’s down that hallway and around the corner on your left. Past the supply
closet. You better hurry though. The meeting starts in fifteen minutes.”
Sydney didn’t waste any more time talking. She spun on her heels and
hurried down the hall to the bathroom. She needed to get in on this meeting and
start showing the higher-ups what she could do.
That thought made her pick up the pace. She would impress the Elevate
people and wow them with her ideas.
Sydney turned the corner, a smile on her face, and—
Sydney crashed into a hard wall of human flesh and was showered in
freezing cold liquid. Her victim gave a shout and went flying back. They
instinctively grabbed her, and she winced when a loud ripping sound signaled
the destruction of her brand-new blazer.
Sydney cursed. “For the love of—”
She looked up and the obscenities she was planning to say died on her
tongue. Flecked chestnut eyes blinked down at her over an aquiline nose
dripping with whatever was all over them both.
He looked down at the wet, brown stain on his white shirt and arched a
perfectly trim eyebrow at her. “This is not good.”
Her normal speech function returned, and anger came with it. “I’ll say it’s
not good,” she hissed. “I have a very important meeting in ten minutes, and now
my clothes are ripped, and I am covered with— What the heck am I covered
“That would be an iced caramel latte,” he said casually. “The one I was
going to bring to the CEO of Elevate at the very important meeting I need to be
at in ten minutes.”
Sydney froze, eyes widening in horror as they swept over him again. This
time she took in the strong jaw and broad shoulders she had seen once before
today. “Oh no,” she whispered, “are you—”
“—Aiden Carter,” he finished, shaking the damp off his hands.
Sydney groaned, putting her head in her hands. “This is not good.”
“And it’s about to get worse,” her boss said under his breath.
Sydney lifted her head and saw he was peering over her and around the
corner. She followed his gaze, and her legs went wobbly. Being escorted through
the main lobby by Carter Senior himself were a group of people who no doubt
“I can’t meet them like this. Dad is going to kill me,” he said breezily. He
looked down at her. “Or you. Whoever you are.”
At that moment, Sydney saw all her dreams going up in smoke. Becoming
marketing director, making an enviable salary, and finally getting her and her
elderly father into the home and life they deserve.
One spilled drink, and her entire life was ruined.
No! her internal voice screamed. Do something!
Sydney looked around frantically, and her eyes landed on the supply closet.
She snagged his hand. “Come with me,” she cried. She dragged him after her
and shoved him inside.
“Whoa with the pushing,” he grumbled, but Sydney ignored him.
“Quick! Get your shirt off!” she said, and she fell on him and started
scrabbling at his buttons.
“What are you doing?” he said incredulously, swatting her hands away.
“You are not missing that meeting,” she hissed. “You need to get out of these
wet clothes. Do you have something to change into?”
“In my office,” he replied, catching on. Following her orders, he began
unbuttoning his shirt. “In the armoire.” He grinned at her, revealing rows of
perfectly straight pearly whites. “Thank you, kind stranger…even though this is
your fault in the first place.”
She rolled her eyes. “I think you’ll find this was your fault. I’ll go get the
shirt. Use this to dry off. It’s ruined anyway.” She stepped back and slipped out
of her blazer, revealing the silky, spaghetti strap cami underneath. Thankfully,
none of the latte spilled on it.
His shirt was off.
“Here.” She walked toward him, holding out the ruined blazer. “Do I need a
key to your—”
She stumbled in her new not-quite-broken-in heels and cried out as she went
down, the blazer going flying. Aiden lurched forward and caught her, hooking an
arm around her waist and drawing her to him just as the door swung open.
They all froze. Sydney, Aiden, and the woman standing in the doorway
blinking at the sight of the boss half naked in the supply closet holding the new
girl whose ripped jacket was flung across the room.
The woman in question shook her head and sighed. “Not this again.”
she is thrilled to have the opportunity to invite people into the
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