Authors: Lilly Wilde
Copyright 2014 by Lilly Wilde
Cover Design by Lilly Wilde
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. The author does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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My husband for tolerating and understanding the countless hours I spent glued to my computer, my tablet and even my phone. And for smiling when I walked through the house screaming with excitement during each phase of this project.
My son for his critique/enthusiasm of my promos and book cover and his interpretation on the “select” passages I shared with him.
Of course I have to pay recognition to my already supportive group of fans who have followed me from my days of serving as admin on several Facebook pages and groups.
My Street Team, The Wilde Lillies: Jennifer, Brandie, Stephanie, Rocky, Julie, Kelly, You ladies rocked it! Your support and enthusiasm will never be forgotten.
My fellow author and sometimes friend (smile) BS. Thank you for helping me create such a wonderful pen name.
My previous assistant, AJ, although you only “assisted”
for about a week…when I initially mentioned my book project to you, your excitement/encouragement was incredible; it placed me back on track. My time with you
for a reason.
“Good morning Miss Cason.”
“Good morning Raina,” I replied, walking past Raina’s desk into my office. “I’ll be right in with your morning tea,” she said as she scurried off in the direction of the kitchen.
Walking into my office, I dropped my purse and briefcase on the meeting table; anxious to start another day at Raine Publishing House. I really love my job, I thought, as I sat behind the luxurious Parnian wood desk, one of the many recent furnishings for RPH’s new corporate offices. This desk was an excellent fit for my office. The company’s interior decorator had made every effort to select furniture that best fit the energy and vibrancy of our personalities. My desk was made of six different kinds of exotic wood, including ebony and Carpathian elm, and a piece of custom glass. I could see the logic in my choice of desks as I was definitely an exotic mix of
I took in the spacious office, the lavish décor and the breathtaking view overlooking the inner harbor. Being the President of Communications definitely included some serious perks. I smiled as I thought about the journey that led me here. I had been recruited by Blake Meade, the company’s CEO, soon after my internship with Skye House, RPH’s then subsidiary, which had since merged with RPH. As I retraced my life course, my smile slightly faded when my thoughts gravitated toward a place that I had chosen long ago to visit as infrequently as possible.
“Here you are Miss Cason.” Raina’s return redirected my attention to the present. I looked up and smiled, thankful for the welcomed interruption. “I also brought you a croissant. They were just brought in for the welcoming of our interns today. I thought you would like a fresh one.”
“Thanks Raina. What time are the interns expected to arrive?” I asked.
“They were scheduled to arrive at 9 o’clock but Mr. Meade wanted them to have breakfast and the tour prior to orientation. That pushes it back to about 10 o’clock. After breakfast, they’ll assemble in the conference room for orientation and report to their assigned departments directly afterwards.”
“What’s the name of the intern assigned to my division?”
“Harper Sheraton. His orientation literature is on my desk. Would you like to review his file?”
“Yes, that would be helpful.” I couldn’t recall why I hadn’t reviewed the resumes as I normally would. I usually fared better when I hand-selected my interns.
“You would think that after the fiasco of an intern who blew through here last spring that I would know to review this before now,” I said.
“Oh, yes. Miss Webber. She is one neither of us will soon forget; definitely one for the record books,” she added, smiling. Raina's auburn curls fell over her shoulders offering a contrast to her green pocket blouse. Her beryl blue eyes sparkling as she smiled. “Let me grab that file for you,” she said.
I sipped my tea as I watched Raina head back to her desk. She was an attractive woman with delicate features and a penchant for pencil skirts which were ideal for her thin, tall frame.
Raina returned with Harper’s orientation file. “Will that be all Miss Cason?” she asked.
“Yes Raina. Thank you,” I replied as she turned to leave.
Raina, having transferred to my division from editing, was an excellent executive assistant. She’d been with me since my first week as President of Communications at RPH. Upon my acceptance of this position, a search had immediately begun for someone to work alongside me. She was the fourth person I’d interviewed and I had taken to her instantly. I recall being extremely impressed with her tenacity, which reminded me very much of myself. This was her first job in several years since having children and becoming a stay-at-home mom. I attributed part of her determination for this job as liberation from that home-life. As rewarding as it may be to stay home and raise a family; every woman needed something outside of that to maintain her identity.
Raina had worked for Esquire magazine prior to the birth of her first child. At the end of her maternity leave, she had chosen her family over her career. Maybe that was part of the appeal, the maternal quality which I’d immediately appreciated and respected. I now attributed that to the fact that my own mother was absent in my life. But perhaps it was because she looked at me in a way I thought my sisters would have…with pride. Whatever the reason, I valued her immensely and I would be lost without her.
After reviewing Harper’s resume, I was convinced that I would have selected him myself. I set his file aside and reviewed the promotional campaigns that were scheduled to roll out within the next two weeks. I was so absorbed that I lost track of time. Thankfully Raina buzzed my phone ten minutes before the meeting. I closed the program on my computer, attached the clip on my cell phone and walked out to meet Raina. She and I discussed a minor change in my schedule as we made our way to the elevators.
We exited the 30th floor and walked down the hall to the conference room. Blake glanced my way and rushed over to us.
“Good morning Mr. Meade,” Raina said.
“Good morning Raina, please help yourself to some coffee or tea,” he said, motioning toward the buffet, clearly wanting her to excuse herself.
“How are you this morning Aria?” he asked.
“I’m well Blake, how are you?” I asked, attempting to discern his anxious expression. Blake Meade was a nice-looking man with deep set brown eyes and brown hair intermingled with a few streaks of gray. He was nicely built and typically carried himself with assurance; however, I didn’t see that today.
“Is everything ok?” I asked.
He sighed. “Well, it seems that corporate has expressed their disappointment in several of our divisions and they’re in the midst of evaluating the feasibility of some of our projects. I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll send someone here to analyze every aspect of our operations. I’m more than a bit concerned about this because as you know, our last few projects failed expectations by a wide margin.”
“Yes, the numbers were rather disappointing,” I agreed.
“Let’s find some time to get together and come up with a game plan. I’ll have Cynthia contact Raina to get something on your schedule,” he said.
“Yes, of course. We should also include Mike Ward; his division was unusually below budget projections,” I said.
“Yes, it was. I’ll get something scheduled for the three of us,” he said and he let out another sigh. “Well, looks like it’s time. Let’s get this started,” he said.
Following him toward the head of the table I stood next to the chair beside David, RPH’s Marketing Director. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with a mop of dirty blonde hair and thick, solemn brows that were offset by a boyish grin. Gunmetal blue eyes gleamed behind rectangular-framed glasses that sat at the very tip of his nose. David mentioned that he would have the final prints ready for my approval later this afternoon. We discussed the option of a business lunch if my schedule permitted, which I needed to verify with Raina. I scanned the room in search of her and stopped short at the gloriously handsome man standing near the door.
He appeared remarkably confident, browsing the room as if assessing it before making a decision to enter. I was practically gaping at him when his eyes finally connected with mine. Was it possible for the heart to skip a beat? Certainly in situations like this…because mine had. His eyes traveled the length of my body and then he nodded a hello. I smiled in response, unable to tear my eyes away. Who the hell was he? Whoever he was, I quickly surmised that he was unadulterated orgasm in a suit. Virginia gently throbbed as my mind instantly ventured to dark, naughty places. Oh, fuck me! Please!
Blake swiftly interrupted my mini daydream; and based on his expression, he had called my name more than once. Embarrassed by my momentary slip, I turned toward Blake with feigned interest, hoping he didn’t realize that I was going goo-goo over Mr. Fuck Me.
“Yes?” I replied.
“Would you like to begin the meeting and let me finish up or would you prefer I start?” he asked. He consistently made this offer and I consistently accepted. I really didn’t understand why we couldn’t forgo the never-followed agenda and allow this as the standing protocol.
“I can start.” I replied, hoping I could maintain focus despite my derailed thoughts.
“Good, I was hoping you would say that. It takes the pressure off of me to set the tone. I seem to always make people nervous,” he replied.
“I wonder why that is,” I said sarcastically, knowing exactly why, as I was sure he did. Blake was a very astute businessman and although he occasionally displayed a sense of humor, it wasn’t enough to counter his staidness. He came across as intimidating despite his infrequent efforts to appear otherwise.
I faced the staff and took a seat near the head of the conference table. “Good morning everyone, if you will all be seated,” I began. Everyone moved toward the chairs situated around the conference room table. I would have preferred Blake open the meeting because I was still rolling in the aftershocks of Mr. Fuck Me. I took a deep breath and reminded myself to focus on the agenda although I would have much rather focused my attention on the hot sexy stranger in the dark gray suit.
Once everyone was seated, I began the introductions. “My name is Aria Cason and I am Raine Publishing House’s President of Communications. I’ve been recruited to welcome you and present you with a brief introduction to the company and the agenda for our meeting today. I would first like to introduce you to some of the key staff of RPH who will also be speaking this morning. Starting clockwise, this is Adam Shelton-Senior Editor, David Shaw- Director of Marketing, Kent Richmond- Director of Finance and last but certainly not least, Blake Meade our fearless President and CEO. We’ve also invited a few RPH staff who will serve as your mentors during your time with us over the next few months. We’re all extremely pleased that you have chosen RPH as your intern site this summer…”
I spent the remainder of my briefing discussing the different areas of the company, devoting a great deal of time with details of my department and expectations. I went on to inform them of the success of previous interns who had been offered positions at RPH at the conclusion of their internships. I found it very difficult to concentrate and present the information as I normally would due to my fleeting thoughts. I had to continuously remind myself not to hone in too much on one particular individual.
Blake and Adam were next in line, offering their views from the perspectives of CEO and Editor. At the conclusion of the departmental introductions, Blake asked each of the interns to introduce themselves and provide details of the path that led them to RPH. When it was Mr. Fuck Me's turn, as expected, all of the women's eyes were glued to him. I rolled my eyes at the thought of either of these bland Betties thinking they stood a chance with a man like him. I was by no means an uppity type but I was a realist. And realistically speaking, there was not a chance in hell of them hooking up with this guy. He seemed above it all…above the frivolities of the hunt and the seduction. He had
written all over his face and he radiated a calm control sending his sex appeal through the roof.
As it turned out, his name was not Mr. Fuck Me; it was Aiden Wyatt. He was a Harvard graduate, having earned multiple degrees, one of which was a Master’s in business with a minor in finance. As he spoke of his education and work experience, my attention was fragmented by the intoxicating combination of his face and his voice. He was exceptionally attractive but more than that, he had that something about him that was more appealing than his looks. It immediately drew you in... as if he had
you. Yes, I was a True Blood fan, hence the term “glammer” which was the precise description because I was spell bound. I didn’t typically pay attention to a man’s mouth unless he was doing something intimate with it but I found myself watching his lips. The words dripped from them like warm honey. Was he aware of the heat he was creating? I could have literally reached an orgasm just hearing him speak.
After having received his business degree, he had attended Harvard Law School where he completed his law degree but upon graduation, opted for a different career. I was perplexed as to his consideration for an entry level position with such an impressive educational background. He was in a word… amazing. I would love to have met him under different circumstances. He appeared to be damned near perfect! Why did he have to be an intern? And an even better question, why was he interning here? With his level of education, he had endless career possibilities.
Aiden had been the last intern to speak. The director of Human Resources, Lorraine Atchison, entered to officially announce the department assignments. I assumed Aiden would work within the finance or legal department since he had a background in both. Good luck ladies; I couldn’t imagine the difficulty in working closely with him for a day, let alone the next four months.
I walked over to Harper just as Lorraine approached Aiden. I heard her mention the word
; obviously they were in conversation regarding the departmental assignments. I glanced toward the two of them. She was eyeing him as if she wanted to rip his clothes off. Not that I couldn’t see why. I was definitely relieved that he was not working in my department.
The room slowly emptied as everyone returned to their respective departments. Raina and I were exiting with Harper when Lorraine asked to speak with him. Was Lorraine coordinating last minute details with Aiden and Harper’s assignments? Maybe one of them hadn’t made the cut after all; which was unbelievable as they both were over-qualified. Aiden stood preparing to leave the room. I looked back at Lorraine and Harper and then Aiden