Authors: Paige Tyler
©2012 by Blushing Books® and Paige Tyler
Copyright © 2008, 2012 by Blushing Books® and Paige Tyler
Originally published as “The Executive Assistant” by Paige Tyler
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eBook ISBN: 978-1-60968-782-3
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. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults. Nothing in this book should be interpreted as advocating any non-consensual spanking activity or the spanking of minors.
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Sydney Davis was late for work again. Not that being late was unusual for her. She usually showed up ten to fifteen minutes late every morning. It wasn’t that she was lazy or anything, but simply that her boss, Ted Willis, didn’t mind what time she came in. He didn’t care if she left early, or took long lunches so she could run errands or fit in a yoga class, either. She would have felt a little guilty about it, but he was always the one motioning her out the door. She might have wondered if he was having an affair with someone in the company if he wasn’t such a devoted family man.
Pulling her Mini Cooper into a parking space, Sydney grabbed her purse from the passenger seat, then headed across the parking lot. Because she always got to work after everyone else, she usually had to park in the north Dallas forty, but she didn’t mind the walk. Unless it was raining. In Seattle that could be an everyday occurrence. But today, the summer sky was a beautiful, clear blue without a cloud in sight.
When she stepped off the elevator on the top floor of the building, Sydney was surprised to find a crowd of people gathered in the atrium. Seeing her friend Erika Wilson among the group, Sydney hurried over to her.
Erika turned, but didn’t give Sydney her usual smile. That couldn’t be good. “Hey.”
Sydney jerked her chin at the crowd. “What’s going on?”
“The big cheeses in Dallas weren’t too happy about us being way over budget on that government contract.” Erika tucked a strand of blond hair that had escaped from her bun back behind her ear. “Pink slips have been flying since I came in this morning.”
Sydney blinked. Design-Tech Software had always being a very stable company to work for. She couldn’t remember anyone ever getting fired. “They’re canning people just because we’re a little over budget?”
Her friend shrugged. “Apparently, it wasn’t that little. From what people are saying, we’re over budget by ten-million dollars.”
“Congress is threatening to cancel the whole program unless we fix it quickly. Which means downsizing. They’re firing the people they can afford to do without and forcing others to take early retirement.”
She and Erika didn’t qualify for the second group, but that about the first? “Anyone I know?”
Silly question. Considering she spent about as much time socializing with her coworkers as she did working with them, she knew just about everyone who worked there.
Her friend gave Sydney a sympathetic look. “Ted’s in his office packing up his desk right now.”
Sydney’s mouth fell open. Ted was one of the casualties? But he’d been with the company for years. Which was why he was the perfect candidate for retirement.
Her mouth tightened. “I’ll see you later.”
Hiking her bag higher on her shoulder, Sydney slowly made her way between the cubicles to the corner office. The outer room looked the same as it had when she’d left yesterday. Her desk was tidy and free of clutter, the computer turned on and waiting. The magazines were neatly stacked on the table for visitors. Even the coffee was made. The only indication that something wasn’t right was the noise coming from Ted’s office. He was always so quiet, she hardly knew he was there.
Sydney stood where she was for a moment, listening to her boss pack up his desk. She frowned as she pictured the poor old man stacking the precious, framed photos of his grandchildren neatly into a cardboard box. What the heck was she going to say to him?
With a sigh, she walked across the room and into the inner office. At her entrance, the older man looked up. His usual jovial expression was gone, replaced by something that made him look twice his age.
“You heard?” he asked, reaching for a photo that was on the desk.
Sydney nodded. “I can’t believe they did this to you. It isn’t fair.”
He summoned a bland smile. “One of the drawbacks of being a Senior VP, I’m afraid. The project’s over budget and the head office needed someone to blame.”
It still didn’t make it right. “What will you do?”
He shrugged and put another photo in the box. “I’ve been wanting to move to someplace warmer. Maybe I’ll give Arizona a try. That way I’d be closer to the grandkids. I was looking at retiring soon, anyway.”
Ted fell silent as he rearranged the things inside the box. Not knowing what else to do, Sydney walked over to the bookshelf and took down the photos there. Going back over to the desk, she placed them in the box with the others.
“Do you know who your…?” She’d almost said replacement, but stopped herself. There had to be a more tactful way to ask Ted if he knew who she’d be working for now. “Do you know who the new vice president is going to be?”
Sydney hoped it wasn’t that jerk from down the hall, Andrew Conrad. He’d been sucking up hard to get Ted’s job for the past year. If she had to work for that pig, she’d probably throw up.
Ted shook his head. “No. But I heard it was someone from the Dallas office.”
Crap. That was even worse. The executives who’d visited from the Dallas office were all workaholics who made no secret of the fact that they didn’t care for the laid-back attitude of the Pacific Northwest. She could only imagine some hard-ass in a thousand dollar suit and a cowboy hat running the department.
Ted left around mid-morning amid tearful hugs and loads of good wishes. Sydney helped him carry the boxes to his car, then went back up to her office to wait for the new vice president to arrive. No one showed up, so when Erika came by a few hours later to ask if she wanted to go to lunch, Sydney took her up on the invitation.
“Any idea who your new boss is?” Erika asked around a mouthful of salmon.
Sydney sipped her iced tea. “No. Ted thinks it’s going to be someone from the Dallas office.”
Her friend made a face.
“Tell me about it,” Sydney muttered. “I’m praying it’s someone from Seattle.”
“Anyone in particular you’d rather work for?”
She chewed on her lower lip, mentally running through the possible list of contenders. “I wouldn’t mind working for Ken Barnes.”
Erika smiled. “Me, either. He’s cute.” She speared another piece of fish. “Who else?”
They went through everyone on Sydney’s list, giving careful consideration to each of them before coming to the conclusion that all of the nominees were too young and inexperienced to fill the position. Too bad. Sydney’d adored Ted, but she certainly wouldn’t mind if her new boss was a hot hunk.
Figuring there was no need to hurry back to the office, especially since the new VP probably wouldn’t be in for a while, Sydney stopped at the mall on the way and did some shopping. She’d only intended to go to one or two places, but then she spotted some outrageously good sales at her favorite clothing store. Before she knew it, it was almost two o’clock. If Ted was still her boss, she wouldn’t have worried about it, but it would be just her luck to have the new vice president show up while she was out shopping.
When she got back to Design-Tech, Sydney ignored the impulse to stop by Erika’s office and tell her about the great bargains she’d gotten. Her friend might know about her flexible work schedule, but that didn’t mean she liked to rub it in the other woman’s nose. Besides, it was likely that part of her benefits package was going to come to a stop now anyway.
Sydney tossed her purse in the bottom drawer of her desk and was about to pull out her chair when she heard sounds coming from Ted’s office. She frowned. The new vice president? Hoping he wouldn’t notice she’d taken an extra-long lunch, Sydney took a deep breath, smoothed her skirt over her curvy hips and tucked a strand of dark hair behind her ear, then walked through her office into the one that now belonged to her new boss.
He was standing behind the desk, completely unaware of her presence as he read something from the manila folder in his hand. Sydney paused in the doorway to study him. Since his head was down, she couldn’t see his face, but it was obvious from his dark hair and broad shoulders that he was a lot younger than her previous boss. Since he was going through the files, she assumed he was the new VP. Then again, after the shake-up that morning, maybe she shouldn’t assume anything. For all she knew, he could be an auditor or something.
Sydney cleared her throat and walked into the room. “May I help you?”
The man lifted his head, his soulful dark eyes meeting hers. Sydney caught her breath. When she’d been hoping her new boss would be younger than Ted, she hadn’t expected him to be gorgeous as well. Tall and well-built, he had an angular jaw and rugged looking features to go along with those penetrating eyes—a combination that had her pulse suddenly fluttering. Please, let this be her new boss.
He closed the folder and set it down on the desk. “I’m Max Daniels, the new vice president. And you are?”
Sydney didn’t think she’d ever heard a guy with a sexier voice. It was nothing like the usual loud-mouth jerks who’d shown up from the Dallas office before, that was for sure. Deep and velvety smooth, with just the barest hint of a Texas accent, his voice seemed to caress every inch of her body. She got so caught up it took a moment for her to find her own voice.
“I-I’m Sydney Davis.” she started to say, then corrected herself. “Your executive assistant.”
Max Daniels’ dark eyes were coolly assessing as they took in her long dark hair, blue eyes, pencil-slim skirt and silk blouse. “Tell me, Ms. Davis, do you always take so long for lunch?”
Sydney felt herself flush. So he had noticed. Damn. “N-no, of course not. I mean, I didn’t take a long lunch. I left late because of all the work I had to do this morning. I took a normal lunch.”
His mouth tightened. “Really? That’s strange. Since I’ve been here for over two hours.”
“I was down in Accounting before I left for lunch,” she lied.
He regarded her skeptically. “I see. In the future, check with me before you go to lunch.”
How the hell was she supposed to check with him when she didn’t even know he was here? “Of course, Mr. Daniels.”