Authors: Mina J. Moore
Black Orchid Press
Copyright © 2012 Mina J. Moore
All Rights Reserved
This eBook is licensed
for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away
to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person,
please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this
book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then
please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the
This is a work of
fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is
Special thanks to
Nickie Asher. Your words of encouragement have been invaluable and I truly
appreciate everything you’ve done to help me on this journey. Much love to my
beta readers, Michele Archer and Sallie Lundy-Frommer.
C.J. Ellisson, thanks
for your guidance and vision.
MILTON marched into her office and bit off a growl at the files piled on her
desk. Things were bad on a company-wide level. Informing people they no longer
had a job was a bitch and something she didn’t look forward to. The
preparations seemed worse than the actual sit-down. The overjoyed voice
belonging to one of the people on her list of doom carried over and Denise
rolled her eyes. Gina Rhodes waltzed into the office ten minutes late. Early
for her. Instead of getting right to business she mingled in the hall outside
Denise’s door and did a trial run of
on why Johnny didn’t get to
school on time because his mother was late coming back from an overnight
Denise swore Gina knew
more about everyone else in the company than Fred Kern who had been employed
when they had laid the first brick. Damn sponge.
The annoying voice
drew closer and Denise cringed. The ass kissing Gina was bringing wouldn’t
nullify her lack of time-keeping. She could write a dissertation on
The Many Ways of Fucking up at Work
Denise studied the
files on her desk hoping Gina would keep walking. No such luck.
“Hello. And how are we
doing today?” Gina asked as she bounced over to the window and admired the view
from the corner office.
She turned with a fake
smile which made Denise want to hear someone’s nails scratching down a blackboard
Denise put her pen
down. “I’m good. I’d be a lot better if you started coming in at your scheduled
time and got to work. It’s okay to get coffee and say hello but I really don’t
want to hear about Johnny’s mom every morning. That is a conversation for lunch
or break.” God, it felt good to tell her that. Denise was tired of biting her
tongue. It wasn’t her style.
Gina pursed her lips
and adjusted her frilled shirt which did a half-ass job of hiding her ample
Denise pointed at
Gina’s top and arched an eyebrow. “You also need to mind how you dress. It’s
Gina’s face turned red
and not from embarrassment. She planted her hands down on Denise’s desk and
“I don’t hear Mader
complaining about my time or dress. Maybe this little reprimand should come
from him since he is my boss.” Her eyebrow quirked up in mock amusement.
Denise wanted to punch
her. This had gone on for too long. Denise had been in plenty of meetings where
tearing employees apart over the same type of behavior was commonplace.
Tardiness wasn’t Gina’s only issue. The quality of her work did nothing to
improve Denise’s opinion.
Denise’s team had
stepped in on numerous occasions to pick up Gina’s slack. Morale had plummeted
in the last couple of months and with downsizing barreling its way down the
executive pike, this had potential to get ugly.
No way in hell Denise
would agree to lose a good employee so Mader could keep his hussy. Only someone
having an affair would put up with such crap.
Denise leaned on her
elbows and glared up at Barbie wannabe. “I may not be your direct supervisor
but as a senior manager with this section, I am allowed to make certain
“Recommend all you want, darling. Until Mader tells me himself, you will have
to deal. No one else complains about the way I dress. As a matter of fact, I’m
pretty well liked around here.” To drive her point home, Gina smoothed her
hands down her hips. “Pure jealously.” She whispered while turning on her four
inchers and leaving the office.
Denise took a deep
breath, threw her pen down on her cherry wood desk, and pushed her chair back.
She was damn tired of this bullshit. Mader needed to keep his dick in his pants
and take care of the issue.
Corporate insisted on
reductions and they would happen soon. Their section had to let two employees
go and she knew who was on her crap pile. Human Resources would back her up all
As senior managers for
this division, working together on projects was part of the package. Since Gina
had transferred a couple months ago from Finance, Denise’s department had had
nothing but problems where Gina’s work was concerned.
Denise made her way
down the hall toward Mader’s office. The problem had probably started at the
Christmas party where Mader had gone overboard with the rum and coke. They had
left together, Gina insisting on giving him a ride home.
Well, she gave him a
ride all right. Why else would Mader bend and take Gina’s insolence?
That wasn’t his style.
He was a straight up prick which made him excel at what he did and if she was
honest, that part of him fell by the wayside when she saw him in action. Denise
had figured that out in the six months they had worked together. She had held a
good amount of respect for him. Until the Gina incident.
Mader saw her through
the storefront windows of his office and motioned her in.
He smiled as he hung
up the phone. “Those bastards are mine. They just don’t know it yet.” He
motioned for her to sit.
Denise crossed her
legs. The direct route would be the best way. Mader abhorred the beating around
the bush bullshit, and seriously, so did she.
Denise eyed him
covertly. Damn he wor
e a suit well. She had always admired his looks but
their relationship had to remain purely professional.
Conflict of Interest
Mader glanced at her
legs. His gaze lingered a few seconds before he turned toward his computer. “Is
there something we need to review on the Hansen project? I talked with them
this morning and they seem onboard.”
Denise tried not to
fist her hands in frustration “Not exactly. I do have a problem though. Gina
was very rude and unprofessional to me earlier. I spoke to her about the
tardiness and her breasts were all but hanging out of her blouse. It’s not
something I allow my team to do and I don’t think she should continue to get
away with this. She is causing issues with morale.”
Mader steepled his
fingers and leaned back. Abruptly he got up and walked outside. Denise saw Gina
head to the mailroom after he mumbled something to her. Mader returned, closed
the door, and flicked the blinds. Then he came toward her.
Nervous, Denise ran a
hand through her hair as she got up. Suddenly her business cut skirt seemed too
short and her jacket, not long enough.
The way he looked at
her wasn’t right. She watched the calculation in his bright blue eyes as he
stood no more than an inch away. She was so shocked at his gall, moving wasn’t
in her radar just yet. She was too busy checking out his dark hair and his
cologne; downright delicious. Had he always been this attractive? Probably, but
their working relationship had kept her at arm’s length.
Denise went to take a
step back but didn’t quite make it.
Mader wrapped his
fingers around the back of her neck. “I really don’t give a shit about Gina.”
Then his full lips closed over hers.
CRAP! Denise didn’t even get a breath in with how hot and heavy he
coming down. She pressed against his chest.
pushing a mountain, you might have more luck
She meant to open her
mouth and give him a few choice words, but well, she got his tongue instead.
Were her toes
tingling? Had to be from how pissed off she felt. Yep. Not. Her tongue was
right there with him and before she knew it they were full-blown into a
make-out session. All they needed; background music and some greasy pervert
with a high tech camera.
A loud noise outside
hit them like a bucket of cold water and Mader pulled away abruptly.
Denise stared at his
broad back as he paced over to the other side of the office. She envied his
fingers as they ran through all that black, silky hair.
Close your mouth and
clean up the drool
. How the hell was
going to continue working with him after this? They were obviously
attracted to each other. If she was being honest with herself, he was front and
center on her radar lately and his eyes did linger when she was in the room.
Denise crossed her
arms over her chest in an effort to mask the way her chest was pumping as if
she had just run a marathon. Wasn’t this grand?
The door clicked open
and what do you know? In came sunshine with a bundle and a whole lot of hip
come and get me walk
d going on came to a stop much
like the piercing sound when someone pulled the needle off a record back in the
Gina clutched the
letters to her exposed chest and glanced at Mader and Denise. Her eyes
sharpened and her usually smiling lips pressed together in an angry line.
“Your mail, Troy.” She
walked over to his conference table and slapped it down. “Remember your meeting
later.” She said over her shoulder before closing the door.
Denise stared after
her. Moving her gaze back to Mader, she watched as he took a seat, his
forefinger resting under his nose.
“Troy? Really? I don’t
even call you by your first name. As a matter of fact, you would rip anyone who
dared a new asshole.”
Mader moved forward
resting his elbows on the desk. He seemed very tired and not at all the
spitfire on the phone just moments ago.
“What the hell is
happening and you better be straight with me,” she said. “I’m willing to forget
the incident with us. This Troy thing? Not so much.” It irked the hell out of
her that he might just be playing them both.
Mader leaned back, his
body language a yo-yo of uncertainty.
“I could really use a
Denise glanced at her
watch. It was still early. They could probably get some breakfast instead.
“Let’s go. We shouldn’t discuss this here anyway. Grab your coat and I’ll meet
you in the parking lot in fifteen. I’ll drive.”
watched her leave. He’d made a complete ass of himself. How much more
complicated could he make this? What the hell was he thinking? If this got back
ate he would be done. It wasn’t enough that bitch had him by
the balls. Now he had another issue. How to deal with his attraction toward
Denise without pissing the other one off?