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Authors: Roxanne Smith

Running the Numbers

BOOK: Running the Numbers
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Love is the riskiest business of all

 

He’s the hot new guy in the small-town Wyoming office, a bachelor from L.A. with a trail of divorces behind him. But something about Blake Cobb has Sadie Felix setting her sites on him—even though he might just be her biggest competition in the race for a much-coveted promotion. Still, a little workplace rivalry will only make the tension between them more thrilling. At least, that’s what Sadie hopes, until she learns Blake’s already dating the boss’s daughter…

 

She’s an ambitious corporate climber with a face and a body that could stop a clock. Which is exactly why Blake steers clear of Sadie Felix—he’s been there, done that, with disastrous results. Besides, his new girlfriend is a dead ringer for his first love—the one who got away. But when an office scandal throws the boss's daughter in a new—and unflattering—light, Blake's forced to see what's been right in front of him all along…

 

RUNNING THE NUMBERS

A Long Shot Romance

 

 

Visit us at
www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

 

 

 

Books by Roxanne Smith

Long Shot Romance Series

Men Like This

Relapse In Paradise

Running the Numbers

 

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

 

 

Running the Numbers

A Long Shot Romance Novel

 

Roxanne Smith

 

LYRICAL PRESS

Kensington Publishing Corp.

www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

 

 

Copyright

 

Lyrical Press books are published by

Kensington Publishing Corp. 119 West 40th Street New York, NY 10018

 

Copyright © 2016 by Roxanne Smith

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

 

All Kensington titles, imprints, and distributed lines are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotion, premiums, fund- raising, and educational or institutional use.

 

To the extent that the image or images on the cover of this book depict a person or persons, such person or persons are merely models, and are not intended to portray any character or characters featured in the book.

 

Special book excerpts or customized printings can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write or phone the office of the Kensington Special Sales Manager:

Kensington Publishing Corp.

119 West 40th Street

New York, NY 10018

Attn. Special Sales Department. Phone: 1-800-221-2647.

 

Kensington and the K logo Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

Lyrical Press and the L logo are trademarks of Kensington Publishing Corp.

 

First Electronic Edition: July 2016

eISBN-13: 978-1-61650-693-3

eISBN-10: 1-61650-693-8

 

First Print Edition: July 2016

ISBN-13: 978-1-61650-694-0

ISBN-10: 1-61650-694-6

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

Dedication

 

For my dad,

Gary Lain,

who loved the West

 

You are missed.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I’ve been waiting for this. The final book in the series, my last opportunity to put it all out there. A new author, I’ve been timid in my acknowledgments, but this might be the last chance I get to mention everyone who deserves it.

 

And so. Deep gratitude for my agent, Dawn Dowdle, and my editor at Lyrical Press, Marci Clark, who both make me look really, really good on paper. I shovel words, but they shine the light.

 

My husband and ultimate bestie, Matt Smith, who takes my crazy in stride and continues to wait patiently for the love story I’ll dedicate to him. (Not yet, honey, but I’ll get there.) My brothers, Jesse, Spencer, and Dakota for hearing me out when I need a sounding board. And, finally, a huge thank you to my friends who were there when the first book only existed in a spiral notebook and didn’t laugh when I said I wanted to get published—Ray (Louie) Barrera, Tarran Clack, Beth Kopcho. You are the elite.

 

“You don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.” —Anonymous

 

Chapter 1

 

Sadie Felix leaned against the solid oak filing cabinet in her office and waited for the fax to bleep-bloop its way over the wire. “The offices of Avery & Thorp are Daniel Boone meets caviar. What d’you think, Ken?”

Kennedy, Sadie’s best friend and coworker, didn’t glance up from attacking her nails with an emery board. Her heeled feet were propped on Sadie’s desk. She shrugged.

Sadie drummed her fingers across the polished wood. “Spacious and modern, with rich dark wood, gleaming gold accents, marble fireplaces, and deer antler chandeliers. This place exudes all the grandeur and luxury of mountain wealth.”

“Sure,” Kennedy finally agreed. “Your point?”

“Only that using a fax machine here is a lot like standing at a state-of-the-art airport waiting for a horse-drawn wagon to roll in. I wish old people would learn to e-mail, already. I hate to say it, but you know it’s the octogenarians out there keeping the fax machine alive.”

From the corner of her eye, Sadie caught sight of Duncan Perry, her boss, striding past her office.

“Duncan!” She called out his name, knowing full well her knee-length pencil skirt wouldn’t allow her to catch up before he hit the spiral staircase that would take him to his lofty upstairs office. At the same time, with her other hand, she swatted toward Kennedy, warning her.

Kennedy jerked in surprise, swiftly planted her feet back on the ground, and hid the nail file from view, all with the practiced ease of a veteran’s habit.

Duncan walked past but returned shortly and dipped his head around the frame. He’d gone fully bald on the top of his head and wore what hair was left like a graying crown, with fierce pride. “Yes, Sadie?” He looked past her, at Kennedy sitting at Sadie’s desk. “What’re you doing in here?”

In her best prim tone, Kennedy supplied a believable alibi. “Sadie asked for advice handling an older client. You know how ornery octogenarians can be.”

“Can I assume you’re finished? You have plenty to do, getting Henry’s office ready for Mr. Cobb.”

Kennedy jumped up. The emery board mysteriously vanished from sight. “Yes, I’m going. Though, Sadie, you really should think about less restrictive garments.” She gave Duncan a harassed look as she sashayed past. “She almost face-planted flagging you down.”

Sadie smoothed her skirt, wrapped around her legs like a mummy’s bindings. “It’s true. I’d be more mobile on a pogo stick.”

Duncan finally heaved in a sigh as Kennedy slipped out of the room. “If you called me in here to discuss your wardrobe malfunctions, I’m afraid you’ve mistaken my job title.”

“Just a quick word,” Sadie assured him with her best smile, which he usually saw right through. There were downsides to being pals with the boss.

His kind, light brown eyes were understanding but firm. “Is this about Kennedy? I’ve explained to her for the last time why I hired Blake Cobb, rather than promote her. She’s done a great job as Henry’s secretary, but Blake has experience I can’t ignore.”

“No, sir. My dog’s not in that fight.” Duncan might respect her opinion and expertise as a senior accountant, but not enough to score Kennedy a job she wasn’t the best candidate for. Especially not a job like the audit director. “I did, however, want to get some information on Blake, since I’ll be picking him up on my day off tomorrow.” She enunciated a few choice words, letting Duncan know how she felt about being tasked with work on a requested personal day.

Secretly, Sadie couldn’t wait to meet Blake. Nina Walsh, Duncan’s secretary and another of Sadie’s long-time friends, had let a particularly juicy tidbit slip at lunch last week—her friendly balding boss was considering ditching Jackson Hole, with its harsh nine-month winter, for Salt Lake City, his wife’s hometown. Which meant the chief accountant spot might soon be at Sadie’s fingertips. It was one more step toward the end of the longest con of her life—becoming partner.

And the last thing she needed was more competition. If Duncan left the firm, the promotion to chief accountant would come down to her and Wes Black, the other senior accountant. He was also her nemesis and all-around least favorite person.

But what about this Blake Cobb guy?

Nina talked about his resume like it shined with the brilliance of an Olympic torch. He’d been partner at his firm in L.A. and was taking a major step down to come to work for Avery & Thorp as the firm’s internal auditor.

If
Nina had her facts straight.

Sadie wanted to get them from the source.

Duncan’s mouth thinned in a thoughtful way, and his shoulders relaxed, a sure sign he’d stick around for a minute to chat. “Honestly, I can’t believe we got so lucky. This guy, he’s top of his field. A major player in Los Angeles. His firm held accounts for top-billed actors and city officials. Given our own list of clients, he’s exactly what we need.”

In the auditing department?
Sadie chewed the inside of her lip. “Why isn’t our new golden boy coming in further up the chain? I mean, obviously, auditing is critical, but it sounds like we’re replacing a Pinto with a Corvette.” She abruptly shut her mouth and cleared her throat. “No offense to Henry, of course. Henry’s great.”

Henry Rupert was ancient, hard of hearing, and had earned his retirement five years ago.

Duncan’s knowing gaze lingered on her face, and a smile flirted with his lips. A consummate professional, he didn’t let it have run of his mouth. “It’s a little early for nicknames. As for golden boy’s reasons for taking a step back in his career, I can assure you, they’re personal. They’re definitely not professional, and that’s all we need to concern ourselves with.” He smiled then, a fatherly gesture more than a show of mirth. “If that’s all, I have a handful of messages to answer from yesterday.”

Indeed, he had a stack of little pink notes in his hand. They used to be plain old pale yellow ones, but since Reba Garcia had taken over as receptionist, there’d been a few colorful changes around the office.

Duncan shuffled through them before a final glance up at Sadie. “Lunch?”

Sadie did some quick calculating. She’d milked Duncan for all he was worth—at least all she’d risk. She didn’t want him to guess she was on a recon mission. “Actually, I think I might’ve made plans with Nina. Can you ask her to give me a buzz?”

He nodded absently, back to his messages. “You got it.” Then he disappeared.

Since she was already at the door of her office, Sadie peeked out into the large main room they referred to as the bookkeeping parlor. It played host to the bookkeeping team and Kennedy, whose desk was clustered among the others in the center of the room in a complicated configuration designed to give each worker some semblance of privacy. The rear of the room held a fireplace made of dark maple, humbler by far than the grand marble monstrosity in the roomy client waiting area. Next to it, a wrought iron spiral staircase led to the upstairs offices and conference room.

Sadie waved at Kennedy, who waved back with a bored frown, and thanked her lucky stars for her private office. There were four of them, one at each corner of the bookkeeping parlor, sporting panes of frosted glass etched with aspen trees. The two offices across from Sadie’s belonged to the firm’s only junior accountant and the audit director. Next door to her, Wes Black’s.

His last name suited him. He kept his gleaming black hair long enough to sweep to one side. His black eyes were unremarkable. While Sadie appreciated a man who understood the importance of grooming, Wes had a tendency to over-pluck his eyebrows. She could tell when he’d been at it recently, because they’d look penciled in for about a week, until they had time to grow in.

BOOK: Running the Numbers
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