Tempting the Boss

By: Mallory Crowe

CHAPTER ONE



Dean cursed under his breath as the screw dropped from his hands and clattered onto the tile twenty feet below him. What kind of idiot designed a light that needed screws to change a damn bulb?

He hoped the small ping of the metal hitting the ground wouldn’t attract much attention, but Victoria Green’s head whipped around to stare disdainfully at where the screw rolled to a stop.

“Shit,” he muttered as he descended the ladder, two steps at a time. Even so, he had no chance of beating the CEO to the offending piece of metal.

She narrowed her gaze at him as she picked it up off the floor, and he stopped in his tracks.

“What is this?” She held the screw in front of her.

Dean glanced over his shoulder, hoping Grace would pop in to save him from whatever hell was about to be unleashed. “It slipped out of my hands.” He squared his shoulders as he stared her down. “I would’ve picked it up.”

Victoria tilted her head and stared him down. Even in her three-inch heels, Dean towered over her, but she didn’t seem the slightest bit fazed. “This is an employee appreciation dinner. I don’t think my employees will feel very appreciated if they have to dodge nuts and bolts on the dance floor, do you?”

He gritted his teeth. “It’s not a nut or a bolt, it’s a—”

She rolled her eyes. “I can’t take this. Where’s Grace?”

Dean took a deep, calming breath. Shit. He really didn’t want Grace pissed at him. The work she gave him wasn’t too steady, but she paid well and he normally got some pretty amazing food out of it. “Last I saw, she was going into the kitchen with the caterer.”

“Thank you,” she said with obviously false sincerity, before she sauntered away.

Don’t look at her ass. Don’t you dare look… Dean couldn’’t help his gaze from following the sway of her hips as she crossed the large hall.

Not exactly what he pictured when he thought of the CEO of a nationwide hardware retail store. Especially not one named Green & Sons. Rumor had it that her brother was so incompetent when it came to running the company that he was forced out by his sister, Victoria. It wasn’t really surprising that the tabloids were a fan of hers. She was smokin’ hot and surrounded by family drama.

At least, that was what Grace had told him in the quick debrief before the job. He didn’t need to read tabloids. He had enough family drama of his own back home. After he pulled another screw out of the toolbox sitting next to the ladder, he climbed back up. He just needed to get this job done and go the rest of the night without pissing off the richest person in the room.



~~~~~



“Your handyman is trying to kill my guests.” Victoria pushed through the swaying kitchen doors.

Grace’s jaw dropped open while the man in the white chef’s jacket awkwardly stepped back. “We can finish this later,” he mumbled before he made a quick exit.

By the time he was gone, Grace had regained her composure. “I’m reasonably certain Dean isn’t trying to murder anyone.””

Victoria held up the tiny piece of metal in her hand. “I saw him drop this. Who knows how many other deathtraps are littered around this floor waiting for someone to trip and crack their head open?” She knew she sounded way too anal retentive, but she desperately wanted this night to go perfectly. It was more important than ever that the company was on her side, and she hoped this spontaneous employee appreciation dinner would do the trick.

Grace sighed and gave Victoria a comforting smile. “I don’t want you to worry about a thing. Dean is completely trustworthy. He’s been doing this for years, and, except for Andre, he’s my right-hand guy. Unfortunately, when setting up events of this caliber, things are bound to get missed.” Grace held up her clipboard and pointed to number twenty-three on the checklist.

Victoria leaned forward to read the small print on the massive list. 23. Final sweep of floors.

“I always make sure that after everything is set up, the floors are swept. Between flowers, table covers, centerpieces, drinks, and the number of people walking around, there’s always stuff that needs to get picked up. But I can assure you that I’’ve dealt with this all before, and it’s not new to me. I can promise you that there won’t be any debris around to trip your employees.”

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