Blackmailed into the Billionaire's BedBy: Jan Bowles
Kendall Van Heusen relaxed as best she could in a comfortable chair as she studied her new environment. The opulent boardroom located on the forty-first floor of the Metropolis Building gave wonderful panoramic views of uptown Manhattan. Although she was tempted to walk across to the impressive bank of floor to ceiling windows and admire the city that never sleeps, professionalism dictated that she remain in her seat.
Feeling the pressure mounting, she shuffled and adjusted her position several times, releasing a nervous cough as she did so. After taking a sip of coffee and then placing her cup back on its saucer, she then crossed and uncrossed her ankles in an attempt to make herself more comfortable.
Surely he had to make an entrance soon? Even God himself didn’t keep people waiting this long.
She figured she wasn’t alone with her thoughts, because three other employees of Buchanan Enterprises sat at the impressive mahogany boardroom table, too. All men, their body language looked as apprehensive as she felt. Anticipation was a killer, and she hoped her first face-to-face meeting with the legendary newspaper magnate Mac Buchanan would pan out okay.
Her new boss had a reputation that preceded him—a fearsome one at that. She’d endeavor not to get on the wrong side of him, because from what she’d heard, Mac Buchanan did as much firing as hiring.
Kendall faintly recognized two of the three men sitting at the table with her. Unaware of even their names, she was barely on nodding terms with either of them. The guy on her left was a complete mystery to her, but she figured she’d learn more as soon as Mr. Buchanan arrived. Whatever position they held within the company, all were immaculately turned out, their smart business suits perfectly pressed, their shoes polished to a mirror shine.
“Goddamn it.” A well-built guy in his forties, sitting on her right finally broke the deafening silence. “The bastard just loves to keep us all waiting. Makes him feel important to have us all on tenterhooks. I feel like I’ve fucked up and done something wrong at high school, and I’m waiting outside the principal’s office.”
Another employee sitting directly opposite her forced out an exasperated breath. “Tell me about it, Mark.”
“Fuck it, Dave, I just know Mac’s gonna bust my balls over the circulation figures.”
“Stand your ground, Mark. He’s got no idea what it’s like at the sharp end anymore.”
“Too fucking true he doesn’t.”
Her impression of the guys sitting at the table with her wasn’t wholly favorable. She didn’t need a brain like Einstein to know they didn’t like their boss, but despite that, she figured they respected him and were more than a little frightened of him, too. She checked her watch again. She’d see how their demeanor changed when the autocratic head of the company finally entered the boardroom.
On reflection, perhaps she should take this opportunity to engage them in conversation. She cleared her throat. “Gentlemen, good morning. I don’t believe we’ve met before, but my name is—”
Without warning, the solid oak boardroom door suddenly swung open, and she heard a communal intake of breath from all three men. With the immediacy of it all, she couldn’t stop herself from stiffening in anticipation, too. Kendall’s flight-or-fight response only returned to normal when a petite blonde-haired woman in her early thirties entered.
“Hi, guys, Mr. Buchanan is running a few minutes late. He’ll be here as soon as he can.”
The guy called Mark was the first to answer. “That’s fine, Marcy. We all know how busy the boss is. Thanks for keeping us informed, honey.”
Kendall found herself doing a double take. Was this the same mouthy guy who openly vented his dislike of Mac Buchanan just a few moments ago?
“You’re real welcome, Mark.” Mac Buchanan’s secretary then turned on her heels and disappeared from the boardroom as quickly as she’d entered.
Whoever this Mark guy was, he wasn’t finished spewing his vitriol just yet, and he leaned in and whispered conspiratorially. “I wouldn’t trust that fucking bitch Marcy as far as I could throw her. She’s real close to Mac, and from what I hear, reports back to him on a regular basis.”
The unknown guy, with dark hair, which showed the first signs of gray at the temples, piped up then. “Yeah, I heard that, too. The rumor doing the rounds is that he’s inside his insider every single day of the week, fucking the dumb bitch senseless.”
This crude schoolboy remark caused all three to laugh in unison. However, Kendall didn’t find it remotely funny, and showed her displeasure by coughing loudly.