Tempted by Her Billionaire BossBy: Jennifer Hayward
ROCKY BALBOA PATROLLED the length of his rectangular glass-encased world with an increasingly agitated fervor, the blinding beam of the overhead fluorescent lights a far from suitable atmosphere for Frankie Masseria’s high-strung orange parrot cichlid fish. Used to the cozy confines of Coburn Grant’s muted, stylish office with its custom lighting and plentiful dimmers, Rocky apparently wasn’t making the transition to Harrison Grant III’s cold black-and-chrome domain any more easily than Frankie herself was.
Her mouth twisted in a grimace. She would make the poor joke of being a fish out of water in this startling new development of her as the replacement PA for the CEO of Grant Industries if her stomach wasn’t dipping and turning along with Rocky’s distressed flips and circles. Harrison Grant, the elder of the two Grant brothers from Long Island, heirs to an automotive fortune, was notorious for his ability to go through a PA a quarter until her predecessor Tessa Francis had taken over two years ago and tamed the legendary beast. Known for her formidable attitude and ability to whip any living thing into line, including even the snooty, tyrannical Harrison Grant, Tessa would have continued to keep the world a safer place for everybody had she not elected to do the very human thing of getting pregnant and requesting a six-month maternity leave. A reasonable request in many parts of the world, but not in the frantic, pulsing-with-forward-momentum world of Manhattan. Frankie had heard of female CEOs texting from the labor room. Yelling orders in between pushes. Not that that would ever be her. When she eventually found the perfect man to settle down with, she’d put raising her children first, unlike her parents who’d had them working in the Masseria family restaurant as soon as they were old enough to bus a table.
But that was then and this was now. She sighed and looked down at the massive amount of work sitting on her desk, unsure of what to tackle next. This wouldn’t be her mess to weed through had Tessa orchestrated the orderly exit she’d been intent on and found a new PA for her impossible boss. But, according to Tessa, Harrison had simply refused to acknowledge she was leaving. His eyes would glaze over at the subject every time she brought it up, until finally, with time running out, Tessa had gone ahead and scheduled the interviews.
That’s when the unthinkable had happened. Tessa had gone into premature labor last night while Harrison was on a business trip to Hong Kong, the interviews had been canceled and Frankie had been installed in her place by her magnanimous boss Coburn, who had decided his brother could not be without a PA. Without so much as a “would you mind, Frankie?”
“It’s the perfect opportunity to shine,” he’d told her in that cajoling voice of his. “Six months with Harrison and you’ll be back with a whole new visibility within the company.”
Or she would be just another piece of Harrison Grant’s road kill, Frankie thought miserably. It had been her dream as long as she’d been old enough to apply eye shadow and visited her friend Olga’s father in his swanky Manhattan office, to be a glamorous PA. To wear beautiful suits to the office every day, to live in the vibrant city she loved and to work in the upper echelons of power where all the big deals were made.
If that had gone against her parents’ wishes to have her remain in the family restaurant business, so be it. She’d put herself through administrative-assistant school with her tip money, graduated top of her class and gone after her dream.
Landing a job with the insanely handsome, charming younger Grant brother, Coburn, had seemed like her dream come true. Working for the legendary Grant family, who commanded one of America’s oldest automotive dynasties from one of Manhattan’s marquee skyscrapers, was like taking her “what do I want to be in five years” plan and fast-forwarding it five years.
She had seized the opportunity with both hands, molding herself into the epitome of efficiency and professionalism in her six months with Coburn. Her boss’s flashing blue eyes and easy smile wore his vice presidency with a stark sex appeal few women could resist, but resist Frankie had. She knew he’d hired her for both her skills and the fact she hadn’t fallen all over him in the interview like the others had. In return, he’d been a dream to work with. He appreciated every ounce of the tightly coiled efficiency she brought to his office, reining in his tendency to run askew with his passion for his work.