Worth Any Cost

By: Brenna Aubrey

(Adam & Mia #4) (Gaming The System Book 6)


A Gaming the System Novel




Chapter 1

Adam

Running a company on other side of the Pacific Ocean from headquarters via email, texts and laggy video chats was no easy feat. Even for someone who viewed a smart phone as an artificial appendage. What made it even more difficult was a pronounced lack of sleep.

In fact, I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in almost a week. And I was sure that until I landed in LA in ten hours, I wouldn’t have another one. The fast-paced, exhausting tour through Beijing, Shenzen, and Shanghai ended in Tokyo, with me waiting for the next leg of the long trek home. But Draco Multimedia Entertainment’s prospects in Asia already looked wider and brighter. So the trip had not been for nothing.

From my table in the first-class lounge at the Haneda airport in Tokyo, I sent off a flurry of emails and text messages while my hot breakfast grew cold. Jordan Fawkes, my CFO, sat across from me, drowning his eggs in ketchup while complaining there was no salsa, his preferred condiment for eggs. How unfortunate there wasn’t some kind of law in Japan against smothering your eggs in condiments.

“China sure was a trip,” Jordan said after he chewed and swallowed his eggs, cutting into some sausage. “I gotta take April back there someday so I can enjoy it without doing the eleven-cities-in-ten-days tour on crack. I didn’t even get to see the damn Great Wall.”

Fighting a grin, I polished off my text message. “Maybe for your honeymoon.”

His glare over the rim of his coffee cup made it harder to contain the smile. “Don’t drag all of us down with you, Mr. Groom-to-be.”

I raised my brows. “Still not sure April’s the one?”

He shrugged stiffly. “It’s not that at all. I’m in no hurry to make it official. What’s the rush? She isn’t, either. She’s still finishing up graduate school. Why ruin a good thing with marriage?”

Stabbing at my eggs, I fought a grimace, but managed to fake a yawn. “God, you’re so predictable.”

“So are you…I don’t think you’ve put that phone down since we left Shanghai.”

“I have a company to run,” I muttered through my teeth after forking a bite in and swallowing. The entire time, my phone buzzed at me.

“Seems like you’re just mumbling obscenities and complaining about stack overflow—whatever the hell that is.”

“It’s a very serious IT problem. And if we don’t get a handle on it, we’re going to have even more problems.” I sighed.

Jordan frowned. “Then let Al handle it. He is our IT director.” I glanced at Jordan out of the corner of my eyes before sitting back and setting the phone aside. “What’s that look for? Is he not handling it? Do I need to break a few fingers?”

Shrugging, I rubbed the back of my neck. “He’s got issues…” What more could I say without breaking the man’s confidence? His wife had recently left him, and he’d been slowly falling apart. He’d asked for understanding, and I’d given it to him. But how to explain that without revealing the private details to my CFO?

Jordan sipped again at his coffee. “Then he needs to sort them out and start working as hard as the rest of us do, dammit.”

“It’s my purview. I’ll handle it,” I reassured him.

“If this starts hurting our bottom line, then it’s my purview, too.”

I frowned. “Back off and give me a chance to assess the situation once we get back. I’ll keep you posted. Besides, how can you solve the problem when you don’t even understand it?”

He shrugged. “I’ll leave that to the nerds. Let me know when you want your bank account balanced.” Jordan took another sip and swirled the dark liquid in his half-empty cup. Something was on his mind, and I wondered if I should put the poor bastard out of his misery or make him work for whatever he wanted to say. I decided to make him sweat a bit—always fun to keep him on his toes.

“So…getting excited for the wedding?” he asked.

Wow, he was hardly bringing it. I expected more from the charmer who was ninety-nine percent responsible for our company’s extremely successful bid to go public.

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