Home > The Boss(hole) : An Enemies To Lovers Romance(3)

The Boss(hole) : An Enemies To Lovers Romance(3)
Author: Penelope Bloom

The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with her. Yes, it was complete insanity to hire this woman. It was true that I valued backbone and grit. I could use someone who wasn’t afraid of confrontation. Coleton Publishing was just the first stop on a long journey to the head of the snake, and I needed to collect every capable body I could along the way.

Except part of me knew that was bullshit. Part of me was very much aware that I was already finding this woman distracting. She pulled me out of the illusion in dangerous ways. She made me feel like Adrian Terranova, the man who set out to do something completely insane ten years ago—the man who had been neglecting his personal life and desperately needed a good fuck.

A few minutes ago, I was completely willing to keep putting that off. But one look at the rogue princess here and it had all gone out the window. My body was practically humming with need and hiring her was the last thing I should’ve been considering. It wasn’t just a bad idea. It was a potentially disastrous one.

“Why would I work for you?” she asked. “All you’ve done since I walked in this room was show me how horrible a boss you are.”

“Take the job and I’ll go tell Walker out there he’s un-fired. And if you care so much about protecting those people out there from me, what better way than to stick around?”

She shook her head, eyes searching the floor. Her hand was still on the doorknob. “What happens if I say ‘no?’”

I folded my hands in front of my mouth, leaning forward. I’ll keep thinking about you until it drives me crazy. “Then you get to go back to your boss and tell her how you fucked up the contract at Coleton.”

That same rage rose up in her face again. It was adorable. The woman had absolutely no control when it came to hiding her emotions. She was an open book, and one I had a feeling I’d enjoy diving into regularly.

“So you’re blackmailing me? Join you or you ruin me. Is that it?”

“No. You lost my business as a client. If your boss chooses to keep you employed, good for you. I’ll leave it at that. But if you’re looking for work, I’ll hold the position for three days. It’s not blackmail. It’s an opportunity.”

“It’s an opportunity that smells a hell of a lot like blackmail.”

I shrugged. “It’s your choice, Miss Adams. You know where to find me.”

“What about Walker?” I asked.

“What about him? If you take the job, I’ll call him up and tell him to come back.”

She scrunched those pretty lips up, giving me a glare that I thought might ignite the papers on my desk. “You’re a horrible person.” She pulled the door open and slammed it behind her.

Maybe, I thought. But in real life, you don’t get to take down the villain by being a hero. Heroes can’t afford to get their hands dirty. They can’t do what it really takes. They can’t cut the corners and make the sacrifices to get the power they need.

Maybe I was a horrible person, but I was going to use every fucking ounce of that power it had earned me to burn what Russ Coleton cared about to the ground. That was a promise.









I hadn’t even made it out the front door of the bosshole from hell’s branch of Coleton Enterprises when my phone rang. I braced myself. It was Maxi, the other bosshole from hell.

“Hi,” I said, trying to force a cheery disposition I didn’t feel.

“Let me guess,” Maxi said in her deep, no bullshit voice. “The meeting with Mr. White went horribly wrong?”

There were about a dozen things I could’ve done to figuratively get on my knees and beg forgiveness. I could’ve made excuses, tried to explain he was a prick, or even made the most obvious point about how she’d sent me to do something I was completely unqualified for.

But it really had been one of those days.

I stopped in the lobby of the pristine Coleton offices, shaking my head. “Yes,” I said. “For you, it went really badly. You lost the contract because you didn’t have the balls to fire me without cause.”

There was a long pause. Despite saying the words with confidence, I felt like I was about to explode from a rapid heartbeat on the inside.

“I was going to settle for firing you,” Maxi said after a few moments of tense silence. “But I think now I’m going to destroy you.”

I couldn’t help laughing at that one. “It sounds like I really touched a nerve.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying this. I’m going to reach out to all my contacts and make sure nobody hires your petulant, insubordinate, always late ass.”

Okay, that last one was a real stretch. Not cool. I’d been late once or twice in the few months I’d worked at Maxi Designs, which I knew for a fact was far less than most of my co-workers.

“That’s great. I already got a job lined up.” What was I saying, exactly? A few minutes ago, I’d been just as amused by Chad Thundercock up there thinking he could flash his ego and get me to jump into his payroll with a squeal of delight. Now I was leveraging my future on a position when I didn’t even know what it paid. Worse, I didn’t know how long I could survive it.

“I’ll make sure that falls through, sweetie,” Maxi said.

“Okay, great talking to you. I’ll come get my stuff this weekend. Bye, Maxi.”

I hung up on her, did a little quick-stepping happy dance, then turned back toward the elevator. Now for the not-so-fun part.

If there were YouTube Masterclasses for being insufferable, Mr. White had apparently studied them well. He was waiting behind his desk back on the 82nd floor with a smug expression. From the look on his obnoxiously gorgeous face, he knew I’d be back. He even looked like he expected me to be back as quickly as I’d come.

“Don’t look so pleased with yourself,” I said.

Adrian held up a finger. “Careful. You thought you had nothing to lose before. Before you weren’t desperate. But you wouldn’t be back so soon if you hadn’t just lost your job, would you?”

“There are other jobs. I just figured I could at least find out what the salary is here. For comparison’s sake,” I added.

“One seventy-five per year. You’ll need to accompany me on trips. You’ll receive a five-thousand-dollar stipend for each trip out of the state. Your airfare, food, and lodging will be covered. The healthcare is top of the line. We have a company fitness center and childcare facility on the top floor of this building you’ll have access to at any time you wish. There are racquetball courts and an indoor pool across the street you can use as well.”

“I didn’t accept the job yet,” I said, even though it was hard to keep looking confident when my head was spinning. “Did you say… one seventy-five? Can you elaborate on that one?”

“One hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars per year. With stipends, you should be well over two fifty. Maybe three hundred on a busy year. Assuming you last long enough to collect, that is.”

I did a few quick mental calculations. The salary he was talking about was approximately… way more than enough to cover my expenses. The reality of having to think about this sort of thing was still new to me, but no less in my face. The universe didn’t care if you’d once had access to piles and piles of money. All that mattered was if your cards swiped and your checks cleared. Fail that simple test, and you could go fuck yourself, as far as anyone was concerned.

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