Blackmailed into the Billionaire's Bed is available from Bookstrand HERE
Carnal Sins 1
Copyright © 2013
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.
“Gentlemen, I don’t know you, but I find your smutty innuendo with a lady present offensive. Do you feel it’s acceptable to act in such a way?”
Mark’s demeanor hardened, his laughter changing to a scowl. “You’re working in a man’s world, honey, so I suggest you grow a thicker skin or look for a job elsewhere. Fucking women.” He looked skyward and spread his arms wide. “They want equality, but only on their terms.”
Kendall had to bite her tongue, but even this didn’t stop the distaste and anger coursing through her veins when the other guys nodded their approval, and she realized she was on her own in the dog-eat-dog world she now found herself in.
She’d been raised well. Her father was a high-flying lawyer with a portfolio of important clients, while her mother, who she loved dearly, was the head teacher at a private day school for girls, situated in the affluent uptown area of Morningside Heights. Good manners and respect for others had always been an integral part of her upbringing. However, her parents had always taught her to stand her ground and fight for what she believed to be right, and the way this Mark guy had spoken so dismissively to her made the desire to retaliate overwhelming.
Keeping as calm and controlled as the situation allowed, she pointed an index finger at him, which she was well aware trembled slightly. “Don’t you ever talk to me like that again. Who the hell do you think you are?”
Her new nemesis opened his mouth wide in theatrical mock horror before his weasel eyes narrowed on her. “Who the hell do I think I am, lady? I know exactly who I am, and you’ll know, too, just as soon as Buchanan comes through that fucking door.”
Kendall wondered if Mac Buchanan would have the same Neanderthal attitude to women that these three men had demonstrated. She wouldn’t pass judgment on him right now because she’d yet to meet the guy, but she didn’t hold out too much hope either, because from what she already knew about him, her new boss seemed to bear all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned chauvinist. A man’s man who believed that a woman’s place was in the home, preferably the kitchen or bedroom. Maybe if he’d personally done the hiring of his new financial controller, he’d have picked a guy, but on this occasion he’d delegated the responsibility to one of his minions—a delightful woman by the name of Louise Brody. This lady had given her an opportunity that few twenty-seven-years-olds could even dream of having.
Anyway, not wishing to sink further down the evolutionary scale to their level, Kendall folded her arms defensively across her chest, desperately willing the boardroom door to swing open again. She only had time to take two or three labored breaths before her prayers were finally answered, and this time it wasn’t the ever-smiling Marcy who entered the room.
Almost bizarrely, she found herself sucking a huge gulp of air deep into her lungs before holding it. To say that Mac Buchanan cut an impressive figure was an understatement. Sure, she knew what he looked like. He’d been in the papers and on TV more times than she could remember. When Louise Brody had given her the job, she’d even taken the time to Google him in order to obtain a better understanding of his meteoric rise in the world of publishing. However, to see this powerful man in the flesh for the very first time was, well, life altering.
As he strode across the hardwood floor toward his chair at the head of the boardroom table, she figured he stood well over six feet tall. On further analysis, she revised her estimate, guessing he was probably closer to six three or six four. His broad, upright stance was impressive, and she had no doubt this guy worked out on a regular basis.
Aged thirty-eight, he had a beautiful, full head of jet-black hair that was neatly trimmed, but it was his eyes that took her breath away. Solid silver discs that seemed to burn their uncompromising message into anyone he looked at. The sheer charisma the guy radiated was awesome, and it was easy to see why he was photographed so often with a beautiful woman on his arm.
Finally letting go of the breath she’d been holding since he’d first entered the room, she shuffled uneasily on her seat.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.” His voice was deep and authoritative, his accent pure East Coast.
“Good morning, Mr. Buchanan,” they replied as one. The last time she’d responded in such a way she’d been in eighth grade. Good morning, class. Good morning, Miss Jones.
When he loosened his tie and removed his jacket before casually hanging it over the back of his chair, she felt her pussy moisten.
Goddamn it, this guy is hot. When he smiled a perfect smile and flashed a casual glance in her direction, she realized he knew it, too.
Damn you, you sexy bastard.
After taking his place at the head of the boardroom table, his presence became even more dominating, and to complete the picture, he pulled his already loosened silk tie through its loop and then hung it over the back of the chair along with his jacket.
Assessing everyone at the boardroom table with a steely gaze that suggested he knew everything about them, both good and bad, he steepled his fingers together and tapped them nonchalantly against his chin. “Right then, down to business.”
Kendall furtively watched the other men in the room tentatively allow their hands to float to their necks before touching their own ties. However, not one of them dared to loosen the knot and remove it like their boss had done. Even weasel-faced Mark now took on a submissive demeanor as though he’d been neutered by the mere presence of Mac Buchanan.
Although the men in the boardroom with her were obviously important people in their own right, her new employer clearly operated on a completely different level. A level that meant he didn’t have to bow to convention. A level of unapproachable authority that meant that he could do as he damned well pleased, whereas lesser men had to follow the rules.
Absolute power seemed to be his to command, and as far as she was concerned, an aphrodisiac if ever there was one. Such was his overwhelming presence, the messages her brain sent to her clit impacted in a way that made it difficult for her to sit still.
Marcy made another entrance into the boardroom, her high heels clattering noisily on the hardwood floor. This time she came armed with more coffee, and Kendall noticed that she personally served a cup to her boss well aware of exactly how much sugar and cream he took. She then placed the tray in the middle of the boardroom table and glibly added, “I’m sure the rest of you would prefer to help yourselves.”
Kendall saw this deliberate ploy as yet another power play by her new boss. Giving him personal service and attention, yet allowing the rest of his underlings, herself included, to compete for what was left.
Marcy then sat down in a spare seat, carefully smoothing her skirt into place before flipping open her electronic notepad and seductively purring, “I’m ready when you are, Mr. Buchanan, sir.”
By the overtly flirtatious tone she used, Kendall guessed the rumors about Marcy and Mac Buchanan were probably true.
Blackmailed into the Billionaire's Bed is available from Bookstrand HERE