Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry - Romance>Contemporary
A new meaning for office politics
Audrey Mathews has worked hard to get here. Now she's up for a promotion and nothing will stand in her way--including Zach Black. He's hot, smart and the competition. When they're assigned to the same project, she's shocked at how much she actually likes about him...and how much she misjudged him.
Before long Audrey is seriously falling for Zach--and indulging in an affair that's against company policy. And the stakes rise when it's clear only one of them can get ahead. So where do they draw the line between competition and love? Especially when she doesn't want to lose either the promotion or the guy....
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Sensuality Rating: Not rated
It was still dark when Audrey Mathews used her swipe card to enter Makers Hardware Cooperative's headquarters on the southern outskirts of Melbourne. Her new shoes pinched her feet as she made her way to her office, but she figured the pain was worth it. The new CEO, Henry Whitman, started today, and she wanted to look sleek and professional and sharp when she met him. She wanted him to take one look at her and know she was up for anything he might throw at her--including a promotion.
Hence her best suit and new shoes and sleek updo.
Her stomach did a slow roll as she remembered the profile on Whitman she'd read over the weekend. She was a big believer in being prepared, and she'd dug up a bunch of old Business Review Weekly articles on her new boss. To an article, they described him as ruthless, hard-nosed and utterly unsentimental; a man who habitually cut companies to the bone to produce results. One article had even reported that his employees referred to him as the Executioner.
Formidable stuff. But she figured if he was so focused on results, he would appreciate someone who was goaloriented and hardworking and ambitious.
And nervous. Don't forget nervous.
Because even though she was prepared to do her damnedest to prove herself--including waking up at the crack of dawn to make a positive first impression--if Whitman ran true to form, there were going to be a lot of retrenchments in the next weeks and months, and there was a chance she might be one of them. Which was why she'd updated her resume this weekend, too.
She might be an optimist, but she wasn't stupid.
She checked her watch. One of the articles she'd read claimed Henry Whitman started work at six-thirty every day, without fail. Which meant he should be arriving any second now.
She gathered an armful of papers and strode toward reception. No matter where he entered, Whitman had to pass through the foyer to get to the executive offices, and she planned on being very visible when he did so.
She felt more than a little foolish as she took up a position to the rear of the foyer. For all she knew, Henry Whitman might not even register her when he arrived. Or maybe he'd see right through her ploy and mark her down as a horrible little suck-up.
She glanced over her shoulder, wondering if she should give up on this crazy idea, go back to her desk and use her early start to put a dent in her workload instead of trying to manipulate events.
She wavered for a moment, but something inside wouldn't let her back away from her plan to be noticed. Probably it was the same something that kept her at her desk many nights when most of her colleagues had gone home. If she had to try to distill it down to its component parts, she guessed it would be one part making up for lost time and two parts sheer grit and determination to carve out a useful, productive niche for herself in the world.
She might not be a doctor or a lawyer, but she was damned good at what she did, and that counted for something. Well, it did with her, anyway.
The sound of the door from the underground parking garage opening and closing echoed up the corridor. Lifting her chin, Audrey tightened her grip on her papers and stepped briskly into the foyer, trying to look as though she was on her way somewhere vital and important and urgent.
She pulled up short when she caught sight of the tall, broad-shouldered man striding toward her.
Not Henry Whitman, but Zach Black, fellow buyer and all-around thorn in her side. Why was she not surprised he was here ready to grease up to the new head honcho? The man oozed ambition; it was a...