Sheikh's Forbidden Conquest(61)

By: Chantelle Shaw

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.

So why throw her to the wolves so easily? She swallowed past the distressed lump in her throat and took a sip of the herbal French lavender tea that was supposed to calm her. Harrison Grant was reputed to be as serious and tunnel-visioned as his younger brother was hot-blooded and impulsive. He had a filthy temper from all accounts. She said “from all accounts” because Tessa had always shielded her from her boss, coming downstairs to Coburn’s office if she needed something rather than expose Frankie to one of his moods. Frankie had accepted the arrangement gladly. She could live without having to deal with the massive ego of the man voted most likely to become president by his peers at Yale, his alma mater. Rumor had it that time wasn’t far off for the thirty-three-year-old Harrison. Her father had told her he had enough clout within the business community to run as an independent in the next election and, in these disaffected times, he just might win.

If that happened, Coburn would take over as CEO and Frankie would be head honcho admin. The perfect career scenario by all accounts. If she survived the next six months.

A throb pulsed its way from her left temple through to the center of her head as she considered the files Tessa had left marked urgent. A key takeover to help facilitate, shareholder meetings to organize, a trip to India coming up in just weeks... It seemed way beyond her means.

Rocky caught her attention out of the corner of her eye, swimming now in faster, demonic circles as if signaling an imminent disaster. His eyes bulged out of his aristocratic head, his expression foreboding. Yes, I know, Frankie wanted to reassure him, but we have twenty-four hours to prepare for his arrival.

Which meant she needed to get this work done. Despite her misgivings about the whirlwind change in plans, she was determined to prove to Harrison Grant she was the best PA he could ever have behind Tessa, a modern-day version of Wonder Woman. There was no other possible outcome.

The acquisition file was on top of the heap. Apparently Grant Industries was in the midst of attempting to purchase Siberius, a Russian automotive parts supplier. Job number one, Tessa had managed to tell her on the way to the hospital, was to finish the additional background Harrison had requested to support two outstanding contract negotiation points.