Book 3 of the Vivienne Series arrives on Amazon in less than two weeks, but you can get started reading it now. I’m posting chapter one on my blog today to give you a little taste of all that awaits Vivienne as she struggles to put her chaotic career in order. If you’ve been following the series I introduce some fantastic new characters as the action moves to sin city, Las Vegas in this book.
And if you haven’t started the series yet and this whets your appetite, you can get started on the series for FREE! Book 1, Fearless Flying is free on Amazon. Click here to get your copy now.
To get book 2, HiJack, free on kindle unlimited, click here.
If you like chapter one, you can click here to pre-order Departure for only 99c.
I’d like to say I slept after Jack left, but I didn’t. It took me hours to come off my anger-high—hours that I started by planning delicious revenge scenarios the next time I saw him. In the end it was all a waste of time because someone else came up with a better plan than I ever could have.
Despite my lack of sleep I’m in my office, functioning as fully as three cups of strong coffee will allow, at eight a.m. I’m on my computer, pretending to be a vital part of team Jack when he comes in, Joel that is.
“Good morning, Vivienne.” His voice is calm, as always, so his mood is hard to read.
I try not to look startled. I don’t want him to know how much I dread talking to him. I don’t want to look guilty in any way.
“Good morning, Mr. Rockhurst. Can I help you with something?”
He shuts my door as he comes into my office. My heart stops at the sound of the latch click. This is it…I’m going to be fired. I steel myself to handle the news with grace and class, planning to fall apart when I get home…or maybe on my way there.
“Let’s cut the bullshit.” He gets right to the point.
I blink at him, shocked by his words and bluntness. Joel Rockhurst is always professional.
He sits in one of the two chairs facing my desk. “I’ve tried to do this the polite way, keep my distance, but that obviously isn’t working.”
He’s pissed and I’m scared. Mr. Cool-and-Calm is really scary when he loses that façade. “I’m not sure…”
He cuts me off. “The marketing meeting yesterday was a complete charade, wasn’t it?”
“Well, I mean I did give Jack notes much earlier than he made it sound…”
He cuts me off again. “I’m not worried about the notes.” He’s fighting to control his composure. “Does Jack know anything about the Marketing department? Has he made even one decision since he started?” I’ve been waiting for this, waiting for Joel to notice that his son doesn’t have what it takes to be the next CEO.
I shake my head but I’m amazed how much I hate ratting Jack out. I loathe him, but I still don’t seem to have it in me to throw him under the bus like he did me. I just can’t stoop to his level.
Joel forces a deep breath, struggling to suppress his boiling anger. “Do you have any idea where he is? I’ve been looking for him since yesterday afternoon. He hasn’t replied.”
“I believe he’s at his condo.”
“Why? Have you spoken to him?”
I can’t lie and I really don’t want to. Jack coming to my apartment and talking about fucking was waaaay over the line. I want Joel’s help to reel him in. “He…um…he showed up at my apartment last night…uninvited.” I stress the last word so Joel doesn’t think it might be at all OK or normal for Jack to do this. “He had been drinking, and…he uh, well, he was pretty rude.”
He pins me with a stare. “Rude? Define rude? Did he make sexual advances?” He drops his voice a little on the last two words.
“He, um, he did ask me if I would be interested.”
With that Joel loses his cool and slams his fist into the arm of the chair. “God-damn it.” He gets up out of the chair and paces my small office. “I told him. I told him to stay away from you. It’s like he’s determined to lose this whole damn company, piss it away on a lawsuit.”
I really hadn’t thought of suing. “Sir, I…I was offended and I told him to never come near my apartment again, but I’m not considering suing.”
He seems relieved and sits again. “I’m sorry, Vivienne. I’m sorry that he crossed that line and I wish I could promise he will never do it again.” He raises his hands in defeat. “But I can’t.”
“I appreciate your apology but I know this is all Jack.”
Now would be a great time for me to tell him about the rest of my conversation with Jack. About how he went and tied one on, again, because he wants to please this man in front of me, the father who rejected him, and he failed, again. About how Jack is totally lost and needs guidance, specifically from the current CEO. But despite how honest we are being this morning I’m pretty sure my input would not be welcome.
Joel sits in contemplative silence for a moment before he says, “You’ve been doing it, haven’t you? Covering for him, doing all his work?”
It sounds a little accusatory so I word my answer carefully. “I’ve been helping Jack get up to speed.”
He pins me with his eyes again, demanding a more direct, honest answer.
“I’ve been doing a lot, and more often than not Jack works against me, but we are making progress.” I hate giving Jack any credit but if I say he’s failing it might be my fault.
“Maybe I’m asking too much of you.” It’s not a question but a thought he might not have meant to voice.
“It’s been a challenge, but I’m keeping up.” So don’t fire me, please.
He looks around my super organized office and admits, “Yes, you are.” Then he goes back into deep contemplation.
I try not to fidget during the heavy silent moments that he sits in my office seeming not to notice that I’m there.
He’s still not looking at me when he says, “The business aircraft convention is in two weeks, in Las Vegas. I need Jack to be there, to have a presence on behalf of the company.”
I almost choke on my need to laugh. Vegas? I’m sure Jack can make quiet an impression in Vegas. Yeah, that’s definitely a safe place for him to go to on a business trip.
Joel doesn’t miss my half smile. “I’m going to prep him myself, through you.”
Because that would be so bad if you were to actually talk to your son yourself.
“But I’ll give you resources, more help. Essentially you will be in charge but Jack won’t know it.”
Kind of like now? I nod in agreement. “Ok, but…resources? Can I ask what type of resources?”
“Whatever you need. I’ll get you a company credit card, your own account, one that Jack won’t see. Use it to get whatever you need to make this work.”
I’m picturing Jack shackled to his hotel bed, unable to get into any trouble in Vegas. I nod again.
“I’m going to assign a member of my security team to Jack. He’ll be under the guise of protecting Jack, but he will stay with him twenty-four-seven, to keep him out of trouble. I’m sending him to Vegas with you but I’ll assign him to start later today. I’m sure Jack will be in the office with him tomorrow.”
Ah, we do think alike. “That sounds good. It would also be helpful if I could get the objectives you would like Jack to meet while we are there, so I can make sure we meet them.”
He chuckles a little and I’m relieved to see his mood lightening. “You’d like a check list.” My mood lifts too because he seems to appreciate my no-nonsense, direct style.
“I will get one to you by tomorrow morning.” He glances toward Jack’s empty office as he rises. “I doubt we will see Jack today so why don’t you call it a day too.”
Could this day get any better? I’m not fired. I’ve finally got some help dealing with Jack and now I’ll have clear goals to make sure we meet them. I will stress so much less when I know for sure what Joel expects. And a day at home is exactly what I need right now. I have visions of a long nap then the rest of the day spent in my PJ’s, planning all the ways that I will now control Jack.