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Mason

One of the most powerful men in England, Mason Campbell was cold, hard and unapologetic. The wind carries the whispers of his name and made anyone tremble in fear. He was known to be ruthless and merciless, unforgiving. Lauren Hart had just landed herself working for him as his assistant and she found herself at the receiving end of his tantrums, his anger, his hate and his arrogance. Life would have been better if she wasn’t working for Mason Campbell, the man who was envied by men and wanted by women. But Mason didn’t have eyes for anyone but her, especially when he made a deal she couldn’t turn down.

Age Rating: 18+ (Abuse, Sexual Abuse)

Warning: this book contains material that may be considered upsetting or disturbing.

Reader discretion is advised.

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

 

Mason by Forevertoofar is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

SUMMARY

One of the most powerful men in England, Mason Campbell was cold, hard and unapologetic. The wind carries the whispers of his name and made anyone tremble in fear. He was known to be ruthless and merciless, unforgiving. Lauren Hart had just landed herself working for him as his assistant and she found herself at the receiving end of his tantrums, his anger, his hate and his arrogance. Life would have been better if she wasn't working for Mason Campbell, the man who was envied by men and wanted by women. But Mason didn't have eyes for anyone but her, especially when he made a deal she couldn't turn down.

Age Rating: 18+ (Abuse, Sexual Abuse)

Original Author: Forevertoofar

“Calm down,” my roommate, Beth said as she watched me pace back and forth in our living room.

I had been pacing for thirty minutes right now, nervous and anxious.

“You're going to ace that interview,” she added with an encouraging smile.

I spared her a glance. “It's not a normal interview!”

I ran my hand through my hair in frustration.

“Are you going to be interviewed by God?”

Her question made me look at her like she was insane.

Well, clearly she was insane if she was saying such a thing.

She couldn't know how I was feeling about this interview.

Everything depended on it.

“No, but I'm going to be interviewed by the most powerful man,” I reminded her.

Mason Campbell was one of the most powerful men in the world. He was the most powerful man in England.

No one really liked to admit it, but he was even more powerful than the Queen.

At such a young age, he had acquired more money than anyone.

He had built several corporations all around the world that had about one thousand workers.

He was feared all over the country because he was cold and terrifying.

Mason Campbell was the man who laughed in the face of death.

He lived by his own rules.

I had heard men cowered over his intense look, and by that, I meant men with great power.

I had also heard that he could make anyone disappear and never to be found again.

That thought enough terrified me.

“Why didn't you choose somewhere else to work?” Beth asked.

“Rumours say that what happens behind the door is terrifying.”

“I've also heard that his cold look could crack a stone, and the earth shook with his anger.”

“I wouldn't mind seeing that,” I answered, trying to lighten up the situation I had put myself in.

“That sight would ruin you for sure.” She sounded so sure.

I lifted my chin.

“It would feel intriguing though.”

“Yeah,” she agreed with a nod, then presumed to smile amusingly.

“But you'll feel otherwise if his eyes roast you.”

I wanted to laugh at that, but I was too nervous about tomorrow.

I had no idea where Beth got these rumors from, although I had to agree that his eyes were terrifying, I didn't think he could roast anyone with it.

People can be so dramatic sometimes.

“Psh,” I dismissed the possibility.

“That is just a rumor, Beth.”

She held my gaze. “Rumours sometimes are true.”

I struggled against the urge to squirm under her gaze.

“I've heard that he treats everyone like his enemies…even his employees.”

That made my nerves flutter.

Treating his employees like his enemies? How did that even work?

I couldn't tell if she was being truthful or not.

I shot a narrow-eyed glance at her.

“He is that crazed, I know.”

“All the more reason you should consider working somewhere else.” She clutched my hands in hers, then released me to cross her arms over her chest.

“How sure are you that I am even going to get the job?”

A lot of people wanted to work at Campbell Industry and a lot of people were going to be interviewed.

Only one of us would be able to get the job, and I seriously doubt that I would be the one.

Some of the girls were only after him, not the job.

“0 percent sure.” Beth laughed, earning a glare from me.

“I can't see any good working there. That place is nothing but terrifying. It's filled with nothing but control and darkness.”

“Mason Campbell makes it cold and forbidden.”

“No place is forbidden and unwelcoming,” I said, drawing the pillow closer against my chest.

“But they say the place cries echoes of roars.”

“You know,” Beth looked back at me, her emerald gaze piercing.

“I'd love to be there tomorrow just to see you cower in fear at his presence,” she ended with a laugh.

“Shut up.” I grinned, throwing the pillow at her.

“I'm not going to cower. I'm not afraid.”

She raised a challenging eyebrow. “Oh really? You've never been in his presence before. You don't know how that would feel like.”

Nervous and a whole lot of uncomfortableness, I thought, biting my lip.

“If I come home crying, you shouldn't even be surprised.”

“I will keep the tissue ready.”

“Bitch, you wish.” I glared playfully at her.

Her smile faded and she looked serious at me.

“You're going to do fine in the interview, Lauren. Your resume is great. I'm sure you'll be picked among the hundreds of people.”

I smiled weakly. “I hope so.”

I really did, because it was the only job that paid well. I would be able to pay my dad's medical bills and for his treatment.

I would be able to do so much more with the money.

But dad's medical treatment was the only thing that worried me.

He had a stage four cancer which had been a blow when he told me the first time.

He was the only person I had left after my mum left us when I was ten.

It still hurts when I think about it.

Dad had to go through so much to raise me and it was my turn to take care of him.

Morning came sooner than I had expected. I had been up since six am, getting ready.

The interview was seven-thirty and I wanted to be there by seven.

I groaned as I crawled out of bed and tottered drowsily to the bathroom.

I washed my face, and the benefits proved just as fleeting, and no less groggy, I brushed my teeth before taking a shower.

It took me ten minutes to get ready.

I straightened my spine and smoothed my worn-out grey skirt that reached my knees.

My light blue blouse was tucked inside my skirt. My cheeks were rosy, setting off a sparkle to my hazel eyes.

The orbs slanted slightly upward and were thickly fringed with lashes.

I tied my brown hair into a ponytail, not a single strand had loosened.

I hoped I looked sophisticated enough for the interview.

I didn't like wearing makeup, so I went ahead with my natural look.

I had only applied nude lipstick and that was about it. I wore the old black heels that I had bought two years ago.

Knowing Beth would still be sleeping, I left her a note before grabbing my bag, leaving our flat.

London was really cold, and because all my coats were really worn out, I wasn't able to wear any.

I wanted to look good, I didn't want to be looked down upon.

I took a taxi and when I told him where he would take me, he looked shocked.

He asked me again where he would take me, and I told him the address.

“Are you sure that is where you want to go, ma'am?” he asked, unsure of himself.

“Yes,” I said, growing annoyed.

He didn't say anything afterward, but I would occasionally catch him looking at me through the rearview mirror as if he couldn't believe I was going to such a place.

He stopped the car across from Campbell Industry, and when I was about to ask him why he wouldn't drop me off near the building, he said,

“Sorry, ma'am, but no taxi is allowed near the building. I have to drop you off here.”

My mouth shaped into an “O', shaking my head in disbelief.

I walked out and readjusted my blouse.

If anyone could stop and observe me, they would see nervousness oozing off of me.

Campbell Industry stared down at me. It was a huge building that had about sixty floors.

It was large, wide and intimidating.

I carefully strode past a security guard at the entrance and into the building.

I was met with a lot of people that were strolling around in their expensive, neat clothes and I felt self-conscious of what I was wearing.

They seemed to be on edge like they were holding the entire world in their shoulders.

I went directly up to the receptionist nervously. She was a redhead woman, dressed elegantly in a blue dress.

Even her hair seemed to be perfectly done.

Her face was covered in the minimum amount of makeup.

Her hazel eyes sized me up, her expression pure distaste.

“The coffee shop is down the street, ma'am,” she said, and hinted a slight Italian accent.

“What?” I asked, confused.

She stared at me as if I was a dimwit.

“Isn't that where you want to go?”

“No. I'm here for an interview.”

She raised her perfect eyebrow, her mouth curving upright. “Oh?”

Sizing me up again, she clicked her tongue before meeting my gaze again.

I wanted to punch her face. She didn't think I belonged here.

How dare she!

The receptionist inhaled dramatically before plastering a fake smile.

“Twentieth floor. Take a left and you'll find yourself among the lot that are here for the interview.”

My lips twitched.

Was she insinuating that they were a lot of people for the interview and I had zero chance of getting it?

Twat.

“Thanks,” I gritted out.

“Good….” She stared up and down at me again, her face turning upside down. ”….luck.”

I was feeling a bit miffed, but I tried to calm myself down and made my way to the elevator.

I waited a few seconds before it slid open and I quickly rushed inside.

Before it slid close, I heard a commotion.

A woman was being dragged out by a security guard and she was crying.

Clearly, she was having a mental breakdown.

“No!” she shouted. “You can't do this to me! I have worked here for three years!”

I watched as she tried to struggle against the security guard.

“I'm loyal! You can't do this to me!”

The elevator closed, blocking the cries and screams of the woman.

My heartbeat accelerated.

I felt sorry for the woman.

Whatever she had done, she didn't deserve to be treated like this.

She had worked for three years!

She deserved some little respect at least.

My back hit the wall and I closed my eyes. Was this such a good idea after all? But this was the only place with a good salary.

I was doing this for dad, I shouldn't be thinking twice about working here.

Working here?! You don't even have the job yet, and you don't even know if you'd be the lucky one.

Tightening my eyes, I hoped this interview would be a success.

I couldn't afford to mess it up.

Dad's life was on the line here.

You can't, Lauren.

You will do great if you'd just calm down and believe in yourself.

Yes, I know I would ace that interview.

“Aren't you going to get off?” I was startled by a man's voice beside me.

I realized that I had reached the twentieth floor and I mumbled a quick apology to the older man in a grey suit and stepped out.

The entire left was this huge window and I stared at the amazing view of London.

My phone in my bag was itching to come out and snap a picture.

Before that could happen, I reminded myself why I was here in the first place.

I followed the instructions the receptionist told me and true to her words, they were a lot of people.

They were so much that I wasn't even able to see the end of them.

And they all wore nice clothes.

A group of girls spared a glance at me and I heard them laugh a little.

What was on my face?! I wanted to ask.

Looking up, I noticed that they hadn't stopped looking my way and wasn't subtle about it.

I looked away angrily.

Just because they were looking sexier than me and were dressed in nicer clothes didn't mean I should be treated this way.

I pushed my way through tons of bodies, trying to find a place to sit.

I spotted one at the end of the room and made my way to it. But before I could sit, a man beat me to it.

He shrugged his shoulders at me and I glared.

I turned to go back to where I was, and before I knew it, I was being pushed by bodies towards different directions.

I found myself being pushed toward a silver door and inside it.

The door shut automatically.

I panicked when it wouldn't budge at all.

I tried again, but the same thing happened.

It just wouldn't budge.

Bloody hell!

I turned around to see where I was, and I found myself in a long-dimmed hallway, and an elevator was at the end of it.

I heaved a sigh of relief.

A way out.

It slid open when I pushed the button, and I quickly hurried inside.

I went to press the twenty-first button, but I only found one button with a Campbell logo on it.

My face screwed up.

Deciding that it would be best to go there rather than stay here with no way out, I pushed the button with the logo.

My heart started to race for some reason, and I found my hands shaking slightly.

It felt stuffy in here and I felt like there was a presence of something powerful and terrifying.

What the hell was wrong with me?

Why do I feel so scared?

What the hell?

The elevator stopped and it slid open. I got out as quickly as I got in.

Maybe I would be able to breathe in here and where was this place?

I scanned my surroundings and my jaw dropped.

Literally.

The office was gigantic and breathtaking.

It was polished and fancy.

Everything in here screamed expensively.

The white leather seats were shining and I didn't want to touch them in case I ruined them.

The view was much more amazing in here.

I gasped when my eyes caught a few paintings on the wall, and I realized that it was the paintings that had been the talk of everyone.

It cost a billion pounds.

Holy fuck.

There was a fireplace and a large flat-screen TV on the wall.

Literally, everything in the office was white, even the pens were white.

I couldn't describe everything because I found my eyes suddenly blinded by this fancy office.

I heard the door being burst open and several footsteps.

Before I realized what was happening, I was being pushed to the ground roughly and I felt a gun in my head.

Holy shit.

This totally happens in movies.

There was no way this was real.

No way was I on the ground with a gun in my head like a bloody criminal.

I attempted to raise my head up, but it was pushed back down.

I winced and gritted my teeth.

“State your reason for being in a private office before I blow your brains out,” he barked out, pressing the gun to my head.

Private office?

How the hell was I supposed to know it was off-limits?

“Speak! Now!”

I shook in fear.

“I..I got lost. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be here.

“I'm sorry, please don't shoot me,” I pleaded, as I closed my eyes and prayed to God that I don't end up dead without any of my loved ones close to me, and certainly not here.

“Stand down, Gideon,” Someone said, making me sigh in relief.

I felt him draw back the gun he had at the back of my head.

I stayed down on the ground, not sure if I was giving permission to get up.

You see, I value my life very much.

“Get up.”

I didn't need to be told twice.

Getting up from the ground, I slowly turned to the men standing before me in black suits, holding guns.

I shivered when my eyes found the one who had his gun on me.

“What's your name?”

“Lauren Hart,” I lifted my chin, hoping my voice sounded more firm than it did to me.

“I didn't mean to come in here. I'm here for the interview, and I was pushed through a door.

“I couldn't go back and the only way out was through an elevator. It got me up here.

“If you thought I was here to steal, you are mistaken.”

Forcing myself to be brave, I continued, “Please, just let me go.”

They glanced at each other and it didn't take me a minute to realize they were communicating with each other through their eyes.

The one who I thought was the leader made a gesture before one of them walked out of the office.

“So…how about I just leave?” I smiled and made a move forward before my view was blocked.

“or…not.” I took a couple of steps back.

“Look, there's no reason for me to be here anymore.

“I already told you I didn't steal anything. Just let me be on my way. I've got an interview to go to.”

They simply ignored me.

Then…

I shivered.

At once, the air shifted around.

The chill of the office blasted me, making my heart beat fast in my chest.

I could almost feel a rush of emotion, a powerful force seeking to prove its fury.

I gripped my bag tightly, the feeling almost knocking me off my feet.

I heard the angry footsteps before I spotted him.

I swear…

I

stopped

breathing.

Standing, his powerful pose made my breath caught in my throat.

He breathed hard, his broad, well-muscled chest rising and falling as if he'd just ran a marathon.

He was dressed in black from head to toe; black Armani suit, shirt, and tie that made his powerful arms and his chest seemed almost alive, almost challenging anyone to doubt his fierceness and hotness.

He was beautiful, almost as if he had been the one to carve himself; cheekbones that would make any man and woman jealous, straight nose and red lips.

And his eyes, oh god, his eyes were pure silver.

It was the most intense, yet cold eyes I had ever seen in my life.

He raked his fingers through his dark hair, his silver eyes almost ready to glower at any poor soul stupid enough to glance his way.

His glare was hot enough to wipe the existence of mankind.

This was Mason Campbell.

The country's most vicious man.

I gulped.

The man moved out of his way as he strode in, his movements powerful and confident.

He didn't take a glance at me as he took a seat behind his desk and proceeded to go through some files.

No one said anything for five minutes, and I was beginning to get tired and my legs started to feel numb.

No one was acknowledging me, and no one was ready to let me go just yet.

Another five minutes before he raised his big, strong hand and waved me away.

I released the breath I was holding and turned around to leave when I got a glare from Gideon as his men started to leave the office. My stomach dropped then.

He didn't wave me away.

They all left, and I was alone in his powerful presence.

I tried to act natural, but damn it I was failing.

I stayed frozen on my spot, but I kept moving my arms and legs around, just so I could stop being so nervous.

I wanted to stare at Mason Campbell, but I was scared if I did, I would be turned into ashes or turned into a stone.

Neither sounded okay at all.

“Stop disturbing my peace,” His voice soft, yet cold and deadly.

I wasn't even aware he knew I was here.

Making no attempt to hide his perturbation, Mason Campbell fixed his darkest look on me, the girl who had dared disrupt his peace.

“Or I would do something about it.”

My chest grew so tight I could barely breathe.

Fear pounded through me, the image of myself lying cold and dead in an abandoned place flashed through my mind, stirring deep emotions in me.

I nearly peed in my knickers.

“Take a seat.”

With shaking legs, I was quick to sit down in one of the chairs in front of him, deciding I was safer if I could have been out of his view. But I didn't have any choice.

“Why are you here?” he asked without taking his eyes off the papers he was writing on.

I wanted to take a peek, to see what his handwriting looked like.

Was it ugly? Was it beautiful?

I knew it was the latter though.

I shifted in my seat, willing myself to speak before he got any angry.

I remember full well what they say about Mason Campbell.

The only wildly intense emotions he had ever experienced in his life was anger and cold darkness of his own heart.

They said he had a rage so fierce it chilled the bones of people.

I had thought it was insane, that he couldn't be what everyone says about him, but I was starting to think otherwise.

“I…i…I..w..” I stammered in fear, the sentence I meant to say cowering behind my heart.

Mason stopped writing and he suddenly glanced up at me.

The powerful silver eyes that collided with mine made me gulp down.

He continued to bore holes in me with a decidedly pointed stare.

“Careful what you say,” he said before tilting his head.

“Do I…frighten you?”

I licked my lips before speaking, “Is that a trick question?” I quietly asked.

Not getting any answer in return, I added, “Y…yes.”

He lifted a perfect brow.

“Oh?”

“I don't want to say anything wrong that might end up in me laying dead in the cold night.

“People say you are a cold hard killer, and you take pleasure in killing your victims or making them disappear.”

I didn't even realize what I had said until it had dawned on me.

My eyes widened and I clapped a hand over my mouth.

His jaw clenching, he drew a hand down over his face.

“You'd do well to remember who you're speaking to, Miss?” he warned his silver-eyed gaze hard as ice, his deep voice equally cold.

“Hart,” I answered, my voice shaking.

“Lauren Hart. And of course, Mr. Campbell.”

“Miss Hart, I don't quite like repeating myself. Why are you here?” he pushed, his voice louder this time.

Louder, and laced with crackling anger and impatience.

“I'm here for an interview. I didn't mean to be here. I got pushed into a door and the only way out was through an elevator that got me here. I'm so sorry.

“If you'd be so kind as to let me go, I'll be on my way.”

“I'm not kind,” he spoke as if he was disgusted by a word he wasn't familiar with.

“Of course. If you'd be nice enough?”

Drawing himself to his full height, Mr. Campbell cocked a brow.

A challenging one.

“No difference.”

Irritation pumping through my veins, I met his heated gaze with my cool one.

“If you'd be so generous to let me go? I don't want to trouble you more.”

“Do you own a dictionary, Miss Hart?” He asked without so much as a blink.

“Is that the only words you know?” When I attempted to answer him, he cut me off.

“It was a rhetorical question.”

“Oh.”

“Indeed,” he responded in such a tone that had me wondering if he thought I was a dimwit.

“Pass me your resume.”

I studied him for a long, uncomfortable moment.

“You want to see my resume?”

“I'm speaking English, aren't I? Pass me your resume.”

I quickly passed him my resume while he studied it.

“Hmm. You attended Knight- obviously, I didn't expect you to get good grades.

“Had only two jobs. Zero experience here,” he talked to himself, carefully enunciating each word.

His face scrunched into an odd mixture of pity and reproach.

“When you came here, I do hope you had zero hope of getting the job.

“From what I'm seeing here, you aren't qualified enough to work at Campbell Industry, Ms. Hart,” he countered, every fiber of his being daring me to state otherwise.

I met his gaze with a steely-eyed glare, my anger ready to erupt in me.

I pressed my lips together and hoped he wouldn't notice the muscle jerking in my face.

“What? I'm not getting the job?” I asked, his words plunging like an expertly wielded knife straight into my heart.

I knew when I came here that I had no chance, but it didn't mean I wasn't hurting.

This was my only chance of getting a perfect job with a good salary.

I wanted to say I wasn't supposed to be interviewed by him, that it was a Mary Warner who called me for an interview.

But I was a coward.

“Are you going to cry?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.

“No..I just-”

“Good. Because I hate weak women who aren't strong enough to handle the truth. Wipe your tears before you leave your DNA here.”

I stiffened, a vein in my forehead beginning to throb.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Campbell.”

My heart pounded in hot anger as I made an attempt to get up and leave his bloody office and ugly personality.

“But…you are qualified for one thing. There's a job opening that suits you just fine. Would you like to be my assistant? Don't let the word get to your head, though.

“You're simply going to run my errands, answer my calls and fetch me tea. Your salary, of course, is not going to be much.”

I drew a series of long, deep breaths until the tension in me began to lessen.

“Mr. Campbell if you'd just-”

“Take it or leave it. There is a line of people who would throw themselves at this job.”

Closing my eyes, I pinched the bridge of my nose and repressed the urge to throw back my head and scream. “Yes, but-”

He looked away from me and glanced down at the papers in front of him.

“Have a good day, Ms. Hart.”

Part of me was screaming that it was a good job and another was screaming that I didn't deserve being walked on, but the other part of me that screamed louder won.

“I'll take it! I'll take the job.” Clamping my lips together, I swallowed the bitterness rising in my throat and, instead, eyed him with disdain.

“Mr. Campbell, are you listening?

“I said I'll take the job.” My entire body thrumming with agitation, I clenched my hands to white-knuckled fists under the desk as he ignored me.

“I'll see you on Monday at eight o'clock,” he dismissed without even bothering to look at me.

“Thank you so much! I'd not let-”

He interrupted, “See yourself out.”

What an ass. I silently walked out of the office, my mind replaying the 20 minutes of conversation I had with him, and through those minutes, he never said anything nice to me.

How could someone work for such a person?

Remember, Lauren. You work for him now. Oh yes, how unfortunate for me.

If I hadn't been so desperate to find a job, I wouldn't have agreed to work for him.

Even if the salary wasn't what I wanted, I was going to take on his offer.

I wasn't going to deny it, I had thought about not taking it, but I remembered my dad and how this was all for him.

I just hope I survive working for Mason Campbell.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

My first day at Campbell Industry went great, so bloody great that I wish I could relive the day over and over again.

Think about the greatest thing that has ever happened to you, now multiply it times a hundred. That was how I was feeling.

Can you all note the sarcasm?

This was how the day went.

I haven't remembered the last time I woke up to get ready for work or get excited and nervous at the same time.

I barely slept last night.

My mind kept telling me that I was going to work for Mason Campbell. At some point, I kept pinching myself, thinking it was nothing but a dream.

When I told Beth, my best friend, and roomie, she had the audacity to laugh in my face and called me a liar.

She didn't believe I could ever talk to Mason, that I wasn't important enough to exchange words with him and be in his presence.

She thought I found work in some disgusting place and I didn't want to tell her about it so I resorted to saying I was working at Campbell Industry.

If I say I wasn't deeply insulted, I would be lying.

She was talking as if Mason was a God who could not be approached.

But let me tell you something, Mason wasn't a God or an Angel.

He wasn't someone who would give out sweets to kids and say nice words that would make anyone feel warmth in the stomach.

He was Satan.

Mason was someone who would snatch candy from little kids and eat it in front of them.

He was someone who would push you in front of a moving car.

He was someone who would say a few words enough to make anyone have a heart attack or leave a scar in their hearts.

There was one good thing about him though.

He was a pretty sight, that I couldn't deny.

Why were beautiful men rude, cold and heartless? I was speaking from experience here.

The last beautiful boyfriend I had a few years ago cheated on me.

He had said I was boring and demanding. The asshole.

Okay, so maybe that wasn't reason enough.

But what about those beautiful guys I had smiled at and got a cold response, huh?

Anyway, Mason was the biggest wanker of them all.

The wanker straight out said I wasn't smart. He dared make fun of my school.

It was all lovely compared to what he had said about me having zero experience.

I could only imagine how awful it was going to be to work for him.

Maybe he had been in a bad mood the other time? Maybe he really wasn't that bad and I had misjudged him.

However he was, I was going to be the best assistant he had ever worked with.

I wouldn't give him a reason to lash out on me and sneer down at me.

I woke up early, got dressed and put on my happy brave face.

Not bothering to wake Beth and tell her I was leaving because the bitch might say something I wouldn't like, I grabbed everything and left our flat.

In my opinion, what I was wearing was the best thing I could find in my closet.

I could totally wear a nice dress for a wedding or a special occasion, but I couldn't believe I was wearing it to work.

Neither could I believe the hostility I saw when I stepped foot in CI.

Apparently, word had gotten out that I was the boss' new assistant.

That hadn't happened in a while.

Ignoring the few glares I got, I pressed my sweaty finger on the button that would take me to Mr. Campbell's floor.

The minute the door slid open, I walked out, my steps nervous and if it had a mind of its own, it would have bolted right out of there and leave me legless.

When I stepped foot in the building, I didn't know where the hell I would go to.

I couldn't just barge into Mr. Campbell's office and demand to know where my desk was.

Besides, I didn't think he was here yet.

“Lauren Hart?”

I turned at the sound of my name and came face to face with a beautiful woman.

She was so gorgeous and she dressed so well. I was envious of her.

All I wanted to do was pull her hair and ruin her skirt and blouse.

I wanted to mess this woman up and I didn't know why.

Oh, I knew why. She was looking so much better than me.

God knows what she sees when she looks at me.

I know what I see when I look at myself.

She seems to be twenty-four or twenty-five.

“Yes?” I answered politely. I even put a smile out there.

Did she smile back? No.

“My name is Jade. I'm a little surprised to see you here so early, though it's a good thing. Mr. Campbell doesn't like when his employees come late to work.”

I wanted to say “Haven't you come a bit earlier than me, bitch?” but instead, I smiled again.

“I'm sure no one does. It's a good thing I'm always an early riser.

“Mr. Campbell doesn't need to worry about me coming late.”

“Hmm.” She nodded her head, as she chewed on her pen and decided to give me a once-over, clearly not liking what she saw.

“No one told me what Mr. Campbell's new assistant looks like, but I got to say I'm a little disappointed. I expected much more than I had imagined. But I guess he took pity on you.

“If I were him, I would take pity on you too.”

Scratch messing her up, I wanted to bloody murder her and bury her six feet under where her rotten corpse would only be bones and skull.

Were the boss and employees all the same?

They all act like they were better than everyone.

I smiled widely.

“I guess he saw what he didn't see in anyone. I must be lucky then.”

The murderous look on her face gave me a little bit of satisfaction.

“Whatever. Follow me and I will show you to your desk.”

I followed behind her closely, my eyes glaring daggers at her back.

The minute she turned, I plastered a sweet smile on my face.

She pointed to a desk that had a white laptop on it.

The desk was pushed far up against the wall, beside a large double door.

“You're going to be sitting over here,” she said.

“You can put one personal thing on your desk because Mr. Campbell doesn't like too much of it. Your job is to answer the phone and complete his tasks.

“Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“Very good. Welcome to Campbell Industry. I'll see how long you'll last.”

I bit my tongue and force breath through my nose.

“I assure you it'd be longer than you.”

I watched her eyebrow twitch but she didn't say anything. She walked away, leaving me to settle in.

It didn't take thirty minutes before Mr. Campbell walked in like a storm ready to suck you away into its vortex.

His face held no emotions and those stone-cold eyes could cease your existence.

I stood transfixed, unable to tear my eyes away from the sheer muscling of his arms, chest, and legs.

The way his blue Armani suit clung to his body like a second skin.

There was a perfect lethal and predatory to his movements as he walked.

My heart pounded with fascination.

He was a powerful man, incredible in every way, and the mere sight of him now, in his glory nearly brought me to my knees.

It was as if I was seeing him for the first time.

Everyone nodded good morning to him, but he ignored them and walked past with so much grace I had ever seen in anyone, as he went into his office.

He was so rude.

I stayed at my desk for a few minutes before I gathered my courage and approached his office.

I knocked on his door. Once, twice and I got nothing in return.

I knocked again.

Loudly this time.

“What?!” His voice was deep and thunderous.

It felt as if it rumbled mightily inside the building.

Swallowing bile that had risen in my throat, I turned the knob and pushed the door open.

I walked inside his cold office and closed the door behind me.

“Good morning, sir,” I greeted, my heart pounding in my chest.

Mr. Campbell slowly raised his head to look at me.

He appeared more frightening than I could have imagined, and I couldn't control the shudder that shook my body when those silver eyes were fixed on me.

There wasn't anything familiar about his stare.

I sucked in my breath.

His gaze roamed over me, an almost lazy action.

I sensed boredom. I sensed annoyance.

A distance that was almost icy set him apart.

Our eyes stayed locked, for one long, nerve-shattering moment.

A hundred feelings went through me in that instant. It was as if everything else in the world stood still.

This man…he was frightening. And I might have accidentally sold my soul to him.

“Yes? Can I help you?” he barked.

I stared at him, unable to understand what he meant by that? Was I not allowed to come to greet him until he needed me?

Before I could say something, he fired more questions at me.

“How did you get here? Who let you in?” He pressed an intercom and spoke into it.

“Who let this woman in?

“Do I pay you to let any stranger come into my office? !—You're asking me what woman? You're fired!”

He was raising his voice at the poor man that was receiving it.

It was a voice that represented sudden death to me.

“Please, Mr. Campbell, you hired me to be your assistant. Lauren Hart, remember?”

I asked in a choked, pleading voice.

My heart was pounding loudly and I couldn't seem to move.

My deepest instinct warned me not to anger this man any further.

He was like an unforgiving storm, a force not to be reckoned with.

Mason raised his eyebrows as he seized me up, pointing his pen at me in realization.

“You certainly look different. Well, not as bad as you did the other day, but it's progress.”

“Yes, sir,” I answered, fighting to keep my tone light and simple.

“I'll try and match up to this company's expectations.”

Finally moving his eyes away from me, he retorted, “I don't see how that is going to be possible, Ms. Hart.”

I watched him scribble something down in a piece of paper.

“Take this.” I quickly moved to take the paper from him, our fingers almost touched in the process if he hadn't let go of it immediately before it happened.

“That's my email and the password.

“Answer all my emails. Ignore ones that aren't relevant. Don't schedule a meeting without consulting me first. Do not, under any circumstances, Ms. Hart, make any of my emails go public.

“Keep my emails private. If I find out you've discussed it with anyone, family or friend, I assure you, you will very well regret it.”

My heart began to beat fast, and I hated the fact that he could evoke this anxiety in me. And he was doing it intentionally.

Of course, he was.

“Every morning by exactly 9 am, you'll get me my tea, not coffee. I like it black. It shouldn't be too cold and too hot.

All the files I need to sign on should be at my desk before I get here.

“You don't come into my office and no visitors allowed at 12 to 1. You get my lunch from Roseire restaurant. It's a one hour drive and I don't care how you get there. Just ask for my usual.

“Keep in mind that I need it hot and on my table by 2. If it turns cold, I'll deduct the price from your salary.”

Is he serious?

God, he's so bossy.

Look at him sitting there, stating his orders like he ruled the earth or something.

God if this man did rule the world, we'd all be doomed.

I haven't spent long in his presence but I could tell the world will suffer at his hands.

“Are you listening to me?” He looked outraged.

Anger emanated from his face, his gaze traveling over me critically.

Something dark flickered across his expression that had my stomach churned.

Swallowing, I nodded my head.

His eyes narrowed. “You don't nod. You speak when you're spoken to, do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” I looked down before looking up at him.

The fierce expression on his face filled me with terror.

He continued with his cold and unforgiving tone.

“I took it upon myself to give this to you.” He threw what looked like a manual at me. “Read it. Follow it. If you want to be here in a week.”

“I promise I won't disappoint you,” I said, quietly.

“I don't care if you disappoint me, Ms. Hart. I'd be pleased to see that you did. It would only prove what I think about you. Don't think you've officially made it into Campbell Industry.

“You are on trial. Any mistake will get you out of here quicker than you can blink. Like I said, you are not the only one who would love to have this job.

“People with more talent than you.” He entwined his fingers in front of him.

“And don't you get it into your head that you're any special.”

Sonofabitch.

A reply sprang to my lips, but he silenced me with his raised hand.

“That will be all.”

I turned around and quietly left the office.

I felt like I had just been told that someone I knew died and I was mourning the person.

I didn't even know what to think.

I knew Mason Campbell was a lot of things, and being a rude man was one of them, but I never knew he was this rude.

Without making any eye contact with anyone, I walked over to my desk.

I sat down, counting one to ten before I moved my attention back to the employee manual I was given.

I was about to start flipping through it when I heard a cough.

I lifted my head up and faced Jade, who was giving me the “I hate you but there's nothing I can do about it' face.

“Yes?”

She rolled her eyes.

“I'm supposed to give you a goddamn tour like I don't have anything better to do with my time,” she sneered, turning around without waiting for me to say anything.

I stared at her retreating form, wondering when on earth she had started PMSing or did her bitchiness come naturally? Was everyone in here awful?

I haven't remembered the last time I found myself surrounded by vile people.

Even high school wasn't this bad and that was saying a lot.

Miss bitchyface probably thought she was one of the better people in this company, one who would step in your foot no matter what and one who thought everyone needed to follow.

Well, I wasn't going to be anyone's bitch.

I looked down at the manual again, opening the first page.

“Aren't you coming?” I heard Jade snap at me.

Glancing at her angry face, I raised a brow.

“Oh, I didn't know you wanted me to follow. You should have said so.”

I closed the manual and got up to follow her.

The next thirty minutes was so boring.

Jade showed me every room in the building and I knew I wasn't going to remember all the places because I wasn't giving my full attention.

I nearly danced with joy when I sat back down on my chair.

Finally, it was over.

Being in Jade's presence sucked all the little happiness I had left in me.

At exactly eight fifty-five, I rushed to get Mr. Campbell's tea.

I paused, trying to remember if he told me how much sugar he wanted in it, or if he wanted any at all.

I took a major risk and didn't put sugar in his tea.

This could either save me or kick me out of the company.

When he gave me permission to enter his office, I did with so much calmness, for once not in fear.

I kept the tea in front of him and waited to be asked to leave.

Mr. Campbell took his time to finish up on his laptop before picking up the tea.

I sighed in relief when he didn't start screaming about the lack of sugar.

“You may go,” he said, icily.

He still hasn't looked at me.

“You're welcome, sir,” I said, turning to go out of the office.

His voice stopped me from moving.

“What did you just say?” There was disbelief in his tone, anger. A wave of terrifying anger that had my legs shaking.

“Are you being sarcastic with me, Ms. Hart?”

I shook my head, trying to point out the exact moment my senses left my body.

I wasn't being sarcastic. How could I be when I knew I had a boss like him?

It was simply an instinct that made me say it.

“I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean any harm.” I couldn't count how many times I had apologized from the moment I first met him.

And something did tell me there was more to come.

He narrowed his eyes, trying to break me down and prove to him I was weak and not capable of handling the pressure.

At least, that was what I thought he was doing.

“You may go.”

I dashed out of there, breathing properly when I was out of his glaring stare.

A low chuckle began and I rotated around to the culprit.

A tall, lean guy was staring at me, his lips curved into a smirk.

He had short dark hair at the sides, and the spike in the middle was a bit long and messy.

When he saw me looking, he crossed over to my space.

“Congratulations,” his deep voice said with a hint of a joke.

“You survived two visits to his office. Calls for a celebration.”

I couldn't help but smile.

One, because I knew he was probably saying the truth, and two, because I knew I would like him. He was different from the way I saw him.

Doing a little curtsy that earned another chuckle from him, I said, “Would you like to engrave that in a cup and deliver it to my desk?”

“Oh, clever. You're going to drive your own satisfaction. Sold.”

I extended my hand, my smile getting wider.

“I'm Lauren. Lauren Hart.”

Ginger-haired guy released one hand from his cup and shook my head.

“Nice to meet you, Lauren. I'm Aaron Hardy. It's really nice to see someone coming out of the boss' office without a tear.”

“You could say that I'm brave.”

He nodded, tilting his head the other side to study me.

“Or stupid. Why did you take the job?” he asked, and before I could reply, he cut me off with an exclaim, “Aha! I think I got it.

“It's the paycheck, isn't it? It's always the paycheck.”

I rolled my eyes. “Something like that. I need the money.”

“Ahh.”

“You're awfully nice to me. How is that possible? Everyone either hates me or are yet to hate me. They are all so uptight. Like people please, take a chill.”

He laughed, his shoulders shaking. “Trust me when I say they're jealous of you. Mr. Campbell doesn't hire—excuse my choice of words— someone like you.

“He likes his employees with high class, people who wouldn't embarrass his company. But they think you might be special to him.”

I snorted.

“That's so stupid. He hates me.”

“He hates you just as much as he hates everyone. It's not personal.”

“I wonder why.”

“And that, my dear Lauren, is why we'd always keep wondering,” he said, winking at me.

“Let's get back to work before we have to stay back for an hour after work.”

I stepped beside him, looking surprised.

“Are you serious?”

“Nope,” he replied, popping the “P'. “He's not that much of a bastard.”

I stopped walking, giving him my best “Are you kidding me' look. He turned around and shrugged.

“Okay, maybe he's a bastard.”

“A grade bastard if you ask me.”

Someone cleared their throat and I froze in shock, my heart going 360 degrees.

It was Aaron's chuckles that seemed to snap me out of it.

“Oh my god,” he doubled over with laughter. “You should have seen your face. You thought it was him.”

“It isn't?”

“No, but you should be careful with your words.”

A green-haired girl smiled at me, swinging her arm around Aaron's neck.

“Is this the new girl?”

I stood straight, pushing my shoulders up and stared straight into her eyes.

She chuckled.

“Damn, girl, I don't bite,” she said, amused at me trying to stand my ground.

I immediately relaxed, figuring that she meant no harm. No sign of disdain. “I'm Athena.”

I raised a brow.

She grinned. “My mum is weird.”

“Lauren. You have green hair and you're not fired.”

I knew for a fact that Mason would never, ever hire someone with green hair.

“That's because he can't fire me. I'm his Auntie.”

“What?! But you don't look like a day over—”

“23?” Athena asked.

“Yeah, I get that a lot. He's older than me, but I'm his aunt blah blah. His mum is my half-sister.”

“Wow.” She must be the only person he would be nice to.

Athena stared at my dazed face.

“Oh, honey, just because I'm his Auntie doesn't me I don't get his shit too.”

“Yeah, but you're like the only person he respects,” Aaron said.

She shrugged like it wasn't that much of a big deal. I never thought Mr. Campbell was capable of respecting anyone.

His enormous ego the size of the earth wouldn't be able to handle such a thing.

For a man who demanded respect everywhere he went, it was an odd thing to hear.

“Let's just get back to work.”

I patted Aaron on the shoulder before going over to my desk.

I had a long, painful day ahead of me.

 

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