One of the most powerful men in England, Mason Campbell is cold, hard and ruthless. Envied by men and wanted by women, the wind carries whispers of his name and people tremble in fear.
Lauren Hart lands herself a job as Mason’s assistant and finds herself on the receiving end of his arrogance. But for some reason, Mason doesn’t have eyes for anyone but her. And then he makes her an offer she can’t refuse…
Age Rating: 18+ (Abuse, Sexual Abuse)
Would you run into a burning building to save the ones you love?
It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. But many of us never get to know for sure.
We can only hope that we have what it takes to sacrifice ourselves for what matters.
Ever since the fateful day when my father was first diagnosed, I mulled that question over and over in my mind. How far would I be willing to go to save him?
He was the only family I had since my mother walked out on us. He was my entire world as far back as I could remember.
And yet, there was nothing I could do to save him from his deadly disease.
At least not until I met… Him.
Mason Campbell. The Devil in Armani.
Wealthier than the Queen of England herself and twice as powerful.
Everybody knew Mason Campbell.
From the women who swooned over him to the men who fought for a chance to sit at his conference table.
They said he was more dangerous than any criminal.
They said his fortune was acquired through blood, violence, and deals with devils the world over. I wasn’t sure how many of the rumors to believe.
I knew he sounded like the kind of person I should stay far, far away from.
But he was the only one paying a high enough salary to pay my father’s mounting medical bills.
Which is how I came to be working for The Devil himself.
Little did I know what would come to pass.
That I would soon get the chance to know for sure…
Would I sacrifice everything to save the ones I loved?
“Ms. Hart. You’re late.”
I stood on the doorstep of the most prestigious hotel in London, staring into the deadly silver eyes of my boss, the mysterious billionaire Mason Campbell.
Like always, he looked like an angel fallen to hell in his perfectly trimmed designer suit, his bulging muscles threatening to tear through the fabric.
Without so much as a hello, he turned and walked back inside, leaving me standing by the door with my heart threatening to explode.
I followed him inside to the living room, which was luxuriously furnished and had a magnificent view from the balcony windows.
I peered around the dark shadows of the room. In the month since I’d started working at Campbell Industries, I’d never been called to his private hotel room so late at night.
I half expected some goons to be waiting in the corner to put a bullet in my head and throw me in the Thames. But it appeared we were alone.
He turned to give me his signature icy, calculating stare. It was cold inside, but every part of me felt suddenly hot and sweaty.
I sat down reluctantly, perching on a sofa while Mr. Campbell stretched out with insolent ease in another chair.
Crossing his legs, he stared at me, and his fingers slowly drumming on his thigh made my stomach tighten.
I didn’t know what I expected when I came here.
It was bloody three in the morning!
Normally, if my boss tried calling me that early, I would happily ignore it, no matter what he wanted.
But my boss was Mason Campbell.
And you didn’t say no to Mason Campbell. Not if you wanted to live a long and happy life.
I inspected his face, hoping to find some clue as to why he brought me here.
“Do you drink, Ms. Hart?”
He stood up and poured himself a drink from a crystal tumbler.
“No,” I said, my mouth dry. I would have loved a drink, but I had a weird feeling this was some kind of test. And if I failed, I would probably never see the light of day again.
Despite my answer, he poured me one anyway.
He brought it over to me and slammed it down on the table in front of me.
Then, instead of returning to his chair, he sat down next to me on the couch.
I grabbed my glass and stared directly into it. But I could feel his silver eyes staring hard at me. He held his glass, but he never took a drink.
“Why do you think I hired you, Ms. Hart?”
I tried to think of the reason. Why did this man, who could have anyone he wanted, bother to hire me?
My mind went crazy as the cold steel of his gaze penetrated me.
“I…I don’t know, sir.” I didn’t want to bullshit an answer.
Mason Campbell would see right through me.
But being honest didn’t exactly help me.
This man was used to being at the top. He was so powerful no one would dare anger him in any way. That meant that he was used to having smart and intelligent people around him.
I wasn’t sure if Mason hated liars or stupid people more.
“Why did you hire me, sir?”
He put his drink to the side, untouched, and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees.
I tried to ignore the bulge of his biceps through his shirt
I tried not to look at how it was unbuttoned, and it gave me a peek at his muscular chest.
“I’m asking the questions tonight,” he said sternly.
I took a sip and swallowed hard, choking on the bitterness of the alcohol.
“Do you have a husband, Ms. Hart?” he asked me.
Why did he want to know that?
“Answer me,” he pressed. “I don’t have all night.”
“No,” I said, “I’m not married.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked.
I could feel my heart racing faster and faster.
“No,” I said again.
“How about a lover?” he asked.
“Mr. Campbell. This is…this is getting very personal,” I stammered.
“Yes or no,” he said, leaning closer to me until I could smell the alcohol on his breath.
“No,” I finally said, my voice shaking.
“Very good,” he said.
Why the hell did he care?
“So I can assume that you are fully committed to your work,” he continued.
“You’ve made sure of that,” I shot back.
“Well, you’re about to get a lot more committed,” he said.
“What does that mean?”
He stood suddenly, and as he walked away from me, I was finally able to breathe for the first time since I got to his room.
After a long silence, he spoke.
“I have a proposition for you, Ms. Hart. One which you cannot refuse.”
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 looked so much better than me.
God knows what she saw when she looked at me.
I know what I see when I look at myself.
She seemed 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 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’ve got to say I’m a little disappointed.I expected much more. 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 corpse would rot to bones and skull.
Were the boss and employees all the same? They all act like they are better than everyone.
I smiled widely.
“I guess he saw something he didn’t see in anyone else. 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 personalization. Your job is to answer the phone and complete his tasks. Do you understand?”
“Very good. Welcome to Campbell Industries. Let’s see how long you last.”
I bit my tongue and forced breath through my nose.
“I assure you it’ll be longer than you will.”
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 emotion, and those stone-cold eyes could end 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 something perfectly lethal and predatory in 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.
Everyone nodded good morning to him, but he ignored them and walked past with grace such as I had never 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 the 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 him, 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 and an almost icy distance that 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 anything, 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 woman on the other side of the phone.
“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 sized me up, pointing his pen at me in realization.
“You certainly look different. Not as bad as you did the other day. It’s progress.”
“Yes, sir,” I answered, fighting to keep my tone light and simple. “I’ll try and live 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 on a piece of paper. “Take this.”
I quickly moved to take the paper from him; our fingers would have 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 the 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 public.
“Keep my emails private. If I find out you’ve discussed them with anyone, family or friend, I assure you, you will very much 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 nine a.m., you’ll get me my tea, not coffee. I like it black. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. All the files I need to sign should be at my desk before I get here.
“You don’t come into my office, and no visitors are allowed from twelve to one. You get my lunch from Rosiere 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 two. 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 owned the earth or something.
Like he owned me.~
The effects of my dream this morning were still having an impact on my day. Bummer.
God, if this man did own the world, we’d all be doomed.
I hadn’t spent long in his presence, but I could tell the world would 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 churning.
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 Industries.
“You are on trial. Any mistake will get you out of here quicker than you can blink. As I said, you are not the only one who would love to have this job.
“Many people would. 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 anything special.”
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 knew Mason Campbell was a lot of things, and 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 to ten, before I moved my attention back to the employee manual I was given.
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 get me kicked out of the company.
When he gave me permission to enter his office, I did so as calmly as I could.
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 hadn’t looked at me.
“You’re welcome, sir,” I said, turning to leave 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 had 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 told me there was more to come.
He narrowed his eyes, trying to break me down and prove I was weak and not capable of handling the pressure. At least, that was what I thought he was doing.
“Don’t test me again. Or you’re going to regret it. Understood, Ms. Hart?”
I let out a low breath and nodded slowly.
“You may go.”
I left his office, and when no one was looking took a deep, steadying breath. I already wanted to quit. But I got the feeling you couldn’t just quit being Mason’s assistant. You either became wildly successful or you disappeared.
I had agreed to work for the devil.
Now I just had to survive.
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