Kimi L. Davis
I straightened my pencil skirt before knocking on Mr. Caldwell’s door. “Mr. Caldwell, you wanted to see me,” I said softly as I entered.
“Yes, Hailey, please come in,” he beckoned.
As I approached Mr. Caldwell, I noticed a man sitting in one of the chairs in front of his desk. I didn’t recognize him, even though I’d been Mr. Caldwell’s personal assistant for over five years. The man was sharply dressed in a tailored business suit, and his hair was styled to perfection.
Mr. Caldwell had a strange look on his face as he glanced back and forth between me and the visitor. There was tension between the two gentlemen, and I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
“Hailey, I’d like to introduce you to your new boss,” Mr. Caldwell said.
To say I was confused would be an understatement.
“I’m sorry, sir, did you say…new boss?” I asked.
“Exactly, Hailey. Meet Mr. Theodore Benson, the new owner of what will now be known as Benson Enterprises,” Mr. Caldwell said, gesturing to the other man.
Mr. Benson stood and turned toward me, and I mentally gasped. He had a sharp, sculpted face with a straight nose and high cheekbones. His lips were perfect—full with just a touch of a scowl. I immediately pictured them running down my neck, and I swallowed the moan that wanted to escape.
His eyes raked over my body, down, then back up, until they locked on mine. My breath sped up as I found myself lost in their mesmerizing gray depths.
He was physically perfect. And he was also the type of man I did my best to stay away from. Guys like him were a girl’s wet dream, yet they were also why those girls ended up in tears.
I saw too many of my friends fall victim to these men, so I needed to stay away from him. I didn’t want to get my heart broken by anyone, least of all him.
“Good morning, Ms. Pritchett. Nice to meet you,” Mr. Benson said, extending his hand for me to shake.
I looked at his outstretched hand. I didn’t want to shake it, but I knew that social niceties needed to be observed. I was the assistant, not the boss, and I needed this job. So, with everything inside me screaming not to do it, I grasped his hand in mine. Electricity zapped between us, and tingles raced through my body.
“Nice to meet you too, Mr. Benson,” I replied. I was surprised at how strong my voice came out. I took a closer look at Mr. Benson. He seemed familiar somehow, but I couldn’t place him.
“Ms. Pritchett has been my assistant for the past five years, and I can honestly say that she is best assistant in this industry,” Mr. Caldwell said proudly.
I blushed at the compliment. “Well, I wouldn’t say the best, exactly…” I trailed off, not knowing what else to say. I realized my hand was still grasped firmly in Mr. Benson’s, and I eased it out of his hold. His gaze was making me squirm, and I fought the shiver that wanted to run down my back.
“Oh, Hailey, always being modest,” Mr. Caldwell said with a smile.
“You said Mr. Benson is my new boss. Are you leaving the company, sir?” I asked, eager to change the subject.
“The paperwork has just been finalized. Mr. Benson has bought company, and now he is the owner and the new boss of the former Caldwell Industries,” Mr. Caldwell said with a hint of sadness.
I gaped at him. I hadn’t heard any rumors about a possible buyout or merger, and I was the owner’s personal assistant!
“What does this mean, sir? What will happen to you?” I asked.
“I spent the last thirty years cultivating this company, but I believe it’s time I step down. I’m looking forward to spending time with my loved ones,” Mr. Caldwell explained with a wan smile.
“But don’t you worry, Hailey,” he continued, “your job is safe. You’re now Mr. Benson’s personal assistant.”
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Mr. Benson’s personal assistant? Oh no, I couldn’t be his assistant. The guy made me feel…things. Things I hadn’t felt before.
I turned to look at Mr. Benson. His eyes traced the outline of my body, and I had to clench my thighs together. No, I couldn’t work for him. I wanted him too much, and this want would only lead to danger.
But I was trained to be compliant and do what the boss wanted, so instead of voicing my disbelief and anger at the sudden change, I smiled and nodded.
“That’s wonderful,” Mr. Caldwell said. “I’m sure you and Mr. Benson will get along just fine.”
“I’m going to miss you, Mr. Caldwell,” I said as I wrapped my arms around him. He was like a father to me, and I would miss him dearly.
Mr. Caldwell squeezed me tightly, giving me the little bit of comfort I needed in that moment. The sound of a throat clearing broke us apart. I looked at Mr. Benson. He was standing there with an unreadable expression on his face. Another shiver ran through me, and this time, I was unable to stop it.
“If you are done, Henry, I think we should finish our conversation,” Mr. Benson said curtly.
“Yes, yes, of course. Hailey, why don’t you continue with your work while Mr. Benson and I finish up here,” Mr. Caldwell said as he gave me a gentle push toward the door.
I nodded and walked out of Mr. Caldwell’s office, but not before looking behind me one last time. Mr. Benson continued to stare at me with that unreadable expression.
Oh my, I wasn’t looking forward to working for Mr. Benson at all.
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