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Steamy Romance Novels

Fifty Shades of Grey Can't Hold A Candle to This Book

May 11, 2023


Chapter 9


Monday rolled around so fast.

Beth didn’t question me when I told her I was going back to work. I could see that she wanted to, but she respected my privacy.

Athena had apologized to me about Mr. Campbell’s behavior on Saturday night. She promised she had cleared everything with him and that it wasn’t my fault.

I guess that explained why he wanted me back.

But after having spent so much time listening to him tell me over and over again how I would be so easily replaced, I still couldn’t help but wonder why he’d blackmailed me into working for him again?

Mr. Campbell didn’t come to work in the morning and not having him here made it the most pleasant day of my life.

But later in the afternoon, he walked in, announcing that he wanted to see me. When I entered his office, he was sitting at his desk.

He glanced up at me.

“You did not keep me waiting.”

“You wanted to see me?” My voice sounded guarded.

“Did I get any messages from John Holt’s office?”

“Yes. His assistant called earlier about the deal you made with him. Mr. Holt doesn’t wish to continue with the deal anymore if your terms still apply.”

“Well, I suppose we should hope that he has enough money to take care of his five children,” he said.

He continued speaking in the same casual tone of voice. “When I buy his company and reveal all his illegal activities, do you think he will realize his mistake?”

I couldn’t control the shocked and angry flush that came across my face. I was uncomfortably aware of the piercing scrutiny of those gray eyes that caught every detail of it.

I knew it was a rhetorical question and my input wasn’t needed, but I had to say something.

“M-Mr. Campbell, is that…is that really necessary?” I was annoyed at myself for stuttering and stumbling over my words. “Do you really have to do that?”

“And since when have I listened to you?”

There was a touch of irony in his voice at last, and his hooded eyes had narrowed slightly. “This is business. You know nothing about it.”

I knew that when Mr. Campbell made up his mind to take a certain course of action, nothing could stop him. I should have known that by now, but still I protested. He was a ruthless businessman.

“But, sir, he has a family.”

“Call his office and relay the message, Ms. Hart.” His voice was measured and dry, but I caught its veiled menace and winced.

“If he doesn’t agree to my conditions, I’m afraid his fate is inevitable.”

Barely able to suppress my frustration, I made a slight nod before I left the office.

The rest of the day was quiet. He had been in his office for hours and hadn’t taken a break. He was a workaholic, and something told me he had no life outside of his work.

How could someone live like this? Somehow, I could imagine him being obsessed with earning more money and being at the top, and taking a little break could make him think he would lose everything.

That was exactly how I felt when I watched an episode of The Walking Dead.

I was working when I smelled an unfamiliar cologne in the air. I looked up and saw a man walking toward Mr. Campbell’s office.

He was dressed in a casual dark polo shirt and ripped jeans with black sneakers.

He stopped in front of me with the prettiest smile and dimpled cheeks. His eyes were pure hazel, they almost seemed to brighten every few seconds.

In conclusion, he was really beautiful.

“Hello, love.” He sounded charming, friendly even. “I’m Gale, and you must be?”

“Lauren. Mr. Campbell’s new assistant.” I smiled back nervously.

If Beth were here, there was no doubt she would jump at this man. He was the kind of man she wanted—gorgeous, hot, and rich.

She would not rest until she had him in bed.

“Well, you certainly do not deserve to be cooped up in this boring office. Someone so breathtakingly beautiful deserves to be shown off in someone’s arms. I, for one, would show you off to the world.”

He reached for my hand before I could stop him, kissing the back of it.

With his eyes closed, his long lashes touched my palm.

He withdrew.

“Aren’t you a charmer?” I grinned, liking him already. Not because he gave me a compliment, but because he seemed to be the only rich man who was not an asshole.

“What can I do for you?”

“I’m here to see Mason. This is a surprise, unplanned meeting.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Mr. Campbell is busy right now, but would you like to wait for him?”

Instead of replying, Gale walked around me and sat in one of the two chairs that were in front of my desk. He crossed his legs and put his right arm over the chair.

“Normally I wouldn’t have waited for him,” he started with a teasing smile. “But today seems to be an exception.

“It’s been a long time since I have been in the company of a beautiful woman such as yourself.”

I replied with a snort and a shake of my head and then quickly tried to change the subject.“What’s your relationship with Mr. Campbell?” I asked.

Suddenly, a shadow fell across my shoulder, and I looked up, startled to see Mr. Campbell standing there with an irritated look on his face.

“I don’t pay you to sit around and inquire about my relationships, Ms. Hart.”

I almost choked. I answered with my head down, completely embarrassed.

“Of course, sir. I’m sorry.” Now he’s going to think I’m a nosy bitch. He already thought a lot about me.

They disappeared into his office. But fifteen minutes later, I heard a crashing sound coming from behind the door. I jumped in fright and my eyes remained frozen to the door.

What the hell was happening inside? Were they in a fight? No, Mr. Campbell would not engage in a fist fight at the office.

What should I do? Call security or barge in there?

I was on my feet when the door opened ten minutes later, and Gale’s head popped out. He looked exactly the same as he did when he got here. No bruises or blood on him. That was a good sign.

I should say something, ask what happened, but how?

“Lauren,” Gale said, almost happily. He grinned at me. “It was nice to meet you. I hope to see you again soon…in a different location, I hope. Your boss will see you now.”

Not wasting a second, I rushed inside the office.

Everything on Mr. Campbell’s desk was scattered on the floor with a few broken things. Deliberately, I let my eyes wander to him.

From his place by the window, Mr. Campbell watched my reaction with a poker face.

“Sir, is everything all right?” I said at last, the words sounding soft and hesitant.

“Yes,” he said abruptly, and the look in his eyes went through me like a jolt, making my heart pound dizzily.

“You’d better clean this up,” he said dryly, making his way to the door. “You’d better not tell anyone about this.”

That you threw a tantrum? I almost slipped out. Judging from the way he was looking at me as if he wanted to stab me with his pen, I knew he must have guessed my thoughts.

A slow smirk graced the corner of my lips.

He slammed the door.


For the next few days, Mr. Campbell’s behavior changed toward everyone. Not like he wasn’t an asshole before, but he became so much worse.

He was snappy and angry and screamed at everyone.

We were all on edge and were under so much pressure. Everyone was afraid of stepping out of line and risking getting fired.

I knew something was bothering him, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Friday night, I was sleeping when my phone rang at three in the morning. The sound of it woke me up from my sleep.

Looking at the unknown number, I wanted to ignore it, but then, I thought it could be related to my dad.

Nervous and frightened to hear bad news, I answered the call.


“Ms. Hart.” It was a deep, lazy drawl, delivered in a velvet voice. I instantly felt a thrill inside me.

“Mr. Campbell?” I asked in shock, rubbing my eyes.

“Is everything all right? It’s three in the morning.”

“Is it?” His rough voice dripped with sarcasm.

“I want to see you. Now, Ms. Hart. Queens Hotel. Room number 205.”

“H-hotel?” I choked, my eyes bulging out of their sockets.

“I’ll see you in ten.”

I couldn’t grasp what he had said until I heard the call end.

“What the hell?” I muttered to myself.

I didn’t change out of what I was wearing, which was shorts and a vest. I decided to wear a hoodie over it.

Beth was still sleeping when I snuck out of our flat.

Approaching the luxurious hotel from the taxi, I noted the presence of a clerk who took my name and used the phone before sending me up by elevator to Mr. Campbell’s suite on the top floor.

I didn’t understand why he wanted me to meet him at the hotel when he could just send me to his house or meet somewhere that wasn’t a freaking hotel.

The elevator doors slid open, and I walked out, searching for his room number.

When I stopped in front of the door, it took a great deal of courage before I slowly knocked.

Three minutes later, Mr. Campbell opened the door.

He stood there in a polo shirt that revealed his huge muscles and grey sweatpants that hugged his thighs.

His hair was ruffled, and his lips quirked slightly. He looked so hot.

I blinked, caught by surprise.

I felt like he wasn’t my boss. That he was someone I would pick up from a bar and talk about all week.

He looked so damn beautiful it hurt.

I smiled a little. But there was no answering smile in the gray eyes that met mine.

My smile faltered in the face of his cold welcome.

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