A Bargain with the Boss - Page 14

Tuck had no idea what to make of the message. Zachary had been with the company for a decade, rising through the ranks to his current, very well-paid position.

“Why would he do that?”

Excellent question.

Tuck’s phone rang. He saw that it was Lucas Steele.

Tuck took the call, speaking without preamble. “Do you know what’s going on?”

“Zachary walked,” said Lucas.

“I just got his email. Do you know why?”

“Harvey went with him,” said Lucas.

“Harvey, too? What on earth happened?” Tuck couldn’t keep the astonishment from his voice. Two long-term directors had quit at the same time?

Amber’s eyes widened while she listened to his side of the conversation.

“Peak Overland made them an offer,” said Lucas.

“Both of them?”

“Yes.”

The situation came clear in Tuck’s mind. “Without Dixon, we look vulnerable.”

“Yes, we look vulnerable. Nobody knows anything concrete, so there are theories all over the place. I’m hearing everything from he’s been thrown in jail in a foreign country to he was killed skydiving.”

“He’s in New Orleans,” said Tuck. “Or maybe Miami.”

There was a silence.

“You don’t know where he is.” Lucas’s voice was flat.

“He’s on vacation. He needs some time alone.”

“The divorce?” asked Lucas.

“That’s my best guess.”

“Okay,” said Lucas, his tone growing crisp again. “You need me to come out there?”

“Yes. But I also need you in Chicago. And I need you in Antwerp.”

What Tuck really needed was Dixon and there was absolutely no time to waste. His next call would be to Jackson.

Lucas gave a chopped chuckle. “Where do you want me?”

“Can you hold the fort in Chicago?”

“I can.”

“Talk to security. Change the locks, change the system passwords. Make sure they can’t do any damage.”

“Will do.”

“Is there an heir apparent to either Zachary or Harvey?”

“Nobody comes instantly to mind. But I’ll think about it. And I’ll ask around.”

“Thanks. Talk to you in a few hours.”

Tuck’s lack of knowledge and experience with the family company suddenly felt like an anvil. He needed his brother more urgently than ever before.

“I’d choose Hope Quigley,” said Amber.

“Who?”

“She’s a manager in the marketing department. She’s been on the social media file for a couple of years, but she’s incredibly organized.”

“You want me to promote a blogger to marketing director?”

Amber frowned. “It’s a lot more than just blogging.”

“That’s a huge jump in responsibility.”

Her hand went to her hip. “And you’d know this, how?”

Tuck did not want to have to make this decision on his own. “I’m calling Jackson. No more messing around. We’re turning over every possible rock to find Dixon.”

Something shifted in Amber’s expression. “You don’t need Dixon back.”

What an absurd statement. “I absolutely need Dixon back.”

“You can promote Hope. And there are others who can step in.”

“The company needs a strong president. Look around you. We’ve got two days to pull this thing together. The reception is already in trouble, and there are thirty private meetings set up with the marketing director.”

“You take the meetings.”

“Yeah, right.” As if he was going to speak knowledgably about Baltic Exchange indices and intermodal freight transport.

“Take Hope with you. Give her a new title. She’s got two days before the meetings. She can come up to speed on the specific client accounts.”

“I’ve never ever met the woman.”

“Then, take Lucas with you.”

“Lucas has to keep our current freight moving across the ocean.”

“You’re right.” Amber pursed her red lips, folding her hands primly in front of her. “It’s all hopeless. We should just give up and go home.”

He didn’t have a comeback for her obvious sarcasm. He knew what she was doing, and he didn’t appreciate it.

“Are you this insubordinate with Dixon?” How had she kept from being fired?


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