A Bargain with the Boss - Page 2

From the expression on his father’s face, Tuck could tell this was news to him, as well.

“So you’ll be here for a while?” Tuck asked easily. He loosened his tie and pulled it off. “What are you drinking?”

“Glen Garron,” Jamison answered.

“Sounds good.” Tuck shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it onto one of the deep red leather wingback chairs.

With a perimeter of ceiling-high shelves, a stone fireplace, oversize leather chairs and ornately carved walnut tables, the library hadn’t changed in seventy years. It had been built by Tuck’s grandfather, Randal, as a gentleman’s retreat, back in the days when gentlemen thought they had something to retreat from.

Tuck didn’t fill the silence, but instead waited to see where his father and brother would take the conversation.

“How was your date?” his father asked.

“It was fine.”

Jamison looked pointedly at his heavy platinum watch.

“She wasn’t exactly a rocket scientist,” Tuck said, answering the unspoken question.

“You’ve dated a rocket scientist?” asked Jamison.

Tuck frowned at his father’s mocking tone.

The two men locked gazes for a moment before Jamison spoke. “I merely wondered how you had a basis for comparison.”

“First date?” Dixon queried, his tone much less judgmental.

Tuck crossed to the wet bar and flipped up a cut crystal glass. “Last date.”

Dixon gave a chopped laugh.

Tuck poured a measure of scotch. “Interested in the game with Shane tomorrow?” he asked his brother.

“Can’t,” said Dixon.

“Work?” asked Tuck.

“Tying up loose ends.”

Tuck turned to face the other men. “With the penthouse?”

Dixon’s expression was inscrutable. “And a few other things.”

Tuck got the distinct feeling Dixon was holding something back. But then the two brothers rarely spoke frankly in front of their father. Tuck would catch up with Dixon at some point tomorrow and ask him what was going on. Was he really looking at taking a lengthy vacation? Tuck would be impressed if he was.

Then again, their father was right. Tucker Transportation needed Dixon to keep the corporation running at full speed. And Tuck wasn’t any kind of a substitute on that front.

* * *

Amber Bowen looked straight into the eyes of the president of Tucker Transportation and lied.

“No,” she said to Jamison Tucker. “Dixon didn’t mention anything to me.”

Her loyalty was to her boss, Dixon Tucker. Five years ago, he’d given her a chance when nobody else would. She’d been straight out of high school, with no college education and no office experience. He’d put his faith in her then, and she wasn’t going to let him down now.

“When was the last time you spoke to him?”

Jamison Tucker was an imposing figure behind his big desk in the corner office on the thirty-second floor of the Tucker Transportation building. His gray hair was neat, freshly cut every three weeks. His suit was custom-made to cover his barrel chest. He wasn’t as tall as his two sons, but he more than made up for it in sturdiness. He was thick necked, like a bulldog. His brow was heavy and his face was square.

“Yesterday morning,” said Amber. This time she was telling the truth.

His eyes narrowed with what looked like suspicion. “You didn’t see him last night, sometime after the office closed?”

The question took her aback. “I... Why?”

“It’s a yes-or-no answer, Amber.”

“No.”

Why would Jamison ask that question, and why in such a suspicious tone?

“Are you sure?” Jamison asked her, skepticism in his pale blue eyes.

She hesitated before answering. “Do you have some reason to believe I saw him last night?”

“Did you see him last night?” There was a note of triumph in his voice.

She hadn’t. But she did know where Dixon had been last night. He was at the airport, boarding a private jet for Arizona. She knew he’d left Chicago, and she knew he wouldn’t be back for a very long time.

He’d told her he’d left a note for his family so they wouldn’t worry. And he’d made her promise not to give anyone more information. And she was keeping that promise.

Dixon’s family took shameless advantage of his good nature and his strong work ethic. The result was that he was overworked and exhausted. He’d been doing an increasing share of the senior management duties at Tucker Transportation over the past couple of years. And now his divorce had taken a huge toll on his mental and emotional state. If he didn’t get some help soon, he was headed for a breakdown.

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