A Bargain with the Boss - Page 27

“We had a disagreement. No. More a difference of opinion. I’d call it a difference of principles and values. He’s not a man I want to work for.” Amber paused. “I’m fine with the way things turned out.”

She was fine. At least she would be fine.

“What will you do?” There was worry in Jade’s expression.

Amber linked her arm with her sister’s and moved them both inside. “I’ll get another job. This was a good job, but it’s not the only job. I have skills and experience. Maybe I’ll even make more money.”

“You sound confident.”

“I am confident.”

Maybe her leaving Tucker Transportation was inevitable. Jamison had most certainly planned to fire her before his heart attack. If she looked at it like that, she’d actually been granted an extra month with Tuck at the helm. But it was doomed to end one way or the other.

Dixon would eventually come back and he’d probably take her side. But Jamison was the president of the company. Eventually, he’d recover fully and overrule Dixon. And with Tuck now on Jamison’s side... Well, this was definitely the time for her to move on.

* * *

Tuck’s workload had gotten completely out of control. Without Amber as the gatekeeper, he was inundated with problems, big and small. He had a temporary assistant, Sandy Heath, borrowed from the finance department, but she mostly just asked him a lot of questions, slowing him down instead of speeding him up.

Jackson had followed a new dead-end lead to Cancún, and another manager had resigned this morning. They were bleeding employees. His father’s recovery was going more slowly than expected. Jamison might not return to work at all.

“Sandy?” Tuck called through the open door.


He could hear her stand and move to the door.

“Is Lucas Steele on his way up?”

Sandy paused in the doorway. “I don’t know.”

Tuck took a beat. “Could you find out?”


Tuck glanced at his watch to confirm the time. “Did you tell him ten?”

“I believe so. I mean, I called when you asked me to. But I got his voice mail.”

“Did you try his assistant?”

Sandy paused. “I’ll do that now.”

“Great.” Just great. Tuck couldn’t even get his operations director into his office when they only worked three floors apart.

He came to his feet. “Never mind.”

She looked puzzled. “You don’t want Lucas?”

“I’ll go down.”

“I can—”

“I’ll find him.”

“I’m sorry.”

Tuck relaxed his expression. “Don’t worry about it.”

There was no point in being annoyed with Sandy because she wasn’t Amber. Only Amber was Amber, and she was ridiculously good at her job.

He went to the elevator and rode down to twenty-nine. The hallway on that floor was linoleum rather than carpet. The offices were smaller than on the executive floor, and there was far more activity. It was the nerve center of the company, where every company conveyance was tracked on a series of wall-mounted screens, with information on every single shipment available with a few keystrokes. Tuck had come to like it here.

Lucas’s office was at the far end of the hallway. It was large but utilitarian, its numerous tables cluttered with maps and reports, keyboards and screens. Tuck knew Lucas had a desk in there somewhere, but he wasn’t sure the man ever sat down.

“Hey, boss,” Lucas greeted from behind a table.

One of his female staff members was working beside him, clicking keys and watching a set of three monitors.

“The Red Earth is back on schedule,” the woman said without looking up. “They’ll make their 6:00 a.m. port time.”

“Good,” said Lucas. “Need me?” he asked Tuck.

“You didn’t get Sandy’s voice mail?”

Lucas glanced guiltily at his desk phone. “We’ve been slammed this morning.”

“Not a problem,” said Tuck. “Got a minute?”

“Absolutely. Gwen, can you make sure we get the fuel agreement signatures sent? We have until close of business in Berlin.”

“Will do,” said Gwen, again without looking up.

Lucas led the way out of his office, turning immediately into a small meeting room along the hall.

“What’s up?” he asked Tuck, closing the door behind them.

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