A Bargain with the Boss - Page 3

She knew he’d tried to explain it to his family. She also knew they refused to listen. He’d had no choice but to simply disappear. His father and his lazy, good-for-nothing younger brother, Tuck, were simply going to have to step up.

She squared her shoulders. “Are you implying that I have a personal relationship with Dixon?”

Jamison leaned slightly forward. “I don’t imply.”

“Yes, you do. You did.” She knew she was skating on thin ice, but she was angry on her behalf and Dixon’s. It was Dixon’s wife who had cheated, not Dixon.

Jamison’s tone went lower. “How dare you?”

“How dare you, sir. Have some faith in your own son.”

Then Jamison’s eyes seemed to bulge. His complexion turned ruddy. “Why, you—”

Amber braced herself, gripping the arm of the chair, afraid she would be fired on the spot. She could only hope Dixon would hire her back when he returned.

But Jamison gasped instead and his hand went to his chest. His body stiffened in the big chair and he sucked in three short breaths.

Amber shot to her feet. “Mr. Tucker?”

There was genuine terror in his expression.

She grabbed the desk phone, calling out to his assistant as she dialed 911.

Jamison’s assistant, Margaret Smithers, was through the door in a flash.

While Amber gave instructions to the emergency operator, Margaret called the company nurse.

Within minutes, the nurse had Jamison on his back on the floor of his office and was administering CPR.

Amber watched the scene in horror. Had his heart truly stopped? Was he going to die right here in the office?

She knew she should get word to his family. His wife needed to know what had happened. Then again, Mrs. Tucker probably shouldn’t be alone when she heard. She probably shouldn’t hear news like this from a company secretary.

“I need to call Tuck,” Amber said to Margaret.

All the blood had drained from Margaret’s face. She dropped to her knees beside Jamison.

“Margaret?” Amber prompted. “Tuck?”

“On my desk,” Margaret whispered, as if it was painful for her to talk. “There’s a phone list. His cell number is there.”

Amber left for Margaret’s desk in the outer office.

While she punched Tuck’s cell number, the paramedics rushed past with a stretcher. The commotion inside Jamison’s office turned into a blur.

“Hello?” Tuck answered.

She cleared her throat, fighting to keep from looking through the office door, afraid of what she might see. She thought she could hear a defibrillator hum to life. Then the paramedics called, “Clear.”

“This is Amber Bowen,” she said into the phone, struggling to keep her voice from shaking.

There was silence, and she realized Tuck didn’t recognize her name. It figured. But this wasn’t the time to dwell on his lack of interest in the company that supported his playboy lifestyle.

“I’m Dixon’s assistant,” she said.

“Oh, Amber. Right.” Tuck sounded distracted.

“You need to come to the office.” She stopped herself.

What Tuck really needed to do was to go to the hospital and meet the ambulance there. She searched for a way to phrase those words.

“Why?” he asked.

“It’s your father.”

“My father wants me to come to the office?” His drawling tone dripped sarcasm.

“We had to call an ambulance.”

Tuck’s voice became more alert. “Did he fall?”

“He, well, seems to have collapsed.”

“What? Why?”

“I don’t know.” She was thinking it had to be a heart attack, but she didn’t want to speculate.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

“The paramedics are putting him on a stretcher. I didn’t want to call Mrs. Tucker and frighten her.”

“Right. Good decision.”

“You should probably meet them at Central Hospital.”

“Is he conscious?”

Amber looked at Jamison’s closed eyes and pale skin. “I don’t think so.”

“I’m on my way.”


The line went silent and she set down the phone.

The paramedics wheeled Jamison past. He was propped up on the stretcher, an oxygen mask over his face and an IV in his arm.

Amber sank down onto Margaret’s chair, her knees wobbly and her legs weak.

Margaret and the nurse emerged from Jamison’s office.

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