A Bargain with the Boss - Page 5

Tuck set his jaw and glared at the man.

“Do you want a full quarterly report or a summary?” asked Lucas Steele. He was the youngest of the executives, the operations director.

Where the others wore custom-made suits, Lucas was dressed in blue jeans and a dark blazer. His steel-blue shirt was crisp, but he hadn’t bothered with a tie. He moved between two worlds—the accountants and lawyers who set strategic direction, and the transport managers around the world who actually got things from A to B.

“A summary is enough for now.” Tuck appreciated Lucas’s pragmatic approach to the situation.

Lucas raised his brows, silently asking the other men if there was anything else.

Tuck decided to jump on the opportunity and end the meeting.

“Thank you.” He rose from his chair.

They followed suit and filed out, leaving him alone with Dixon’s assistant, Amber.

He hadn’t paid much attention to her before this week, but now she struck him as a model of fortitude and efficiency. Where his father’s assistant, Margaret, seemed to be falling apart, Amber was calm and collected.

If she’d wandered out of central casting, she couldn’t have looked more perfect for the part of trustworthy assistant. Her brunette hair was pulled back in a tidy French braid. Her makeup was minimal. She wore a gray skirt and blazer with a buttoned white blouse.

Only two things about her tweaked his interest as a man—the fine wisps of hair that had obviously escaped the confining braid, and the spiky black high-heeled sandals that flashed gold soles when she walked. The loose wisps of hair were endearing, while the shoes were intriguing. Both could have the power to turn him on if he was inclined to let them.

He wasn’t.

“We need to get Dixon back,” he told her, setting his mind firmly on business. His brother was priority number one.

“I don’t think we should bother him,” she replied.

The answer struck Tuck as ridiculous. “He’s got a corporation to run.”

Her blue eyes flashed with unexpected annoyance. “You’ve got a corporation to run.”

For some reason, he hadn’t been prepared for any display of emotion from her, let alone something bordering on hostility. It was yet another thing he found intriguing. It was also something else he was going to ignore.

“We both know that’s not going to happen,” he stated flatly.

“We both know no such thing.”

Tuck wasn’t a stickler for hierarchy, but her attitude struck him as inappropriately confrontational. “Do you talk to Dixon this way?”

The question seemed to surprise her, but she recovered quickly. “What way?”

He wasn’t buying it. “You know exactly what I mean.”

“Dixon needs some time to himself. The divorce was very hard on him.”

Tuck knew full well that the divorce had been hard on his brother. “He’s better off without her.”

“No kidding.” There was knowledge in her tone.

“He talked to you about his wife?” Tuck was surprised by that.

Amber didn’t reply right away, and it was obvious to him that she was carefully formulating her answer.

He couldn’t help wondering how close Dixon had become to his assistant. Was she his confidante? Something more?

“I saw them together,” she finally said. “I overheard some of their private conversations.”

“You mean you eavesdropped?” Not exactly an admirable trait. Then again, not that he was one to judge.

“I mean, she shouted pretty loud.”

“You couldn’t leave and give them some privacy?”

“Not always. I have a job that requires me to be at my desk. And that desk is outside Dixon’s office.”

Tuck couldn’t help but wonder exactly how far-reaching her duties had become when Dixon’s marriage went bad. He took in her tailored clothes and her neat hair. She might be buttoned down, but she was definitely attractive.

“I see...” He thought maybe he did.

“Stop that,” she snapped.

“Stop what?”

“Stop insinuating something without spitting it out. If you’ve got something to ask me, then ask me.”

Fine with Tuck. “What were you to my brother?”

She enunciated carefully. “I was his confidential assistant.”

He found himself easing forward. “And which of your duties were confidential?”

“All of them.”

“You know what I’m asking.”

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