A Bargain with the Boss - Page 67

Dixon had slipped right into the familiarity of his old job. He was definitely in a more upbeat mood, but he was just as efficient as always, no matter what the crisis.

It was coming up on eleven and the phone had been ringing almost constantly. There was a storm in the Atlantic and a major rock slide across one of the main rail lines between Denver and Salt Lake City. Everybody was rerouting and rescheduling.

“The Blue Space file?” Dixon called through the open door of his office.

Amber knew the Blue Space file was in Tuck’s office. She’d been avoiding going in there, worried about triggering memories. Not that anything specific had ever happened in his office. They hadn’t kissed and they certainly hadn’t made love there. Thank goodness, at least, for that.

“I’ll get it,” she called back.

“They’re phoning right after lunch,” said Dixon.

“On my way.”

She took a bracing breath and stood. She was going to do this. In fact, she wanted to do this. Maybe it would be a turning point. Maybe she’d built it up to be something it wasn’t. She could probably walk in there, get the file, walk back out and realize it was just another room.

She headed down the hall.

Tuck’s office door was closed. But she refused to slow down. She reached out, turned the knob, thrust the door open and walked inside.

There, she stopped, gasping a breath, picking up his scent, her brain assailed by memories. Tuck laughing. Tuck scowling. His brows knitted together in concentration.

She could hear his voice, feel his touch and imagine his kiss.

“Amber?” Dixon’s voice startled her.

“I’m sure it was on the desk,” she said, pushing herself forward.

There was a stack of files on the corner of the desktop and she began looking through them.

“I’m meeting Zachary for lunch,” said Dixon.

“Zachary who?” She tried to remember if there was a Zachary connected with Blue Space.

“Zachary Ingles.”

She looked up. “Why?”

Dixon moved closer. “I’m trying to get him to come back.”

“Why would you do that?”

“Because he’s good. And he took a bunch of accounts with him when he left.”

“There’s nothing good about that.”

She’d never liked Zachary. She didn’t trust him and she’d been glad to see him leave. The new guy, Samuel Leeds, was much more professional. He was young, but he seemed to be learning fast.

Dixon chuckled. “I know Zachary’s not the warmest guy in the world.”

Amber continued sorting. It wasn’t her place to criticize, and she didn’t want to insult Dixon.

“Samuel’s a bit too laid-back,” said Dixon. “He’s inexperienced. A director position isn’t the place to learn the ropes.”

“He’s enthusiastic,” said Amber.

“A little too enthusiastic.”

Dixon had said the same thing about Gena, the new finance director. He hadn’t replaced her yet, but Amber knew he’d been in contact with Harvey.

“Are you going to undo everything Tuck did?” As soon as she asked, Amber immediately regretted the question.

“You mean, am I going to undo the damage?”

She practically had to bite her tongue.

“It must have been bedlam around here.” Dixon crossed his arms over his chest.

“Who says that?”

“Harvey, for one.”

“Consider the source.”

Dixon didn’t respond and Amber realized she’d gone too far.

“What did that mean?” asked Dixon, a clear rebuke in his tone.

Amber straightened and squared her shoulders. She was loyal to Tucker Transportation and she’d been appropriately loyal to Dixon. She now found herself feeling some of that loyalty toward Tuck.

“Tuck worked hard,” she said.

“I’ve no doubt that he did.”

“He not only worked hard—he succeeded. Yes, Harvey and Zachary bailed. But you should ask yourself what that says about them.”

“They couldn’t work with Tuck.”

“Or they wouldn’t work with Tuck. Zachary stole your clients. He stole them. He was disrespectful to Tuck. He was disloyal to you. He was downright dishonest. And, by the way, he hits on your female employees. Tuck, on the other hand, came in here without the first idea of what to do. He could have bailed. He could have turned and run the other way. But he didn’t. He dug in. Even knowing what your father thought of him, and how he’d been treated in the past, and how overwhelming the learning curve turned out to be, he stuck it out. Did you thank him? Did your dad thank him? Did anyone thank him?”

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