Lovers of my book The Carrero Effect book 1 will love this brand new alternate chapter.
Jacob Carrero stood in his room in front of the large mirror over the vanity and warmed hair wax between his fingers, smirking at the familiar black and gold branded product on the wooden surface. His father was still lording over the decision to start a male grooming line with Jakes face all over the advertising campaign. Not that he cared, he was used to being publicly owned, always on show and every woman’s idea of a fantasy male.
Which guy wouldn’t? Women falling at your feet every day. Hell yeah.
He rubbed it through his hair expertly and spiked it up towards the center and forward in its trademark current style. He was never really one for much fussing over his hair, this kept it sorted and then he never had to care for the rest of the day. If he had his way he would shave it all off but he had done that in his teens and he had just looked street thug.
He caught sight of the girl in the mirror trying to catch his eye from the bed. She was lounging sexily and letting the bed sheets slide down her naked body in a bid to lure him back in. Jake just frowned at the effort and went back to getting ready for work. He had enough playtime these last two weeks and she was already boring him. This one was his most recent fuck buddy, all long legs, a little too skinny for his liking and surprisingly plain faced after all that muck was wiped off. Another supermodel who was obsessed with dinner parties where she only consumed lettuce and having her face in his lap. Nothing remarkable and zero conversation in that head.
‘I’m feeling energetic still, if you’re game?’ She tried for husky-voiced and just irritated him. Sliding on his jacket over his crisp shirt and adjusting the cuffs without looking at her once. Jefferson would be waiting with the car, ready by now and he had to go.
‘Nora will feed you, see yourself out.’ He smirked back at her and felt a tad guilty about the look of sheer disappointment on her face. Just a tad. He stopped caring the second he lifted his shades, slid them on his head and made his way out of the door.
He was greeted by Nora in the open plan lounge wielding a hoover and she smiled gracefully, his heart warming a little at the maternal little widow who kept his apartment for him. He smiled genuinely.
‘Can you make sure…..Ummmmm.’
Fuck, what was her name? Trisha? Tracey? Shit, he had been sleeping with her for almost a week and he still couldn’t remember the damn thing. He was such an asshole.
‘Tiffany?’ Nora blinked at him and he smiled, feeling more uneasy at his mind blank, he knew it just made him look like a dick head and he didn’t like Nora thinking that way about him. The woman was like a second mother.
‘Yeah, her. Could you make sure she gets fed and see that she’s taken home.’ He smiled again and headed towards the kitchen, lifting the coffee she had waiting for him in a steel travel mug. He was running late and she obviously knew it.
Best housekeeper on earth, she deserved another raise.
‘Arrick?’ He turned back to her with a raised eyebrow and then dismissed the question as his brother sauntered from the direction of his guest rooms. ‘Hurry up man, I’m already late. Margo will have my guts today, she’s all in a womanly tizzy about my new PA.’. Arrick just yawned and ran a hand casually through his sandy hair carelessly. His brother was more of the fairer kind, his dad’s dark eyes and sallow skin while Jake had inherited his mother’s dark hair and green eyes and he guessed her looks seeing as he had been voted New Yorks hottest bachelor the second year in a row. He never saw the similarity to his brother but people always said it was there.
‘Shut up, I’m still hungover from last night. You’re lucky I’m even upright and how the hell do you look so fucking normal?’ Arrick was irritable today, last night had been a hell of a party and they had hit the booze a little too hard. Jake was almost immune to hangovers nowadays, years of hitting it hard had given him a more steel constitution than his baby brother. He needed to get him worked up to that now he was almost legal drinking age. He had a reputation to follow.
‘You ready to shift?’ Jake pushed his brother by the shoulder as he passed him to get him moving faster, he was already restless about being away from work for a couple weeks. He had no idea how much he had missed or what was needed to catch up today. He wasn’t so sure anymore that snowboarding and base jumping in between blow out parties had been such a good idea when he had so much coming up right now. He didn’t feel any more rested than when he had taken off with brother and best mate in tow. In fact he maybe should have cut the fun a day early and actually gotten some real sleep. Last night was a late drunken return and then a lot of sex before his alarm assaulted him way too early. A shower had barely straightened him out.
He shook himself mentally and followed out through the main door to the outer corridor where his head of security was waiting with his bag, Mathews looked like a George Clooney of sorts with an air of Jason Statham, the man was scarily efficient. He took the bag being held out to him, he wasn’t much of a briefcase kind of guy so had a leather messenger bag instead.
‘Here you go sir. All the files arrived last night per your request.’ He smiled a thanks at the older man and patted his shoulder amid a mouthful of coffee. A slight stirring of nausea in his stomach at the first non-alcoholic liquid to hit it in forty-eight hours.
Not a good idea at all.
Arrick was practically tripping over his own feet and holding his head. Jake swiped off his shades and propped them on his brother’s nose, poor guy would not be any better hitting the New York sunlight in a few minutes and he felt guilty about his suffering. Jake had goaded him into a drinking competition knowing only too well he would beat him hands down. The baby boy had to learn to man up with the rest of them if he was going to survive in his circle of friends.
‘Thanks.’ He finally managed after swallowing down probably the worst thing to drink when his guts were fragile. Nora’s coffee was enough to put hairs on a man’s chest.
Swiping the bag over his shoulder he hauled out the first file to hand and sauntered into the elevator.
‘Work already? You have issues?’ Arrick mumbled from the corner he was slumped into and Jake could only shake his head at him and smile.
This was the future competition in his father’s company? He needed to get Arrick toughened up.
‘No, Margo sent this over. My new PA’s company record and resume. She wants me up to speed with whoever she is before I meet her today. Apparently, has high hopes that this might be the one I’ve been looking for.’
Floor sixty-five of the Carrero corporation – Executive house. Lexington Avenue, Mid-town Manhattan.
Walking through the building with a brother who was looking decidedly pale with nausea with his ever present bodyguard courtesy of his father Jake felt that familiar ease move back in. The ease of being back in his own building and in control. This was where he excelled in life. This right here, a building apart from his father’s and it was his domain, all business conducted herein was nothing much to do with Giovanni Carrero. Jake ran the sports side while Giovanni lorded over the hotels. The grooming line had come to Jake seeing as his face was all over it and he had a million tiny smaller sidelines all being run through Carrero House. His father had his darker dealings and sometimes borderline illegal mafia shit going on and he wanted no part in the old family ties. He had convinced Arrick to start taking an interest in his side of things, he had views to him working alongside him rather than being pulled into Carrero tower with the old man. The further he could keep Arrick out of the dealings with the people his father knew the better. Besides Arrick had a good business brain much like Jakes and he could be useful in a couple of mergers and acquisitions lined up in the near future.
Margo swept out of the foyer in a heavy cloud of Chanel number nine as soon as the elevator doors opened, like a breath of fresh air, every ready with that professional smile and hot body wrapped in Christian Dior tailoring. She was the temple of cool and efficient he was looking for in a new assistant, having served him well for years. He needed a new Margo to replace her or this was just never going to work in the long run, previous temporary assistants had either been useless or tried like crazy to fuck him and he didn’t ever cross work with play. He knew what he was looking for and he hoped to hell she had been right with this one, he was in no mood for another repeat of Gloria. That chick had stripped naked in his office and tried to entice him with some oral before being handed her resume and a swift shove out his door. He was maybe a loose sex mad playboy outside of these four walls but inside was a whole other level of play. Jake was serious in business and serious about never crossing that line.
Arrick slumped into the seat of the long low couch under that painting of the naked lesbian action by Hunter’s cousin, he wasn’t that enamored with it but the fifty grand he had paid to give the guy a helping hand meant he had to hang it somewhere. He sure as hell didn’t want it at home and no one really ventured in here much except Margo and well now this new girl. The new york skyline was getting an unobstructed view of tits and ass anyway.
‘Emma, please come into Mr Carrero’s office. Thank you.’ Margo was leaning over his desk and pressing the intercom to summons his future number two, meanwhile he was reading the text from the chick with the elusive name and wondering how the hell he could see the same girl for a week and still never have saved her phone number under an actual name. The name Emma swam in his mind’s eye and he felt himself sounding it out, he liked it. Short and sort of soft in a way. Definitely easy to remember.
‘Yes, Mrs drake.’ The voice coming back from the intercom distracted him from replying momentarily, sultry and sort of cute if he had to describe it and he completely forgot what he was about to respond to T. He definitely had some sort of internal reaction to the sound of her anyway and that wasn’t an entirely good thing. Frowning it away he focused back on his phone and typed out a response, this one had already met the limit of interest, a week quicker than most and the thought of fucking her again did nothing for him at all of a sudden.
‘Jake, this is Emma Anderson. She’s your new assistant in training. Your new number two.’ Margo smiled his way and he realized he was openly staring, she hadn’t caught him yet and she sure as hell wouldn’t. He wasn’t some pre-pubescent teen with zero skill. Looking down at the floor he could already feel himself taking calming breaths, regaining composure quickly with all the skill of a seasoned Lothario.
‘Miss Anderson.’ Jake got up slowly, tensing his neck from side to side and extending his hand out towards her politely, trying like hell to not react as that face turned his way. She pretty much floored him with the softest blue and biggest eyes he’d ever seen, an internal sort of gut punching reaction he had never experienced in his life and had no idea what to do with. It momentarily stunned him.
‘Mr Car…..’ That voice distracted him again, drawing attention to that mouth.
‘Jake! Please……’ He cut in quickly to try and get his focus back on track, his brain moving in smoothly from years of self-control and practice to save him from himself. ‘Margo informs me she’s happy with you so far and will be training you a little more extensively in time to step in fully when she retires. I guess that means we should get better acquainted on a first-name basis.’ Jake felt himself smile involuntarily at the hint of knowing her better, his mind immediately dragging her to his desk and most definitely not being allowed to take it any further. He needed to get control of the racing hormones and accept that she was obviously fuckable. He wanted her, she was peeking some primal interest in him and as soon as he accepted that and got over the fact he would never go there then they could move along.
‘I’m really grateful for the opportunity.’ She drew him back in with that voice and he couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t reacting to him the way women normally did. He had been too caught up in what she was doing to him to notice and now he did it irked him.
‘Would you like a drink, Emma? You look a little flushed.’ That tiny pink spot high on each cheek after he had shaken her hand seemed to be more from being uncomfortable about him touching her than any sexual yearnings and he was feeling really pissed about it. He had no idea why he was being such an asshole about this. Acting like a spoiled prissy brat because a girl didn’t fall for his charms. Maybe because this was completely fucking new to him.
‘Thank you.’ She smiled a little, a hint of a smile and he paused for a moment. It wasn’t full on but it suggested that she probably had a pretty smile too, the way her cheeks puffed a little and her eyes softened just slightly from doe-eyed to a little more carefree. It did all kinds of weird shit to his insides and he had no idea what was going on with him today. He was never drinking that lethal combo of crap he had last night again.
Jake walked to the mini bar swiftly and found himself mixing up one of Leila’s cocktails as he looked down at what he was doing stupefied for a moment. Literally no idea how getting her a glass of water had turned to this in his head. The only thing he could think was that he was subconsciously trying to impress her or some deeper level had decided she simply wasn’t a girl you gave water too. She was somehow much more classy that ice water. Maybe it had been that heady fruity slightly sweet perfume clinging around her that had made him move to start fixing one of Leila’s girly combo’s for her. He literally had no idea what he was doing anymore. Downing a quick fly Gin to get his head straight he took back the drink to the awaiting distraction. Margo was regarding him with a really odd expression, probably wondering why the hell he was trying to get his new PA drunk if the clinking of bottles was anything to go by.
‘Here you go.’ She looked completely lost in thought and he just felt completely out of his depth. He was a guy who had no problems with being in the company of the fairer sex yet he was acting like an idiot. He decided to perch on his desk, put some distance between them and put all of this down to still being half drunk and crazily horny from last night. He dated women twice her height, confident, boring models and women with their own money. Women who knew what causal sex and having a good time was all about and he knew how to read women effortlessly. Until this one. She was tightly closed up and completely unreadable, no hint of anything at all. No signs of interest, in fact the complete opposite and her mannerisms and movements were so precisely graceful and swan-like he felt like he was the one being scrutinized for a job. He figured this was the problem right here. She made him uncomfortable because he had no way of knowing how to play her at all. And playing woman in all sorts of games was pretty much his forte.
‘Thank you, Mr……Jake.’ She looked at him for a second and again with that stomach jerk reaction he was seriously starting to dislike. He needed to just distract himself, maybe stop acting like a complete moron and remember he was her boss. He was versed in the art of conversation and he just needed to get some sort of professional relationship set in his mind and push this nonsense out. She sipped her drink and he caught the slight hint of confusion about the fact it was loaded with alcohol. He could only look at the floor completely non-plussed about that too. He had nothing.
‘So Emma? …Margot tells me you’ve worked here for just over 5 years?’ His mind gazed back to her file, coming completely clear in his head. He could focus on what he had read and quiz her a little, his photographic memory served some purpose anyway. It was better than undressing her mentally.
‘Yes, I’ve worked on various floors, but mainly tenth.’ She placed her glass on the table and Jake immediately wondered if she disliked it, that maybe he should fix her something else and then stopped himself.
He was seriously starting to get annoyed with himself.
‘You were Jack Dawson’s assistant for a while?’ He frowned trying so hard to just focus on what he was meant to be doing, business head being screwed on firmly and the calming of hormones with a seriously stern hand.
‘Yes, Mr Dawson.’ He watched her forced smile and got the strong impression she hated Dawson but was too polite to say it. He wondered what the guy had done to deserve that kind of dislike and hoped to hell he avoided doing the same thing. Maybe leering at her and thinking about bending her over his desk wasn’t exactly going about warming her to him in the right way. If Dawson the creep had been openly ogling her then he could pretty much assure he wouldn’t be caught doing the same, Dawson was known for making women feel uncomfortable. He felt a sense of confusion at the irritated feeling that thinking of Dawson openly eye raping her gave him, girls like Emma were classier than the intentions of some sleazy fuck who thought he had a given right to heavy breathe over them.
‘It was Miss Keith who recommended you for this position I believe?’ He tried to bring his head back into the game, that sudden urge to find reason to fire Dawson completely at odds with him today. He was obviously grouchy from lack of sleep and should wrap this up, let her go and get down on that couch beside his annoyingly watchful brother until noon. He was acting all kinds of crazy in here right now and he was sure some shut eye would sort him right out.
‘Yes. I loved working for her while her own assistant was on leave, she was very easy to attend too and I learned a lot.’ Jake felt that inability to breathe hit him hard when she suddenly smiled unexpectedly, a sudden genuine warmth at the mention of Kay. He had been watching her and waiting without even realizing he was doing it and it had been worth it. Her whole face lit up and he had the urge to smile back. He had been wrong about her smile being pretty, it was god damn mesmerizing. He could watch her smile that way all day and just get lost in how soft it made her whole face or the way her palest blue eyes turned a hint warmer.
‘She spoke highly of your efficiency and professionalism. It’s rare for Kay to make an internal recommendation for a position like this.’ Good comeback, he almost patted himself on the back. He had to just pull this off and go to sleep.
‘Thank you.’ He couldn’t tear his eyes off of that smile that came out at him once more.
‘Well, so far I’ve found her to be a joy. Efficient and capable with a good understanding of the business. Don’t think it will take long to get her up to speed with her requirements.’ Margo cut in saving the odd silence with a very weird look thrown his way, even she was picking up on his odd behaviour and this was not going well.
Jake suddenly saw the funny side to this whole scenario, being the one panting and getting heated over a woman for a change instead of vice versa. This is why he was falling to bits, this never happened and it was completely throwing him off kilter. He was having the tables turned and had most likely met a female version of himself. It explained the indifference she was exuding, he just had to look at her to know men fell at her feet effortlessly and she probably was just as bored of it as he was. They were going to get along just fine if he could notch down the need to screw her a little.
‘Glad to hear it – So Emma, how has it been so far? Learning the ropes of life on the sixty-fifth floor?’ He felt better at figuring this out, this weirdness and suddenly all his good humour was back on form. Relaxing back and feeling more than a little amused at seeing how it felt from the other side for once. Reassured that he wasn’t having some weird mental breakdown or been put under some crazy female spell.
‘A breeze.’ He couldn’t help but admire her coolness, that effortless grace. ‘Nothing I can’t handle so far.’
‘Has Margo warned you about the frequent travelling you might be required to undertake or the unsociable hours we sometimes keep? ….. This job can be really full on Miss Anderson. It’s not for the faint hearted.’ The thought of spending many an hour locked in hotel suites with her suddenly had him frowning at how hard that might actually prove to be, he would have to lay off the booze on trips and reel back the charm a little to keep on top of this little debacle.
‘Yes, I’m aware that this is not a nine to five job, Mr Carrero. I’m fully committed to my career so it will not be an issue.’ That defiant little chin lift had him almost instantly snapping back to what she would look like over his desk with that skirt pulled up and those shoes……
‘You’re young ….What about a social life?’ He frowned even harder, chastising himself and giving the inner third degree to that over-sexed over creative mind of his.
‘I haven’t much interest in many social activities…I left my home town to come to New York and I don’t know many people outside of work.’ She seemed to hesitate with her answer, a flicker of something he couldn’t read. Damn it annoyed him that he couldn’t read her at all. This was probably another part of why he was feeling so frustrated, he was amazing at reading people and always second guessing them. It was one of his most used and highly gifted skills.
But her? She was like a complete enigma.
‘I’m never lonely, Mr Carrero…. I’m an independent sort of person who doesn’t need assurances or company from other people to be happy.’ He stopped and regarded her answer, momentarily quietened again. He wondered if that meant there was no boyfriend lurking in the background and felt slightly happy at that thought.
‘Oh Emma, that’s not the way a young girl like you should live her life.’ Cut in Margo warmly. ‘You’re so pretty….. You should have young men romancing you around New York.’ Margo leaned out touching the girl and Jake could only frown, he didn’t like Margo’s suggestion at all.
‘Sounds like you’re trying to talk her out of stealing your job, Margo.’ He laughed, mostly at himself for his stupid reactions or wherever his god damn head was. He sure as hell didn’t want to be romancing her around New York either, he didn’t do romance ever, he didn’t do any sort of long term thing and knew his capabilities were to fuck and forget. This is why he couldn’t go down this route with her, he needed a PA to replace Margo and he needed one now.
Margo was itching to let go of the reigns and as she had hand picked this one it put all question of anything else far out the window. He would just have to get used to the idea that Emma was out of bounds for an eternity and maybe he should start looking to small curvy blondish girls to distract him for a while, his body certainly peaked an interest in that direction ever since she had walked in his door.
‘No. Emma knows I value her here. I think she’s a perfect fit…’ Margo turned to Emma closely, an obvious show of affection on her face that only strengthened Jakes mindset. ‘Not too sure how much you’ll like it once Jake starts running you ragged mind you.’ She winked at her and placed a hand on him. Jake knew Margo too well. It was a warning gesture… A Margo special. She’d been reading into his body language knowing Jakes was normally far more relaxed than this she was telling him NO!
‘I’m sure I can handle the demands.’ Emma lifted that chin again and he found himself sighing softly in defeat. It was for the best if he just put this chick on the ‘No go.’ list.
‘Despite Jakes public playboy reputation Emma, I’m afraid He’s a bit of a workaholic … Surprising I know but you’ll get used to it, you’ll certainly rake up enough air miles in the next few months.’ Margo smiled Jakes way and with a knowing look and a very forceful pat on his arm, he took his visual telling off graciously. Out of bounds, eyes off.
‘You’ll soon get fed up with seeing the world.’ He said, he couldn’t get that stupid frown off his face, the urge to glare at Margo for reading him a little too well. ‘And the inside of hotel rooms.’
Yeah hell he wanted to throw that in there just for the reaction. See if she was completely immune to being in a bedroom with him for his own amusement.
‘I’ve seen enough of those to last a lifetime.’ Margo waved her hand and gave Jake that raised eyebrow look. He was being told off again and she wasn’t impressed with him right now, it seemed she was also ending this little introduction. ‘Right, we have work to be getting on with…Emma, you’re with me for now.’ She gestured to the door behind Emma and waved her onward with one more warning scowl his way which only got her rewarded with a smirk. The girl smiled back again, only not the beautiful real one of earlier, more of a relief that it was over and Jake felt that tug of disappointment that she’d been relieved to be getting away from him.
‘To our working relationship, Emma.’ He said it half-heartedly, trying to figure out how long it will take to get used to her in this place and stop having a serious dog humping reaction to her. He hoped it would be sooner rather than later and he was already mentally going through his little black book for a look alike to quell the frustration.
If he had a look-alike he was pretty sure she wouldn’t be so damn appealing right now.
She turned to the door with Marge to leave and Jake almost groaned out loud, catching himself quickly as his eyes connected with possibly the most perfect ass in a tight grey skirt he had ever seen, his body most definitely reacted this time. The door was swiftly shut after they left and he exhaled fully, unaware he had been holding his breath for a moment.
That girl was going to be the death of him.
He had always been an ass guy and she had pretty much got the first perfect ten score that he had ever given out. Standing up quickly to adjust his trousers which had gotten all too tight all of a sudden he caught Arrick grinning at him.
He regarded his brother critically and frowned hard. How the hell he had gotten that much from her without barely looking her way once he would never know. But Arrick did have his skills at reading people, maybe the foggy lust haze had clouded his temporarily and Arrick seemed completely unaffected.