The following is an excerpt from the book:
Toni Weaver flew up the front stairs of the building that housed Western Computer Systems. She had a grin splashed across her face. It was going to be a good day. She could feel it in her bones.
She had moved to Calgary several years ago and found her job at Western Computer Systems. She enjoyed what she did and felt her life was good. In fact, she was pretty sure it couldn't get any better right about now, especially if she got the promotion she was waiting to hear about.
Toni worked as a Systems Analyst and her supervisor, Art Handly, was retiring. His job was up for grabs and Greg Hanson, the General Manager, had told her he was pleased with her work and had strongly hinted she would get Art's job. He'd told her all her co-workers had recommended her for the promotion, and her heart was singing as she climbed the stairs. She would be hearing this morning whether she got the promotion or not.
Toni was twenty-four years old and she had worked hard to gain her position. She felt confident in her abilities where her job was concerned. Her fellow employees all liked her and she'd made some solid friendships in the four years she'd been there.
Her slim figure gave the impression that she was taller than she really was, and her long burgundy hair was tied up in a French knot on the top of her head. She loved to laugh and have fun and always dressed casually but smartly. Her pert nose, graceful chin, well-shaped mouth, and wide green eyes gave her an elfin appearance, so anyone meeting her often thought of the elves and fairies of their childhood fairy tales. She always made people around her smile.
She waved at Martin Boyd, the doorman, and headed for the elevator. The doors had just opened and she called, "Hold it for me, please." Her friend, Grace Turner, stuck her head around the open door and called back, "I got it, Toni, hurry up."
Toni jumped into the elevator and Grace pushed the button that would take them to their floor. "You look bright and cheery today, Toni." Grace smiled at her friend. "Did you have a hot date last night or something?"
Grace had ebony-black hair she kept in a short bob and stood an inch taller than Toni. Grace had been raised in the same town as Toni and when she'd asked Toni to come to Calgary to look into a job opportunity at Western Computer Systems, Toni had jumped at the chance and never looked back.
Toni laughed. "No, Grace, no date last night." She drew in a deep breath. "I should be hearing about the promotion this morning." She adjusted the long strap of her bag over her shoulder. "I'm excited, but I'm really nervous too."
"I'm quite sure you are going to get the job, Toni." Grace watched the floor numbers rush by on the lit-up display over the doors. "There's no one else who has your experience and knowledge in your department. Who else would they give it to?"
Grace had been the public relations person for Western Computer Systems for almost five years, so she was no competition for the promotion. She was one of the staff who had strongly recommended Toni receive the promotion.
"Well, there is always Brenda Maxwell." Toni made a sour face and Grace laughed.
"Yeah," Grace said, "but she would have to have slept with more than just Tim to get the job. I don't think he has enough clout to give the promotion to her himself." She stepped out into the foyer as the elevator doors opened. "No, Toni, I think you are the only one qualified for the job. Good luck," she called as she headed to her office on the left side of the foyer.
The foyer just off the elevator was a large open area around which were several doors to the offices of the company. Grace's office was to the left of the elevators while Toni's office was to the right. Across the foyer were several doors leading to management offices and in front of them stood three desks for the secretarial component of the office staff.
Toni liked to think of the open foyer as the 'round table' and the offices around it as the 'knights of the round table' from King Arthur's time. Each of the 'knights' had his or her job to do in slaying the dragons of Western Computer Systems.
Toni smiled, turned to her right and walked into her office. A tall, brunette woman followed her in. "Greg Hanson wants to see you in his office right away, Toni." Her best friend, Greg's secretary Gwen Haversham, stood with a frown on her face.
Gwen had come to Western Computer Systems shortly after Toni. Gwen, Toni, and Grace had grown up together in the same small town and the three remained strong, loyal friends.
Toni smiled at her. "Do they know about the promotion yet, Gwen? Is that what he wants to see me about?"
Gwen's frown deepened and she crossed her arms over her chest. "I don't know. There is someone in from Vancouver... upper management... They've been in with Greg ever since I got here. I don't know what's going on in there." She indicated with her head toward the other doors along the foyer wall. "It's been all hush-hush. I'm not even sure who that is in there with him."
Toni hung her bag on the hook behind the door, then slipped her sweater off and hung it over her bag. "Okay, I'll go right in then and see what's up."
She followed Gwen across the open area and stood by her desk while Gwen rang Greg to tell him Toni was here to see him.
Greg Hanson opened his office door and looked at her. "Come in, Toni. This shouldn't take too long."
He stepped back into his office and held the door open for her. He had a dark, apprehensive look on his face and Toni's stomach clenched. Her intuition kicked in. Something was not right.
Toni walked into the office and looked around. It didn't appear there was anyone else in the office with them, until a tall, dark-haired man moved out from the coffee station Greg had tucked into the back corner of his office. A divider screen separated the coffee station from the office itself so when she first entered the office it was impossible to see anyone behind the screen.
The dark-haired man had a coffee cup in his hand and he settled his tall frame onto the large leather couch sitting against the wall opposite the door. He just looked at her. His eyes were dark and cold... and angry?
Greg motioned to one of the chairs across from the couch. "Please sit down, Toni, and make yourself comfortable."
Toni apprehensively sat on the edge of the chair Greg had indicated, crossing her legs at the ankles. She watched as Greg began to pace in front of his desk. "Toni," he began, "I know you want that promotion real bad and I know you have worked hard for it but..." He shrugged and continued to pace. "Damn it, Toni, I was all prepared to give the job to you. I was going to make the announcement today but... Hell. What a mess!"
Toni's stomach clenched again and rolled. She was beginning to feel slightly nauseous. He had been prepared to give her the job. Did that mean she was not going to get it?
The man sitting on the couch leaned forward and set his coffee cup on the table in front of him. His voice was deep and rumbling. "I told him you couldn't have the promotion. We have someone else in mind."
He raised his head to look at her and those dark, cold, angry eyes bore into hers. His face was strong and the muscles of his jaw twitched.
Greg stepped forward and interrupted. "Toni, I think you should meet Blaine Haskell, the CEO of Western Computer Systems."
Toni turned to the man sitting on the couch. "You're Blaine? You're Tim's brother?"
She had been engaged to Tim Haskell but had never met his brother, Blaine. He'd been in Europe for the past year, setting up a subsidiary for the company. On his occasional trips back to Canada, either he or Toni had been busy, and their paths hadn't crossed. Other than that, his main office was located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and he made few trips to the Calgary office.
Blaine stood up in front of the couch and looked down at her. "Tim's brother and your ex-employer, Miss Weaver. Not only are you not getting the promotion you slept with my brother to get, but you are no longer employed here. You are fired."
Anger was sparking in his eyes now and the last three words were forced out in a loud voice.
Toni heard the words as if she were standing in a thick fog and the nausea became more distinct.
She blinked and stood. He was much taller than her, approximately six foot three, and his dark brown hair looked as though he had been running his hands through it. He wore a dark navy suit, with a white shirt and a navy tie.
His eyes were dark as well, and as he looked at her, his eyes appeared to be almost black. She could see a cold veil over them, and they glistened with a deep anger.
His jaw was set in a hard square and he appeared to be clenching his teeth. He had a straight nose she supposed would look good on his face, if his nostrils weren't flaring at the moment. A muscle twitched at the side of his jaw and indicated he was deeply angry, but she noticed he managed to look her over from top to bottom with a lecherous gaze.
"Why?" Toni whispered, as she looked at him. "Why are you firing me? What did I do?" Tears were starting to build in her eyes.
The promotion she had slept with his brother to get... What in the hell was he talking about? She hadn't slept with Tim!
"You mean you weren't expecting this? You got Tim to propose to you, you slept with him and then tossed him away when the promotion was in sight?" His eyes seemed to grow darker as he sarcastically growled the words out.
"What--? What do you mean I slept with--? What are you talking about, I never slept with anyone to get this promotion; I worked damn hard for it." The tears were threatening to fall now.
"Liar!" He spat the word out at her. He came around the table and pointed at her. "According to my brother, you slept with everyone and anyone who would get you the promotion. He said that's why he broke the engagement off and doesn't want to marry you."
He turned and sat back on the couch. "I will not have a whore working for me. If you want to break someone's heart with your slutty behaviour, go and do it while you are working for someone else."
His eyes burned into her chest, devouring the sight of her breasts, and she could hardly resist the urge to lift her arms and cover herself. She felt as though he was undressing her with his eyes.
"Tim? Tim told you that?" Toni could barely get a breath in. She felt as if she'd been slugged in the stomach. She turned to Greg. "Greg," she breathed out, "Tell him the truth, please."
"I've tried, Toni." Greg walked behind his desk and sat down. He shrugged his shoulders again. "Christ, Toni, I tried talking to him, but he is convinced Tim has told him the truth and there is no changing his mind. I don't know what to do here."
Toni slowly turned back to face Blaine. She stood, looking at him for the longest time, fighting the nausea, feeling a red-hot anger building in her chest. What right did he have to accuse her of something she had never done? What right did he have to look at her as if she was the cheapest thing in the room? Obviously everything she'd worked so hard for was gone, so why should she hold back now?
Finally, she spoke quietly. "I never slept around with anyone in this office or anywhere else, Mr Haskell. I never cheated on Tim either. He's the one who cheated on me."
She turned toward the door, anxious to be gone before the tears really started to fall. "I caught him in my bedroom having sex with one of my friends two weeks before we were supposed to be married. My bedroom! He didn't even bother to use the bed. He had her backed up against the wall with her legs wrapped around him. I suggest you ask him about it, Mr Haskell." She emphasized his name. The anger was building and she wanted to hurt someone as badly as she was hurting. "I was not alone when I caught him. Two of my bridesmaids were with me, and one of them took pictures of him and... his girlfriend with her cell phone camera."
Blaine raised his eyebrows and looked at her. Toni felt as though he was devouring her with his eyes. He was staring at her breasts and she fought the urge to cover herself--again.
Toni put her hand on the doorknob and turned it. "My friend wanted to post those pictures on the internet and send them to the news but I stopped her because... well, let's just say after I file a wrongful dismissal suit--" She pushed the door open. "--I'll tell her to spread those pictures through the tabloids and all over the internet, Mr Haskell. Maybe then you will believe me."
She walked through the doorway and her voice rose several notches. "I am not a liar. I am not a whore and I am not a slut. You won't fire me, you asshole. I QUIT!" She screamed the last two words into the air.
If you should decide to buy it and read it, I would love some feedback as to what you think