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Her childhood on Awenasa Island was a bit unorthodox, but that isn't the part Shannon Paige hopes to forget. For as long as she can remember she's been in love with Jonathan Sutton. He's an overbearing elitist with a God complex, but after eight years apart, he's still the standard she measures all men by. When her life is turned upside down, Shannon finds herself in the very place she had hoped to avoid--in need of Jon's help.
Officer Jonathan Sutton's life is simple by design, but his past is about to interrupt his easy-going lifestyle. He first noticed Shannon, the shy but strikingly beautiful islander, during his senior year in high school. He instantly felt protective of her, but after a year together she mysteriously vanished.
Now that she's back, he'll do anything to keep her. But will a promise he made to protect her be the very thing that pushes her away forever?
Page Count: 310
Word Count: 78080
Shannon Paige turned the corner of the hallway at RJ’s corporate headquarters and marched toward the boardroom. The click of the outer door announced her arrival and gave her planning team a five second warning. A five second warning they’d use to their advantage if the rumors she’d heard in the break room held any truth.
She pasted a smile on her face, belying the undercurrent of anger running through her veins. Five years as the most profitable buyer for RJ’s, the only buyer whose department wasn’t sinking into the red or clinging onto a profit margin by the skin of their teeth, and some ladder-climbing-social-butterfly, with no experience other than sleeping her way to the top, thought she could take Shannon’s job by spreading foundationless stories of disloyalty.
Not going to happen. Shannon had given up too much to claim the big chair at the head of the table. And now, she was about to show them all how dangerous it was to poke a sleeping dragon.
When Shannon breezed into the room the conversations stuttered to a halt. Someone cleared a throat. A pen dropped to the table. Without missing a beat of her staccato heel ticks, she circled the table of planners and distributors and took her chair at the top.
“Tell me.” She dropped her elbows on either side of a stack of distribution reports and clasped her hands on top. The familiar jingle of the charm bracelet around her wrist, a gift from her grandmother, made her smile. “How are we going to top ourselves this season?”
Planners flipped through reports while their assistants searched portfolios, all avoiding eye contact until perky little Bernadette Henry flipped open a legal pad and cleared her throat.
“Jumpsuits.” Every head in the room lifted to gawk. “We have calls from almost every store manager in women’s wear, and jumpsuits in everything from denim to silk are the new fashion statement.”
So the snake wasn’t even going to hide in the grass. She had to admire Bernadette for her tenacity and almost felt sorry for the rain of humiliation about to befall her.
“Jumpsuits,” Shannon repeated, a wicked grin riding her reddened lips and a slight tilt of the head challenging Bernadette to explain.
Bernadette moistened her lips and passed papers across the boardroom table. She’d done her homework and more than likely spent the wee hours of the morning hanging over the home copier of RJ’s newest district manager, Harvey Dunlap. Shannon had no doubt Bernadette was already planning how to decorate her new corner office once she stole her job.
“I hope you don’t mind, but after polling the store managers, I researched what’s available from our five main distributors and crunched some profit numbers. This could be the largest profit margin we’ve seen in years if we plan the store distribution correctly.”
Shannon licked the corner of her mouth and took the glossy page passed her way. She didn’t have to glance down to know what numbers Bernadette had crunched. She’d bet next year’s salary Bernadette used the same numbers Harvey had tried to get her to defend when he presented the third quarter buyer’s report to the VP a week ago.
Sending in his bedmates to do his dirty work. At least Harvey stayed predictable.
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