The CEO's Little Secret
The CEO's Little Secret
Author: Cassandra Kim

First Secret

Zach took a week at Harper Publishing to realise why he had been the only person to apply for the graduate internship.

The company might be well regarded, have millions of book titles under its belt and be run by a billionaire, but there was only so much smut an innocent university graduate could read in a day.

His current responsibility as the erotica department intern was to read applications from budding authors and decide if they should be passed to the next application stage. The applications consisted of a plot synopsis and the first five chapters.

So far he had become very cynical of the applications. Why did every prospective author think Italian millionaire playboys were the way to creating a bestseller?

The application he was currently viewing was another hopeful entry into the Italian millionaire playboy genre which was enough to make him roll his eyes. However, the first five chapters did have mostly impeccable grammar which was a miracle after all of the others he had read that morning so he was willing to pass the application onto the next stage of the vetting process.

"I wouldn't pass that one," a voice behind him said.

Zach looked up to see his supervisor, a permanently happy blonde woman called Becca standing behind his desk chair with a critical expression on her face.

"Why not? It wasn't a difficult read and the grammar was good," he pointed out.

Becca waved her pen at him.

"This is the erotica department, not the vanilla romance department- those sex scenes were too tame and were over too quickly. That's not what we want here."

Zach knew he had gone completely red in the face. As a gay boy who had never been in a relationship, he was like a lost fish floundering around on dry land with regards to the internship. Everything he was supposed to do was very far out of his comfort zone.

Becca's face softened when she saw his blush.

"I know you've only been here a week and you somehow didn't realise where your internship was going to be, so I'm going to do my best to teach you the ways of the erotica department. By the end of the year, you'll be an expert making perfect judgements about everything."

Zach wasn't sure if that was a good thing. Did he want to be an erotica expert by next September?

The biggest perk of this internship was the guarantee of a permanent job at the end of it- that was any university graduate's dream. He would have to find out soon if it simply meant a job at the company or if it meant he was chained to the erotica department for life. If it meant a permanent job in another department, he was willing to suffer through the smut for a year.

"Okay..." he said doubtfully.

Becca ruffled his hair.

"I bet you're regretting not reading the fine print on your application, it did say the internship was for this department and that no department transfers are to be permitted."

Zach nodded regretfully. He really should have read the application properly. There was no denying her accusation. He was the type of person who could never lie successfully, all his feelings were written on his face.

"You're a very sweet boy. Let's hope you complete the year unlike a majority of your predecessors."

That was quite a foreboding phrase. It caused him to ponder for the first time on the fate of other graduate interns in the erotica department.

"Has anyone ever completed this internship?" he asked.

He looked around the office and saw that he now had the undivided attention of everyone which was exceedingly unusual and he felt his face grow red again. Other than Becca, there were three other editors.

Meghan, the redhead editor at the next desk who he found extremely intimidating, smirked at him.

"The tale of interns in this department is extremely grand. One day one of us will write an epic story about it."

Robert at the next desk, held up a finger.

"The first intern survived a month before transferring to the adventure department- that was before transfers were blocked. We were left short that year thanks to that."

Meghan glared at him for stealing her spotlight.

"The second and third interns went practically the same way so we requested that departmental transfers should be not permitted. The fourth intern quit after six months. The fifth intern was a very unique case…" Meghan said dramatically.

Zach gulped. The dramatic retelling combined with his minor fear of Meghan was making him very nervous.

Becca patted his shoulder and mercifully continued the story.

"That particular intern completed the year and has gone on to become one of our bestselling erotica authors. Reading all the smut caused her to have an awakening and she tried her hand at writing it instead of editing it. The results were wonderful and we signed her on immediately."

Zach wasn't sure whether to admire that or be alarmed that reading smut had caused her to have an 'awakening'. Would that be his future?

"What about the next one?" he asked.

"Boring, they quit after a short time," Meghan said briefly. "Last year's intern was a complete disaster…"

"In what way?" Zach asked cautiously.

"It was a waste really. She was really good at everything and took all the smut editing in her stride. Then it all went tumbling down when she asked the CEO out. I don't know what she said to him, but the result was that we never saw her again," Meghan explained.

The CEO of the company was a billionaire named Darien Harper. He had inherited the company from his father and kept it at the top of the publishing world. That was all Zach knew about him. He had a vague awareness that he was often in the news for something, but Zach didn't read the celebrity gossip news so he had no idea of the details.

"The boss might be sex on legs, but I wouldn't have the guts to ask him out," Meghan said enviously. "His charisma is so overpowering. I thought I was going to melt into the floor when he asked me a question at the gala this year."

Robert rolled his eyes.

"No, you did melt into the floor. You fell over and I honestly believe he thought about sacking you for a hot second. Your skill at turning the worst written smut into something spicy is the only thing that saved you."

Zach was now feeling even more lost with the sudden overload of information about his boss' boss. The CEO sounded like someone he should never cross or even go near.

"Is he scary?" he asked.

Meghan's hands flew across her computer keyboard and she turned her screen around so he could see it.

"I guess you aren't the type to read trashy news so you don't know what he looks like. Isn't he just dreamy?"

On the screen was a photo of an undeniably attractive man. He had neatly arranged straight black hair, a very chiselled tanned face and a pair of very charismatic blue eyes. It was quite a package. Zach dismissed his hotness in seconds.

He looked like the type of person that only dealt with flings and one night stands. Zach was after someone caring and in it for the long term. Darien Harper looked like the type to sleep with him and pay him off the next day.

"How long do you think his latest girlfriend is going to last?" Meghan asked.

"Another week,” Becca replied sagely. “She's blonde and ditzy so she should last a little longer."

Robert saw his confused look and took pity on him.

"Mr Harper has a very high turnover of girlfriends. They often come here to visit him and if they come out crying, it's fairly logical to assume he's just broken up with them. I think the longest has been a month since I started here."

The other occupant of the office, a very quiet girl with glasses spoke up for the first time.

"I don't think it's very nice of him to make that many people upset," Rose said softly. "It's done so publically as well."

Meghan had something to say about that.

"You always think too highly of people. They're all gold diggers and were just out for his money. They get some time with him and we get entertainment."

Zach was inclined to agree with Rose rather than Meghan. It wasn't nice to constantly dump girlfriends and leave them in tears. He would hate it if he thought he had a loving boyfriend only to find himself dumped in a week.

Becca clapped her hands.

"That's enough gossip now. Back to work," she said loudly. "We’ve got smut to edit. Zach, continue going through the applications and do your best to separate the gold from the muck."

Zach focused on his computer screen again and resigned himself to a morning of reading through smut and grammatical errors. He would just do his best to avoid going anywhere near the CEO for the whole year. Due to his minor face blindness, he tried his best to commit the CEO's face to his long term memory just in case they ran into each other at some point over the year.

He had no inkling that he would find himself the subject of Darien Harper's fullest attention the very next day.

Comments (3)
goodnovel comment avatar
Chinwe Osadebe
Thinking the story will be interesting....
goodnovel comment avatar
cassiekim
Hello, I do not have any social media at the moment. Thank you for the interest though.
goodnovel comment avatar
anna
oh no..mr CEO find him! will things go well after this.. btw,Cassandra do you have any social media that i can follow? i would love to know more about you
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