"Lana? Lana, this is your 5 am wake up call- Oh for goodness sake!"
I sat in my plush living room chair and watched with an amused smirk as my executive assistant, Evan, stumbled into view.
He was dressed in an impeccable suit, as usual, and his blonde hair was slicked back into a quiff style. His oversized glasses were sliding halfway down his nose and dazzling blue eyes squinted as he looked at me with annoyance.
"You said to be here when you wake up"
"Yes, and that was an hour ago. So, you're already late and you know how I feel about tardiness"
"You're impossible to please, thank God I'm just your assistant and not your lover"
"Yes well, something tells me a man such as yourself wouldn't know where to start with me", I said with a sly smile.
"And that's where you're wrong", Evan smiled triumphantly as he handed me a steaming hot coffee.
"Ahh", I exhaled with joy as I eagerly took the coffee from his hands, "remind me why I can't marry you right here and now"
"Because I'm gay darling", Evan chuckled as he sat down and began to unload the numerous files he had hidden away in his satchel.
"Such a pity I wasn't born a boy, we both know my father would have appreciated me more that way", I sighed.
"Don't, don't you dare Lana Grace Harris! You're going to knock his socks off at this presentation today and then he will finally hop down off his high horse and appoint you as CEO"
I sighed as I stared into the framed picture of my father and me that sat atop of the fireplace across from me. There was no mistaking we were related with our blue/grey eyes and stone-cold stare.
I'm 24 years old and have worked my whole life to earn my fathers approval. I had graduated from NYU with honours, and become the youngest COO (Chief operating officer) that New York City had ever heard of, heck, I wouldn't mind betting I was the youngest in the country!
But nothing was ever good enough for my father. Nothing.
"Well, let's hope so", I whispered to myself as I began to read through my notes for today's presentation.
ELH Firm was printed at the top of each page, standing out boldly against the rest of the font.
My father had started the business from the ground up as soon as he had graduated college. ELH Firm, Edward Lance Harris Firm, was his pride and joy. It was the number one hedge fund operation in New York City, which meant we had to work doubly hard to keep our status.
To work in a business such as this, you had to be ruthless, determined and not afraid to step on anyone's toes. The competition was fierce and the industry itself was one you could call "A man's world", and I intended to run it someday.
I'm currently sitting as the COO, chief operating officer, meaning I am the number two. Of course, I've been scoffed at and seen many a judgemental face once people realised who I was. They all assume I slept my way to the top, they couldn't fathom a woman working so hard to get to where I am... but when the penny drops and they realise who I am, and who my father is, I get the same stare, only with slightly more venom as they expected my father to just hand me the role on a silver platter. They couldn't be further from the truth...
For as long as I can remember my father has been pushing me into this business. Being his only child, and wanting to keep the business in the family, he had no choice but to mentor me instead of a son. My mother had passed away when I was a baby, so my father was the only family I had. A cold, emotionless man. No wonder they all called me the "Ice Queen", considering I have him as my only role model.
"Yes? Sorry I just zoned out for a minute"
"Game time Lana, game time. You have this presentation in the bag, so don't stress!"
Suppressing my emotions I composed the perfect poker face and tuned into business mode.
"Yes, you're right. Now, please tell me the rest of the team are ready? I would hate to be disappointed again. We cannot have the same slip-ups as last time. God, is it that hard to find decent employees in this city?"
"Well, who pissed in your corn flakes this morning?"
"I'm like this every morning", I raised my eyebrows.
"And that's why you need to come out with me. We need to find you a man, and perhaps some sun to give you a nice glow"
"Glow?", I repeated.
"Yes Casper, a tan! Next weekend you're coming to the Hamptons with me"
"Well at least let me take you out for a drink after this presentation, lord knows you need a stiff one, in more ways than one", Evan winked.
I rolled my eyes, "The staff?", I asked again in relation to my assisting team.
"They have been debriefed and are confident in assisting you today"
"Good. And about corporates accountant..."
"She has been dealt with and replaced swiftly. Our new accountant will be arriving shortly after the presentation today"
"Good, then let's go. I'd like you to call every single person who will be assisting me in the presentation today while we're in the car and wake them up. They need to be on their best behaviour today and remind them that any slip up will cost them their job as well as any hopes for a career in this industry this side of America".
"Yes boss", Evan saluted as we exited my upper east side brownstone and into the waiting town car.
I gave him a firm look as I adjusted my seat belt and gave the driver the ok to go.
If any other employee had responded the same way as Evan had, they would be out the door before they had time to blink. But Evan was the best damn assistant I had ever worked with. He knew what he was doing, and he was good at it. I appreciated his reliability, loyalty and most of all, his friendship... Especially considering he was just about my only friend.
I took a deep breath and tuned out the phone calls Evan had already begun to make. Watching the buildings pass me in the dim morning light, I reminded myself of how hard I had worked to get to where I am and that nothing was going to stop me from making CEO.
Tick, Tick, Tick.The sound of my watches hands ticking by were the only sound I could hear right now. My office was on the top floor of ELH Firm's corporate high rise and is located in NYC, a bustling constant source of noise, so the windows are of course soundproof.A gentle knock on my closed office door tore me away from the anxious thoughts that had begun to make their way into my mind."Lana? Your fathers here", Evan said softly as he stepped into the room."Right, I'll be there in a minute"Evan shut the door behind him as I made my way over to the ceiling length windows that wrapped around the entire building.I had been in many a presentation, both presenting and sitting in, but whenever my father attended one, it made me nervous. He usually only sat in for our most important clients, but with talks of his retirement soon approaching and rival companies attempting to poach our clients, I couldn't help but
*** Noah's POV *** My first day at a new job. Was I nervous? No. I was aware of the whispers that went on, about how everyone feared the woman behind the bosses desk, and to be honest, it excited me. Even the sympathetic glances I received from the receptionists was enough to encourage me further into staying. I was looking for a challenge, something different. I had travelled the world searching for something, but I didn't know what it was. Adventure, sure I'd had plenty. Women? Plenty of them too. Even behind their sympathetic eyes, I could see the wanton longing of the receptionists as they looked me up and down. As I rode through the elevator I thought back to the last time I had been in New York. It was seven years ago, and I was a boy at 19 years old. The city had overwhelmed me, and I wasn't ready for it then, but now I had lived a little and I was ready to see what it had to offer.
*** Lana's POV ***An hour had passed since I met him, and still I couldn't get Noah out of my mind. My cheeks were still warm from the effects his presence seemed to leave on me.For the first time since I could remember my mind was clouded and I couldn't focus on my work. This could be a problem... a big problem.'Guys like him would never go for someone like me, so let's get that straight', I told myself. He had to be the most handsome man I had ever seen, and judging by his confident strut I would say he's used to getting what, or should I say, who he wants.Not to mention we had a strict no personal relationships in the workplace policy. What would everyone think if they saw me fawning over him? God, I felt like a lovesick teenager. I wouldn't be surprised if I started doodling our initials into notebooks next..."Knock, knock"My father's brief knock on the door and his voice as he entered my offic
*** Noah's POV ***"So tell us, what was your first impression of the Ice Queen?""Yeah, running for the hills yet?"The group I was squashed into a crowded nightclub booth with erupted into laughter. I was the only one who didn't find anything funny at all."I really don't know what you're all talking about. I wasn't in there for more than 5 minutes but she seemed nice enough"The men that sat opposite me almost spat their drinks out, while the brunette that clung to my side hissed."Nice? No, nice is letting us go home early during Christmas break, instead, she made us work overtime to finish off some stupid pitch that wasn't supposed to be ready for weeks!""Yeah, and she worked all through that break, even the Christmas party... Refused to come out of her office to have one drink with her employees, not that we want to spend another minute with her outside of work... Really tells you the kind of person she is, doesn'
*** Lana's POV ***It had been a few days since my father's visit, and I had recovered from the disappointment of not being named his CEO. It had also been a few days since Noah Chaplain had joined the company, and I was yet to control my burning cheeks each time I thought of him."Thinking about him again?", Evan cooed."No. I mean, who?", I spluttered."I knew it. You've had a dreamy look plastered on your face for the last few days, and I haven't seen anything close to this look for a long time. Not since, what was his name? Derek? Daniel?""Devan, and no this is nothing like that. I actually dated him and we didn't work in the same company. Besides, I only had what you call 'dream face' on because I was imagining being anywhere that wasn't around him""Right, he was your dad's friends son wasn't he? Didn't you mention to me he was a total bore, and that you only continued to see him because he was an excellent
*** Noah's POV ***Sweat, cheap booze and sex... It was all around me. The smell of it all hung in the air as the vibrations from the loud music played against my eardrums.I inched my way through the crowd, ignoring the wandering hands that attempted to lure me in. I wasn't interested in what they had to offer, I was only interested in one thing, one woman, her.Lana.I spotted her in the entranceway, Evan's arm locked into hers as if he were her protector, but I had a feeling he was really holding her in place.I was shocked and excited to see her here, it wasn't exactly her scene and while I gave her no choice in accepting or denying my invitation, some small part of me worried she wouldn't make it.One word was ringing through my mind, spectacular. It seemed hardly enough to describe the vision I was witnessing, but it was all I had.While it was dark in the club, strobe lights bounced off and
*** Lana's POV ***I couldn't remember a time when I had been more carefree.I had walked into this club ready to walk straight back out again, that was until he showed up.His snug-fitting jeans and leather jacket accentuated his bad boy look. His dark hair looked as if he had combed it with his hands, and sweat glistened off his forehead, the tiny beads looked like diamonds as they reflected in the clubs sporadic lighting.I don't know why it brought such satisfaction to me, watching his shock and slight delight as I knocked back the shots he challenged me with. He didn't know who he was dealing with here. While I will admit, it had been some time since I had partied like this, I was definitely no stranger to it... Growing up with a demanding father like mine, who wouldn't want to destress a little?In my father's eyes, I was nothing but a dedicated student, and I was... But sometimes like most teenagers, I would
*** Noah's POV ***Never had I craved someone more than I wanted her. I knew we shared some sort of chemistry, but this was something I had never experienced.When I saw the creep from the club put his hands on her, I knew I had fallen for her sirens call. An overwhelming sense of protectiveness formed in my chest, mixed with rage. He was touching her, and she was mine.Could I blame him for wanting her? Not really. She was gorgeous, any man would be so lucky to call her theirs. But tonight, the only name she would be screaming is mine.That first kiss was all it took for me to become addicted. I didn't know if it was the adrenaline that was pumping through me after taking that creep down or sheer chemistry but I couldn't bring myself to leave her lips even for a second. It was a miracle we even made it back to her place because I was ready to take her then and there. I didn't care who was watching.