Chapter 1

"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.  

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