The Carrero Effect

The Carrero Effect

By:  L.T.Marshall  Completed
Language: English
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EMMA ANDERSON has everything in her life worked out.She has a perfect job in a Manhattan empire, allowing her to live a quiet, organised and safe existence. A necessity after a childhood filled with abuse, bad memories, and a mother who was less than useless.She’s worked hard to get where she is - and she has just landed an amazing promotion.But it comes with a problem - and one that could derail everything she thought she needed in her life.Emma’s new role is as the right-hand man for billionaire playboy JAKE CARRERO. He’s exactly the type of person who could drive her crazy - and not in a good way.Chalk and cheese - he is everything she’s not. Compulsive, dominant and confident, with a seriously laid-back attitude to casual sex and dating.Jake is the only one with the ability to steamroll over Emma’s manicured, ice maiden exterior. But Emma has no desire to let anyone close enough to hurt her again.Jake needs to show Emma that even someone like him can change when that one girl that matters walks into your life.Loveable, sexy characters, and deep emotional topics.

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269 chapters
1
I smooth my hands down my pencil skirt and gray tailored, jacket before touching up my dark lipstick in the hall mirror with a look of resignation. My eyes scan and check my tawny hair is neat and sleek in its high bun and I scrutinize my reflection again, to make sure it’s precise. Sighing once more, I take a steadying breath trying to ready myself, pushing down the gnawing ache of anxiety and nerves deep inside my gut.I’ll do.I look as good as I know I’m capable of, and I’m mildly satisfied with what I see before me; a cool, efficient image of cold poise and gray tailoring that exudes authority, with no hint of the turmoil of emotion inside me. I narrow my eyes to look for any flaws to my immaculate armor, any stray hairs, specks of dust, or creased fabric, and find none.I’ve never been a lover of my own reflection, with my young appearance, cool blue eyes, and pouting lips, but nothing is out of place and I look right for my new rol
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2
Floor sixty-five of the Carrero corporation—Executive house. Lexington Avenue, Mid-town Manhattan.My hands are clammy and heated and my heart’s pounding so hard I may throw up. It’s grating on me that I’m unable to reel it all back in so easily now I’m here. I’ve been watching the hands on the clock move very slowly for the last few minutes and all I can hear is the sound of my own blood rushing to my ears. I’m sensitive to every noise and movement around me in the stark modern office, and the fact the shiny new keyboard in front of me is gazing back expectantly. I’ve not even begun to start working.This is so unlike me.I’ve taken twelve deep breaths in a row, yet my hands are still shaking, I feel like at any moment, I may pass out. I’m disappointed at myself for letting my nerves get the better of me and I’m trying to pull back every single emotion one at a time, to stow into that neat box in my he
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3
I’m absent-mindedly twisting my pen in my fingers back at my desk, and it gives me a huge surge of anger—at myself. Stilling the pen sharply and laying it down with a smack and scowling at it as though it’s the cause. Another habit from childhood that I’m permanently trying to overcome, and just one of the subtle tells that I’m not who I perceive to be. The only flaw in my perfect demeanor that I grasp so tightly onto.I fidget.And it’s so at odds with the persona I’ve managed to create for myself since my teen years, getting away from the life I once knew. A stark reminder of how far I’ve come from my childhood in Chicago, and a habit that annoys me on a serious level. Not only because it betrays the confidence I seem to emit, but also because it’s juvenile. My fidgeting occurs on many levels. For the most part, I’ve mastered it, but with my raw nerves this morning; I’m betraying myself.I still my ha
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4
She’s thinking I’m just another receptionist with the hots for Mr. Carrero. Another woman to fall at the hurdle of meeting him.I try to pull myself together, smooth invisible wrinkles in my clothes and straighten my body up, trying to get back my professional air and grace. I hate that I’ve shown signs of being rattled. I don’t normally break under so little pressure, and I’m not impressed with myself.I catch her expression warm up, and I relax.Perhaps I’m overthinking this.I’m mindful that Mr. Black Suit is standing in a corner by the window, glaring at us; it’s a little intimidating, but also reassuring. Just out of sight to my far left on the long cream Italian leather couch, the younger man is sitting below some huge prints of modern artistry depicting what might be naked women. I blink and look again. Yes, naked women.Ughhh. Really? Could you be anymore playboy, Carrero?Arrick is disinterested i
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5
It’s after twelve. My head is a little woozy and stuffy as it’s ridiculously hot in the office now, stiflingly so and it’s making me feel nauseous. I’ve called maintenance twice to find out why they still haven’t fixed the AC yet, it’s blowing out tropical heat, rather than cold air and baking us all. My face is flaming, and my pulse is beating so fast and hard, like I’ve been sprinting. My clothes are almost clinging to me with dampness, and I’m irritated because of the inability to breathe or find relief. It’s oppressive.Margo has left the floor for lunch and I’m to follow on her return. She was wavering in the heat as much as me, but I told her I was okay to stay. Wanting to prove my abilities.Ever the hero, Emma! Good move.This is a huge sign of trust, and I think she’s testing my capabilities, leaving me to man the fort and cope alone during a very busy schedule. It’s been three days since
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6
“Is that all Mr. Carrero?” I finish my notes and push the pen in the top of the notebook with a sigh. Clammier now than ever.“I’d like a copy of the letter sent to my father’s email and I would like it if you would call me Jake! … Like I asked!” He lifts his feet to his desk, swiveling his chair back to face it and regards me with a relaxed, smug look.“If that’s what you prefer?” I’m not used to employers showing so little concern for titles, or who behave so casually. I’m more than a little disappointed in the laxness I’ve seen from both Margo and Jake so far. In the way they behave with each other and it has me a little at unease. Here he is, sitting with his feet on his thousand-dollar desk, like a lounging teenager and it kills the image I once had of him.“I’m not Mr. Carrero … That’s my father.” His eyes flicker to the photo on his desk and I catch a d
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7
Back at my desk after lunch, the switchboard is flashing like mad and I Margo and Jake’s lines are busy. Nina has a few calls on hold, so I buzz her to tell her to put one through to me too. I sit down to deal with the first call and catch sight of Margo waving through to me, smiling widely. She points at her head, then mine, indicating my hair and gives me a thumbs up, which makes me grimace. I don’t think I’ve worn it any other way than up during my five years working here. I feel like I’m not dressed properly, and it bothers me far more than it should. I focus on the call.Half an hour later, I’m lost in thought, absorbed in a financial spreadsheet Jake needs by this evening. I’ve already plowed through a mountain of work today, making light work of it and not conscious of eyes on me until I hear the movement of feet shifting on wooden floor. Looking up absent-mindedly, more from reaction than any actual realization, I see Jake Carrero is
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8
It’s raining by the time I get home and I’m soaked walking from the station through the few blocks to my apartment. Sarah’s out when I get into our third-floor apartment and I take in the coziness of the small rental instantly relaxed. I’m glad to be home, surrounded by our familiar comforts and bright rooms, our feminine haven. I’m tired, it’s been a long day and I want to take a bath and go to bed.I screw up Sarah’s note, informing me she has made Mac “n” Cheese, from the counter. It’s in the refrigerator for me and I throw the paper in the garbage.The perks of living with a chef. She works late most nights and I can’t remember the last time we spent more than five minutes in each other’s company. Our lives comprise occasional brief conversations in passing, and notes on the refrigerator which suit me more than when I had to keep her company every evening.Sarah has been my best friend since f
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9
“Nowhere in the office uniform manual does it say—have your hair tied up like a school mistress.” The two women giggle rather surprisingly, killing the whole aura of mature professionals.“We work in a very high-profile business that requires a certain attention to image.” The heat in my cheeks rises with irritation, at the giggling, and the fuss over my hair.“Emma, darling, do you realize how gorgeous those waves are? You’ve such a lovely color of hair, like pale autumn leaves.” Donna chirps over enthusiastically.I lock eyes on her blankly, trying not to dredge up images of moldy sodden black and brown splodged leaves on the New York paving stones last fall. Ignoring how uncomfortable I am looking “softer”.“She’s right, Emma. I think you look so much more natural and pretty like this. I think Jake agreed yesterday.” Margo says a twinkle in her eye. A hint of a mischievous smile lurk
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10
Less than twenty minutes later, I’m in the back of a large SUV with tinted windows and I’m sitting mere inches away from him. My briefcase on my lap and a pen in one hand. I’m preoccupied, mulling over the weirdness of this request.“That habit is at odds with how you present yourself, you know?”I look up at his remark questioningly. The way he is regarding me, and half-smirking my way.What the hell is he talking about?I realize I have a strand of hair between my fingers, absent-mindedly twisting it. I drop it and still my hands on my lap, internally cursing him out.For god’s sake …It’s the being unprepared, it has me on edge.Nice move, Emma.I scowl at teen Emma, always peeking at me from the recesses of my mind and smile tightly in response.“Nervous habit?” he presses further, looking smugger.“I don’t get nervous, Mr. Carrero,” I respond drily.Read more
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