Home > If I Were You (Inside Out #1)(16)

If I Were You (Inside Out #1)(16)
Author: Lisa Renee Jones

“She must have something pretty serious going on.”

“No one has ever said, at least not to me, and I’m just glad Mark looked at the summer schedule and decided to hire.” She slides a piece of paper my direction. “That’s the summer schedule.”

I glance over a calendar with growing excitement as I note weekly wine tastings, several exciting artists that will be visiting, and a number of private parties. This is the world I have longed to live in for, well, ever.

“It’s a busy schedule, right?” Amanda asked, seeking my agreement.

“Very, but that’s a good thing.”

“Not when Rebecca was at the helm of most of it and even knowing this Mark has interviewed at least fifteen people and hired no one until you. Thank goodness you did whatever you did to win him over because I’ve been helping and I’m way over my head.”

Whatever I did to win him over, I repeat in my mind. I did nothing and he hired me without so much as a question. Why? Because I asked about Rebecca? Because I pretended to know her. Oh crap. I told Mark that I had a sister. This is why I hate lies. They always come back to haunt you. My heart begins to thunder in my chest at the idea of being cornered and busted in this one. I’m still contemplating how to best make this right, what my story will be, when Amanda slides a folder across the table.

“This is the new hire paperwork and some test Mark said you need to take.”


“Yes. Test. Do you have a problem with that Ms. McMillan?”

Mark’s voice, dark and commanding, draws my gaze, and I barely stop myself from sucking in a breath at just how striking my new boss really is. He is wearing a light gray suit that enhances the unique silvery quality of his eyes that are more pale blue than gray as I had first thought. His features are finely carved, his bottom lip full, his jaw strong. He is tall, and athletic, his blonde hair neatly styled. He is…beautiful.

“I’m a school teacher, Mr. Compton,” I finally manage to say. “I love a good test. I’m simply curious as to what kind of testing?”

“We’ll start with basics and I’ll decide where we go from there,” he says, cutting a quick look at Amanda. “I’ll finish up the paperwork with Ms. McMillan, Amanda.” He is curt, authoritative. Intimidating. Intimidatingly sexy.

“Oh yes,” she says, popping to her feet like a jack-in-the-box who’s just had her handle cranked. She wasn’t kidding about being intimidated by the man, and with him present, I am not without understanding of how she feels.

“Coffee is ready, by the way,” she announces to him, and I can feel her angst, her plea for his approval that she doesn’t get. She grabs her cup and heads toward him and he steps aside to allow her to exit, but his eyes are locked on me, impassive, unreadable. That insecure part of me that Michael played on flares its ugly head inside me, that part of me so like Amanda. Heat lashes through my veins and I will it away. I could so easily want to please this man and it terrifies me that I still have that in me.

You are not the same person you were with Michael, I tell myself. I’m not naive. I’m not inexperienced. I will not be captivated by this man’s power, his presence, even if I am not blind to his appeal. I am in control. Besides, he is my boss, not my lover.

He saunters to the coffee pot and fills a cup, and without asking, refills my cup. His eyes meet mine before he moves away, and I see the steel there, I see the dominance in the otherwise polite act. He didn’t ask if I wanted more coffee. He simply decided I did and thus I do. I need to establish parameters with this man and do so now. I am not going to touch that cup.

In an instant, he’s claimed the seat across from me, and the entire room along with it, and I am staring into those silvery grey eyes and I do not dare look away. I tell myself it’s my show of strength, but deep down, I know I am captivated, commanded, to hold his stare.

“I wasn’t sure you’d show up today,” he finally says.

“Why wouldn’t I?”

Several seconds tick by before his lips quirk slightly and he reaches into the folder and passes me a piece of paper and a pencil. “I hired you without so much as a reference check, on pure instinct. My instincts, Ms. McMillan, are very good. I’d like you to prove that an accurate statement.” He reaches for the powdered creamer.

I glance down at the paper and see ten questions, and quickly determine they are all related to medieval art.

“Begin,” he orders softly.

I glance up at him to find him settling back into his seat, clearly intending to watch me write the test. He wants to intimidate me and I do not want to let him. My jaw sets and I reach for the pencil. I can feel him watching me and I am flustered to realize my hand shakes ever-so-slightly. Men like him do not miss such details. He knows it’s shaking. He knows he’s affecting me.

I forcefully clear the haze from my mind and focus on the questions which are quite advanced, but well within my expertise. I finish them quickly and flip the paper around for his review.

He’s still leaning back in his chair, deceptively casual, watching me, his gaze hooded, his expression once again impassive. He doesn’t reach for the test, but instead, his attention flicks to my cup.

“You aren’t drinking your coffee, Ms. McMillan.”

“I’m over my limit for the day.”

“Limits are meant to be pushed.”

“Too much caffeine makes me shaky.” The words, the lie, is out before I can stop it. Where are all these lies coming from?

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