Home > Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(15)

Going Down Fast (Billionaire Bad Boys #2)(15)
Author: Carly Phillips

“Let me walk you out,” Andrea said, smiling.

“Thanks.” They started for the door, and as they rounded the corner that led to the front desk, a man called out, “Andrea!”

The other woman turned.

“Is this—”

“Maxie Sullivan, our new paralegal,” Andrea said before the man, who Maxie recognized as the company owner, could finish.

“Maxie, meet Nick Power.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” she said.

He shook her hand. “Everything work out okay?” he asked Andrea.

“Perfect. I can see why Lucas Monroe asked you to take a look at her resume,” Andrea said.

Nick Power winced and Maxie’s stomach sank in disappointment.

“He only asked us to put your resume on top of the pile,” Nick said, trying to smooth things over.

“It’s fine,” Maxie said, absorbing the realization that Lucas had called in a favor to get her this job. One that was supposed to remain secret.

The high from acquiring the job deflated, leaving her feeling hollow. Still, she needed this job and all the perks that came with it. The salary and the benefits. “I’m grateful for the job, Mr. Power.”

“Nick,” he insisted. “We’re very informal around here. And make no mistake, Andrea wouldn’t have hired you unless you were qualified.”

Maxie glanced at Andrea, who appeared uncomfortable with her slip of the tongue.

“Well, thank you both. I’ll see you on Wednesday.” She turned and rushed out, needing to deal with everything that had happened today and the emotions filling her in private.

Except she couldn’t go home, because it was Lucas’ home and she was upset with him. Not for trying to help but for doing it behind her back. If he’d asked, she’d have told him to keep out of it, that even if it took her months, she wanted to land a job on her own. Without a man pulling the strings.

Especially a Monroe brother. Because apparently, Lucas wasn’t as different from his brother as he liked to claim. When given the chance, he stepped in and made things happen. So much for standing on her own, she thought, her anger growing.

And she was in no way ready to deal with him now.

Chapter Four

By seven p.m., Maxie hadn’t come home, and Lucas was starting to get concerned. She didn’t have a job where she was running late; she’d had an interview earlier in the day. And he hadn’t heard from her to know how the process had gone. They hadn’t been living under one roof for long, but it wasn’t like her to disappear without a word.

He’d called. He’d sent her a text. Or two. No answer.

He walked over to the window overlooking the city and stared down at the myriad lights shining, wondering where the hell she was. What if she was on a date with another man? How would he handle the fact that just when he’d decided to make a move, he was too late?

He clenched his hands into fists at the idea, his gut twisting with jealousy over something that hadn’t happened yet. As far as he knew. But just the thought of some guy’s hands on her in any way set his inner caveman loose.

When he finally heard a key in the lock, relief rushed through him. “Maxie?” he called out.

She passed by the family room and headed straight for her room, not answering him.

“Maxie?” he said again.

She turned, arms folded over her chest, and damned if his gaze wasn’t drawn to the soft mounds beneath the silk blouse.

“Yes?” she bit out.

He narrowed his gaze at her angry tone. “You’re late. I was worried.”

“I was with a friend.” She didn’t elaborate, and irrational jealousy swung through him again.

“Were you on a date?” The word tasted gritty on his tongue.

She lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. “It would be none of your business if I was. Now, it’s been a long day. Do you mind if I get some sleep?” She turned toward her room.

“After you tell me what’s bugging you.” He caught up with her in the hall and stopped her with a hand on her shoulder. “Did the interview not go well?” he asked, though he couldn’t imagine her blowing it. She was smart and savvy and presented herself well.

“It went great. Perfectly, in fact, which I’m sure you already know since your friend, Nick Power, probably reported back to you.”

He winced, finally understanding what was upsetting her. “I only—”

“Stuck your nose in where it didn’t belong.” Hurt and anger flashed in her eyes.

“Gave you a foot in the door,” he countered. “Whatever happened after that was all you.”

“Dammit, Lucas. Don’t you understand what your brother did to me? He manipulated me into taking a job with him.” She raised one finger in the air. “He got me to date him by telling me you were engaged.” She added a second finger to the first. “He kept me with him by threatening someone I care about.” A third finger raised. “And that’s just a few of the things he did to control me. I need to make things happen for myself. And I told you that. The last thing I need is you pulling strings behind my back too. It makes you no better than Keith.”

Her words hit him like an emotional blow as she pushed past him and stormed into her room.

Shit.

He’d never thought about one simple phone call that way. Helping her? Yes. Giving her a leg up? Definitely. But to have her lump his behavior with his brother’s sat like lead in his stomach.

   
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