“Abby, hold all my calls.”
“Yes, Mr. Mann.” Startled by his sudden appearance, scowling face, and barked order, Abigail’s heart was pounding as her boss, Grayson Mann, strode into his office, without a backward glance, and slammed the door shut. Well, actually, he was one of her bosses—the other was his fraternal twin brother, Remington, who was currently out of town on a business trip to Miami. It was just after seven-thirty in the morning on the twenty-first floor of Black Diamond Records in Tampa, Florida, and she hadn’t expected Gray in before nine today. He’d been scheduled to attend a breakfast meeting with the record label’s branding development team on the third floor. Gray and Remi were the producers of some of the hottest bands and solo artists in the world. No genres were excluded—performers of rock, country, classical, rap, easy-listening, gospel, and more had found international stardom thanks to the Mann brothers.
Abigail had been the CEOs’ personal secretary for six months now after working for the vice president of marketing for a year. Remi and Gray’s longtime secretary, Liz Carpenter, had resigned to go work for her husband’s booming law practice, and had recommended Abigail as her replacement after the two had become friends.
She’d been shocked at the huge promotion. While she loved the increase in pay and benefits, part of her wanted her old job back. Not that her new bosses were difficult to work for, because they weren’t. The problem was they were gorgeous—total dreamboats—and she tended to be flustered around them. Both were well over six feet tall, with solid physiques, dark brown hair, and adorable dimples, but that’s where the similarities ended. Remi had soft brown eyes, while Gray’s hazel ones were harsher—not that he was mean or anything, he just didn’t relax or smile as often as his brother did. Why they’d given her the job as their secretary when she always seemed to stutter in their combined presence was beyond her. But once they were behind their respective, closed office doors, she did her duties with complete efficiency, so they obviously overlooked her flaws.
While Gray remained in his office, Abigail finished off a stack of correspondence Remi had left on her desk before departing for Miami late yesterday afternoon. She’d just sent the last letter to the printer, when the door to the CEOs’ reception area opened, and Chad Crawford walked in. The head of the recording studio division was dressed in his usual khakis and a green polo shirt with the Black Diamond Records’ signature BDR logo on it. He also wore a huge smile as he sat on the edge of her desk.
“Hey, gorgeous. How are things going today?”
Abigail blushed. Chad was sweet, good-looking, and a huge flirt—at least he was with her. He’d asked her out on a date when she’d first started working at BDR, but she’d turned him down, not wanting to have an office romance. Although his disappointment had been clear, they’d ended up becoming good friends. He even consulted her now about what to wear or where to go on his dates, and she hoped one day he’d find Ms. Right, because he really deserved her—she just wasn’t Abigail.
“So far so good. Just finishing up a few things. How was the blind date last night?”
He rolled his eyes. “I was ready to run ten minutes into it after she started planning our wedding.”
Abigail’s hand froze over the paper she was about to pluck from the printer. “Oh, my God! Are you serious? What kind of woman does that?”
“Yup. A desperate one, I guess.” He winked at her again. “You know, one of these days you should put me out of my dating misery. Oh, that’s right, you don’t date.”
She rolled her eyes. “I date. I just don’t advertise that I date.”
“Uh-huh. When was the last time—”
Whatever his question was, it ended up being cut off by Grayson’s door flying open, and the man storming out into the reception area. His face became thunderous, his beautiful, hazel eyes flaring in annoyance at the sight of Chad sitting on her desk. “Crawford, is there a reason you’re here, other than to flirt with my secretary? If not, get out.”
Oh, boy, he really is in a bad mood, Abigail thought.
With an apologetic glance at Abigail, Chad leapt up. “Uh . . . sorry, boss. I . . . uh . . . just wanted you to know we’re done with the final mixing of Aurora’s latest album. She really knocked it out of the park with this one.”
Aurora Locke was one of Black Diamond Records’ top selling artists of all time. She was also a stuck-up bitch, in Abigail’s opinion. The twenty-six-year-old woman had no concept of what the word humble meant, among other things. She treated everyone at BDR like they were miles beneath her feet, with the exception of Grayson and Remington—who also happened to be her boyfriends for the past three months. Yup, the Mann twins shared their women, a concept Abigail knew nothing about, other than what she’d read in the fictional romance books she loved. She’d always been too embarrassed to ask Liz what she knew about it, and there was no way she was asking either of the two men. That was far too personal. She was their secretary and nothing more. But that didn’t stop her from having dreams of being sandwiched between the hunky twins.
“Give it to Tessa to approve.”
While Abigail hid her surprise to that statement, Chad’s shock was clear as day, his jaw almost hitting the floor. Tessa Mann was the twins’ younger cousin and in charge of all new album releases the CEOs didn’t handle personally.
At six foot three, Gray towered over the shorter man by a good six inches. His eyes narrowed as he placed a thick file on top of Abigail’s in-box. “Problem?” he barked.
“Uh, n-no, boss. I just figured you or Remi would handle Aurora’s release.”
Gray turned on his heel and strode toward his office. “You figured wrong.”
The door slammed shut, and Chad raised his brow and whistled at Abigail. “Trouble in paradise?”
“I have no idea.” And even if she did, Abigail would never discuss it with her bosses’ employees. What happened in this office, stayed in this office. “But it’s not my concern—nor yours.” She reached for the file Gray had left. “Looks like I’ll be busy for the rest of the morning.”
Chad headed for the door leading out to the main reception area. “And I’ve got to track down Tessa now. See you later, my little chick-a-dee.”
Shaking her head, Abigail let out a light chuckle. He really was a sweet man; she just didn’t feel an attraction to him. At least not like the one she felt for Gray and Remi. Those two men only had to walk into the room, and her heart beat out of control, her mouth went dry—which was the complete opposite of what happened between her legs—and butterflies took flight in her stomach. But she was far from their “type” of woman, if the celebrity gossip magazines were to believed. Those women were just like their current girlfriend, Aurora—tall, blonde, skinny, with huge tits. That was a far cry from mousy, brown-haired Abigail’s five-foot-six, size twelve frame. Even her 38-Bs were lacking. She wasn’t even close to red-carpet material, so therefore, both the twins were way out of her league.
The rest of the morning flew by with Abigail answering a few dozen phone calls and putting out several figurative fires, in addition to all her other duties. It wasn’t unusual to have people calling, demanding to speak to one or the other CEO, with a so-called emergency. Part of being a good, efficient personal secretary was knowing which ones truly needed her bosses’ attention and which problems could be easily handled by the appropriate department heads. Abigail had become an expert at weeding the latter out and, today, had successfully avoided bothering Gray behind his closed door.
It was twenty minutes before noon when the glass door to the executive offices flew open and Aurora Locke burst in, sheer fury written all over her face. As always, she was dressed as if she were going on stage at any moment. Who wore black, leather pants, thigh-high boots, and a see-through shirt over a satin bra to an office in the middle of a Tuesday morning? Someone with a body to pull it off, Abigail thought wryly as she stood up quickly. “Can I help you, Ms. Locke?”
Without a glance or word to the secretary, Aurora stormed into Gray’s office, slamming the door back against the wall where it bounced closed again, but not completely, which meant Abigail could hear every word. The woman’s hard voice was a far cry from the melodious one her fans heard daily over the radio. “You son of a fucking bitch! I’ve been calling your cell phone all fucking morning! Why the hell were all my things delivered to me this morning in fucking cardboard boxes? Does Remi know about this?”
Gray’s voice was also hard, but in contrast, calm, low, and deadly. “Of course he knows, Aurora. He also knows you spent Sunday night in another man’s bed.” Something light slapped down on his desk. “The private detective didn’t get your good side in these photos, but it really doesn’t matter, now does it? They’re not exactly People magazine material—more like Playboy.”
“Holy shit,” Abigail muttered to herself as she stepped over to subtly close Gray’s door the rest of the way. As much as she wanted to eavesdrop, she’d heard enough to know the other woman would no longer be sharing a bed with the twins. And the last thing she wanted was someone else to walk in and hear the screeching and sputtering from Aurora, which although still audible, was now sufficiently muffled.
Sitting back at her desk, she couldn’t help the perverse satisfaction that came over her knowing the snotty bitch had fallen from the “current girlfriend” column to the “ex” column. Maybe the next one would be a lot friendlier.
Gray watched as Aurora marched out his office, madder than a wet hen. He was certain once her anger at being booted from their personal lives subsided, she’d be groveling and begging for them to take her back. And that wasn’t happening. While he and Remi had known their ménage with the superstar would one day fizzle out, like they all did, they hadn’t expected it to be so soon. And definitely not because she’d been cheating on them with her fucking bodyguard of all fucking people.
Leaning forward, he punched a button on his desk phone. “Abby, please get Ian Sawyer on the line for me.”
He sat back in his chair and tried to ignore how those two words flowing from his secretary’s pretty, plump lips made him feel. While he and Remi had no trouble dating their contracted artists, the employees of Black Diamond Records were off limits. And damn, didn’t that suck when it came to sweet Abby Turner. Everyone but the twins called her Abigail—Gray and Remi preferred the shortened moniker, and she’d never suggested she was unhappy with it.
With sensual, womanly curves, Abby made his dick twitch just by entering the room. But his brother and he had agreed long before she came to work for them that office romances—or brief trysts—were not an option. They didn’t want to put any woman through the company’s gossip mill; they valued their employees and would hate to see anyone hurt for being involved with the big bosses.
It wasn’t well-known, but his and Remi’s sexual proclivities veered toward the dark side. He was certain the beautiful, young thing who ran their offices with excellence would flee into the night, screaming if she knew what they wanted to do to her. Being Dominants in the BDSM lifestyle for years, they enjoyed sexual play that tended to be frowned upon by mainstream society, although many people’s misconceptions had changed in recent years thanks to popular romance novels featuring the subject. In fact, Ian’s sister-in-law, Kristen, was a famous author whose last few best sellers took place in a BDSM club similar to the one the Sawyer brothers owned, where Gray and Remi also happened to be members. The Covenant was the top, private lifestyle club in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, and the elite membership was contingent on a strict background check.
“Ian Sawyer is on line three for you, sir.”
God, what he wouldn’t give for her to call him Sir during a scene where he and Remi made her cum over and over. Pushing the delicious thought from his mind, he picked up the phone. “Ian?”
The Covenant and Trident Security co-owner’s voice rumbled over the line. “What’s up, Gray? Did you take care of that problem?”
“This morning. Thank Boomer for getting those photos to me so quickly. Aurora is officially a thing of the past.” He’d suspected the woman had been cheating on them for a week before finally calling in a favor and having her followed. Ian’s employee and teammate had gotten up close and personal with a long-range, zoom camera lens the vultures who made up the paparazzi would drool over. The Trident operative had come to the house Gray shared with his brother last night with the 8 x 10 glossies. Ten minutes later, Gray had been packing up all the woman’s shit she’d left at the house and sent it by private courier this morning with a simple “fuck you” note attached. Petty, yes, but damn, it’d felt good. There was a list of things he wouldn’t tolerate in his woman and cheating was at the top, second only to disobedience when it came to safety.
“Good, and I will. I’ve already removed her from the club’s approved guest list.” If Aurora had been an actual member of the club, it wouldn’t have been so easy to blackball her, but she’d only been approved as a guest of Remi and Gray. Because of her guest status, she hadn’t been allowed to play on the premises, but it had let them explore possibilities for scenes at home with her. “If it’s any consolation, my wife says most of the submissives hated her, and as a result, won’t be buying any more of her music.” He paused, then added wryly, “Well, since that’s a loss of money for you, too, I guess that’s not anything to celebrate. Anyway, I spoke to Chase Dixon last night, and he’ll be firing the guard—he’s as strict as I am about guards messing with clients. And on that note, Dev and I have decided to expand the personal protection section of the business, so we won’t be contracting out the bodyguards as much anymore. One of Chase’s men, Doug Henderson, has signed on to oversee that division with us.”
“Glad to hear business is booming.”
“Always a good thing, right? So, are you and Remi going to be attending the races next Saturday? We’re trying to get a head count.”
Gray laughed for the first time all morning. December’s theme night was coinciding with the opening of the new wing at The Covenant. While the members knew a few basics of what was being added, a week from Saturday was the big reveal combined with the annual Christmas party. And to celebrate, A Night at the Reindeer Races was the theme. He could only imagine what that entailed, but like everyone else, he’d been left to speculate until then. “Yeah, we’ll be there. I’m sure we’ll find a single subbie to keep us entertained for the evening.”
“A new training class is finishing up, and they’ll be available as of this weekend, so I’m sure you’ll find some poor woman to fall for your charm.” The man’s amused grin could almost be heard over the phone. “Listen, I’ve got to run. If there’s nothing else . . .”
“Yeah, we’re good. Send the bill to our residence.”
“You got it. Talk to you soon.”
Hanging up the phone, Gray spun his chair around and stared out over the Tampa Riverwalk. Behind him, he heard the door open, and Abigail cleared her throat before speaking. “Do you need anything before I go to lunch, sir?”
He didn’t turn back to face her. If he did, he’d be hard as a rock within seconds. “Abby, how many times have I asked you to call me Gray when we’re alone in the office?” He wanted to hear her call him by his first name as much as he wanted to hear her use the title Sir in a D/s setting. But, alas, he’d have to settle for the former because the latter would never happen.
“I—um—I . . . a f-few times, sir . . . I mean, Gray.”
A satisfied smile spread across his face. “Thank you. Have a nice lunch.”
“Th-thank you, sir . . . I mean, thank you, Gray.”
The door shut and the brief sunshine that had brightened his world dimmed again.
©Samantha A. Cole 2017