Burning Attraction Book 1
“Mr. Anders, you do not know this company or the people who work here. I do.” Sarah Sweeney stood her ground against Jake Anders, the fancy accountant some faceless board had hired to determine the fate of her company.
“Like it or not, Ms. Sweeney, I’m in charge.” Jake Anders jabbed the buttons on the control panel. The elevator didn’t respond.
“You’re right. I don’t like it. Joe Martinez loved this company and everyone who worked for him. He not only built a successful business, he created a family.”
Sarah Sweeney paced from one side of the elevator to the other. They were stuck between the fourth and fifth floors. Bad enough that she’d been forced to endure her temporary boss’s company for dinner, now she was stuck in the elevator with him.
“Another example of what’s wrong with this company. This building is old and should be torn down,” Jake said.
Sarah sighed. He did have a point. The elevator could be a temperamental S-O-B. “It’s an old historic building. Joe Martinez loved the idea of sharing his world with the past. Anyway, the company can’t afford to move.” Sarah fought the emotion clogging her throat. She missed her boss, his sense of humor and his love of life. He’d been a father figure to so many people.
“Which is why it might be better to sell or just close down. The board isn’t going to throw good money after bad and from what I’ve seen so far, the numbers aren’t good.” Disgust laced Jake’s words as he glared at the unresponsive buttons.
“There’s more to this company than numbers on a spreadsheet. There are a lot of good people here who loved Joe Martinez and were loyal to him,” Sarah responded.
She had to find a way to convince this man that the company was solid. “The drop in profits is temporary, something Mr. Joe anticipated and planned for. We have a new contract worth more than a million dollars, and that’s just to begin with.”
Jake leaned against the wall, his eyes cold and calculating. “No. You have the promise of a new contract. Until the contract is signed and the money comes in, you have nothing.”
Sarah itched to throw something at this cold-hearted accountant who couldn’t see past the bottom line. He had to be the most frustrating man she’d ever encountered. She’d never worked with anyone who came this close to making her lose control.
“I’ve worked here for more than ten years, was Mr. Joe’s personal admin for five and I’m telling you…”
“Precisely what I do not need to hear from you.” Jake folded his arms in front of his impressive chest. “I want facts and figures. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
Sarah hated Jake’s cool impersonal tone. “You’ll have them but there’s more to this company than numbers,” she said. She hated the thought that this dull and boring stranger with no personality was here to determine how much the company was worth so that Mr. Joe’s nephew could sell all that Mr. Joe had worked hard to accomplish. It wasn’t right that some stranger from New York held the fate of the business in his large, perfectly manicured hands.
Pacing, she ignored Jake, who watched her as he’d watched her all week. The thought of being stuck in the elevator all night with Jake Anders was a nightmare come true. The last time the elevator broke down, her best friend, Lainey, had been stuck inside all night with a guy in sales.
Sarah studied Jake, looking for any sign that he was human and not a calculator with legs. He was a big man who filled the small enclosure. The cut of his expensive suit revealed a muscular frame, wide at the shoulders and narrow at the hips. But it was his quiet authority and his take-charge attitude that made the confines of the elevator seem much too small.
Sarah marched over to Jake. In her heels, she only had to tip her head back an inch to meet his gaze. “I want to speak to Aaron Martinez, the man who now owns Mr. Joe’s business.” Sarah hardened her voice, matching Jake’s cool tones with her own.
Up close, he was even better looking, especially the clarity of those aged-whiskey colored eyes.
Handsome is as handsome does. Her mother’s pithy platitude came to mind. Jake might have the face and body of a God, be the best-looking man in all of San Francisco, but he had the personality of a weasel and the heart of a gnat. The entire company was grieving and all this man saw were dollar signs.