Management Skills

Management Skills

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

"Hot, hot and hot!" "Terrific - This was fantastic!" Molly Butler knows that office politics can be hard enough to navigate, without secretly wanting to screw your boss. Which is why she made it her rule, many years before, to never work for a man she was attracted to. Unfortunately, the HR team failed to take her overwhelming desires into account, as they set about restructuring the company. Molly soon finds herself in the unenviable position of working for Jake Hunter. Tall, dark, highly intelligent and ruggedly handsome, the sparks fly between them the first time they lock eyes over the boardroom table. As the sexual tension quickly builds, Molly abandons her long-standing rule for the indescribable pleasure of being with the insatiable Jake. But can their fledgling relationship survive the fact that extra-curricular activities between co-workers are very much against company policy?

Summary

"Hot, hot and hot!"
"Terrific - This was fantastic!"

Molly Butler knows that office politics can be hard enough to navigate, without secretly wanting to screw your boss. Which is why she made it her rule, many years before, to never work for a man she was attracted to. Unfortunately, the HR team failed to take her overwhelming desires into account, as they set about restructuring the company.

Molly soon finds herself in the unenviable position of working for Jake Hunter. Tall, dark, highly intelligent and ruggedly handsome, the sparks fly between them the first time they lock eyes over the boardroom table. As the sexual tension quickly builds, Molly abandons her long-standing rule for the indescribable pleasure of being with the insatiable Jake. But can their fledgling relationship survive the fact that extra-curricular activities between co-workers are very much against company policy?

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 24, 2018

Reads: 975

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 24, 2018

A A A

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The air in the boardroom was warm, still and stuffy. Molly glanced out of the window longingly and admired the silver birch leaves fluttering in a gentle summer breeze. If only she could be out enjoying the warm sunshine, instead of stuck in this room, with twenty of her colleagues discussing…what was this meeting even about?Graphics rendering, if the PowerPoint slides being flashed up on the screen were to be believed.In order to engage her brain and prevent her eyes from slowly sliding closed, Molly sat up very straight, gave herself a mental shake and allowed her gaze to wander around the room.

Sitting opposite her, across the polished wooden table, was her great friend and ally Jules.With short, spiky hair and a wide grin that could make even the sternest Managing Director’s face crack into a brief smile, she was definitely one of those people who made work bearable.Quickly catching Molly’s line of sight, Jules cast her a fleeting grin before rolling her eyes dramatically.Moving her hand subtly up towards her ear, she made a gesture which suggested she was tightening a noose around her neck.She closed her eyes and opened her mouth slightly, as though strangulated. Molly forced herself to look away, biting the inside of her lip in a desperate attempt to hide her giggles.

Moving along the table, Molly’s amused gaze eventually came to rest on a tall, striking man with chiselled features and dark hair, whom she had never previously spoken with.Jake Hunter; the Head of I.T. Infrastructure.He had a wealth of experience in the field, a phenomenal intellect and was consequently extremely well-respected throughout the company. As though aware of her attention, Jake’s concentration was momentarily distracted from the presentation.His glance swung around to observe Molly, a slight smile still playing across her lips from her previous encounter with Jules.

As Jake’s azure-blue eyes met with hers, Molly felt her stomach swoop, as though the ground had momentarily fallen away from under her.Locked into his gaze, she was helpless, unable to do anything other than stare at Jake’s expressionless face.Holding her breath, the moment seemed to spin out for an eternity, although in reality it probably only lasted a few seconds.A heavy pulse sounded in her ears and Molly could feel the heat rising in her neck and chest.The knowledge that she was blushing made her blush further still.Surely the rest of the room would soon become aware of the utter stillness of both of their bodies and the heat coursing between them if one of them didn’t blink soon.If the tension between them could be translated into noise, there would have been a sonic boom emanating across the boardroom

‘Any questions?’ said the speaker from the far end of the room.

‘Yeah,’ said Jake’s deep voice suddenly, breaking his gaze with Molly and turning to face the front of the room, causing her to jump.‘What calculations have been done to account for the additional server capacity required for this proposed functionality?’

Unaware of the conversation now taking place around her, Molly slumped back into her chair.She consciously exhaled a long, slow breath, grappling to regain control of her shattered emotions.What the helljust happened there?She’d spent thirty-seven years on the planet and never reacted to another human being anywhere near as strongly as that.Chancing a quick look back up at Jake, he was now totally immersed in a discussion, his long fingers playing with a pen on the table in front of him.For the remainder of the meeting, Molly concentrated hard on the far from fascinating subject of graphics rendering, in a hope that it would quell her overwhelming and entirely unexpected desires.

 

‘We’re all going out for a drink,’ grinned Jules.‘You’re not going to be a lightweight, are you?You are joining us?’

‘Sure.Is there an occasion?’ asked a smiling Molly, looking up at her from behind the laptop screen.

‘Like you need that kind of an excuse,’ teased Jules. ‘But yes, as it happens.Jake Hunter’s birthday.Apparently, the first round is on him!Problem?’ added Jules as she watched a frown pass momentarily across her friend’s face.

‘No,’ replied Molly, shaking her long blonde hair. ‘I suddenly thought I had something happening tonight, but I don’t.’Jules seemed to accept this explanation, as she picked up Molly’s coat and held it out for her.

‘Come on then!Chop chop!’

‘Right,’ sighed Molly, saving her document, closing the lid of the laptop and grabbing her coat.Fastening the belt of her coat around her slender waist, she followed Jules out of the door.Molly knew she hadn’t yet got her head around what had happened in the boardroom earlier that day.Given the intensity of what had passed between them, it felt like being within a hundred meters of Jake Hunter this evening was probably a really bad idea.

 

Molly walked apprehensively into the packed bar, a few steps behind Jules.As she manoeuvred through a crowd of people her boss, Patrick, raised his arm to summon her over.

‘Hi,’ smiled Molly.‘I didn’t think your wife allowed you out on a school night.’

‘Damn cheek!’ scoffed Patrick, good-naturedly. ‘Actually, I’m making it up to her with extra gardening duties this weekend,’ he grinned.‘Now, Jake.Do you know Molly Butler?’

With considerable trepidation, Molly swung around to find herself gazing up at the towering, athletic man whom she had last seen as she scuttled away from the boardroom, at the end of the meeting.As their eyes locked once more, a deep flush of remembered embarrassment began to permeate through Molly’s body.

‘Only by reputation,’ replied Jake, holding out his hand.‘I’ve heard nothing but praise for how you handled the contract issues with Datasoft a few weeks ago.’Against her better judgement, Molly took Jake’s proffered hand.Upon the initial touch of his warm, soft palm and long fingers, Molly felt a jolt of electricity pass directly down her spine, straight to her core.It was difficult to tell whether the reaction she was experiencing was one-sided, although she thought she saw Jake’s eyes momentarily widen and then crinkle at the corners.

‘Pleased to meet you properly,’ she croaked, trying her best to ignore the fact that her nipples had tightened noticeably beneath her blouse.‘And happy birthday.’

‘Thank you, Molly,’ replied Jake, squeezing and then releasing her hand.

‘How old are you then, you young whippersnapper?’ chortled Patrick, oblivious to the undercurrent passing between them.

‘Forty-two,’ replied Jake.

‘The answer to life, the universe and everything,’ murmured Molly, as much to herself as anyone.

‘Well, that would be gratifying, wouldn’t it?’ Jake replied immediately, shooting a scorching glance towards Molly which she couldn’t fail to misinterpret.

‘I’d better go and get a drink,’ said Molly quickly, acknowledging to herself that it needed to be a very substantial one. Without daring to look back, she darted towards the bar.

 

Molly wasn’t quite sure where the time had gone, but it seemed to have turned very late very fast.Trying to match Jules drink for drink probably went a long way to explaining Molly’s confusion though.Only a couple of hardcore drinking colleagues remained, most of them having disappeared home to their families, hours before.

‘Great evening,’ slurred Simon, patting Jake on the back.‘But I must be off now.’

‘Me too,’ smiled Jules, giving off surprisingly sober vibes.‘I don’t want to miss the last train home.’

‘Good night,’ said Jake.‘Thanks for joining me.’As they walked out of the door, Jake swung his full attention to Molly. ‘And then there were two,’ he murmured.

‘I ought to be getting back too,’ said Molly half-heartedly, aware of how dangerous the situation could potentially be. This man seemed to have demonstrated some kind of power over her already.And her body continued to react in such a way which suggested she was keen for him to use that power again.

‘But you wouldn’t leave me all alone, on my birthday, would you?’ he said, a lazy grin playing across his lips.

‘Um.I guess not,’ breathed Molly, concentrating on the buttons of his shirt, to prevent herself from looking him directly in the eye.Part way through the evening, Jake must have removed the jacket of his suit because now she could see the delicious shape of his broad chest and well-muscled shoulders through a linen shirt.

‘Thank you, Molly,’ smiled Jake, as a bell rang behind the bar.‘Ah, last orders.Looks like you won’t have to suffer my company for too much longer, after all. Can I get you another?’ he asked.

‘I’m good, thanks,’ murmured Molly, nodding towards her glass.

‘I’m pleased to hear it,’ replied Jake, his eyes crinkling slightly.‘So, can I address the elephant in the room?’ he asked mildly.

‘That’s not a very nice way to refer to me,’ said Molly, her eyes twinkling.Jake burst out laughing; a deep resonating laugh which made Molly’s skin inexplicably tingle with pleasure.

‘You’re well aware I wasn’t referring to you. You are…’Glancing down at Molly’s hourglass figure, he inhaled swiftly before continuing.‘About as far away from being an elephant as it is possible to be.’Molly giggled.Part of her was dying to tease him about his unique chat up line but she knew it would be totally inappropriate to do so.

‘Thank you, I think.’

‘You’re welcome,’ he replied, flashing her a grin. ‘The elephant I was referring to took place in the boardroom today.’

‘Ah,’ said Molly, her cheeks colouring as she shuffled uncomfortably in her chair.

‘Well?’

‘I was…’ Molly felt she ought to choose her next words carefully, given Jake was a couple of grades her senior.

‘Enthralled by the subject matter?Bursting with enthusiasm to learn more?Struggling to stay awake?’ suggested Jake, his face completely deadpan.

‘Yes, definitely one of those three options,’ smiled Molly.‘A colleague had just made me laugh.I turned my head away from her and ended up grinning at you.I apologise,’ she added.

‘Please don’t,’ murmured Jake, his voice a deep rumble. ‘You greatly improved an otherwise extremely tedious meeting.’

‘In that case, you’re very welcome,’ smiled Molly. Jake maintained eye contact with her and Molly felt her heart rate pick up as heat began to gather in her core.

‘Are you happy in your current role?’ queried Jake, the rapid change in conversation momentarily flooring her.

‘Um, yeah.I guess I’m content enough,’ Molly nodded, feeling both uncomfortable and increasingly sexy from being in the spotlight of Jake’s sole attention.

‘I’ve got a vacant role in my management team that I’m looking to fill.Would you consider it?’ asked Jake.Molly swilled the last of the liquid around her glass as a silence began to envelope them. Exhaling slowly, Molly finished her drink.

‘I’m sorry, Jake, but I can’t accept,’ explained Molly as she slowly stood up.As she did so, Jake rose beside her, a questioning look on his face.

‘I’m going to head home now,’ she added, shrugging on her coat.

‘Hang on,’ instructed Jake.‘Is there a reason behind either your decision or your sudden need to disappear?’

‘Absolutely,’ nodded Molly.‘But I think some things are best left unsaid.’

‘Actually, I’ve never found that to be the case,’ replied Jake evenly.‘So, let’s hear it.’

‘It’s very simple, really,’ said Molly, slowly raising her eyes to look directly into Jake’s.‘A long time ago, I made it a policy of mine never to work for somebody I’m strongly attracted to.’The moment the words had left her lips, she knew she’d gone too far.As Jake’s eyes opened a little wider and he straightened slightly in surprise, Molly cursed Jules for suggesting that final round of vodka shots, straight after the round of flaming Sambucas, which had clearly lowered her defences.

‘Goodnight, Jake,’ she muttered before turning and fleeing from the bar, without a backwards glance.

 

Back at work the following day, Molly kept a low profile and didn’t mention her embarrassing conversation with Jake to anyone, not even Jules.By mid-morning, Molly was entirely engrossed in producing a budget report when a private instant messenger invitation flew up onto her screen.With a rush of adrenalin, she saw Jake’s name and wondered, with some trepidation, why he was initiating contact with her.Having glanced around the office first to ensure nobody was looking over her shoulder, Molly entered the conversation.

 

[JHunter]: You know relationships with co-workers are against company policy, don’t you?

[MButler]:I do.

[JHunter]: So, if nothing can happen, why not consider joining my team?

[MButler]:I don’t think it’s a good idea.

[JHunter]: Surely, you can handle a little sexual tension?

[MButler]: I’m sure I could handle a little sexual tension, yes.But that isn’t what we’re talking about here.

[MButler]:At least, not for me anyway.

[JHunter]:OK.Fair point. For me neither.

[MButler]: Thank you.

[JHunter]:I feel it only fair to warn you though.Confidentially.There are noises about a restructure and ultimately, we may not get a choice.

[JHunter has left the conversation]

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We hope you enjoyed this excerpt of Management Skills by Fenella Ashworth, which is available in full on Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited).  For more information, my website is www.fenellaashworth.com.

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© Copyright 2018 Fenella Ashworth. All rights reserved.

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