When it comes to business orientation and savvy, Marcus Crowe has it all in his corner. He is the Sole Founder and CEO of the mega corporation, Crowe Industries. A leading developer in Mining and Earth-moving machinery and technology. Big machines is his life and a passion ever since he was a small boy.
Marcus grew up in a poor house where his father, an auto-mechanic, worked hard to make ends meet. His mother died when he was very young. She was pregnant with a second child, but had complications during birth. The baby boy also died. He blocked it from his memories, but in his dreams, the agony still haunts him. The pain and loss was felt in the house due to his father’s broken heart. He built his walls high as protection against emotions. He sees it as a weakness, became rebellious and out of control.
What his attitude makes up in the Corporate world, he lacks in his personal life. He’s cold, short-tempered and ruthless. Labeled as heartless by some. Known as the Business Devil, not sparing a soul their feelings or humanity. He is anything but a gentleman and his staff all know their place in the pecking order.
Regardless of it all, he never has a problem to attract the attention of the ladies. He’s the lone wolf. The bad boy every woman wants. Tall, broad shouldered and built like a gladiator, he’s one of the most sought-after bachelors and ranked as one of the top businessmen to walk the face of the earth. Perfection is his motto and success is his second name. He has control and discipline, until she walked into his life.
Samantha Parks has been working for the company since she was nineteen. That makes it ten years and she’s seen it all. The ruthless businessman taking control of situations everyone else saw as hopeless, but in the process costing the livelihood of some fat cats. She’s heard it all at the closing of deals, the bone crushing insults that’s thrown her way when frustrations ran high and the pleading of her coworkers to reason with the devil. She is the only woman Marcus Crowe allows into his personal space. The rest is kept at arms’ length. If possible, even further.
Sam, however has reached her limit. It’s time to move on. She no longer wants to be the fearless PA of the known Business Devil, that should be on standby for basically her whole life. It’s time to settle down or try something new. It's time to experience life outside the walls of Crowe Industries.
Taking a deep breath, she places the envelope on the tray. His name written in neat cursive on the front. Mr. Crowe has his coffee at eight in the morning along with a wholewheat toasted sandwich made by hers’ truly. Sometimes, she feels like one of those poison tasters during the Middle Ages.
Walking up to his office door, the butterflies are making somersaults in her stomach and her heart is racing. Pasting a smile on her face, she balances the tray on one hand and knocks on the door with the other. “Enter!” An agitated voice booms from the other side and it sends a shiver down her spine. Not good. She pushes the door open and enters the massive office space.
Once inside, she’s greeted by his cologne. A musky freshness she got used to over the years, and she still bathes in the scent every time she enters his personal space. Marcus Crowe is busy with a conference call to Nigeria by the sound of it. Thank goodness. Walking up to his desk, she feels his dark green gaze following her. She’s fighting not to cringe under its scrutinizing intensity.
Placing the tray on the desk, she hands him the schedules for upcoming meetings and also the agendas. Mr. Lawrence, the General Manager, stopped her in the hallway and gave her some contracts to give Mr. Crowe for reviewing, placing them next to the tray.
Turning, she catches a glimpse of him. Short, dark brown hair, a straight nose with a strong, chiseled jawline and perfect, full mouth. The definition of a Greek god. A few strands of hair falls on his forehead, resting on his brow. Her fingers itch to brush it away. He is eyeing the envelope with suspicion as Sam turns and hurries out the door before he can call her back or maybe change her mind.
Ending the call, Marcus eyes the envelope. What is she planning? He takes it and traces the neat handwriting with his thumb. For some reason he knows what is inside. He’s been expecting it for some time.
Samantha Parks came to him as a young woman in her late teens, ten years ago. Broken and lost. He himself only a twenty-five year old and in the business for two years. Desperate for a secretary to keep up with him as none of the previous nine girls made it. Yet, he knew who she was, but he kept it to himself. He was the reason she was there.
Chris Lawrence, his general manager, was at his wits end. “Please, Marcus. Go easy on her. She’s still young and a freshman out of school. Have a little bit of patience.” He begged. Chris and Marcus have been friends since kindergarten. He basically knows everything there is to know about Marcus and two trades that were the toughest nuts to crack, was his impatience and short temper.
The moment Samantha Parks walked into the office, Marcus knew she would be a keeper. Her whole demeanor screamed survivor and her hazel eyes looked straight into his soul, yet he sensed a sadness behind them. Almost an emptiness and he knew why. He felt it.
The interview went flawless and all the right answers were given. Marcus was happy and Chris over the moon. She started the following Monday as the newly appointed PA to the CEO.
A lot of questions came flying. Samantha was basically a teenager, with no qualifications behind her name and she was appointed above a lot of professionals that came through the door and in the company of two godly bachelors.
They had their fights. Samantha Parks was a girl who spoke her mind, maybe more her heart. It got her in a lot of conflict with her coworkers. Marcus had his hands full in the beginning, but somehow they managed to straighten things out. Or so he thought. Her honesty and loyalty made Marcus want to fight for her, to stand by her and protect her any way he could. To have her back.
He knew about the skirmishes in the office. Especially from the female workforce. He saw the bruises on her arms and he heard the whimpers from her office when the door was closed. The last attack was the icing on the cake and his anger got the best of him.
Six of them teamed up and waited for her outside the office building with close of business. If he didn’t work late that day, Sam would’ve been in hospital with major injuries. Maybe even worse. That was where he draw the line. All six were given immediate dismissals and replaced. At least he got rid of the cat-fights, but he knew it broke her spirit. In her naive mind, they could still work things out, but Marcus was not having any of it.
He phones Chris for a quick meeting in his office. Five minutes later, Mr. Lawrence walks in through the door. Confidence oozing from him. As tall as Marcus, but slightly leaner in built, with dark blond hair and sky blue eyes. “What’s up?” He asks, throwing his million dollar smile, all pearly whites while taking a seat on the couch.
“We have a problem.” Marcus growls, and gives Chris the envelope.