Four years in an orange jumpsuit really changes a woman.
What was originally something fun to pass the time had eventually become something dangerous – something that cost me four years of my life.
And fifteen years of probation after that.
And the only reason I was out this early was because of my exceptional behavior.
I was determined to stay clear of anything that could land me back in that fucking hell again. I was done with the cars, the fights, the drugs, everything.
Today I was going for my first and only call for an interview. Everyone else had said that they couldn’t hire me because of my background. One bad time in someone’s life, and suddenly it all seems ruined.
My fingers were crossed that I would get this job.
I walked through the sliding glass doors, my heels clicking against the glistening, white tile floor as I strode forward towards the reception desk. A young, blonde woman sat behind the desk, and she looked up at me with a fake smile as I strode forward.
“Welcome to Bianchi Industries.” She said, her voice tainted with fake politeness. “How can I help you?”
“I’m here for an interview with Mr. Bianchi.” I informed her, not bothering to place a smile on my face as I looked down at her.
She nodded. “I’ll let his receptionist know that you’re here. If you’ll just go over to that elevator and ride up to the thirty first floor, his receptionist, Miss Katie, will help you from there.”
With a single nod in answer, I strode over to the elevator, feeling her distasteful look on my back. When I got up to the thirty first floor, I strode off, going down a small hallway until it opened to a wide, open area with another blonde woman sitting behind a desk similar to the one downstairs.
“Sasha Reids?” She asked, looking up at me.
I nodded at her. “Yes.”
She nodded and got up from her desk, gesturing for me to follow her. “Mr. Bianchi is ready for you.” She informed me as she strode over to a set of wooden double doors.
She knocked lightly. “Come in.” A gruff voice spoke from the other side, giving Miss Katie permission to open the door.
She pushed open one of the doors and gestured for me to go ahead and walk in. I walked in, my eyes instantly landing on one of the most handsome I’d ever seen in my life. Dark, wavy hair fell over his forehead, curling around his ears slightly, showing he was in need of a trim. A hint of a five o’clock shadow darkened his cheeks and jawline. Dark eyes that were completely emotionless looked at me through extremely dark lashes, quietly assessing me.
“Thank you, Miss Greenland. You may return to your desk. Close the door on your way out.” He told her.
His receptionist nodded once before leaving the room, following his instructions to close the door behind her. He stood up from his desk, and I instantly took note of his tall, powerful frame. He was well over six feet, probably close to six and half feet tall, and his shoulders were broad. The suit he wore hinted at the muscular stature underneath, almost seeming to be made just for him.
“Sasha, correct?” He asked, coming towards me.
“Yes, sir.” I told him.
He held his hand out to shake, and I shook it, not shocked at how strong his grip was. I kept my gaze level with his as I saw a hint of a smirk twitch at his lips as I shook his hand.
“Take a seat.” He instructed, releasing my hand and gesturing to one of the comfortable looking leather chairs in front of his desk.
Doing as he stated, I sat down as he strode back around his desk and took his seat again. He laced his fingers together on his desk, looking up at me with that unsettling gaze again. “Before I move forward with this position with you, Miss Reids, I need you to understand that the illegal activities you were involved in will not be tolerated while you work with me.”
I swallowed hard, nodding my head. “I understand, sir.”
He nodded. “Good.” He stated. “I’m binding you to a contract so you understand how serious I am about this. You can take the time to read it over if you’d like, but it just clearly states that no illegal activities of any kind will be tolerated while you work for me.” He stated, grabbing a couple of papers that were stapled together and setting them in front of me with a pen.
Sighing softly, I scribbled my signature at the bottom with the date, and slid it back over to him. He nodded, setting it aside. “Now, for the job I called you for.” He began. I couldn’t help but to notice how damn kissable his lips looked, and I instantly cursed myself.
Man, I really needed to get laid.
“You will report to work at eight in the morning every day, and you will work until I give you the permission to go home. Some days, my schedule runs until late at night, and I will need you available to me. Sometimes I will require you to attend business trips with me where you will be required to fly and stay in a hotel. Does that pose any kind of problem for you?”
“No, sir.” I assured him.
He nodded his head. “Good. You will attend all of my business meetings with me, and you will take notes throughout them, type them up, and email them to me. I will need you to organize all of my files as it’s been a while since I’ve had a secretary, and they’ve all gotten out of hand.”
I nodded in understanding. “Every morning right after you come in, I will need you to go to the café on the third floor and get my coffee. They’ll have it ready for me. Just tell them that you’re there to pick it up for me.”
“Got it.” I told him.
He nodded. “Good. Just sign these papers. It’s just a one-year contract to work for me.” He assured me at my confused look. “I do this with all of my employees. You may not quit without just cause, and even then I have to give you the permission to leave. You must let me know a month in advance before the ending of your contract if you’d wish to continue working for me.”
“Okay.” I breathed, grabbing the pen and signing my name at the bottom of that one as well.
He took it and nodded. “Good. I’ll go ahead and have you start today, Sasha. Miss Greenland will show you where your desk is, and she will give you everything you need to be able to clock in and out every day and to give you access to your computer.”
“Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Bianchi.” I told him sincerely.
He just looked at me. “Do not thank me, Sasha. Just prove to me that my decision will not be one I will regret.”
I nodded, turning to leave the room.
All day long, I spent my day listening to his recorded meetings from before I had gotten hired, making notes, and typing them up. By the time lunch was rolling around, I didn’t want to hear another fucking meeting.
“Sasha, you may go to lunch now.” Mr. Bianchi’s voice came through my phone speaker, making me jump and clench my pen in self defense.
Blowing out a small breath, I answered him back. “Thank you. What time do I need to be back?”
“Go ahead and take an hour.” He told me. “Enjoy.”
I got up from my desk and rode the elevator down to the bottom floor, striding out onto the street. I knew there was a small park nearby, and I just really needed some fresh air. Since I was so damn broke until I would begin getting paid, I had nothing to buy myself food with.
I sighed softly as I sat down on a bench, watching the little kids run around screaming and laughing on the play ground, their parents watching them small smiles on their faces, others recording them playing.
Fuck, I missed those days.
“Could have told me you were out of prison, Little Sis.”
I jerked up from the bench, spinning around to face my older brother who was on the other side, a smirk twisting his lips. I swallowed hard, clenching my fists at my sides as I narrowed my eyes at him. “How the fuck did you find me?” I demanded.
He shrugged. “The prison called me when they released you, telling me to come pick you up, but when I got there, I was a bit surprised to find you had already taken off. Hiding from me, Little Sis?”
I crossed my arms over my chest defensively, not trusting him. He’d run the fuck off when the cops had busted that place, leaving me to fend for myself. All those times I had saved his ass, and the one time I needed him to save mine, he was gone.
I remembered all too well the pain I felt when three cops rushed me, tackling me to the ground and yanking my arms behind my back. My brother had sent me one last look over his shoulder and continued running, not allowing himself to be arrested, and not bothering to help me.
Fuck blood being thicker than water.
“Not going to answer me?” He asked, coming around the bench.
“I’ve got nothing to say to you.” I snarled at him. “I’m clean, Rob. I’m done with all of that shit. I’m doing everything legally this time around. You’re wasting your fucking time.”
He clenched his jaw, and I stepped back from him instinctively. I remembered the kind of damage he could do when he got angry. “You’re never done, Sasha. You’re family. Your fate was sealed for you the moment you were born.”
“You’ll have to kill me.” I snarled at him. “I’ll be damned if I ever come back to the family.”
A smirk twisted his lips, but it was cold and sadistic. It left fear crawling down my spine. “You’re lucky there’s women and children around here, or I’d do just that, Sasha. Watch you back. Either come home, or get buried in a shallow grave. Your choice.”
He stormed off, leaving me behind with my stomach churning in fear.