“Danielle, could you hand these flyers out to the visitors after the game?” Barbara fussed, pushing her leaflets into my hands. “Remember, cleaning, ironing or anything—”
“I’ve got this, Barb. Leave it to me and I’ll hand them out this side.” I promised my mothers best friend, watching as she hurried over to the other side of the school field where the opposing team sat.
Pushing my hair behind my ears, I gathered the leaflets and forced a smile on my face as people started to leave the stands.
“What’s this?” A woman asked, hooking a toddler over her hip.
“It’s a list of all the services Barbara offers.” I smiled sweetly at the toddler who gazed at me through shining eyes.
“Does she babysit?”
“Uh, no.” I winced when the woman shoved the flyer back in my hands.
“No good to me then.”
I was lucky when people politely took the flyers from me, and I turned a blind eye when they dropped them in the trash.
Poor Barbara. Her husband had left her—ran off to Vegas to ‘find himself’, leaving Barbara in heavy debt with a mortgage to pay. She had a job at a restaurant nearby, but she needed more money.
“What are you doing, handing these things out? It’s irritating.” A girl huffed at me, shoving past me.
“Ooh, what’s this? I need a cleaner, do you have any references?” A woman scanned the flyer, as a striking guy hovered behind her, rolling his eyes.
“Yes!” I beamed, reeling off a list of jobs that Barbara had, praying I was doing her a favor.
“Great. Can you come over for an interview?” The woman smiled, digging around in her purse as I frowned.
“Oh, I’m not the cleaner—”
“Sorry?” The woman handed me a business card, shiny silver letters announcing that the woman in front of me was no other than Kayla James—wife of the billionaire that was Alec James.
I found my tongue, nodding my head at Mrs James.
“Barbara can come for an interview whenever.” I breathed, scanning the crowds for Barbara.
I spotted Barbara finally, and I waved at her like a madwoman until she joined us, her eyes wide when she saw Mrs James.
“This is Barbara, and Barbara, this is Mrs James.” I introduced them, suddenly aware of eyes on me. I moved away, continuing to hand the flyers out, praying that Barbara made the cut with Mrs James.
I whirled around to see the guy with Mrs James gazing at me, his arms folded.
“Hi.” I smiled back, trying not to gaze at his navy blue eyes. I’d never seen eyes so dark blue before, not with dark hair. He wore a loose fitting tee shirt over cut off shorts, his dimples showing when he grinned at me.
“What’s your name, flyer girl?”
“My mother told me not to give my name to strangers,” I teased, flushing at my boldness.
What was I doing?!
“I’m Blake James. Not a stranger at all, I’m sure you’ve heard of me.”
My jaw fell open.
As though he was amused by my reaction, Blake handed me a card, identical to the one his mother had given me earlier.
“Well, flyer girl, if you ever want to catch a movie sometime, drop me a message.” Blake winked at me, and my cheeks pulsed with colour.
“Danni,” I said with a smile. “My name is Danni.”
“Danni,” Blake repeated, stepping close enough for me to smell the woody aftershave he wore. “Nice name. How old are you?”
“Sixteen,” I lied, but only half lies. I was sixteen in less than six months.
Blake nodded, his eyes locking with mine. “Sixteen, huh? You look older.”
“You’ve left school, right?” I checked, praying he didn’t think I was strange for knowing so much about him.
“Yeah, last year. My cousin was playing today, that’s why I’m here,” he explained, chuckling to himself. “Are you okay? You’ve gone a little red.”
“Yeah, it’s a little on the warm side today, isn’t it?” I fanned myself with the leaflets when he nodded.
“Yeah. Hot.” Blake held my gaze and I glanced away when someone called my name.
“Danni! Elton wants to know if you’ll go with him to—argh!” I turned to see Freddie being manhandled by Elton and Carter, two guys in my year.
My eyes skimmed over Elton who gave me an apologetic smile, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell that was about.
“Friends of yours?” Blake asked, stepping closer to me.
“Yeah. They’re in my class.”
“Where does Elton wanna take you?” Blake said, intrigued. “Because it looks like I’ve got some competition for a date.”
Was he being serious right now?!
“Haha. Look, it was lovely to speak to you, but I’ve got to go.” I shoved the remaining leaflets into my bag, cursing when I checked the time.
“Hey, flyer girl,” Blake called after me. “Don’t forget to text me. I need your number to arrange that date.”
I dug my phone out of my bag, punching in his number from the business card he’d given me earlier. I sent a quick hi via text, and held my phone up.
“Done. I hope your mom gives Barbara the job,” I said, breaking his gaze.
“See ya around, flyer girl.”
That was the first time I met Blake James. I wish I could say it was my last, but fate wasn’t on my side.
“Welcome to James Luxury Travel. Is it your first day?” A pristine looking man greeted me as I walked into the modern building.
“Yes.” I smiled, taking a deep breath. “I’m Danielle Vee.”
I’m twenty three and already I’d climbed the retail career ladder as high as I could, meaning I’d pushed myself and applied for the job of retail oversight manager at the head office of James Luxury Travel.
And I’d got it.
“Great, welcome. Let me take you through security and then you’ll be in your way.” The man smiled, tapping away on the computer. “Can I see your identification?”
I fumbled around in my bag, cursing myself for not having it ready.
“Morning, Harvey.” Boomed the voice of Alec James, my new boss. “Ah, good morning, Miss Vee. Good luck today, I’ve booked you on your induction with the other new starters so you’ll have a nice easy start.” Alex James was heavenly to look at, despite being an older man. He reminded me of David Gandy, but he was such a sweetheart that I didn’t feel uncomfortable for one second.
“Thanks, Mr James.”
Alec nodded at me before disappearing though the frosted glass door.
“Here you go,” Harvey announced, handing me a lanyard with my name in black printed ink. I’ll just let you through, and the room you’re in today is in the second floor, room Dandelion. Have a great day.”
I smiled back, walking through the open door, the scent of coconut filling my nostrils.
Clever. It makes you think of holidays.
I’d heard about the office environment being pretty wild here, and I was here for it. I’d been single ever since—
No. This isn’t anything to do with him, you’re just working for his father.
Him being Blake James, my ex and all round arrogant prick. Also the son of my boss of five minutes.
I was looking forward to meeting new people. I made my way to the room Harvey had mentioned, passing bright framed posters on the wall of sunny, far flung destinations, the buzz of the office around me steeped in laughter and animated conversation.
Wow. They all sound so happy.
I felt overdressed in my trouser suit, especially when I saw the girls mainly wearing skinny ripped jeans and loose tops.
“Hey! Are you new?” A woman asked brightly, struggling with a stack of brochures.
Her hair was in pigtail braids, her nails each painted a different pastel colour. She had rosy cheeks and kind eyes, and despite having her hands full, she grinned at me.
“Do you need any help with those?” I asked, reaching over to take half of the stack.
“Gee, thanks. I’m just taking them to Alec’s office.”
“Alec?” I echoed, following her down the long corridor.
“Yeah, he doesn’t like being called Mr James. Said it makes him feel old.” The woman laughed. “I’m Kiera, by the way.”
We reached an office with a glass door, and I saw Alec James with his head down, scribbling away on a pad. I handed Kiera my half of the brochures, and she sighed.
“Thanks. Grab the door for me, would you? Are you on your induction today?”
I pushed the door open, stepping back so Kiera could squeeze by me with the full stack of brochures.
“Yes. Dandelion?” I wrinkled my nose up as Kiera nodded.
“It’s the room opposite. I hope you’ve got Issac. He’s hot.”
Kiera giggled, disappearing into the office as Alec James looked up with a warm smile.
I turned on my heel, heading toward the brightly painted yellow door, wondering how I’d gotten so lucky to work here.
Walking into the room, I noticed there were four other guys in there, and one of them winked at me instantly.
“Hey! You must be Danielle?”
“Yes, that’s me,” I replied brightly, wondering how he knew that.
He laughed, a deep sound that made me wonder if he was a smoker. It was kinda hoarse, yet sexy. He had browny blonde hair that looked too perfect to be natural, and dark eyebrows that framed green eyes.
“You’re the only woman in my induction today. Sorry. I’m Issac.”
Of course he was.
“Awesome,” I said awkwardly, as the three guys averted their eyes. “I don’t bite.” I offered, and Issac pouted playfully.
“Really? Get out then.”
I stared at him, a laugh of disbelief escaping my lips.
“I’m joking. Please don’t report me, I’m terrible with jokes.” Issac pleaded, waving his hand around the room. “There’s coffee and tea at the back, and other beverages. No alcohol yet, I’m afraid, we usually wait until after noon.”
I assumed this was another feeble joke, so I half smiled, heading toward the back where I helped myself to a coffee; milky with tonnes of sugar.
“Okay, so as there’s only four of us today, we shouldn’t need a full day in the office. I’m hoping to be by the river at four with a beer.” Issac rubbed his hands together as a few of the guys nodded in agreement.
“Short intro, bit about you, and I want you to tell me a secret.” Issac’s eyes met mine briefly before turning to the others. “Who wants to start?”
The men froze, and I put my hand in the air, enjoying the admiration in Issac’s eyes.
“It’s Danni,” I said airly. “I’m twenty three, I’ve ran three megastores for JetAway since leaving highschool, and my secret is...I blog online anonymously.”
Issacs eyebrows raised, and he folded his arms.
“Really? About what?”
I noticed the guys in the room watching me with a reluctant interest, clearly racking their brains to see what they could say.
“Oh, this and that.”
Isaac’s eyes sparkled as he smirked, making my cheeks flush.
Kiera was right, he is hot.
But I’m sworn off men, thanks to Blake bloody James. Even thinking about him made my thoughts bitter.
The rest of the morning consisted of silly games and questions, most of which I felt Issac directed to me. It was soon time for lunch, and Issac insisted on taking us there himself.
“No one eats in the cafeteria here. We all go over the road to Old Moes.”
Which is where I found myself fifteen minutes later, squashed up against Kenneth, a burly IT guy who had barely uttered a word all day. He smelt of cooking oil and sweat, and I wondered how the hell I was going to eat next to him.
Issac sat across from me, and the other two guys sat beside him.
“So, Kenneth, IT, right? What about you?” Issac asked cheerfully, turning his attention to the man beside him.
I tuned out, my eyes scanning the menu as the boys carried ok talking. I decided to opt for the steak and chips—fuck the diet. I lived alone, so it meant I wouldn’t have to cook later.
“What about you? Married?” Declan asked me from across the table, twisting his wedding ring around his finger.
“Nope.” I wiped my forehead in mock relief. “You?” I directed this to Issac who grinned at me.
“Do I have to answer that?”
I frowned, but I was distracted by the waitress bringing our drinks over. As she handed out the drinks, I found Issac gazing at me, a mischievous look on his face. I shook my head, lifting my soda to my lips.
Why was he staring at me like that?
More importantly, why did I like it?