The large, manila envelope sat on the coffee table with the ticket to the next chapter in my life. After nearly six months of being unemployed, it was time to join the ranks of the working again. I knew that. But after being out of commission for so long, all that was running through my mind was pure, unmitigated fear.
Whoever said a degree meant a sure job must have been living in a different century. I’d done everything right. After four years of college, I’d graduated magna cum laude from a good school with a degree in management in hand ready to conquer the world. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realized thousands of others just like me had the same plans, many of whom had attended even better schools and had a jumpstart on me with even better internships than mine.
So after five years dedicating myself day and night to climbing the corporate ladder at the nation’s newest sports apparel company, the fine folks who sat in cushy corner offices at Premier Sports decided to promote the other guy to regional sales manager of the northeast and gave me a pink slip. “You know how it is, Olivia. The economy just isn’t what we hoped it would be. Best of luck.”
Best of luck. Nice. So Tony Galente and his lovely wife and three kids moved to Boston while I got a weak excuse for being fired and stayed right there in Tampa. Picking up the envelope, I thought about the frigid New England winters and muttered, “I hope he freezes his ass off up there.”
Printed in big letters, the name of my new employer stared up from the envelope at me. March Enterprises. The real name on the envelope should have said Club X. I’d lived in Tampa all my life and never once had I heard of any club named that, and I’d spent my fair share of nights celebrating everything from birthdays to bachelorette parties to my friends’ promotions. But my friend Jake had and thinking he was helping me one night while he was on a partying binge had mentioned my name to one of the owners who was looking for an assistant to the main owner. That he was entirely too vague on the particulars of Club X made me uneasy, but he’d assured me this was a job I’d be perfect for. All I had to do was find a way to be okay that Club X was, as Jake termed it, “the kind of place I was in desperate need of,” whatever that meant.
Well, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and this beggar had just about depleted the last of her savings. Whatever Club X might be, I needed this job.
So I sat there with a potential job offer in my hands, unsure of what exactly the owner at Club X would want me to do but sure I couldn’t turn it down. Slowly, I slid the lone piece of paper out to again see merely a paragraph telling me that if I desired, the job of executive assistant was available. All I had to do was interview at two that afternoon. Reading between the lines, I knew they wanted to see if my in-person style was as impressive as my qualifications on paper.
“So they want to see you, Olivia. Time to show them what you got.”
Standing on shaky legs, I walked into my bedroom and checked out my interview look in the mirror. A navy blue business suit, white blouse, and navy three inch pumps said I was a confident businesswoman, even if my insides were shaking like jelly. I smoothed a few stray red hairs back into my bun and took a deep breath. I could do this.
I had to do this.
Arriving much earlier than I’d planned, I parked my 2005 Subaru Impreza across the street from an enormous warehouse and checked the address on the paper, sure I’d made a mistake. Jake had told me Club X was a bar and entertainment complex. Looking out my driver’s side window, all I saw was an huge building that resembled an old factory. My GPS said I was in the right place, though, so I sat back and listened to music for ten minutes, hoping my interview jitters would calm themselves soon.
As Katy Perry’s Roar played like an anthem for my interview, I watched for any sign of life in the building I was supposed to enter in just minutes but saw no one. The warehouse was five floors and took up half an entire city block. Unlike other factories, though, this building had few windows. In addition, there was no neon sign alerting potential patrons that Club X even existed there. Perhaps that was why they were looking for an executive assistant to the owner. Someone needed to clue these people in on basic marketing techniques.
The song ended, and I checked my phone for the time. 1:48. Time to head in. One last quick look in the rearview mirror to check that I didn’t have lipstick on my teeth and I was ready to go. Stepping out into the warm May sun, I took a deep breath and made my way to the building.
Unsure of which door to enter through since all the doors looked like the basic industrial strength steel variety, I turned the doorknob on the one closest to the left side of the building and hoped I wouldn’t have to try too many and end up being late for the interview. Luck was with me and the door opened into Club X.
I tried to calm my shaking legs, stepped inside, and stared with wide eyes at the scene in front of me. Open to the ceiling two floors above, the room was enormous. A solid glass bar ran the entire length of the far wall on the main floor, along with tables and chairs that took up most of the room. At the opposite end of the room was a huge space, I suspected for a dance floor. Craning my neck, I slowly turned around and tried to see the floors above but in the dim light I could only see walkways and staircases leading from level to level.
I turned at the sound of a deep voice saying my name and saw a man coming toward me. Over six foot, he was well-built yet lean, like every muscle in his body was trained to work at peak performance. His hair was dark brown and short, and as he came closer I saw his eyes, a brilliant blue color framed by dark lashes. His grey business suit was obviously expensive and tailor made to fit his well-proportioned body. In fact, everything about him screamed money. And sex. Definitely sex. Like the kind of sex that left you boneless on his silk sheets with him still inside you after fucking you better than you’d ever been fucked before.
Extending my hand to shake his, I smiled and tried to keep myself composed as I introduced myself. “I’m Olivia Lucas. It’s very nice to meet you, Mr…?” I left my statement hanging because there hadn’t been a name on the letter they’d sent.
His piercing eyes studied me intensely before he spoke and his voice flowed over me like silk. “March. Cassian March. Welcome to Club X.”
He surprised me by pronouncing the Roman numeral ten for X. “Oh, I hadn’t realized the X was the Roman numeral. My friend had called it Club X, as in the letter x,” I admitted, feeling a blush cover my cheeks at the mention of Jake’s mistake.
He studied me again, his gaze unwavering as it held mine. “That happens a lot. The club’s secretive nature lends itself to the x name, but I originally opened it up with the intent of calling it Club Ten but with the Roman numeral. You’ll find many of our patrons think like your friend does. Perhaps it’s time I did the same.”
His voice dropped, and I hoped he wasn’t already disappointed in me even before I had the chance to show him I was as good in person as my qualifications were on paper. Pressing a smile onto his very kissable lips, he held his arm out to lead me to his office and I followed him, enjoying the view from behind even as I silently scolded myself for not focusing on what was important. Checking out my new boss’s incredible ass wasn’t keeping my eye on the prize, no matter how hot he looked in that suit.
Guiding me into his office at the very back of the building, he sat down behind an enormous glass desk and extended his arm once again, this time to offer me a seat. As I tried to relax, he picked up the phone and called someone to alert them I’d arrived. Instantly, my anxiety ratcheted up more than a few notches as I hadn’t realized this would be a group interview. He shuffled papers around on his desk, seeming to look for something, and I told myself I could handle this. An interview with five or even ten owners was the same as an interview with one owner, right?
As I looked around at his minimalist designed office, a younger man responded to his call, and I guessed he was in his mid-twenties. He took his place next to Cassian and began to talk to him, and I noticed my potential new boss looked similar to this second man, even though this younger man had lighter hair and brown eyes.
“We’re just waiting for Kane. He’s the third owner of Club X,” Cassian explained in a voice that signaled his impatience at the fact that this other man hadn’t appeared yet. “While we’re waiting for him, let me introduce you two. Stefan, this is Olivia Lucas. She’s here for the job as my assistant. Olivia, this is my brother, Stefan March.”