Authors: Nella Tyler
book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are
products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not
to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual
events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
© 2015 Nella Tyler
free copy of my never released book Collide
Heather checked her appearance in
the mirror. She leaned in a little closer, checking for any hint of a flaw. At
only twenty-eight years of age, she wasn't too concerned, but it never hurt to
check. Her long-layered black hair was freshly shampooed and as she swept it a
little more haphazardly around her cheeks, she caught a faint whiff of
lavender. She had plucked her eyebrows to perfection and added just a hint of
shadow at the outside edges of her almond-shaped eyes. Not too much, but enough
to emphasize their hazel color.
She studied her nose for a moment. Once
again, she thought that it was too narrow, although her best friend Melanie
told her it was perfect. She added a touch of clear gloss to her lower lip, a
bit fuller than the top, and then smiled at the mirror. Her teeth were nice and
white, her jawline narrow, her chin just on the slightest side of pointy,
although once again, she took Melanie's word for it that she was gorgeous.
It wasn't like Heather was vain, but
she did like to look her best. Landing a job as the new billing manager at Shaw
& Burks would require not only her financial skills, but also her computer
programming expertise, as well as her ability to deal with a variety of
different people. She wanted to look her best.
After all, Shaw & Burks was one of the
most watched up-and-coming computer programming companies in the United States
and showed great promise when it came to international competition. As far as
she was concerned, this was a dream job. Still, she also knew that every dream
job came with a few hitches. Hopefully
the hitches she experienced a
Shaw & Burks wouldn't
be difficult to deal with nor overshadow the many perks that came with the job.
She still couldn't quite believe it.
Her friends, especially Melanie, had encouraged her to go ahead and apply when
they had heard through the grapevine that one of the co-owners of the company, Brecken
Shaw, was looking for a new person to run their billing department. It was also
desired that the person he hire have some computer programming skills. Melanie
had told her she was perfect for the job, and she tended to agree.
After all, she had spent the last
six years dedicating her life to learning as much as she could about both
finance and computer programming. She had graduated near the top of the class with
a major in accounting and a minor in computer programming. She had held a total
of three jobs in those six years, each one increasing her experience, her
knowledge base, and her sense of self-confidence in her capabilities.
When she had walked into the office
at Shaw & Burks, she had been startled by Brecken Shaw’s youth. She
expected some fuddy-duddy, fifty-year-old-plus billionaire and instead had
found herself gazing into the dreamy eyes of a thirty-four-year-old. The first
thought that came into her mind when she laid eyes on Brecken Shaw was “holy
fuck”. He had been wearing a suit, sans tie, when she had gone in for a brief –
very brief – interview the other day. The man had medium-length, sandy-blond
hair, broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and an incredibly handsome face with gorgeous
green eyes, perfect nose, lips to die for, and a jawline that she had an
incredible and inexplicable urge to caress. He had a very slight cleft in his chin
that reminded her of Cary Grant.
In an odd way, he also reminded her
of Julian Assange, but she couldn't quite figure out why. Assange was fair with
nearly white hair, while Brecken Shaw was tanned…not tanning bed tan, but real,
lay out in the sun kind of tan. He obviously spent some time outdoors. When she
had first entered his office and sat down, she had noticed his strong hands and
fingers. What did those hands like to do besides make money? Was he into rock
climbing? Sailing? Spelunking?
Assange had been in the news lately,
especially with the WikiLeaks drama, so maybe that's why she associated one
with the other. Both computer programmers. Both billionaires. Both
up-and-coming individuals who would make their mark on the world. Assange
already had made his mark on the world, and not in a good way. Perhaps Shaw
would manage to give computer programming a better reputation. He seemed to be
well on his way to doing that. Working for one of the biggest computer
programming firms in the United States was another reason she realized she had instantly
made the comparison.
But that’s where the comparisons had
stopped. Assange gave her the creeps and just looking at his photos made her
skin crawl. The complete opposite was true of Brecken Shaw. No. He had a
charisma that she felt right away. She rarely got all hot and bothered by a
handsome face, but her potential boss, well, she wondered about that. She had
done her best to exude self-confidence during her brief meeting with him a
couple of days ago, and apparently her efforts had paid off.
She was still smiling as she readied
for her first day of work, her nerves nearly jangling with excitement. She
couldn't believe how lucky she was. She had landed a job at Shaw & Burks,
one of the most prestigious computer programming firms along the eastern
seaboard! Her boss was a rich dreamboat. Her pay was double what she had ever
been offered before. She would have her own office. What was there not to get
Rich probably wasn't quite the word
to describe Brecken Shaw. Not only was he filthy rich, but the young
billionaire co-owned the Shaw & Burks firm with his former fiancée, Alyson.
At least that's as much as Heather had been able to find out from her friend,
who always found the juicy stuff on just about anyone. Melanie was a born snoop,
but Heather meant that in a good way. Heather was no slouch on the computer,
either, but she hadn’t immediately thought to do some digging about Shaw. At
least, not before she’d been hired, other than to look up his company, browse
the website, and learn a little more about what they did. Computer programming
– that’s what the site said. But to be so successful, to be voted one of the
top ten US up-and-coming companies? They surely had to offer additional
services, didn’t they?
She thought of Brecken, trying to
think of who he reminded her of most, but then she quickly glanced down at her watch
on the slender gold watchband and realized she needed to get downstairs if she
planned on catching a taxi that could get her through rush hour traffic and to
work on time for her first day of work. Showing up late certainly wouldn't
leave a good impression on Brecken Shaw!
She quickly left her apartment on
Boston's west side and took the elevator down to the street level lobby.
"Good morning, Miss
Kurtz," the security guard manning the desk on the east side of the
building called out with a lifted hand. "Good luck!"
Heather lifted her hand toward the
guard and smiled. "Thanks, Tony," she said. Tony was one of several
rotating security guards in her building, but she had known him for years. They
had gone to the same college. On his first day at work, he had noticed her
sweatshirt and college logo – Boston University Terriers – and had commented on
it. As they started to talk, she realized that they had gone to Boston U at the
same time and had even shared a couple of classes and professors.
The doorman also smiled at her as he
pulled open one of the heavy glass doors from the doublewide frame.
"Ditto that, Miss Kurtz,"
"Thanks, Jeremy," she
said, breezing past him and out onto the sidewalk. Jeremy was an elderly
gentleman, always polite, always smiling when she entered or left the building,
no matter what time of day it was. She often wondered about Jeremy's past. Tony
had told her that Jeremy had worked as a doorman in this building for the past fifteen
years following his retirement as a janitor at one of the local high schools.
She often felt sorry for him; she knew he needed to supplement his fixed income
after something had happened with his retirement pension. She never pried, but
despite his financial woes, he always appeared cheerful, which always made an
impression on her.
By the time she stepped on the
sidewalk, lifted her arm, and hailed a taxi, she was ready to start the day and
her new job. Nervous butterflies fluttered in her stomach and her heart raced,
but she was anxious to begin working for such a prestigious firm. Doing so
would only enhance her career; she was sure. Plus, working for such a firm was
bound to increase her experience by leaps and bounds. She had worked in
accounting for years, but to be given the position of manager of the billing
department at Shaw & Burks? Again, she felt a surge of excitement rush
through her, along with a sense of pride in herself. She had worked hard for
this. She felt she had paid her dues. Now it was time to reap the benefits.
A half hour later, Heather sat down
in the chair behind her desk. She couldn't believe she had her own office! Goodbye
cubicles. Goodbye shared spaces with other accountants.
Looking around her, she realized
that Melanie had every right to be envious. Maybe before she left for the day,
she’d take some pictures of her new office to show her BFF. Her office was
practically the size of her apartment and a hundred times nicer. Not that she
had many complaints about her apartment, but it was a bit on the small side.
Still, how much space did one person need?
of her furniture was new, although most of it came from nice secondhand
stores, but she had mish-mashed it all together in a way that pleased her. She
had a sofa, a coffee table, a television set on an end table, and plans to
liven up the living area one of these days with a new area rug and perhaps some
plants. Her bedroom was just big enough for a full size bed and a chest of
drawers, but what else did she need in there, anyway? She didn’t spend much
time in the bedroom. And, the place
a walk-in closet, even though it was small.
She felt immensely pleased when she
took in her new office. It was modern, sleek, and metallic. She had expected
something a little more conventional, almost traditional, maybe even stuffy,
but this certainly wasn't that. Her office literally brought to mind decorations
from a science fiction movie, maybe
, but chic at
the same time. Her desk was a L-shaped construction of highly polished chrome
and glass, complete with an in and out box, a gorgeous and genuine leather
blotter, and a thirty-inch flat screen computer monitor, wireless keyboard and
mouse, and a telephone that connected her not only to the boss’ office, but to
other departments within Shaw & Burks.
She tapped a few keys on the
keyboard and set up her username and password, and then logged on, staring for
a moment at the screen saver on her screen. It was a scene overlooking Boston
Harbor. She gazed at it for several moments, still smiling, and then decided
that she'd better get to work. She tapped a few more keys and opened up a set
Now, she was in her comfort zone.
This she could do. This she understood. She was a whiz with numbers, with data,
and with data analysis. She loved working with figures, formulas, and anything
connected with accounting. She was also excellent at computer programming and
knew C, C++, C# Java, Python, Delphi, Pascal, PHP, SQL, and Perl, as well as a
few others to varying degrees of proficiency. She didn't think she'd be doing
much programming, what with the accounting issues and tasks before her, but
this is what she did best.
Before she really dug into the
spreadsheets, she once again allowed her thoughts to revert to Brecken. Her new
boss, and wow, what a boss! He had hired her after what she could barely
describe as a formal interview. She had found it difficult to keep her eyes
from continually assessing his handsome features. She had forced herself to
focus, to concentrate on what he was saying and not how his lips moved, his
eyes twinkled, or had she imagined it, the way he was also body checking her.
If she was to put his attributes
into a spreadsheet, the columns would have names like hair, body, eyes, success
meter, and of course, bank account. Not that the bank account was
important, but still. At any rate,
he would score off the charts in all of them.
Okay, enough! Time to get to work,
she told herself.
She spent the bulk of her morning on
billable hours, but despite her excitement over her new job and her confidence
that she would be great at it, she did begin to feel a little discouraged as
the hours wore on. The more time she spent on billable hours, the more she
became painfully aware of just how much money the Shaw & Burks firm took
in. Despite her efforts to maintain a mental and emotional distance and opt for
the utmost in professionalism, typing eight hundred thousand dollars into one
of the expense cells on the spreadsheet was disconcerting. One column. There
were more, with other staggering amounts of money, going in and going out.
Based on the amount of money this company took him, that was chump change.
She managed to focus for a couple of
hours working on the numbers in the accounts when she decided to take a brief
brain break. She sat back in her chair, thinking back to Brecken. She smiled as
she leaned her head back in the chair and stared up at the ceiling. He was
gorgeous and he knew it. Would it be cliché if she described him to her friends
as an Adonis, a Greek god? From what she had perceived, he knew he looked good,
too, and once during her interview, he had acted a bit immodestly, preening
slightly in front of her, but not in an obnoxious, over-the-top, narcissistic