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Authors: Anna Valentine

Love Torn

 

 

Love
T
orn

 

by

Anna Valentine

 

 

 

Cupid’s Arrow Publishing

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012
Anna Valentine

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, by printing, faxing, emailing,
copying
electronically or by any other means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction.  All names and characters, in this book, are fictitious or used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

Published by C
upid’s Arrow
Publishing.

Chapter 1

 

 

 

Jackie climbed out of the taxi and pulled her skirt straight.  She hated these functions.  Why on earth could she not say no to Jason her boss when he asked?  Because she was weak, she thought bitterly as she reluctantly walked towards the double doors that led into the foyer of the largest hotel in town. 
All he ever had to do was look at her
,
with those blue eyes
,
and she found herself
automatically
saying
yes,
to whatever he demanded.
 
Damn he was gorgeous.
  Why did she have to have a crush on her boss?

She reached the doors and pulled them open.  In the
foyer,
she spied the large sign announcing their company was being h
osted in the Blue Function Room.
S
he put her head down and made her way there.  She had spied
Marcia
Cummings the new receptionist talking to some people she didn’t recognize near the reception desk, and she desperately wanted to avoid
Marcia
, no matter what.

“Oh Jackie!  Jackie Forbes!”

Too late. 
Marcia
’s voice screeched across the foyer.
  She fixed her best smile on her face and turned to face
Marcia
.

“Oh, you’re looking good today!” 
Marcia
beamed and slapped J
ackie
on the arm.

J
ackie
resisted
the urge to punch
her back, “Ha, thank yo
u Marcia
.  How are you?”
  She cringed at the thought of the predictable answer she was about to get.

“All the better for seeing you!”

J
ackie
laughed what
she called her plastic-laugh, “I have to go Marcia, and Jason is expecting me.”

“Ooh, he’s a dish, isn’t he?”  Marcia giggled.
  “I wish I could work with him,” she sighed.

Jackie turned and walked away.  “If you like that sort of thing,” she called back to the insanely grinning woman behind her.
  Jackie shook her head
.
Marcia was always the same,
one of those bubbly-types, who
w
ere
far too effervescent for her liking.

She approached the
doors to the Blue Room.  As she reached out to grab the handle the door swung out and almost hit her in the face.

“Oh I am so sorry!”

“Jason.”

“Did I hit you?”
H
e
reached out and touched her shoulder.

Jackie gasped and stood stock-still
with the
shock
his touch produced in her
.

“Oh God, I must have, you are in shock.  Come and sit down over here.”  Jason placed his hand on the small of her back and led her to a dark corner of the Blue Room.  “Sit down.”
H
e
motioned her to a chair.  She automatically sat and stared at him, her whole body tingling from his touch. 

How can he do that?  Why am I reacting like this? 
She asked herself.

“Wait here.”  Jason turned around
,
and
he was gone.

Damn it,
she thought as her body calmed down and her breathing settled back to normal
,
along with her pulse.  She frowned
;
Jason was cute, but she’d never reacted like that to him before. 

Jason returned moments later with two coffee cups in his hand
s
.  He offered one to Jackie who took it gratefully. 
“Look
, I’m sorry
I hit you with the door.”

She shook her head, “You didn’t hit me Jason.  You just shocked me.  That’s all.”

“Sure?”
H
e
fixed her with those blue eyes she loved
,
and
she blushed.  He noticed.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Good.  So are you all ready for today’s function?”

She gave him a sarcastic look. 

“Oh don’t be like that,” he laughed, “you know you love to hear our CEO talk about how great he is and how wonderful his company is too!”
H
e
winked at her.

“No, that’s not why I’m here, and you know it.”

“And why are you here?”

“Because you insisted
,
and
you know that
I can’t say no to you!”
  She didn’t mean it to come out the way it had.  She knew he would read more into that than she had intended.

He shot her his boyish grin and his eyes twinkled.  He lowered his voice, “Then maybe you’ll say yes to coming to dinner with me afterwards then?”

Jackie stood up, “No.”

He protested.
“Hey
,
I thought you couldn’t say no to me!”

She stopped as she walked past him, “Maybe I am turning over a new leaf.”

“Or playing hard to get?”

She turned round to face him. 
Had he
read more into what she’d said
?
“I’m not playing hard to get.”

He raised his eyebrows.

She gave in, “Jason!”
S
he
sighed, “okay, okay, I’ll g
o to dinner with you afterwards…
  But it better
be
good.”
She turned around and marched off to find her place at the table.

“Oh it’ll be good.”
He muttered.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

 

 

As Jackie walked around the tables, she noticed that someone had put her on the same table as Marcia.  There was no way that she would sit t
hrough a whole day with
the top execs in the company droning on
and
do it sitting with Marcia Cummings. 
After putting her coffee
cup in her place, Jackie looked over her shoulder and then picked up Marcia’s place name card. 
Eyeing
the room
,
she moved to the next table and changed
the card
for
one belonging to
someone called Erica Myers.
 
She hoped that no one had seen that
,
and that Erica Myers didn’t turn out to be an insufferable bore either.
  Jackie turned around and walked in the direction of the display tables along the left hand wall.  She knew the drill – start at the left and work right, picking up each piece of paper until you had all of them. 
God, these things
were boring
.
  She’d got half way along the table when a voice from behind her made her jump out of her skin.

“I saw you do that.”

She spun around to see who had spoken – it was Jason.  He had a mischievous glint in his eye.  He leant closer to Jackie.

“I saw you change Marcia’s card for someone else’s.  Now, why would you do that?”

Jackie blushed
;
she’d been seen, and she was ashamed of what she’d done.
  She turned to face him and hoped that whatever came out of her mouth would sound convincing.

“I… just…” she stopped; she hoped the truth would serve her better.  “Jason, be honest – would you like to spend the day with Marcia?”

The smile on his face was all the answer she needed.  They both turned back to the display table and continued collecting the
information that that evening they both knew would be shredded and heading for the recycle bin.

“So
,
who did you put on our table?”
H
e
asked as they continued.

“Someone called Erica Myers?”

“THE Erica Myers?”
H
e
stopped and stared at her.

“I dunno, I’ve never heard of her before.”

“Oh dear. 
Quick let’s get this done,
get back to the table and change it back before anyone notices.”
  His tone was hard
,
and
business
like
.  Jackie knew she’d done something wrong.  As they made their way back to the table, the room was being to fill up.

“Who’s this Erica anyway?”  Jackie asked as they found their table and Jason made the swap.

“Only the CEO’s secretary.”

Jackie shrugged her shoulder. 
“So?
  What does it matter which table she sits at?”

Jason lowered his voice to a whisper, “It matters.  She needs to be sitting there.”

“Why?”  Jackie knew she was pushing him now.

“Because she’s sleeping with the boss,” he snapped.

Jackie swore under her breath
,
and
resigned herself to sitting through a boring
day
which
would be
worsened
by Marcia’s constant chatter.
  She was embarrassed.  She knew that the CEO would have been furious if his little bit-on-the-side hadn’t been looked after properly and that it would come down heavily on Jason who’d been influential in the organisation of the event.

Marcia finally arrived.  Jackie could hear her progress through the hall.  Surely, it was illegal to be that chirpy, she thought.  Jason avoided looking at her.  She knew he was angry with her and that their dinner that evening would probably be off.
  Marcia, as she knew she would be, was over the moon at being on a table with Jason and Jackie.  Jackie just smiled politely and sipped the remainder of her
coffee.  There were six people at their table, two men, and one other woman.  Mary Owen from accounts, and two other men from accounts that Jackie had never met before.  She was certain she’d be glad never to see either of them again.  The man to her left, George Parker, spoke to her incessantly of his root canal surgery.
  Jackie suddenly found the notes in fr
ont of her on last year’s sales-
figures
extremely interesting. 
This in turn
,
caught the attention of the man on her right, Leigh Wilson,
who
it turned out had written up the report and knew it word for word, as he demonstrated to her.

Jackie looked up, desperate for a way out, and noticed Jason smiling at her.  Had he deliberately placed her between the two most boring men in the country?
 
She hoped that
they would still be going out to dinner, because i
f
they were then
she wa
s going to make him pay for this
.

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