Authors: Sarah P. Lodge
Tags: #Romance, #love triange, #secret babies, #Contemporary, #billionaire love story, #coming of age, #workplace, #wealthy, #International, #billionaire romance, #new adult, #Genre Fiction, #Literature & Fiction
Perfect Harmony (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
by Sarah P. Lodge
Published by Vanishing Point Publishing, 2013.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
PERFECT HARMONY (NEW ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE)
First edition. August 12, 2013.
Copyright © 2013 Sarah P. Lodge.
Written by Sarah P. Lodge.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ello? Anyone there?”
The man’s voice reverberates down the gloomy hallway. It
sounds so bitter and admonishing, almost like he knows I’m hiding behind the
photocopier, too frightened to make a peep.
My hand claps to my lips, muffling my breath mid sob, and I
withdraw further towards the ground.
It’s Friday evening and the office skyscraper is a
graveyard. I thought I’d be alone, but working so late into the night, I
forgot to take into account the security guards who patrol the top floor.
I know there’s no reason to be afraid - I
here. And I work damn hard. I could just pop out now and say a few words and
he would come to the conclusion that it was just a silly misunderstanding.
Yet, all I can do is hold my breath to my chest and cower on
The light from his torch breaks through the darkness and
rolls over the wall next to me.
I bite my lip and, as the circle of light swings to the
window adjacent to the guard, I quietly dash into the private office behind me.
My elbow nudges the door closed.
“Must be going crazy,” says the guard.
I sniff and a tear rolls from my puffy eyes as I wait for
him to return to his desk on the bottom floor.
The tear splashes on to the papers I’m holding and I realise
I’ve been clutching my stupid admin work all this time to my chest, like it’s a
The elevator dings and I relax a little.
Now I can cry in peace.
Today has been so gut wrenchingly horrible, it almost makes
me laugh when I think about it. After months and months of procrastination,
I’d finally steeled myself into going to the gym for the first time, only to
drop out after only half an hour when some slender specimen of beauty eyed me
up on the treadmill. I knew she was laughing at me, or worse, pitying me.
But then, I also knew on some level that she wasn’t thinking
that at all. She was probably just waiting for me to finish so she could hop
on to the first free machine. But my irrational mind wouldn’t let me think
that, even though I knew it was the case.
I didn’t want to leave - I knew it was silly, but that
little voice in my head kept chirping away. So I ran home.
Only to stumble upon my roommate/ex-best friend in the
middle of screwing my boyfriend.
The same ex-boyfriend who promised to act as my agent and
make me a star. But now it’s just a fleeting dream.
I ran through the rain swept streets to the nearest pay
phone and rang home for some kind words and comfort, only for my father to
brush me off with a few monosyllabic responses and lecture me on why this was
the exact reason I was being dis-inherited. And then he hung up.
It had been one hell of a day.
Remembering I still had admin work to catch up on, I sought
solace back at the office, hoping to drown out frustrations with paperwork.
It was already six o’clock when I arrived at the Harmony
Records skyscraper. I may only be a low level administration assistant, but it
was easy to sneak in through the employee entrance and make my way to the top
floor without anyone seeing me.
Liz, my roommate/ex-best friend, she would have relished
sneaking in. I’d only worked here for three months, but she’d been working at
the record company for over three years and knew the place inside and out. And
she was always such an adrenaline junkie.
Maybe that’s why she slept with my boyfriend.
I exhale a heavy breath and lean back against the giant oak
panel door, remembering the look on Liz’s faces when I sprang her and Richard.
She was so surprised, she practically fell off the couch. And then she pulled
her pants up and cried, begging me for forgiveness. But I couldn’t hear her,
my mind paralysed in shock. And that was when Richard made their betrayal
actually sound like it was my fault.
Thank God for admin work. I never thought I’d say that, but
anything to take my mind off this mess is a blessing.
This job is all I have now. And thank God that security
I can’t let anyone see me like this - all puffy eyed and red
cheeked, holding on to some silly files like they actually mattered.
A shiver rushes through me and I suddenly realise I’ve never
been in this office before.
It’s dark and cavernous, with a bitter chill floating in the
air. There’s barely any furniture, in fact, the whole room is very Spartan,
except for an expensive wooden desk that shines in the twilight cascading
through the giant floor to ceiling windows. Beyond them, the New York City
skyline stretches like mist into the horizon. The Hudson is almost visible
through the crack in neighbouring skyscrapers. As I stand and stare, my head
tilts back and I drink in the gorgeous frescoed ceilings.
I wander over to the desk and set my files down. My eyes
find a single sheet lying on the desk and are drawn to the letter’s header.
Chase Strong. CEO
Panic tears through me as I realise why I’ve never been in
this office before. It’s my boss’s office. No, worse. It’s his boss’s
I hold the paper up close to make sure I’m not imagining
Foot steps echo behind the gigantic oak doors.
“No, sir,” says the guard again.
I drop the letter in fright and it glides under the desk.
“I checked but there’s nada...I mean nothing. There’s nothing
going on up here. Very well, sir. I’ll return to my desk.”
A moment later, and the elevator dings once more.
My shoulders relax. I’m in the clear.
The office door creaks open.
Operating on pure instinct, I dive into the shadows under
More footsteps. They edge closer, tapping over the hard
“Whoever you are, come out this instant.”
The baritone voice doesn’t belong to the security guard.
It’s too deep and harsh.
My heart thunders against my ribcage.
Who the hell is this man? Why does he have to be here and
why now? Why the hell isn’t he across town at the ballroom, knocking back
champagne flutes and dancing with all the other employees in the name of
I peer at the windows behind me and see the obscured
reflection of a man’s silhouette, his broad shoulders and hulking frame
illuminated in the dim light from the hallway.
He’s standing in the doorway and blocking my only route of
Suddenly, I realise I left my files on top of the desk. The
man would only need to move forward a few steps and he’d see them haphazardly
strewn there, so obviously out of place in this office.
It’s one thing to be caught weeping in the hallway by a
security guard, but it would be beyond humiliating to be found sobbing and
sulking in the CEO’s office by another employee. The gossip would spread like
wild fire and I’d be disciplined for sure.
Maybe even lose my job.
“Right, I’d had it. Out. Now. This is your last warning.”
My skin flushes with a red heat.
I know that husky voice. It isn’t a security guard and it
definitely isn’t a junior manager or design executive.
It’s the CEO himself.
Chase Strong - a twenty-something self-made billionaire
playboy and CEO of one of the largest multinational record companies on the
planet. Tall, dark and ridiculously handsome, the stories of his wild life are
legendary in every corner of the world. Every girl who works in the New York
headquarters, from lowly secretaries up to regional managers and even the vice
president, lust after him like a swooning teenager on prom night. He takes
them into his bed and promises to make them a star, but he’s always gone by morning.
And now he’s about to catch me in his office.
I back up further until I’m submerged in the shadows and the
cool touch of the cedar brushes against my arm. My breath held, my mind runs
rampart, begging for him to give up and turn around and leave me alone in my
I beg that I remain as invisible to him as I do to every
other man I’ve ever encountered.
My heart pounds against my chest faster and faster. Blood
throbs in my ears.
Please leave. Please.
I hear a sigh.
“Guess I’m mistaken.”
Footsteps echo across the floor and I hear the large oak
door creak open.
I breathe again.
I crawl out from under the desk and stand up, staring
through the window at the serene New York City skyline.
“That was easier than I thought,” a deep voice growls in the
A large hand reaches out and grabs my wrist. I shriek as it
spins me around.
The desk lamp flicks on and a cone of blinding light fills
the vast office.
“You’ve made one hell of a...”
He sees me for the first time and pauses for a moment, his
His six-foot body towers over me and I’m paralysed. He
continues to scan me with those jet black ovals, and I realise just how damn
true the rumours were.
Chase Strong is absolutely gorgeous. From his broad shoulders,
to his thick arms and a body under his tuxedo that gives the impression he was
carved out of marble, he’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen.
I hush, stunned into silence.
He scratches his designer stubble, his look still hard and
inquisitorial, made all that more intimidating by his jutting square jaw. I
can almost feel his eyes piercing into me, dissecting and analysing ever part
of my body and mind.
“I know you,” he says.
It wasn’t a question.
“What do you think you’re doing here?” he asks.
He turns my wrist over in the dim light and a spark shoots
through my body. He sees my hand grasping the letter that glided under the
“It...it fell on the floor,” I stutter.
He lets go and I quickly place the sheet back on the desk.
His eyes never leave me.
“Who are you?” he says.
“Your name. What is your name?”
“Melody,” I say. “Melody Watts.”
“And what, Miss Melody Watts, are you doing in my office?”
“Oh, I work here. I mean, not
here. In the
building, I mean. Downstairs. I’m an admin assistant.”
His eyes remain sharp and bore into me.
My cheeks flush hot as his gaze traces me from top to
bottom. I must look terrible - he’s dressed in an impeccable Italian tuxedo
and here I am, in my frumpy sweatpants and pink sweatshirt.
“And what admin,” he says at last, “were you performing in
my office, all alone, at seven o’clock on a Friday night?”
I bite my lip and try to think of something to say.
Anything. I couldn’t tell him the truth - that I was sobbing like a little
girl over my boyfriend and I ran into his office like a coward so I wouldn’t
have to face the security guard.
“Let’s try another question,” he says. “The Wiltshire
“What about it?”
“Why aren’t you there? I asked for every employee to
attend. It is for charity, you know.”
“I know. I mean, I’m sorry. I was going to go and I was
all ready to when I got back from the gym - that’s why I’m wearing these
clothes, by the way...”
He remains stoic.
I continue rambling. “My boyfriend. It’s a long story, but
now he’s my ex. So, in conclusion, I lost my date.”
He smirks, though his smile is anything but humorous. For
the first time, his eyes leave me. “You’re not the only one,” he says. “Must
be something in the water.”