Authors: Kathi S. Barton
The Golden Streak Series
Kathi S. Barton
World Castle Publishing
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed
as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or person,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
World Castle Publishing
© Kathi S. Barton 2013
Edition World Castle Publishing May 5, 2013
rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in articles and reviews.
“Where’s your secretary?”
Ryland shrugged at his brother.
“She does know that it’s important that
she stay at her desk and answer the phone, right?”
“Where is yours? Under the desk again? I
heard that she spends a great deal of time there.” Ryland had no time and less
energy to deal with Alistair right now, and there was a waning moon in a few
days as well. “You should mind your own business and let me—”
“She quit yesterday.”
Ryland looked at his brother, trying to
decide if he was jerking his chain or not.
“She handed in her resignation two weeks
ago. Yesterday was her last day. I take it you didn’t throw her a going away
“How do you know that’s what happened? Maybe
she simply took a couple of weeks off. She couldn’t have any vacation time
saved. She’s only been here what? A couple of months?” Ryland realized he
didn’t even know her name. And when a sheet of paper flew across his desk at
him, he picked it up.
Her name was Colette Bridges and she’d
left with notice stating that she’d found a less stressful job. She’d gone on
to say that working for Ryland Golden was akin to working for a dictator and
she wished him luck finding someone else. Ryland tossed the page back at
“You have any idea what she’s talking
Ryland flushed at his question.
“If you keep this up, no one will work
for you no matter what we pay them. I didn’t think that I’d have any luck
finding you someone as it was.”
“Did you?” Alistair nodded. “When does
she start? Never mind, I don’t want her. I want a male to work for me. Women
are too emotional and think things should be handed to them with a pretty bow. I
fucking don’t have time for bows or emotions.”
“You said it, not me.” Alistair stood
up. “Too late for this girl. She starts in the morning. But I will look for
someone else. I don’t think you and this girl will suit either, but she owes me
her fee and this was a way to get what I charged her. And Ryland, don’t bite
her. She will bite you back.”
“You mean you hired me a criminal to
answer my phones? Great. Will I need to carry my gun just so she doesn’t murder
me in my own office?” Ryland flushed again, his face so hot he wanted to turn
away from Alistair.
“You are such a charmer it’s small
wonder that you don’t have a mate and ten kids by now.” Alistair walked to the
door, but turned before going out it. “Her name is Miss Lawrence. Try and make
it through the week with her until I can get you someone else.”
After Alistair left, he walked to his
bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. His cat was pissy because he’d
not been on a run in…he couldn’t remember the last time. But Ryland had to be
stern. No one else in the family had the balls to do what he did daily and
still live with themselves. He walked back to his desk and looked over the
proposal that had been a pain in his side since last month.
The building was going to make them
millions. He knew his mother would say that they had enough money, that he
needed to relax and see the area right outside his office building, but things
were coming to a head and he wanted to finish them. He frowned, knowing that
he’d said that about the last project and the two before that. He liked working
hard and long hours. It was what he lived for. He looked up when his mom walked
in his office.
“Have you found a replacement for
Colette yet?” She sat in the chair across from him. “Poor girl had a hard time
of it and I had to work hard to get her to stay for as long as she did.”
“You knew she was leaving?”
She nodded and played with the button on
“Why the hell didn’t you say something
to me? I thought she’d gone to lunch early.”
She raised her brow at him and he knew
he’d gone too far with her. She was his mom and he loved her dearly, but she
scared the shit out of him most of the time. When she continued to look at him
with that mom look he sat up in his chair. “I’m sorry. Alistair said he found
someone to replace her for this week. I think he’s looking to find me someone
else. A male someone else. Women and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to
“Oh, Ryland, you and women don’t see eye
to eye on any level. When was the last time you went out with a real girl?” He
asked her what that was supposed to mean. “It means one that you’ve known for
more than the time it takes you to get her undressed. And as cranky as you seem
to be all the time, I’m thinking that doesn’t happen often enough either.”
“This is not a conversation I’m
comfortable having with my mother. Drop it or I’ll leave. I can work just as
well from my hotel room as I can from here.”
“Who does that? What kind of person who
has all the money he could ever hope to spend lives in a hotel room? You should
have a house. A place where you can run in the trees with someone. Buy one if
only for the investment. You’re too old to have room service pick up after you
daily and make your bed.” She stood up. “I’m going to find you one if you
don’t. I’m serious about this, Ryland. Get a girlfriend, and not from a bar,
and buy a home for yourself. Maybe then you’ll find someone to settle down with
“I’m not in the mood for this bashing of
Ryland crap. And you will not buy me a house. If I wanted one, I’d find it for
myself.” She paused at the door and looked back at him. “Thank you, but I’m
capable of finding my own way.”
“Perhaps you misunderstood me. I didn’t
ask you if I could. I said you will or I will. You have until the end of the
moon pull to put a bid on one and have it purchased by the middle of next month
or so help me, I’ll do it for you. And you will not like my idea of a house.”
She was out the door before he could say
anything else. He wasn’t really sure what he’d have said to her, but he would
have thought of something to get himself into deeper shit with her. Looking at
the calendar, he realized she’d only given him eleven days to look. Sweet of
her, he thought as he stretched out his neck from the tension. He did not need
Working through lunch, he was ready to get
out at almost nine that evening. He was starving and decided to pick up a
sandwich from the deli and take it to the hotel with him. He was riding up to
the penthouse when he remembered the girl was starting tomorrow.
“Mother fuck,” he muttered to himself as
he tossed his coat and briefcase on the sofa. Taking his dinner to the
kitchenette, he put everything on a paper plate and took it to the table/office
that he had set up there. Eating while working, he finally went to bed at midnight. He’d done all he could with the proposal and now it was up to the seller.
“Is that what you’re wearing?”
Bronwyn looked down at her pants and
“You can’t be serious.”
“I am, and I am. What’s wrong with this?
It’s clean. And he told me to dress like I did in the courtroom. This is what I
wore every day.” She’d had to rinse it out nightly, but she had worn it. She
looked at her roommate and friend Sindy Wilson.
“How much time do I have? Never mind,
you wouldn’t wait if I had ten years. Just let me give you a blouse. Wearing a
man’s shirt to work is not good. Where are you working anyway?” Sindy walked
out of the room before she could answer. She was back in less time than Bronwyn
could get her jacket on. She, of course, tisked at that as well.
“You can just take that back. First of
all, it won’t fit me. I’m a tad bit bigger than you across the boobs and,
secondly, I cannot…no, I won’t wear yellow. I look like someone drained me.”
“You’re right, it does wash you out
completely. I’ve never met a woman who had less fashion sense than you do. Don’t
you own anything that’s feminine?”
Bronwyn huffed at her.
“Okay, but at least wear this. It’s blue
like everything else you own, so it’ll go with all your shirts. You do know
that there are other fabrics beside cotton, right?”
Bronwyn pulled on the jacket and wasn’t
surprised to find that it wouldn’t button. Without pointing this out to Sindy,
she took it off, pulled her hoodie back on, and went to the door. She was
nearly out it when Sindy said her name.
“You never did tell me where you’re
working and for who. That guy, your attorney, he’s yummy. If he can find me a
job working…undercover, I’d work for him for free.”
“I’m working at the Golden Towers. Mr.
Golden said that his family owns it and that I would be in some sort of pool
until I paid him off. It should take me about four hundred years.”
Sindy whistled. “Christ, B, that’s big
league stuff, working for the Goldens. I should have made you buy new clothes.”
Then she’d owe her too. Going to the
elevator, she pushed the button. Nothing. Knowing that it was out again, she
went to the stairwell to walk down the ten flights. She supposed she should
have been glad she wasn’t in it again when it went down. Two hours closed up in
that thing last winter had nearly made her a frozen popsicle. She was out of
the building ten minutes behind schedule.
By the time she had gotten off the bus
in front of the Golden Towers she wasn’t as early as she’d meant to be. Her
work day was supposed to start at nine and she had wanted to be there at eight.
But the elevator and a broken down bus had her going inside at eight-thirty.
She rushed to the security desk, knowing that they were going to hold her up
“I’m Bronwyn Lawrence. I’m supposed to
start today.” The man picked up his clipboard as she continued. “I’m probably
not on the list. I just spoke to Mr. Golden yesterday and he said that he’d fix
it so I could work.” She was babbling and snapped her mouth closed. The man
winked at her and she was suddenly unsure of herself. No one winked at her.
“You’re right here, miss. Come this way
and I’ll set you up with a badge and parking spot.” She told him she didn’t
drive, but followed. “You’ll need to see Mr. Golden about a car then. He will
require you to have one. Do you have a driver’s licenses?”
“Yes. But I don’t need a car. This is
only for a little while until I can get something better.” She flushed when he
looked at her. “I mean one that I don’t have to come clear across town to get
to. I suppose this is a good place to work, but I—” She shut her mouth again.
She hated that she babbled when she was nervous. And she was, very much so. Bronwyn
followed him to the office and sat when he asked her to. She was to have her
picture identification taken and then she’d be taken upstairs by him. He told
her his name was Stan Flores.
“Which Golden are you working for?”
She waited until he snapped her picture
before answering. She told him she was just in the work pool. He looked at her
oddly, but didn’t comment. At a quarter till nine they were headed upstairs. “You’ll
be trained today by Liz Baker. She’s really nice and has a wonderful attitude
about life in general. She’ll be able to help you get over this first day and,
after that, I’m betting you’ll be fine.” The doors opened and she saw a single
desk and a lovely office. “She’ll be right up.”