Hate to Love You - Melissa Schroeder

Hate to Love You

Book 1 in the Fillmore Siblings Series

Dive into this sizzling romantic comedy from USA Today bestselling author Melissa Schroeder.

He is absolutely, completely, and undoubtedly the one man I shouldn’t fantasize about.
Other than being my boss, he’s too rigid, a workaholic with a checkered past when it comes to women. Knowing all that, I shouldn’t think about how his hands would feel on my body, or how his voice would sound when he whispered my name in the dark.

But I can resist him. Mainly because he can’t stand me, and he’s the kind of boss who makes me think about murder on a daily basis. That’s until he shows me his softer side and ignoring my need for him becomes impossible.

No, softer side or not, I have to resist the lure of Grady Hawthorne because if I don’t, I’m pretty sure I won’t survive the fall.

 

Warning: This book includes a smack-talking executive assistant, a workaholic boss who has the most amazing…mouth, irritating siblings, a drunken night that ends in jail, and a happily ever after that will make you sigh. Author assumes no responsibility for overheated readers.

This is a standalone romantic comedy with no cheating and an HEA.

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Hate to Love You

Hate to Love You

Book 1 in the Fillmore Siblings Series

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Chapter One

Syd

The moment my alarm sounds on my phone Monday morning, I reach for it and promptly fall off my bed face first.  Said face hits the carpet hard, leaving my nose stinging and my head already throbbing. The only consolation is that I’m alone. Wait, that’s not a good thing, right?  Before I can answer myself—and I’m still lying with my face planted in the carpet—my phone rings. The sun is still rising, I’m lying on the carpet with nothing but a t-shirt and panties on, and I know without a doubt, it’s my boss Grady Hawthorne.

I take a moment to pull my head up, resting my weight on my elbows in a sphinx pose. Only I know I don’t look as cool as Jasmine my yoga instructor does when she performs this pose.  I probably look more like a cranky calico cat with bad morning breath. My nose stings from the hit it took, and my head is pounding slightly. I really hate freaking Mondays.

My phone stops ringing but I don’t worry. Grady Fucking Hawthorne will call back. He always does because he is convinced the only reason I wouldn’t answer the phone is that I am dead. And it’s not because he cares. He probably just wants to know if he needs to hire a new executive assistant. So, I know he’ll call me back. I’m proven right a minute later when my phone starts ringing again.

I answer it this time.

“What?”

There’s a pause. Since Grady took over the position of CEO eighteen months ago, I’ve been irritated. His father Pete would have never called me at the asscrack of dawn on a Monday morning. I work fifty to sixty hours a week as it is. Pete was a sweetie and had hired me “for his son” since Pete had already announced his retirement. I thought his son would be like him. I was wrong. Oh…so…wrong.

“Good morning to you, Ms. Fillmore,” he says, his tenor slipping over my name. He’s a Texas boy born and raised, and he has that sexy, slow-talking tone. And this is where I get to admit that I have a big old lady-crush on Grady. Or at least my lady parts do. I don’t particularly like him. He’s the type of guy I avoid. He’s kind of bossy—mainly because he is my boss—and considered a bit of a manwhore, or he was until he was named CEO. Before then, he lived in New York and the tabloids loved him. You know the ones who tend to treat women like they are part of a smorgasbord. It’s embarrassing for my gender how many of us have slept with him. But he has one of those faces the camera loves and women like to sit on. So, there’s that. Worse, all I have to do is hear his voice and I’m gushing like Niagara Falls.

“It’s not even dawn yet, Grady. What’s so important?”

Another pause. He never calls me by my first name, but I always call him by his. It’s weird, but then, so am I, and all my interactions with him are awkward. But, when Pete introduced me to Grady, he used his first name.

“And I see that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“More like the wrong side of the carpet.”

There’s a pause and then I realize what that sounds like. Not that I have anything against ladies who like ladies, but…Jesus. I’ve been embarrassing myself since I met him two years ago when his father hired me.

“What I mean is that I fell off my bed, face first.”

“Were you drinking last night?”

“No. Why? Wait, that’s not any of your business.” But still. “I wasn’t drinking last night.”

“Did you set up the meeting with Patterson this morning?”

Oh, for freak’s sake. If he were here, I would throw a pen at him. It’s not like I haven’t done that before. “I texted you about it last night.”

“Hmm.”

What the fuck does that mean?  I wait, because I hear him click clacking on his computer keyboard.  I lay my head down on the carpet as I calculate the hours until Allison Brady’s bachelorette party. I haven’t been out to party in months and I need this.  My best friend Nancy had wanted to go out this past Saturday night, but I decided to stay home and catch up on Hawaii Five-O. And you can judge me all you want, but I like some man candy while I watch shows, and McGarrett fills that bill nicely—even if he doesn’t wear khaki pants anymore. It has nothing to do with my nine-month long dry spell. Okay it does, as does my disappointment in my Friday night date. I actually skipped watching 5-0 live because of it. Jason had been nice enough, gorgeous, but I had been bored to tears. My one-sided date with McGarrett was more stimulating than dinner with Jason.

“Oh, there it is.”

I grit my teeth, then force myself to unclench my jaw before speaking. “So, can I go, or do you need to confirm more crap that’s in your calendar?”

“One of these days, I might fire you.”

And one of these days, I might just set him on fire and roast marshmallows. I blink. That escalated quickly. I tend to get a little violent in my thoughts when I go a long time without getting any.

“Is there anything else?”

“No. I’ll see you when you finally make it into the office.”

Then the line goes dead. I drop my phone and grind my teeth. Finally make it into the office? Fucker. I work a lot of hours, more now that he’s in charge of Hawthorne Enterprises. I get it. He wants to prove to his father that he’s dedicated to the business.  I just didn’t know how much longer I could take this schedule.  I thrive on challenges, and I get why this is so important to Grady, but a girl needs a break every now and then. Thankfully, Thursday will give me a chance to let loose. I only have to hold out until then.

***

After a quick run and a long shower, I slap on some makeup and get dressed. I would rather put on my rattiest yoga pants and one of my brother’s old shirts and slip back into bed. Instead, I step up to my closet and peruse my offerings. I like clothes. Like…a lot. My brother Travis and I didn’t have the easiest childhood. Our father disappeared around the time I was ten and Travis eight, leaving us with a mother who had mental health issues and a taste for the cheapest liquor. We went hungry more often than not, and I never had the chance to come into San Antonio to shop. Most of our clothes were second hand—which I don’t look down on—but it wasn’t easy growing up like that when your mother was known as the town loon.

Because of that, I have a hard-on for clothes. That’s what my best friend Nancy calls it, and it’s true. I get more excited by a well-cut blouse than I do over any of my recent dates. Okay, most of that might have been that they were all duds, but still. My love of clothes isn’t anything compared to my obsession with shoes. Like I would probably cut a bitch if she touched any of my favorite stilettos. From the moment I had my first decent check, I started collecting them. I have at least one pair from each of my favorite designers. I went a whole two months eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches so I could afford my first Louboutin. Now I have five pair, including my favorite black boots.

I glance at them, and in an instant, I decide on my outfit for the day. I need to kick Monday’s ass, especially the way it started out. I grab a long black pencil skirt, a red blouse—it is the power color for a reason—and those boots.  After a trip to the bathroom to contain my hair into a tight chignon, I get dressed, enjoying the power it gives me. Yeah, I know it makes me kind of materialistic, but I don’t care. Clothes are my drug of choice. One last look in the mirror and I smile. This buoys my spirits more than anything.

I walk in fifteen minutes early to work, a travel mug of coffee in one hand and my phone in the other. I scan through my emails, ignoring the three texts Grady sent me in the last ninety minutes.

“Good morning, Ms. Fillmore.”

I set my phone on my desk and toss a smile at the office manager Jared. That’s right. Grady has an executive assistant slash slave and an office manager. I tend to travel with him everywhere he goes for work because…well, for no other reason than he’s anal. Jared runs everything while we’re out and about and handles any issues dealing with the office at large. I am just the slave that has to deal with Grady up close and personal.

“Morning, Jared. How was your weekend?”

“Great. Went to see the new superhero movie.”

Oh, God, I miss movies. I used to go with Travis all the time, but in the last few months, he’s been out of town—which also means my bestie Nancy has been gone too since she’s his co-host— and, also, I’ve been busy.

“Good?”

He nods. “Mr. Hawthorne has been looking for you.”

“Yes, I have been,” Grady says from the doorway. I look over at him and want to roll my eyes at the same time my lady parts are cheering. The man is as beautiful as he is irritating.

He’s dressed in his usual outfit of dress slacks, tailored to give his ass the best possible look, and a dress shirt. Today the combination of slate grey pants and ivory dress shirt—complete with a red tie—makes him especially attractive. But the one thing that always gets me and my ovaries cheering is that freaking vest.  He doesn’t always wear them but when he does…GAWD. I know. It’s weird, but a well-dressed man in a vest makes my pussy tingle. His light brown hair has that mussed look that would probably take a normal man hours to achieve. His dark green gaze studies me as if he’s trying to come up with another complaint. Butthead.

“And here I am, early as usual.”

His eyes narrow, and he knows I just challenged him in front of Jared. “You didn’t answer my texts.”

I fight the urge to tell him to stick a rusted fork up his ass.  “I was driving in. I thought maybe it was more important that I arrive alive.” Kind of a lie. The last two came after I had parked my car, but he doesn’t know that. “But, yes, I did get those contracts for the new facility outside of Denver. Oh, and I did contact the staff at the Denver house for the trip to inspect the facilities next week.”

Grady’s first real move as CEO is the creation of the Adventure Network, an offshoot from the At Home Network. It’s a big deal and I understand he wants to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. I just wish he would give us all a break. I also understand the importance of this move but give a girl a break here.

“You’re coming, right?”

Not that I want to go, but I know it’s important that I be there. Grady sometimes gets a little too focused on the details. If I’m there, I can keep him from pissing everyone off. I’m the buffer.

“Yes. We’re flying out early Monday morning. Carter and Gavin are coming with us.”

This is a family business and his brothers are as excited about this new network as Grady. The only brother who doesn’t have anything to do Hawthorne Enterprises is Quinn, who is a graphic novelist. Gavin splits his time between New York and San Antonio, and Carter is always flitting around opening clubs and drumming up publicity. Grady is always here. Like ALWAYS. There is no taking a week off and giving your staff a break.

“Good. And the car?”

“Yes, the car will pick all of us up.” Thankfully, the company has a Learjet to use. We didn’t until about three years ago from what I understand. His father had crunched the numbers and realized they would save money by using their own jet.

He nods and then turns on his heel and leaves Jared and I alone.

“Well, that was nice,” Jared says with a smile.

“You know what he’s like. Plus, this Adventure Network is a big deal.”

“Syd, my love,” Carter, the youngest and by far the sluttiest of the Hawthornes, says as he walks into the room. All of the Hawthorne brothers are attractive. They’re all tall, but there is no mistaking any of them as their personalities are different. Where Grady is rigid in his schedule, Carter is the opposite. He plays it fast and loose, knows just how to charm the panties off any woman—except me—and he’s always smiling. His hair is brown with auburn highlights, and his eyes are a shade greener than Grady’s.

“Good morning, Carter.”

“How is the mon frère this morning?”

“Same as usual.”

“Well, damn.”

I laugh at his constipated expression. The two brothers are on the opposite ends of the spectrum and it shows when they have to deal with each other.

“I got those reservations taken care of at Stallions for Thursday night.”

“Oh, thank you.” One of the things that keeps the Hawthornes as solvent as they are is diversification. Their main focus is their home improvement network, but they also have several clubs and a couple of restaurant chains. The newest club is Stallions, an elitist kind of place in downtown San Antonio that caters to the wealthy and infamous. I totally used my connection to the family to get Allison Brady’s bachelorette party into the VIP section of the club. I might not be wealthy, but I know rich people.

“So, is this the kind of bachelorette party that needs some help from a young, attractive man?”

“Yeah. Do you know one?”

He gasps, completely over the top but nothing new. “You wound me, Syd.”

“Yeah, sure. I think it would take a lot to wound the ego of a Hawthorne.”

“Good to know you have such a high opinion of us,” Grady says from behind me.

Normally, this would make me nervous, but for some reason, I’m all about poking the bear this morning. I glance over my shoulder. “What? You know it’s true.”

Yeah, I am in a bit of a mood but remember, it’s been NINE FREAKING MONTHS. I’m not someone who jumps into bed easily, so I can normally go a long time between men with the help of batteries. My dry spell has my temper frayed and when I have to deal with Grady Hawthorne and his stupid pretty face and his ability to make women lose their inhibitions with just a smile, I get agitated. I don’t want to even think about what that means, so I push the thought aside. I just need to have sex at some point.

“Patterson will be calling in soon, Carter. We better go over some of the figures to make sure we are on point.”

“Of course,” he says just as Gavin, Grady’s fraternal twin and head of legal for Hawthorne Enterprises, strides into the outer office.

“Morning, everyone,” he says. He looks a lot like Grady—they are twins—but his hair is light blond and his eyes are green like Carter’s. He’s a bit leaner more like a swimmer, and the only married one of out the bunch. He and Oliver have been married three years.

“Let’s get ready for that meeting,” Grady says, turning and walking back into his office. He doesn’t even hesitate to make sure his brothers will follow.

See, butthead.

Once we’re alone, Jared laughs. “I love when you come in cranky.”

I shake my head and settle behind my desk and get to work. We have a full week of work before we head out to Denver, including the bachelorette party.  I also need to make sure I contact my doctor today. I need some more migraine meds. A trip with Grady will definitely give me a headache. Add in that it’s in Denver and I always get altitude sickness, this is going to be so much fun.

Before I can get very far, my phone buzzes with a text from Nancy.

Nancy: Is everything set for Thursday night?

She barely knows Allison but for some reason she was really keen on this night out.

Me: Yeah. Carter just confirmed we will be able to get into the VIP section.

I mentally make a note to ask him if we have a table.

Nancy: *dancing emoji*

I roll my eyes and set my phone down. I have fifty million things to get done before Thursday, half of them need to be taken care of today.

Monday can suck my lady balls.

 

Chapter Two

Grady

Once we finish up with Patterson, I settle back in my chair and stare at my youngest brother.

“What were you talking about with Ms. Fillmore?”

“A friend of hers has a bachelorette party this week. I made sure they could get into the VIP section at Stallions.”

I don’t respond to that because if I do, it will be to ask for more details. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with what Ms. Fillmore is doing. And yeah, I call her by her last name in my head because of our weird relationship. I don’t know what it is, but lately she’s been seeping into my thoughts. She’s the bane of my existence but one of the best damned assistants I’ve worked with. If she wasn’t so damned good at her job, I’d fire her.

No, that’s a lie. I can’t let her go because my father would have my ass for it. He loves her like the daughter he never had and always wanted. He points this out a lot. He says having boys sucks because we don’t dote on him. He shouldn’t have had four of us, then.

“Hmm,” I say as my brothers cross talk about going to Stallions. I hate clubs. I used to love them, especially when I lived and worked in New York. But I hit thirty-five a couple years ago and the idea of staying out late when I have so much fucking work to do…

There’s also the fact that staying out until four in the morning isn’t as easy to recover from since I am in spitting distance of forty. Just don’t tell Carter because he already calls me an old man.

“I think we should all go,” Carter says drawing my attention from my morbid thoughts.

“What?”

“To Stallions. We should check it out,” Carter says.

“You’ve already been there three times since we opened it last month,” Gavin says.

“Still. We should go on Thursday night. It should be a little slow. This way we can spy on Syd.”

I grind my teeth. From the moment he met Ms. Fillmore, Carter has flirted with her. He’s asked her out at least a half dozen times—that I know about. Lord only knows how many other times he has bothered her. Ms. Fillmore seems to treat him like her little brother and hasn’t complained. That’s one thing Ms. Fillmore would do and that is complain to me about it. She would not hesitate to tell me Carter was being a pain in her ass if he was. Apparently, he is not.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing to spy on Ms. Fillmore.”

Carter just smiles, and I know that we’re all going to go. I just might as well agree to it right now.

“Fine. But get Quinn to come. He’s been in such a funk lately.”

“Yeah,” Gavin said. “Oliver’s been worried about him.”

Gavin’s husband is our brother Quinn’s agent. Quinn has been in kind of a rut when it comes to writing and his art, and he has been the biggest pain in the ass. I feel for him, but he can be a moody fuck when his art isn’t going well. Lately, that’s been all the time, and he’s no fun to be around.

I nod in agreement. “We need to get him out of the house before we go to Denver.”

Carter’s phone buzzes and he looks down at a text. “Are we done with everything now?”

“Yes, go away.”

Gavin and I watch him walk out the door without another word.

“You know that he’s going to embarrass us at the club,” Gavin says.

“Without a doubt.”

There’s a knock, then the door swings open revealing Ms. Fillmore. Sydney. Syd.

Okay, now I’m just losing it when I think about her. I can’t help it. She’s wearing one of those pencil skirts today, a sleeveless shirt, and then those damned boots. She’s kind of on the tall side for a woman, but when she adds those heels…

Fuck me.

I don’t know if my mind is saying it in admiration or irritation. Or maybe, it’s a plea.

Gavin glances over at me with a strange look on his face. And I know what you’re thinking. He heard my thoughts because he’s my twin. That’s bullshit. We both agree with that. My main worry is that I said it out loud.

“You had a few calls while on the video con with Dean this morning.”

“Dean?”

“Patterson. As in the person you just talked to.”

She’s looking at me like I’ve lost my mind and I don’t blame her. Why am I freaking out that she calls Dean by his first name? It makes no sense. Still…

“Why do you call him Dean?”

She blinks. “It’s his name.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little unprofessional to call him by his first name?” Ugh, I hate the tone I get in my voice when I talk to her sometimes. It makes me sound like a prude. There had been a time when I had been almost as bad as Carter, sleeping with some of the most sought-after women in the world. When your family owns a network that mainly does reality shows, lots of women want to be seen with you. Flirtation had sometimes led to bed. To be honest, most of them had been willing and I had my pick of them as bedmates. That had all changed when Dad had decided to step down last year.

“Not when he told me to. And I call everyone by their first name who tells me to. I call your father Pete.”

I know this is going to end up in a petty argument and she will throw her pen at me. Again, I should fire her, but most of the time, I can admit I earn that pen throwing. Today would not be an exception. Truth is, I count on her to keep me from being an asshole. She doesn’t put up with my moods. The problem is that while I can acknowledge that, I can also acknowledge that I want to see her red lips wrapped around my cock.

Jesus.

“Your mother called me to tell you about dinner at the house this weekend. She then told me it was your responsibility to make sure the other three were there.”

I cock an eyebrow at her. “I think if we have to suffer, you should too.”

One of the things my father did to solidify the idea he would have Sydney as one of his offspring was invite her over to the house for dinner. A lot.

“Sorry. I have plans.”

“Bring him along,” Gavin says. I don’t miss the little side eye he throws my way. Fucker.

“Sorry. Going to a wedding on Saturday night and rumor is there are going to be cupcakes.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Gavin says. “You know the guys who own that cupcake shop everyone has been talking about for like six months.”

She nods. “The groom is the baker and he’s insisted on lots of cupcakes apparently. While I love your parents, I refuse to miss out on them.”

“Cupcakes?” I ask, not able to keep the skepticism out of my tone. I’ve never known Ms. Fillmore to be so interested in food.

Her eyes dance. “They’re known to be orgasm inducing.”

I fight the need to break my gaze from her because I know she said that just to irritate me. She does that all the time. It’s another reason I should fire her, but there is at least an eighty percent chance my father would disown me.  What I haven’t figured out is why I feel so…buzzed after we bicker. Usually, if someone who works for me acts like she does, challenging me all the time, I fire them. Or at the very least reprimand them. I don’t care if my father loves them or not. With Sydney Fillmore, I’m different.

My brother rolls his eyes, but I know he’ll be there. We might seem like we annoy each other, but we are a tightknit family. Most people would say it’s because we all work in our business—the exception being Quinn and his cranky ass—but it’s beyond that. They annoy the shit out of me, but my brothers are the first people I would call in an emergency.

“Besides, Travis, Nancy, and I are all going together. I drew the short straw and I have to drive that night. Rumor says there will be an open bar.”

“Going stag to a wedding. Bold choice,” Gavin says, and she smiles at him.

“I know, right? But there are supposed to be some old Army buddies—this is according to the bride. I do like a man in uniform.”

“Or out of it?” Gavin asks and she laughs out loud.

“Truth is, I just want to have fun. I’m not dating anyone seriously enough to take them to the wedding. You know how it is, right? Like, if I were to invite one of my casual dates to a wedding, he might think I’m trying to send him a message about taking our relationship to another level.”

“So true.” Gavin rises from the chair. “I have another video conference about drawing up sample contracts for the hosts we want to meet with.”

“Make sure you send them to me when you’re done. I want to look them over.”

He rolls his eyes. “Of course. Have a good day, Syd.”

As soon as we’re alone, I motion for her to come in further. “The calls.”

“Garrison Vincent’s and Theo Masters’ agents have confirmed their meetings for Denver.”

This is a big part of the trip. Normally, I thrive on video cons and the like. Whoever we pick in these first days is important. They will be one of the cornerstones of our new network. I need to make sure I don’t pick complete assholes.

“Good.”

“Also, I had a suggestion for someone from San Antonio.”

I blink. Ms. Fillmore rarely suggests anything. Nope, that’s wrong. Last week, she suggested that I see a proctologist to have my head removed from my ass.  I deserved it. I had made a disgusted noise about my parents and their sex lives. I still stand by not discussing things like that about my parents, but she had thought I was disgusted about the fact they have been married over forty years and couldn’t seem to keep their hands off of each other.

“Yes?”

For the first time since I met her two years ago, I sense she’s nervous.

“Savannah Martinez.”

I blink thinking about the list of hosts and come up blank.

“The chef,” she clarifies. “Her family owns all the Martinez restaurants in the city and throughout the area.”

“What about her?”

“Before she came back here to take over La Trinidad a few years ago, and pretty much run the kitchen side of the business, she lived and worked in San Francisco. She had a blog where she related some of her travels in the area.”

I see where she’s going with this. “The blog?”

“Travels with Chef.”

I pull up the webpage and the first thing that draws me is the pictures. There are tons of them with each post, but as I start looking through the blog, I’m struck by the prose.  It’s funny, self-depreciating, and filled with vivid descriptions.

“This is good.”

“And I know her.”

I blink and look up at her. “She came to you about this?”

She snorts. “Not likely. She’s so damned busy.”

“But you think we should approach her? If she’s so damned busy, as you put it, why would we approach her?”

“Couple of reasons. Mainly because we need a strong female lead for a show. I know it’s the Adventure Network and most people will think it’s all about hunting and fishing and shit.”

I have to fight to keep a neutral expression. See, I know she thinks I’m a pain in the ass who always keeps his cool and never cracks a joke. She also thinks I don’t cuss, or at least not in the office. But, when Ms. Fillmore cusses, it’s kind of funny.

“Yeah. And you think this Savannah Martinez can do it?”

“Yes. Read through the posts and see how funny she is. I didn’t know about it until a couple weeks ago. I found it when I was looking for a recipe. She has a way of capturing the location. She tends to see the big picture. The food, the culture, the people, along with fun things to do in the area.”

“She looks young from the pictures.”

“She’s about three years younger than I am, I think.”

I blink and look back at her. “And she’s running the family business.”

She nods. “I don’t think she’s that happy. I know her through a few friends. Actually, she’s in the wedding I’m going to this Saturday. I can approach her if you’re interested.”

I mull the idea over. Ms. Fillmore rarely comes to me with ideas; although, I know my father was grooming her to move up the chain of command when he hired her. She had a bachelor’s degree and a lot of experience, but none of it really in broadcasting. But Dad had seen something in her and that’s why she’s still here.

“Let me read over her blog and I’ll let you know. I like the idea.”

Her face lights up and the tension that had been there seems to fade away and, Jesus, how had I not noticed just how stunning she is. Scratch that. I had noticed her, but since she works for me, I didn’t notice her past the acknowledgment that she has a great ass on her.

“Great. As I said, I don’t think she’s that happy doing what she’s doing right now.”

I nod. “I’ll let you know.”

She turns to leave me, but I stop her. “Was there anything else you needed to tell me?”

She stops and turns around to face me, a blush stealing across her cheeks and I’m momentarily distracted again. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her blush before.

“Yes. Daniel Ridgemont said he would like a call back. He wants to talk to you about that new club Carter is working on in Vegas.”

I nod and she leaves me to my thoughts. I need to do these call backs, but instead, I find myself clicking through Savannah Martinez’s blog. She’s funny, that’s for sure, but with an edge. The photography is decent, and she has a way of bringing the location to life. I see where Ms. Fillmore is going with this. It is an adventure, going to a location, looking at the food, but also the residents, the traditions. She has a knack for capturing the area for whoever is reading the blog.

I sit back and study the screen and then look towards the door. She closed it, because she knew I needed to make calls, but I am still thinking this over. The first idea she’s brought to me and it’s a good one. It…well it will hit part of a demographic we were worried about getting. We know the majority of our audience will be adrenaline junkies and people who enjoy the outdoors. This has part of that in there, but it also makes each location and adventure.

I knew there was a reason my father had wanted to hire her. Now I just had to deal with the fact that he wasn’t truly hiring her for me, but for something else. Yes, I am in charge of the company, but Dad is still an informal advisor. He saw something in her that maybe others had not. Now, I realized that I had missed it myself. But in this, she showed initiative—one rarely seen from some of my upper management. They were all good at their jobs, but they rarely stepped out of line. It wasn’t because I was an asshole. It had more to do with corporate America. We aren’t like other companies, where our upper management gets paid huge salaries and our staff get paid crap. Dad wouldn’t allow for that and I won’t either. So, many of them see their positions here as temporary. They are always looking to get out with a good resume and references. I understand it. Doesn’t mean I like it. That also means they do whatever I suggest no matter how many times I ask for them to think outside of the box.

Ms. Fillmore didn’t do that. Instead, she suggested a person not even in the business, but who would fill a need that some of my executives probably didn’t even worry about.

I sigh and realize that at some point I will have to give up Ms. Fillmore as my assistant. I hate change, but there is one thing my father taught me and that is you reward your people for their work. And even if I don’t like it, I will not waste Ms. Fillmore, especially if she can be more helpful in other parts of our company.

I’m just not going to be that happy about it.

 

 

End of Excerpt

Hate to Love You

is available in the following formats:

Harmless Publishing

Jan 17, 2020