The Players Club is a new 3 book novella series that I will be releasing in 2019. Readers on my mailing list can read the weekly chapters for FREE. Join my mailing list to make sure you never miss a chapter.
A Job Offer that seemed too good to be true
When twenty-two year old Pippa Marshall moved to New York City, she had one goal in mind. She wanted to make it as an actress. She knew it would be hard, but she didn’t think it would be this hard. Stuck living in a ratty old room with no friends to talk to other than her best friend Steph in Florida and her online buddy Max she is desperate to change her life around. When she sees a job advertisement to work at a top bar with no experience necessary, she jumps at the opportunity to make some easy money. Even if the actual job description seems way too good to be true. She knows she shouldn’t take the job, but then she meets Cole Titus and the games begin.
A Man whose armor cannot be pierced.
Thirty year old Cole Titus owns the Players Club. A discrete, underground haven for men with exquisite tastes and secrets. He’s serious, charismatic, arrogant, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. When Pippa Marshall interviews for a job at the club he knows he shouldn’t hire her, but he just can’t stop himself. There’s something about her innocent smile and uncomfortable humor that draws him to her. He knows he can’t let her in too close, but he’s willing to play along with her games until the fire gets too hot.
Neither Pippa or Cole are aware of how closely they are connected and how deep and dark their lives are intertwined. Just when Pippa thinks she’s figured out the truth, her whole world comes crashing down around her.
Hey, you online?
Yeah. I’m here. What’s up?
Just wanted to see how everything is going? You’re moving soon right?
Yeah, in two days. Ugh. I’m so nervous.
Don’t be nervous, Pippi Longstocking. I’m sure you’re going to do great.
Yeah. How’s everything on your end?
Okay. Just looking for a job. You know how it goes.
I sure do, Mad Max. Is your dad still not talking to you?
I’m sorry. 🙁
No worries. It is what it is. What about your mom? How’s she taking your move?
She just wants to know if I can still help her with rent. That’s all she cares about.
Aww. You’re doing the right thing. You need to live your life for yourself.
Yeah, I guess. I just feel so guilty. You’re up late though. Don’t you have to work at the library tomorrow?
Yeah, but I couldn’t sleep.
Aww, I feel ya. I’m so glad we met Mad Max. Well, kinda met. You know what I mean.
I know what you mean.
I just want you to know that just because I’m moving doesn’t mean I won’t be here for you anytime you need to chat.
I know. Same here. Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean I won’t be here for you.
I’m glad. You’re one of my best friends. That feels weird to say because we’ve never met and I don’t even know where you live. But you are.
You’re one of mine as well. As weird as that sounds.
Do you think we’ll ever meet?
I don’t know. It feels safer this way. We can be completely honest with each other. We can open up about any and everything without any judgment. I think that’s important.
Yeah, you’re right. Night Mad Max.
Night Pippi Longstocking.
“Knock Knock,” I said before I could stop myself. The man standing in front of me at the coffee shop was busy texting away on his phone and completely ignoring the barista that was ushering him forward. She’d been motioning to him for about two minutes and he still hadn’t noticed her. I wondered what was so important on his phone that he couldn’t tear his eyes away for even a second. “Knock knock.” I said again, louder, tapping him on the shoulder with my fingers.
“Sorry what?” His eyes moved up from his phone and his gaze turned to me with a derisive look. His blue eyes were a light sky blue and he glanced at my fingers in disgust, as if I were some sort of leper. I wanted to tell him that he wasn’t so hot himself but I couldn’t lie.
“I said knock knock.” I mumbled, taken aback by his handsome good looks. He had dark brown hair and some light stubble along his chiseled jawbone. He was about 6”2 and towered over my 5”8 frame. I swallowed hard as I stared at his luscious firm pink lips. Damn, but he was hot.
“Knock knock?” He raised an eyebrow as he stared at me, his lips turned up slightly, and not in a smile.
“The barista is calling you.” I snapped defensively, feeling stupid and hot and bothered. Why had I said knock knock? What was I? Ten?
“So you let me know that by saying knock knock?” He asked quizzically, his eyes boring into mine as if I were a dumbass.
“I wanted to get your attention.” I snapped at him. “It didn’t seem like anything else was going to work.”
“What were you knocking on?” He asked again. “Asides from my shoulder?” His eyes moved to his right shoulder and so did mine. He was wearing a tailored navy blue suit and the shoulder line was creased perfectly.
“It’s a joke, I obviously wasn’t knocking on anything.” I rolled my eyes, annoyed by this handsome rich stranger. I didn’t need his arrogant attitude right now. Entitled prick. Just because he was hot and obviously rich, he thought he was hot stuff.
“But what was the joke?” He sneered. “All you said is knock knock.”
“You want the joke?” I just stared at him for a few seconds. “How was I supposed to complete the joke without a who’s there?”
“Who’s where?” He stared at me and I could see his lips twitching. He was making fun of me and I had let him wind me up. I was so annoyed at myself.
“You know what…” I stared at him for a few seconds. “I’m over this and you.”
“You’re over me?” He asked once again giving me a sneer. “When were you under me?”
“What?” My jaw dropped. “Who has the bad jokes now?”
“I can only assume the answer is you.” He shot back and I just stared at him, trying not to laugh.
“You know what, I’m only going to say this…” I started and grinned as an idea came to me.
“What exactly are you…hey.” He frowned as I pushed past him and walked up to the counter.
“I’ll have a plain bagel with cream cheese and a small black coffee please.” I placed my order and turned my head back to look at the handsome arrogant stranger, who was staring at me with displeasure and narrowed eyes. I gave him a small catty smile before I turned back and handed the shocked barista a $5 note and moved to the side.
“You can’t just push in front of the line, lady.” The man glared at me as he walked up to the counter. I turned my face away from him and ignored him. I wasn’t going to let him ruin my already crappy day. I shouldn’t even be in this coffee shop right now. I barely had any money and no job. I should be drinking tap water and eating ramen noodles until I had an income. I had $500 to my name now that I’d rented a room out. $5 was a lot to be spending when you only had $500 to your name.
“I already did, so what do you want to do about it?” I sassed back at him, not sure where my bravado was coming from. I was shaking inside, but I think my general frustration at life was coming out and giving me courage I never knew I possessed.
“Wow, you don’t look the sort to pick a fight in a coffee shop.” He said and all of a sudden he started laughing. His face completely transformed from that of arrogant prick to just completely handsome and charming. I ignored the stirring of lust in my stomach as I gazed at him. This was no time for me to be gaining a crush on a stranger in a coffee shop.
“I don’t look the sort to have a black belt in karate either, do I?” I moved my arms quickly in imitation of a move I’d seen in a Karate Kid movie and narrowed my eyes at him.
“No, you don’t.” He looked thoroughly amused now. “A black belt comedian, huh?”
“You got it.” I said and then I smiled because this was the most ridiculous conversation I’d ever been in in my life. A warm feeling spread through me. This was part of the reason I’d moved to New York. I wanted a different life. A crazy life. Maybe not this crazy, but it was different to my everyday norm.
“Well nice to meet you…” His voice trailed off and he gave me a questioning look, waiting for me to supply my name. I stared back at him and just stood there silently. Did he think that just because he wanted to be nice now, I was going to be all oohey and ahhey with him? Wrong.
“Wish I could say the same.” I gave him a sweet smile before grabbing my coffee and bagel. “Seeya.” I said as I tossed my long back hair and headed out of the coffee shop without looking back. I was grinning to myself as I walked along sipping my coffee. I looked at the bright lights of the city and a thrill of exhilaration ran through me. I was finally here. I was in New York City. I was going to make my dreams come true. My excitement lasted for all of ten minutes as I trudged along the packed streets, on the way back to my new accommodation. I wasn’t looking forward to going home. My home was not part of the dream I’d envisioned. But I knew I had to just take it one day at a time. Things would get better. I’d only been in the city a week now. Everything would change soon.
“You’re going to be fine, Pippa. I promise you everything is going to work out.” My best friend Stephanie tried to convince me in her most enthusiastic voice that I hadn’t just ruined my life.
“How can you promise me that?” I whined as I sat on my twin mattress in the corner of my ratty little room. I could barely even call it a room. I was pretty sure that it had been a closet at some point. “Why oh why did I move to New York City?” I groaned into the phone. “What was I thinking?”
“You were following your dreams.” Stephanie’s peppy voice made me laugh. She was really trying her best to make me feel better about myself. I knew how hard it was for her to fake it for me. She was a naturally even more pessimistic person that I was.
“Ugh, I’m a fool.”
“You’re not a fool. And don’t you have an interview tomorrow?”
“Yeah, I do. I don’t even really know what the job is for though.” I closed my eyes and attempted to stifle my sigh. Steph was silent on the other side of the phone and I knew she was trying to figure out how to cheer me up.
“So how is your new place?” She asked. “That must be cool right? You’ve got your own place in the big Apple. This is your dream girl and you’re living it.”
“I don’t exactly have my own place.” I said slowly, as I looked around the dark moldy room I’d just moved into earlier that morning. “I’m renting a room in an apartment.” If you can call it a room, I wanted to moan and cry. I shifted on the thin mattress that was covered by a thin white sheet on the hardwood floors. I tried not to look at the floor too carefully. It was scuffed and sticky and I didn’t want to know what the sticky substance was. Not right now. I’d figure it out tomorrow, after my interview. I’d tidy up as best as I could and make the best of my little dungeon.
“Do you like it?” Steph’s voice was low. “Is it safe? If it’s not safe you have to let me lend you some money, Pippa.”
“It’s safe.” I said confidently, though I really had no idea if it was or not. I didn’t want to worry Steph and I definitely didn’t want to borrow her hard earned money. She was my best friend and I intended for our friendship to last forever. I didn’t want money to be a factor in our friendship at all and I knew how easily it could come between friends and family.
“Met any cute guys yet?” Steph asked and I groaned again. Steph was addicted to love and that was always foremost on her mind.
“Steph, I’ve been here for 24 hours. I haven’t met anyone.” I laughed as I spoke. “And that’s the last thing on my mind.”
“What? It should be the first thing on your mind. All those hotties.” She sighed. “You’re so lucky.”
“Lucky?” I asked, questioning her choice of words. “Why am I so lucky?”
“Because you’re totally going to meet some rich hottie and get married and become a famous movie star and…” Her voice trailed off. “You know, just have the best life ever.”
“I’m grateful for your positive thoughts, but right now I just need to get a job.” I sighed. “And have some sort of life period. I don’t even need the best life.”
“You deserve the best life.” She said and my heart melted. “I miss you, Pippa.”
“I miss you too, Steph.” I could feel tears welling in my eyes. “Promise you will come and visit me soon.”
“I promise.” She said. “Have you spoken to Mad Max since you’ve moved?”
“Nah. No internet service yet.”
“I bet he’s worried about you.”
“Nah, he’s fine.” I said, but smiled. “You don’t think it’s weird that I’m such close friends with some online dude I’ve never met?”
“Nah, it’s kinda romantic in a way.” She sighed wistfully.
“It’s not romantic.” I rolled my eyes at the phone. “We met on an al-anon website. He’s like my little brother.”
“Is he though. Is he really? You guys tell each other everything.”
“Not everything.” I said honestly. “You know that. Anyways, I don’t even know what he looks like.”
“So send him a photo.”
“I don’t want to.” I sighed. “I don’t want to know what he looks like and I don’t want him to know what I look like. What we have is pure now. It’s really sweet and innocent. What if I was attracted to him? That could ruin everything.” I said the words out loud that had been festering in my head for the last two years.
“Or it could be the beginning of something beautiful.” Steph said. “It’s like a movie or something.”
“It’s really not.” I giggled. “Stop being such a romantic. Life is never so sweet.”
“It could be.” Steph said earnestly. “It really could be.”
“I miss you, Steph.” I sighed. “I wish you were here.”
“I miss you too.” She said and then paused. “Actually I can come and visit if you want me too.”
“I’d love you to come and visit, but I don’t really have anywhere for you to stay?”
“What about your room? I always used to come up to UCF and stay in your dorm when you were in college. It would be like a mini-college reunion.”
“Yeaaaah.” I said slowly, not wanting to tell her just how unlike college staying with me would be. In college, I’d lived in a cool sunny off-campus apartment with two pools and a gym. This was a far cry from that and with it being December, it was all gray and snowy in New York City. Snow was romantic if you had a nice log fire and someone to cuddle with. When you were living in a small, drab apartment on the upper upper west side with no heater and pet rats, it was far from cosy.
“Well think about it. I’d love to come and visit.” Steph said, her voice suddenly cheerful. “Maybe I’ll move to New York as well.”
“That would be really cool.” I said honestly. “I’d love to have you here, but what about your job?”
“I think that there are secretarial jobs everywhere.” She laughed. “And you know I’d really love to be a chef. That’s my real dream. I feel like I’d have a better shot in New York than I do in Orlando.”
“That is true. That’s why I moved here.” I said, suddenly remembering all our high school phone conversations about our dreams of moving together to NY or LA to pursue my dream of acting and her dream of being a top chef. “Think about it.”
“I will. Good luck tomorrow. Let me know how the interview goes. And if you speak to Max, tell him I said hi.”
“I will.” I laughed. “I’ll call you as soon as I’m done.” I hung up the phone then and then lay back on my pillow and sighed. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. The beginning to my dream was not going as planned. Not at all. But tomorrow was a new day. I’d kill it in the interview and I’d get the job. Hopefully. And maybe I’d even get to flirt with another hot guy. That would be cool. I smiled to myself as I thought about blue eyes from the coffee shop. I wondered what his story was and I wondered what he’d thought as I’d left the coffee shop. I bet many women didn’t treat him like that. I started laughing as I pictured the shocked look on his face as I’d said, “seeya.” It had made my day. It had really made my day.
Hey, you there?
Hey Max. How’s it going?
You know how it is. How’s the move?
Just okay? 🙂
You know how it is! 🙂
So tell me more. I need to be entertained.
You need to be entertained? I need to be entertained. I’m not sure if I made the right decision moving.
What do you mean?
It’s complicated. I don’t really want to talk about it right now.
How’s your mom?
Haven’t spoken to her. I paid up her rent for 6 months before I left, so she’s good for now.
You’re a good daughter.
Yes! You’re a good person, Pippi Longstocking. The best.
You’re too sweet, Mad Max. So how’s flying going?
Great. I should get my license soon.
That’s so cool. You’ll be a proper pilot before you know it.
Yeah. It will be really cool.
Maybe one day you can come and fly to see me.
Sorry. I know we agreed we shouldn’t meet.
Don’t be sorry. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to meet as well.
Is it weird that we don’t even know what we look like?
Does that matter to you?
No. You know me better than that, Max.
Yeah, I know. So tell me more about your awesome new home. I want to know all about it.
Except exactly where I live. Haha.
Real names, locations, photos. None of that are relevant. Right?
It’s just kind of hard to tell you about my life without being able to go into details sometimes.
Don’t be sorry. I understand why we’re keeping personal information like that to ourselves. I just wonder about you sometimes, you know?
Did I make you mad?
You could never make me mad, Pippi Longstocking.
Good. Hey, I have to go now. Interview. Talk later?
Okay, sounds good. Good luck.
I stepped away from the laptop and tried not to feel sad or weird. Mad Max and I had such a weird relationship. In some ways he felt like my best friend and in other ways I knew that I barely knew him. I sighed as I pulled on my only nice blazer, it was a dark navy blue and I wasn’t sure if it really went with my outfit, and looked at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t look like a professional, but I looked smart enough. My black pants were as crease free as I could get them and my white shirt was crisp and clean. My long black hair hung around my shoulders, wavy and sleek and my face looked as pretty as I could make it. I didn’t look like a Hollywood star, but I had a natural beauty. Some days I appreciated my long black hair and brown eyes and some days I thought about dying my hair blonde or red and just completely transforming myself. Maybe then I’d be discovered by some Hollywood scout. Walking down the street or just sitting in a coffee shop or something, like really hot beautiful girls.
“You are beautiful, Pippa.” I looked at my reflection again and repeated the mantra that Steph had taught me to say. She’d read some self-help book and supposedly if you told yourself the things that you wanted other people to see in you, you would start to really believe those things about yourself. “You’re so hot, Pippa that you make ice melt.” I grinned at myself as I winked at my reflection. I grabbed my handbag and headed to the door so that I could leave and head to my job interview. It felt very weird to be headed to a job interview when I had no real idea what the job was, but the ad had said the hours were flexible and there was potential to make 6 figures. That was huge. 6 figures? I’d be rich. I almost didn’t care what I had to do. Well, almost. I hurried out of the apartment and walked down the stairs as quickly as I could in my high heels. I grabbed my phone to call Steph. I needed a pep talk before the interview and she would know how to make me feel better.
“What’s up buttercup?” She answered the phone right away.
“You sound cheerful.” I said. “What are you up to?”
“Right now I’m eating ice-cream and brownies.” She said, her voice muffled. “And they are absolutely delicious.”
“Oh my God, I hate you right now. I want ice cream. I want brownies.” I moaned as I walked into the street and started the trek to the bar. “My feet are killing me. These heels are not comfortable, at all.”
“Don’t aww me while you’re eating brownies.” I growled into the phone. “You don’t sound sincere at all.”
“I’m being as sincere as I can be.” She laughed. “Sorry.”
“So today is the big interview, right?”
“Yeah,” I said, my voice slightly anxious. “I hope I get the job.”
“Even though you don’t know what it is?”
“I bet its sales or something.” I muttered as I hurried down the street. “Just think if I was making six figures, my life would be awesome. I could start taking some acting classes here and move into a nice apartment.”
“And you could buy designer clothes.”
“I could buy a pair of Louboutins.”
“Oh my God, I want to borrow them.” Steph sounded excited.
“I’d buy you a pair as well.”
“We’d be balling.” Her voice was high and giddy. “Man that would be so cool.”
“I wish you were here.” I sighed. “I hate not being able to talk to you in person.”
“Sooo, I looked up flights. I can come up to New York for $250.” She said excitedly. “I could come next week if you want. I was going to hand in my notice. I only have $850, but I will have one last paycheck coming and I’m sure I could find a job soon.” She paused for breath. “I mean, if you still want me to come. I know you literally just got there and all…”
“Book that flight now.” I yelled, all of a sudden feeling much better. “We’ll make it work.”
“Are you sure?” She suddenly sounded unsure.
“Duh. We’ll make it work. My place is a dump, but we can fix it up.”
“And when you get your big baller job we can move.”
“Yeah, and I’m sure you’ll get a good secretarial job soon.”
“Yeah, or maybe I’ll try and become a singer.”
“Huh?” I said softly, hoping she wasn’t being serious. Steph had a voice like a squeaky owl.
“I’m joking.” She giggled. “But New York has to have more options than Orlando. I want out of Florida.”
“Then get your butt up here.”
“I’m going to book the ticket now. And I’m going to start packing. I’m so excited.” She paused. “Wait, did you call me for a reason? Sorry, I totally haven’t let you speak.”
“No, just was feeling nervous about this interview.” I sighed. “And kinda weirded out by Max.”
“What sort of job do you think this is going to be be?” I asked Steph hesitantly. I was young and dumb, but I wasn’t completely naive. The thought that I could be interviewing for something really sketchy had me more nervous than I really wanted to admit to myself.
“Do you really want to know?” Steph giggled.
“Yes.” I groaned. “Tell me.”
“Uhm, well stripper comes to mind.”
“Stripper?” I could feel my face growing red as I shouted the word and noticed some men walking in front of me looking back at me with curious expressions on their faces.
“You don’t really think that, do you?” I said, my voice lower this time. “I can’t be a stripper.” I groaned as I thought about the possibility. “Not only do I not have the body for it, I just would be so creeped out.”
“I’m just saying.” Steph said. “You can’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed your mind.”
“Ugh, I cannot be a stripper.” I tripped over a pebble as I walked and went stumbling forward. “I wouldn’t even make it one night, even if I wanted such a job. I have no coordination. Dang it, I can’t even walk in these heels.” I sighed loudly. “What am I going to do, Steph?”
“Just go to the interview and see how it goes. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it will be for a managing position or something.”
“Yeah, right.” I rolled my eyes, even though I knew she couldn’t see me. “They wouldn’t even hire me for that position if it were a managing job. What bar can I manage with a degree in theater and creative writing and a part time job at Disney?”
“Maybe it’s one of those learn on the job positions?” Steph said encouragingly. “You never know, Pippa.”
“Uh huh.” I said. “Maybe. Ugh, this sucks.”
“You rock. You’re going to be great.I promise that everything is going to work out as it should.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” I said. “And man, Max is acting weird.” I said, feeling slightly guilty to be talking about him behind his back. Max and I had never met, yet I felt a real kinship and closeness to him. It was so weird. He wasn’t even an online boyfriend or anything, but he was so close to me. He knew things about me that even Steph didn’t know. Things about my mom and dad. Dreams I had. Lost loves. A part of me, the romantic part, often wondered if he was my soulmate or something. I knew that was crazy. We’d never even really flirted, but I couldn’t stop but think that maybe he was the one for me. That was part of the reason why I had never pushed to see him or meet. What if he was terribly handsome? What if I fell in love with him? What if he didn’t like me? What if it changed everything and then we didn’t even talk. I couldn’t lose him from my life. I just couldn’t stand to not have him to talk to. It wasn’t worth it to me. Yet, lately things have been changing slightly. Ever since I’d told him I was moving, I felt like our talks were different. A little more distant. We had never spoken on the phone. Always just sent emails and messages. He didn’t even have my real phone number and I wasn’t even sure if I had his. I’d set up a Google number to give to him and used that for his texts. It was so weird. He knew so much about me, yet he really knew nothing at all. He was one of my best friends yet he didn’t even know my real name. Pippi Longstocking was what I went by and he went by Mad Max. I didn’t even know his real name and that made me sad.
“Oh no why?”
“I feel like I’m never really going to know him.” I was upset. “I want to know what he looks like, I want to be real friends. I don’t understand why he wants to keep everything secret.”
“Maybe he’s married.”
“He’s not married.”
“Maybe he’s in jail.”
“He’s not in jail.”
“Maybe just ask him what the deal is?”
“Yeah maybe.” I sighed and then I realized that I was across the street from my final destination. “Hey, I’m here now. I’m going to go in for the interview.”
“Good luck, Pippa. You got this.”
“Thanks Steph. Book your ticket and I’ll call you afterwards okay.”
“Okay.” She exclaimed happily. “Break a leg.” She said and then hung up. I put my cell phone in my bag and took a couple of deep breaths. The building in front of me looked plain and unassuming. It didn’t look like it would be a strip club. “God, please don’t let this be a strip club.” I bit down on my lower lip and straightened my shoulders before walking into the building. No matter what the job was, I was going to do the best I could during the interview and just stay true to myself.
I saw her sitting in the corner of the reception staring at her phone and nibbling on her lower lip and I almost dropped the files that were in my hand. It was the girl from the coffee shop that had skipped in front of me. I’d recognize her long black hair and silky brown eyes anywhere. I walked back to my office and called the receptionist.
“Becky, who’s that in the office?”
“Oh some girl interviewing for a bar job, Cole.”
“Do you know her name?”
“Uhm, let me check,one minute. It’s Pippa. She’s interviewing with Jeff. She doesn’t have any experience though.”
“No.” Becky’s voice dropped. “I think Susan must have scheduled an interview for her by mistake. She’s done that like five times this week already.”
“Hmm, why is that?”
“I don’t really want to say, Cole. You know I’m not a tattle tale.”
“Uh huh.” I frowned. I didn’t like my employees keeping secrets from me. “Will you ask Jeff to come to my office please? I want to talk to him.”
“Yes, Cole. Is there anything else? Do you want me to send Pippa away? She doesn’t exactly look like the sort that would fit in.”
“What does that mean?” I asked dryly.
“She isn’t really sexy or anything.” She said and I could feel myself smiling at her comment. I thought little miss Pippa was sexy as hell. Impertinent with an attitude problem, of course, but still sexy.
“Send Jeff in.” I said and then hung up the phone. I was going to have to have a serious talk with Jeff about all of the office staff; they seemed more inept than capable, but today was not the day for me to rock the boat. Today, I needed to find out what was going on with this Pippa girl. What sort of name was Pippa? My heart stopped for a second when I thought if what it was similar to. Pippi? Pippi and Pippa were very similar. But they weren’t the same. Different vowels at the end. I sat there for a few seconds thinking. A wave of sadness passed through me for all of about a minute and then I opened up my email account. I clicked on the new mail tab and was about to type in a name when I stopped myself. Not now. I couldn’t message now. Now I had to concentrate on other things.
“Who’s there?” I shouted out as I heard the banging on my door.
“It’s me, boss.” Jeff walked in looking cocky with his youthful swag and muster. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yeah, have a seat.” I nodded at him. “What positions are we hiring for? And more specifically what position is that girl in the lobby applying for?”
“What girl?” Jeff shrugged. “I’m not sure who’s next on the list?”
“Oh.” Jeff thought for a moment. “I think she’s going for the dancing position.” He scratched his head and then shook it for a few seconds. “Actually maybe not the dancing position. I think maybe she applied for the special assistant position.”
“Hmmm.” I gazed at him thoughtfully. The girl I met in the coffee shop was definitely not a good fit for the assistant position. She was way too mouthy and rude. The men in the club would not be happy if she was mouthing off to them and being rude. In fact, they would be personally offended and certainly would complain to me. There was no way in hell I could let her get that job. Not knowing what I knew about her personality. I couldn’t let her risk my business. Though I was curious as to how she would react to some of our customers more unique demands and concerns.
“I want to be a part of the interview.” I said, letting him know that I wasn’t just asking. “You can conduct the first part and I’ll watch via video and then I will come in when I see fit.”
“Oh?” Jeff looked surprised. “I didn’t know you wanted to be involved in the hiring process. Are you not happy with my work?” He looked worried for a few seconds. “Have I done something to upset you, Cole?”
“No, it’s not that.” I shook my head. “Though it appears that we’re having a problem with Susan.”
“Yeah.” His face flushed. “She’s been messing up a lot recently. I’ve got her on probation.”
“We can discuss her later. Right now, let’s focus on Pippa. Go and get me her resume. I want to have a look at it.”
“Yes, boss.” He nodded. “Anything else before I go and get it?”
“No.” I shook my head. “That’s it.” I watched as he walked out of the room and I wondered if he was wondering why I wanted to be part of this interview and not any of the others.I shrugged as I picked up my phone. It was none of his business. I was, after all, the boss. I could do what I wanted.
I was really curious to know what this Pippa was like in person. My interaction with her in the coffee shop had left me smiling; even through my anger. Women didn’t normally treat me like that. I liked a girl with a bit of verve. I smiled to myself as I thought about Pippa working for me. That could turn out to be interesting. Very interesting indeed.
The reception was really eerily quiet as I sat there waiting for my interview. The lady that had checked me in, Becky someone, hadn’t been particularly friendly and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was in out of my depth. The office looked pretty fancy as I snuck a look at the paintings on the wall. I didn’t know art history that well, but I swore one of them looked like a Picasso. I really needed a job and this one paid a lot, but I was pretty confident that my qualifications were not going to be up to par. I was still shocked that I’d even got an interview.
“Pippa Marshall, they’re ready for you now.” Becky’s high-clipped tone was shrill as I jumped up. She looked me over with distaste as she stood up slowly. “Follow me, please.”
“Okay.” I tried smiling brightly at her, but she didn’t want to know. I shrugged behind her shoulders as she walked ahead of me. If by some miracle I got the job I sure hoped I wouldn’t be working for her. That would be absolutely horrible. Like life-shattering, catastrophic horrible. She would be a misery to work with.
“Jeff, this is Ms. Marshall. She’s hear for the interview.” Becky said as he knocked on the door to the biggest office I’d ever seen in my life.
“Okay, let her in.” A deep voice sounded from the room and Becky gave me a look as if to say what are you waiting for.
“Thanks,” I said to her as I walked into the room, my nerves trying to get the better of me. Becky turned around and walked away without even acknowledging my comment. “Whatever.” I muttered under my breath. What was up with all the rude people in the world these days?
“Hi, Ms. Marshall?” A man that appeared to be in his mid twenties stood up and gave me his hand. “I’m Jeff.” He gave me a smile as he shook my hand and I could feel myself relaxing. “I’ll be conducting your interview today.”
“Great.” I said, feeling my nerves slide away slowly. “Thanks for the opportunity to interview.”
“No, thank you for applying.” He said and he waved his hand down. “Please have a seat.”
I sat down opposite him and crossed my legs. I looked around his office as he grabbed a stack of papers from his desk and then he cleared his throat.
“So, we actually have the CEO joining us for the interview today.” He said slowly, and there was a weird expression on his face, that matched the sudden bolt of nerves that hit my stomach. The CEO? Why was the CEO joining us.
“Oh?” I said faintly, my stomach dropping. Why me?
“He likes to get involved sometimes, especially in important decisions like this.” Jeff smiled. “I’m sure you understand. This is an executive position after all.”
“It is?” I said before I could stop myself. “I mean, yes, yes, it is. I understand.” I swallowed hard as my face grew warm. Why was I even here? This was ridiculous. There was no way I was landing an executive position with a bachelor’s degree in drama and job experience that included being a cashier at Walgreens for two months and a front desk clerk at hotel in Orlando one summer.
“Let me just ask you a few questions before we start.” Jeff nodded at me for my assent. “Cole will be here in a few minutes.”
“Sorry who?” I blinked at him.
“Cole, Cole Titus. He’s the CEO.” He gave me a curious look. “You did do some research on the company before the interview right?”
“Ha-ha, of course.” I pretended to laugh at his question. I had intended to do some research the night before but had got caught up in watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode and then looking online at fashion blogs, trying to find deals and coupons for makeup. Oh god, I really did suck.
“Okay, so yes, Cole will be joining us in a couple of minutes.” He looked back down at my resume. “So Pippa, tell me why you applied for this job? What makes you think you’re qualified?”
Well that didn’t take long, did it? I chewed on my lower lip and stared at him for a few seconds before talking. “Well, uhm, I know my resume doesn’t seem like I’m a perfect match for the job…” My voice trailed off as I heard a slight chuckling behind me. My back immediately froze and I turned around slightly to see who was laughing at me. I nearly screamed when I saw the face of the horribly rude arrogant man I’d seen at the coffee shop the day before. Oh my God, could this really be my luck? Was this horrible man, Cole Titus? Please please say no.
“So you acknowledge that your resume is really not a good fit for this job.” The man said as he walked into the room with a huge smile on his face. “Hello, I’m Cole Titus, CEO of Titus Enterprises, nice to meet you.”
“I mean I wouldn’t really say my resume had to be a fit for the job.” I ignored his handshake. “The advertisement did say, no experience necessary.” I shrugged. “I applied for the bar position.”
“We have your resume connected to the executive manager position.” Cole looked at me inquiringly.
“I mean, I know that.” I admitted hesitantly. “But I applied for the bar position. The lady that contacted me for the interview is the one that mentioned an executive management position. I thought she just liked something in my resume…” My voice trailed off. Why hadn’t I corrected her on her mistake when she’’d called me? Well, I could think of one hundred and fifty thousand reasons why. The salary of course.
“Susan contacted you?” Cole’s voice sounded sharp and he gave Jeff a look. I felt a little bit bad for whatever trouble this Susan was about to find herself in, but I was feeling even worse for myself. Why oh why did Cole Titus have to be the man from the coffee shop? I was never going to get the job now. And why oh why did he have to be so good looking? It almost wasn’t fair. His blue eyes looked as charismatic and teasing as they had at the coffee shop and there was something about the smirk on his face that made me want to smack him and then kiss him and then run away. “So?” Cole’s drawl interrupted me from staring at his lips.
“What?” I blinked and glared at him. Jeff gave me a weird look then, but I didn’t care. It wasn’t as if I was going to get the job now anyway. “I don’t know who Susan is.”
“You said you got a call? You don’t remember her name?” Cole stared at me as if I were a dumbass.
“No, I don’t.”
“Need a coffee?” He asked me innocently. “I know how you can be before you get your coffee in the morning.”
“You know each other?” Jeff asked surprised.
“Yes.” Cole said.
“No.” I said at the same time.
“Pippa and I met at a coffee shop yesterday, briefly.” He paused. “Pippa was in a bit of a hurry.”
“Unlike you, obviously.” I bit back. “Are we going to continue this interview or what?” I snapped, knowing that I was totally out-of-line as an interviewee.
“Why yes, Pippa Marshall, let us continue.” Cole’s drawl was condescending and I tried not to make another comment to him. “Jeff, will you go and get us two coffees please?”
“Me?” Jeff looked annoyed. “I can call Becky to get them.”
“No, you get them. And some doughnuts as well.” Cole said with his arrogant ‘I’m the boss’ attitude and Jeff jumped up.
“Yes boss.” He said. “Lattes?”
“What do you want, Pippa?” Cole nodded towards me.
“Caramel latte please.” I said, not caring that I was totally being a bitch to Jeff now. “And if you get doughnuts, I’ll just have a plain glazed one please.” I smiled at him and I could appreciate the annoyed look on his face. This wasn’t my normal attitude, but Cole brought out some inner demon Queen biatch out in me.
“Okay.” Jeff just shook his head as he walked out of the room. “I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes.”
“We’ll wait for you. I’ll just ask Pippa some other questions.” Cole said and then turned to me. “So why do you want this job, Pippa and what are you willing to do for it?”
“What?” I swallowed hard as I watched him running his hand through his hair. “What do you mean?”
“What do you think I mean?” He winked at me.
“You’re a jerk.” My face went red. “There’s no way I would sleep with you for this job.” I shouted at him.
“Really now?” He smirked at me. “Interesting. But that’s not what I was asking. I was wondering if you’d be willing to undergo full training and go back to school to earn a certificate in management.”
“Oh of course.” I blushed. “I mean, if the company was paying of course.”
“Of course.” He mocked me. “So Pippa, tell me why you want this job.” He paused then. “And actually, do you know what this job entails?”
I just stared at him for a few seconds, not knowing what to say. I knew he knew that I had absolutely no idea what this job was about. I was considering trying to pretend, but what was the point.
“I want to make a lot of money.” I said. “I just graduated from college recently and I would like to move to a nicer apartment and pay back my student loans.”
“Honest.” He looked surprised. “You do know there is no way I will give you the executive management position.” He pulled a pen out of his pocket and grabbed a notepad. “You have no experience and I can’t trust you with…”
“Should I just go now then?” I jumped up then, feeling flustered at how blunt he was being. “I don’t want to waste my time if I’m not even going to get the job.”
“We’re still looking for bar-staff and we have other positions open.” He looked me over as I stood there. “Though I don’t know if you’d be a good fit for any of the positions.”
“What are the positions?” I stared at him with narrowed eyes.
“You want to know the positions?” He smiled at me.
“You don’t know any positions?” He blinked at me and I stared at him for a few seconds. Was he teasing me again? And was he flirting?
“What?” I glared at him. “Tell me.”
“I could show you.” He stood up as well and I froze.
“Let me show you my favorite position.” He walked over to me and then he stopped when he was right in front of me. “Do you want to know my favorite position, Pippa?” My breath caught as I got a whiff of his aftershave. Boy was he sexy. He was an asshole, but he was sexy. I knew there was no chance that I was getting any of the jobs, but maybe I could get a kiss or something out of it. I couldn’t stand him, but I was curious as to what he would kiss like. I closed my eyes for a second and waited for him to kiss me. Why the hell not? It would make a good story and I knew Steph would get a laugh from it.
I stared at Pippa’s puckered lips and tried not to laugh. Poor girl really didn’t have a clue, did she? I wanted to lean forward and kiss her, but I knew that I could have a lot more fun with her, if I waited.
“So we’re looking for a bartender, a waitress, a dancer, the executive management position, and a personal assistant.” I said dryly and I couldn’t resist a chuckle as Pippa opened her eyes again. Her brown irises stared into mine in horror as she realized that one) she wasn’t about to be kissed and two) the positions weren’t what she were expecting. “You did what to know what positions we were hiring for?” I smiled at her innocently. “My favorite position would be the personal assistant one; as it’s for me. Though of course, you’d need to have a lot of skills to be my assistant. And I’m not quite sure you have them.” I stopped then and tried not to laugh as I watched the varying emotions crossing her face as I spoke. This was turning out to be a lot more fun that I thought it would be.
“Oh?” Pippa blinked and I could see her thinking fast. “You’re an asshole.” She said finally as she stared at her, her breath coming fast.
“Is that any way to talk to the guy who’s interviewing you?” I asked her with a smirk.
“Sorry what?” She blinked at me and I could see from her expression that she was still dazed.
“You can’t just go around calling men assholes. Especially not men that you want to become your boss.”
“I don’t want you to become my boss. You were an asshole in the coffee shop and you’re still an asshole now.” She was practically shouting and I knew if she had the ability to have smoke coming out of her ears, they’d be steaming. “Goodbye, Mr. Tetanus.”
“I know.” She said and lifted her nose up at me as she gave me a disdainful stare. She walked towards the door, but her whole move was ruined as she tripped on her heels and went crashing forward. I held in my laughter. I didn’t want her to slap me; though, perhaps that would have been interesting.
“You okay?” I stood up and walked over to her. I gave her my hand to help lift her up and I could see from the sparks shooting from her eyes that she didn’t consider it a chivalrous move. “We can still continue the interview if you want.”
“I don’t want.” She snapped as she got up as gracefully as she could. She smoothed down her skirt and stared me in the eyes defiantly. “There’s no way I would want a job with you.”
“What if I told you you could make over 100 grand a year?” I asked her lightly, feeling disappointed. I didn’t want her to leave the office. I didn’t want to not see her again.
“100 grand?” Her eyes widened. “You’re joking? Just as your assistant?”
“Oh, I don’t know that you’d get the assistant job.” I shook my head. “As a dancer.”
“A dancer?” She tilted her head and looked at me with narrowed eyes. “A dancer like a stripper? A dancer that is grinding more than she’s tapping?”
“Grinding?” I smirked at her and tried not to think of her grinding on me. That just wouldn’t do.
“You know what I mean.” She blushed then. I knew she wasn’t as confident as she was coming off.
“I do.” I smirked then. “But no, you wouldn’t be stripping. It’s not that kind of club.”
“Really?” She gave me a look that told me she didn’t believe me. “It’s not a gentleman’s club for men that want to get their rocks off then?”
“Rocks off?” I said with a smirk. “What does that mean?”
“A club for men to get aroused and pleasured and…” Her voice trailed off as she realized I had known exactly what I was talking about. “You’re a pig. You’re a disgusting pig.”
“You really don’t want the job, do you?”
“You think I’d take a job as some ho?” She looked up at me with narrowed eyes. “I’ll have you know that you can’t buy me. Not even for a million dollars.”
“First of all, it’s not a stripping job. Second of all, I bet you would take the million dollars.” I paused as I tried to maintain my composure as she glared at me. “And thirdly, what if I offered you the assistant position? A hundred grand for the year. I’ll give you a month probation to see if you’re good at the job.” I said, going against my better judgement. I already knew that she wouldn’t be a good assistant. There was no doubt in my mind and yet I was loathe to let her just leave the office. Maybe it was because I was curious to see if I could get her to dance in my lap for some other reason.
“You’re really going to offer me the assistant position?” Her eyes narrowed. “Really?” She suddenly unlooked unsure of herself and I knew I had the upper hand.
“Well, like I said, you’d be on probation.”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s fine.” She said abruptly with a slight attitude and I wanted to tell her that if she kept up that tone, the job wasn’t going to last long, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to push my luck and have her run out of the office forever.
“So can you start tomorrow?” I asked, eager for our training to begin.
“Tomorrow?” She blinked at me. “Isn’t that a bit fast?”
“Do you want this job or not?”
“I’ll be here tomorrow then.” She said and snapped her lips shut. She was smarter than I thought. I guess she knew that she could only be so lippy before she talked herself out of a job. I made sure to keep my smile to myself. I had a feeling that would get her going again if she saw how amused I was. And while I wanted to have a little fun with her, I wanted to make sure that she had fun as well. “Is that it then?” She asked and I could tell that even she knew that there should be more to the interview. If this had been a real interview I would have barraged her with questions that I already knew she wouldn’t be able to answer. Hell, if this would have been a real interview, she wouldn’t even get hired. But something in me wanted to get to know her better. Something in me wanted to give her a chance. I didn’t question myself too closely though. I couldn’t. If I questioned everything too closely, I might just back out now.
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