ROBERT'S VP EXCERPT

Robert’s steps faltered as he headed to the lunchroom for the mandatory meeting. He was tempted to take a seat in the corner but knew he would be asleep in five minutes if he did. He was exhausted.

He opted for the seat up at the front of the room instead. At least sitting up there with the bigwigs, he would stay awake. He’d be too embarrassed to fall asleep. The lunchroom filled with employees, and the meeting finally got underway.

Thank god.

The president of the company walked to the front of the room, cleared his throat, and began his speech. “As all of you know, Mr. Cunnings is no longer with us.”

Robert could have sworn he heard a few low cheers. He smiled. Guess he wasn’t the only one happy to see that rat bastard go.

“I wanted to introduce you to—”

Robert tuned the man out. It wasn’t like he was saying anything that would directly affect him. His eyes started to drift close, his arms crossed over his chest as he slid a little further down in his seat. Sleep was trying to claim him even though he sat up front.

Then the new vice president of the company walked into the room from a doorway near the front. Robert sat up straighter, his eyes widening. He was expecting another rotund, middle-aged man with a balding head and a double chin.

He wasn’t expecting him.

Good lord. The man had to be at least six foot five! Robert wasn’t small himself at five ten, but this man was just…tall. Robert shifted in his seat at the uncomfortable feelings that started invading him. Why was he checking out the new VP?

A man.

Robert’s eyes drifted up as he took in the clean cut chestnut brown hair, wide shoulders and solid build. The man patted the president on his shoulder, and Robert noticed the long, slender fingers. His eyes darted back down as…what was his name? Robert had tuned the speech out, so he didn’t even catch the name of the man making him feel strange.

He fiddled with his fingers, wishing the meeting would hurry up and end. The feelings fluttering around his stomach bothered him. He wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. His traitorous eyes glanced back up almost against his will, this time noticing the expensive suit that fit the man perfectly. It emphasized his narrow waist and long, long legs.

Robert’s eyes nervously darted around to see if anyone had noticed his unusual interest. Everyone wore the same bored, glassy-eyed expression, wanting to get out of there as quickly as Robert did. Like a magnet, his eyes were drawn back to the new VP. Robert swallowed hard when he found the man was looking directly at him. He felt a connection snap into place as their eyes locked.

Thunder pulsed in his ears as Robert’s blood rushed and his heart raced. What was wrong with him? A reaction like that was supposed to happen when he found the right girl, not guy. Maybe he was coming down with something. That had to be it. It was the only way to explain his racing pulse.

“So,” the man said, “I wanted to thank all of you for taking time and coming to this meeting. I hope to get to know you on a more personal basis.”

His eyes shot directly to Robert as he said the last part. Robert squirmed in the hard metal brown folding chair. He felt singled out, the center of attention, and it made him very uncomfortable. Checking his watch to see the meeting had run five minutes past quitting time, Robert sighed. He hadn’t even called Mrs. Sanchez to tell her that he would be late.

“And look forward to meeting with all of you individually.”

This sentence caught Robert’s attention. His heart actually skipped a beat thinking of being alone in the same room with that tall and powerful man. What the hell was wrong with him?

Damn it, he needed to get out of there fast. His unusual attraction was making his head hurt. He had never in his life checked a guy out before, and he would be damned if he started now.

“Okay, guys, head on home.” The President dismissed them, and Robert stole one last look at the new vice president. The man was still watching Robert as he spoke to a few office staff.

Robert escaped from the lunchroom, as fast as his legs would carry him without looking like he was trying to escape, and ran to the time clock. He needed to pick the kids up before Mrs. Sanchez lectured him about being prompt, and he needed to get his head on straight. He did not need to be thinking about how hot some guy looked.

“Seems like a nice guy. What do you think, Bobby?” Juan asked as he waited behind Robert to punch out.

“Huh?” Fuck, he had no idea what Juan was talking about. His mind was on the chestnut-haired man who was making him feel things that he shouldn’t be feeling. Maybe he was finally losing his mind—stress could do that to a person.

“The new VP seems nice.” Juan was looking at him questioningly. “You okay?”

“Yeah, just tired. What was the new guy’s name? I was falling asleep in there.” Robert punched the clock, tossing the question out casually. Why did he care?

“Figures. I swear you could fall asleep with bombs exploding in your ears. His name is Ethan Russell.” Juan laughed as he slapped Robert on the back. “See you Monday, man. Try and get some rest.”

Ethan.