EXCERPT: Weekends Required by Sydney LandonTuesday, December 11, 2012 13:00
You’ll have a good time with Jason and Claire in this first book Davers book from Sydney Landon, Weekends Required. Throw in the plain-speaking fashion whiz of a best friend and the fact that Claire jumps out of birthday cakes, and the fun starts immediately.
Once Jason begins to see the woman in the Claire, the loving isn’t far behind, all of Claire’s forbidden fantasies about her boss now within her grasp. After a while, life does get complicated for them, which scares Claire to death. Suddenly those required weekends with Jason seem to be more than she can handle.
So take a moment to meet Jason and Claire. I think you’ll want to spend some time with them once you do.
Claire Walters has worked for Jason Danvers as his assistant for three years, but he never appreciated her as a woman—until the day she jumps out of a cake at his friend’s bachelor party…:
To support her ailing mother, Claire is forced to work a second job at a party planning company. But when her handsome boss ends up with a front-row seat to the action, she’s mortified—and he’s intrigued.
With Danvers International in the middle of an important merger, Jason asks Claire to accompany him on weekend business trips—and suddenly all her fantasies are coming true. Her outspoken best friend thinks that getting a little “executive attention” will solve everything. But Claire sees more in Jason than just sex.
Jason is determined to know how the beautiful, sexy woman in the cake could also be his mousy assistant. The more time they spend together, the more he realizes how much fun it can be to mix business with pleasure. And how much he wants to offer her a happily-ever-after of her own…
“Holy smoking buns, a butt like his should be illegal.” Claire looked up in time to see the object of her coworker and best friend’s admiration walk past their table in the cafeteria. Jason Danvers truly did have a butt to admire. At well over six feet tall with dark brown hair that tended to curl up at the ends, compelling ice-blue eyes that looked right through you and a rugged and tanned, athletic build, Jason Danvers was very hard to ignore. His presence always seemed to dominate a room. His every movement impatient, Jason never seemed to relax. Every lady in the cafeteria was craning her neck to get a better look.
“Suzy, keep it down before Mr. Smoking Buns hears you.”
“Oh, puleeze. Don’t tell me the drool isn’t pooling in your mouth as we speak.”
“Suz, you’re too much—what’s Jeff going to do with you?”
“Well, I don’t know what Jeff has in mind, but I’ve got thoughts of handcuffs and whipped cream, myself.”
Claire had met Suzy on her first day at Danvers International, and it hadn’t taken long to form a bond with the outspoken, flashy, and hopelessly sex obsessed wisecracker. Suzy was what every little girl wanted to grow up to be: gorgeous and confident. With long dark red hair, a tall, slim build with curves in all the right places, Suzy loved pushing the fashion envelope at the office. She handled special events for Danvers International and, as she often told anyone who would listen, she was damn good at her job.
Her boss had long ago given up trying to stress the importance of the professional dress code to her and now suffered in silence when Suzy showed up for work in various forms of leather and lace or neon-colored T-shirts with catchy slogans. Claire suspected that Suzy was so beautiful that no one actually cared what she wore, as long as they could admire her every day.
Claire considered today to be a subdued day for Suzy, wearing only a blue-jean miniskirt and a rainbow-colored shirt with a peace sign on it. She often wondered how they’d bonded so quickly. Suzy had a colorful and sexy fashion style, to say the least. Claire preferred a more tailored look. Classic slacks and tops or pencil skirts in neutral tones were her usual work attire. Whereas Suzy favored I’ve-just-had-hot-sex hair, Claire’s tresses were long, auburn, and tended to curl when loose, so for the most part she kept her hair pulled back from her face in a discrete ponytail.
Suzy also loved the tanning salons, even though Claire often lectured her on the dangers of that particular pastime. Wherever they went, men stopped to stare at Suzy, and Claire might as well be a picture on the wall or a potted plant for all the attention they paid to her. Suzy always begged Claire to let her do a makeover. Claire shuddered at the thought.
“I don’t know how you work so closely with him without attacking him.”
“I value my job, and I just don’t think of him in that way—or any man for that matter right now.”
“You’re way too uptight. Live a little, Claire. You might actually enjoy it.”
Thankfully, Suzy seemed to run out of steam in a relatively short time with her “live a little” pep talk, and packed up her tray. “Want to catch a movie later or check out the new bar on the corner?” Suzy asked.
“I’ve got to run over to mom’s to pay her bills for the month.”
“One day you’re going to have a wild moment, and I hope I’m still young enough to appreciate it,” Suzy said with a dramatic sigh. “Okay, catch ya later—and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do with Hot Buns.”
No matter what the differences between them, Suzy was a breath of fresh air in Claire’s otherwise dull daytime routine. She laughed under her breath and thought to herself, If Suzy had any idea what I was doing last night she would probably die of a heart attack on the spot. She hoped that would be over before anyone ever knew the lengths she was forced to go through to pay her mother’s medical bills. She gathered up her own tray and headed to the front to drop it off.
“How’re you doing today, my love?” George asked. George had been with Danvers running the cafeteria for thirty years, hired back in the day Marshall Danvers, Jason’s father, started the company. George always had a smile for everyone and, in truth, a soft spot for Claire.
“I’m good, George. Thanks for asking.”
“When are you going to let me take you away from all this?”
“Now, what in the world would Sara say, George?” Sara was George’s lady friend, as he called her, and the two were just a perfect match.
“Sara would understand if I had to trade up. We got an understanding.”
“George, you wouldn’t even know how to get up in the morning without Sara. You better hold on to her with both hands. She’s a keeper.”
“That’s true, but a guy can dream, right?”
“You’re hopeless, George. You have a good day.”
“You too, love. See you tomorrow.”
Claire walked down the hall to the elevator bank. No corners were cut with the decor of Danvers International. Everything here was gleaming: white marble floors, soft off-white walls, and stainless steel elevators with mahogany walls inside. As she stepped into the elevator she once again forced herself to remain calm. Confronting her fear of enclosed spaces was what forced her to take the elevator every day instead of the stairs. While the stairs might be better for her physically, conquering her claustrophobia was far more important.
Danvers International was a huge glass-and-steel building with twenty-five floors. Jason Danvers’ office was on the twenty-third floor, and his personal space was on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth floors. The door to Jason’s large office was closed, as usual. Putting away her purse in the bottom drawer of her desk, she settled into her chair in the reception area.
Jason liked the office to be very impersonal and she was always careful to have no personal items on her desk. His one concession to some type of informality was to address her by her first name, and he liked to be addressed by his as well.
She had been working as Jason’s assistant for three years. Her job generally required her to handle all the liaising with clients, suppliers, and other staff. She was Jason’s right hand and ensured that all appointments, meetings, and projects were scheduled and staffed as needed. Her office life was never slow or boring. He was a fair boss and always treated her well. In the time they had worked together they had managed to create a comfortable relationship. It wasn’t exactly a friendship, because they didn’t have personal conversations. It was more of a mutual respect for each other’s abilities.
She was checking her e-mail when the office door opened and he strolled out. His normally wavy brown hair was rumpled as if he had been running his hands through it, and his mouth was pulled in a tight line.
“Claire, could I have a word with you in my office?”
Normally he just relied on the telephone to give orders, so it was somewhat of a surprise to be summoned personally. He waited for her to step out from behind her desk and precede him into his office. Claire was initially surprised at how at odds Jason’s office seemed to be with his personality. Jason was very direct and a person of few words. His clothing favored darker colors with his style usually expensive and conservative. At thirty-five years old, he could easily pass for someone in his twenties. His office, however, had a nautical motif. Jason had several beautiful colorful pictures of the ocean and various beach scenes, and the room was reminiscent of an expensive seaside hotel.
She had been shocked the first time she’d entered his office at how comfortable and soothing it was compared to the rest of Danvers International. She’d heard from various employees that Jason loved the sea, which was a major reason Danvers International headquarters remained in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, rather than moving to bigger cites that would offer more benefits to a company of its size.
She’d spent a lot of time in this office imagining rolling around on the floor buck naked with her boss—carpet burns be damned! Just because Suzy was her best friend didn’t mean she had to tell her that her fantasies of Jason were probably better than anything Suzy had dared to imagine. Carefully schooling her face into a neutral expression, she looked at Jason with what she hoped would pass for professionalism and not “do me” desperation.
“Claire, I need you to work this weekend. I know I usually don’t impose a weekend work schedule; however, the contracts for Mericom are supposed to be finished on Saturday, and I’ll need you to be on hand to handle any last-minute changes that may take place.”
“That’s not a problem. What time should I be in the office on Saturday?”
“That’s the problem. Unfortunately I’ll be going out of town this evening to Columbia, and I’ll need you to travel with me. My friend Harold is getting married on Sunday, and I’m expected at his home for the weekend since I’m in the wedding party.”
Oh, great. I’ve not worked weekends for over a year and rarely travel on business and now I’m being asked to do both!
“Jason, I have a previous family engagement for the weekend, but I’ll be glad to be in the office during the day on both Saturday and Sunday.”
“I’m afraid that isn’t going to work. I don’t need to remind you how big this deal with Mericom is to Danvers, do I?”
He had been working for close to a year on the acquisition of Mericom. Danvers International was the second biggest communications company in the U.S., and with the addition of Mericom, Danvers would move firmly into first place.
“No, that’s fine. Would it be a problem if you gave me directions so that I could meet you tomorrow morning?”
“I guess that’s okay. I’ll e-mail the information to you shortly.”
When Jason’s cell phone rang, she took the opportunity to excuse herself from his office. Crap, crap, crap, what am I going to do about this weekend?!