Compromising Positions

By: Tawny Taylor



“No, actually, he suggested we work on the project together, but his idea is ridiculous. It’ll never work.”

Tracy’s glum expression lightened. “Then do what he would: Badger him into quitting, trick him into leaving. That might work.”

Fate grabbed her purse and fished out a ten, dropping it on the table for her share of the tab. “I’m not following you.”

“Tell him two heads are better than one…. Don’t you love saying that? Act like you’re working with him then trick him into failure. If nothing else, that might buy you some time until your mortgage is approved and you’ve closed on the house. Then, you could look for another job. Quit before they fire you.”

“But that could take weeks. I don’t know if I can work the rest of the day with him. He’s such a pain in the ass.”

Tracy shot her an encouraging smile. “Be a pain in the ass right back.”

Fate looked at her friend, her resolve building. Tracy was right. She had to go along with Gabe’s plan for a while. It might help her find a way to gain the advantage.

If only Gabe wasn’t so damn maddening!

*****

Gabe swept the last crumbs of his peanut butter sandwich from his desk and, forcing his attention back to his laptop, resumed reading from the animated gif-laden web page. Pictures and icons virtually bludgeoned him from all angles. This was supposed to attract him to the site?

Glancing down at his Scooby-Doo watch, a gift from his eight-year old niece, his heart leaped. Almost one-thirty. Fate would be coming back any moment now. He couldn’t wait to see her. Silly, ridiculous, but nevertheless, a fact.

He’d spent the last hour cramming his sandwich down his throat and wishing the hour away. It was so unlike him to go nuts over a woman. He’d quit trying to figure it out long ago. All he knew was that he couldn’t get close enough to her. She was truly magnetic, fascinating, an enigma waiting to be resolved…and he was the Indiana Jones to do it.

Forcing himself to concentrate, he scanned the competition’s web page for ideas. Metro Detroit had more than its share of dating services. He needed a fresh name and approach, something clever, catchy. On the web he’d found services for vegetarians, redheads, astrological, people who were looking for menages—a personal favorite—also interracial couples, inmates, various nationalities, and homosexuals.

The agencies employed wide-ranging methods: everything from biorhythm matching to videos or photos and voice recordings. How would they find a unique approach? What would be their niche?

“What’s so interesting?”

Fate’s voice wrenched his focus from his computer screen, and when he saw her, he silently rejoiced, his pulse trotting, his heart thumping in his ears and his face warming. She was dazzling, wearing a wide smile. Evidently she was one of those people who suffered from low blood sugar. “Hi ya, Doherty. Doing some research on the web. Hoping to get some inspiration. Did you know there is a dating service that uses biorhythm to make matches? Should we check it out, see how it works?”

She remained at the doorway, lingering like she didn’t know whether she was in the right office. “No, I think I’ll pass. Thanks, anyway. I don’t let anyone attach anything to my body, not even doctors.”

“That’s a damn shame,” he muttered. “I could think of a few things I’d like to attach to that body…”

“What did you say?”

“I said…um, are you gonna come in? After all, this is your office.”

A sexy flush spread up her neck and colored her face. She hurried to her desk and slid into the chair.

When she didn’t speak, he continued, “Maybe later we can do some market research. What’s on the agenda today? Have you thought about my idea?”

She rested her elbows on her desk and dropped her chin into her hands, her expression wistful—almost childlike—and utterly charming. “I did a little thinking over lunch.”

“And?”

Biting her lip, she said, “I think we should work together on this project. You were right.”

It took every ounce of self-control to keep from howling with glee, but he managed. And then…he wondered why she’d given in so easily. She was up to something, but he could play along for a while. Forcing a casual tone to his voice, he said, “Okay. Should we start with the target market? Or would you rather think quietly and then discuss our ideas later?”

“No, this is fine.”

“Glad to see you’re not still sore about this buyout thing.”

Her eyes narrowed. Her mouth pulled taut. “It’s been a crazy day. I have always loved my job. Had aspirations of moving up in the company. This has been a little hard to swallow, especially knowing I could end up the recipient of a pink slip.”

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