Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

And she and Zach both knew it.

“We do have very good employees, McKenzie. Did you point that out to him?”

“Of course I pointed it out to him, dammit.”

“I just had to ask,” Zach said in self-defense.

She had to tell him something or he was going to be spinning for a while. This wasn’t their typical situation. “I…uh…kind of have some personal business with him from a previous job. I guess he figures he’s killing two birds with one stone.” Was she giving anything away in her voice? She hoped not. She didn’t want Zach to go from point A to point Z in a matter of milliseconds with his own fantastic conclusions.

“Personal…or business?” he said slowly.

McKenzie Beaumont never shared anything personal with anyone. Okay, except for maybe little tiny snippets with Jewell, but even that was rare. Zach very much knew this, so she was a bit peeved with his pushing the personal and business words she’d hurriedly put together, but she had sort of opened up that jar.

“Does it really matter?” she said with a huff. “He thinks it’s personal. I don’t.”

“Okay, you’re going to play things close to your vest. That’s what you always do, but I think you should really think about this. Yes, we could use the boost we’d get from having a client as powerful as Knight Construction, but it could also kill us if this man has some private agenda against you. If he disses our business, we’ll be royally screwed.”

Zach was always the voice of reason, and McKenzie thought about his words for a moment before speaking. “Byron Knight is an ass of the highest order — or lowest order.” Damn. She really didn’t want to be thinking about his ass. “And though he’s gunning for me, I don’t think he’s unethical in business. If I do the job well, which of course I will, I seriously doubt he’ll slander us. My working there will bring us in a lot of money for the actual job, and then word of mouth will help our company immeasurably,” she said. And she tried not to think about Byron’s mouth.

“Well, then, I guess you are going to take the job,” Zach said, his smile back in place.

“And I’ll work nights on business here,” she promised him.

“I can handle things here. You already don’t sleep enough. I’ll bring in a temp employee to keep up with the crap work, and you just worry about securing us a good full-time position with Knight Construction,” he said, springing down from her desk.

“I can’t just walk away from the work here, Zach.” McKenzie felt pushed out, but that was absurd.

“You can take a break from here with daily and nightly emails and phone calls from me to assure yourself we aren’t going under. This will build our business,” he told her, looking more professional than she’d ever seen him. Gone was the carefree look that he wore so well.

“I don’t know how I would do this without you, Zach,” she said in a rare moment of open affection.

“Of course you don’t, sweetie. You wouldn’t survive a day without me,” he told her, then surprised her when he moved around her desk, knelt in front of her, and grabbed one of her hands. “Don’t let this upset you. You’re McKenzie Freaking Beaumont, badass businesswoman.”

She couldn’t help but smile at the combination of serious tone and almost flippant words. “I really do appreciate you, Zach,” she said while tugging against his hold. She didn’t do well with casual touching.

Zach knew exactly what she was thinking. He threw her a brilliant smile, and then stood up and walked from the room.

McKenzie didn’t allow herself to dwell any further on Byron Knight. She had a lot of work to do before Monday, and there was no time like the present. She would prove to herself and to Byron that she knew her stuff.

And, more importantly, she would survive the challenge Byron was throwing at her. Not only survive it, but excel at it.

Chapter Five

What in the hell are you up to now?”

“Excuse me?”

Byron had known he’d get this reaction from Blake. That’s what big brothers did. But he hadn’t been expecting the guy to come barging into his office at the crack of dawn to yell at him. He’d been hoping Blake wouldn’t notice for quite a while that McKenzie had been there working in their Seattle offices.

Because Byron had her working in the office adjoining his own, his brother had been bound to see her, but since Blake had gotten married, he’d been working more and more from home — when he wasn’t at a construction site, at any rate, or at one of the other headquarters.

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