The Secret (Billionaire Secrets Series, #1)(2)

By: Lexy Timms

Another uncomfortable silence. He didn’t have time for this. If nobody was going to come out and admit what they had done, he had no choice but to throw them out of his office.

“Never mind,” he bit out harshly. “You’ve been given a chance to come clean and refused to do so. You’re all dismissed.”

“But Simon—”

“I’m not going to repeat myself,” he growled through clenched teeth, cutting Linda off.

Typically, he had a good relationship with his staff, especially Linda, but now wasn’t the time for sentiment. If he was going to protect the thousands of workers who depended on him, he had to lay down the law. It was the only way to maintain respect and keep control. He was the CEO. The tough decisions were up to him to make.

They all jumped to their feet and one by one started scurrying out of the office.

“Except for you, Xander,” Simon said in a menacing tone. “There’s something we need to discuss.”

The office emptied almost immediately, with him and Xander left behind. Reluctantly, Xander resumed his seat, his eyes darting around the office.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush here,” Simon said. “I know you did it, Xander.”

His assistant’s face was the picture of panic. “But, I didn’t—”

“Hand over your key card, your company ID, and your company-issued phone and leave immediately.” Simon got to his feet. “If you refuse to go quietly, I’ll have security here in less than sixty seconds.”

Xander sighed heavily. “How’d you figure out that it was me?”

“You’re joking, right?” Simon glared down at his assistant. “Think about who you’re talking to.”

It wasn’t arrogance to remind the people around him that he was more than likely smarter than them. Ever since he was a child, he had been the smartest person in the room at any given moment. That had started off as a curse but ended up paying off in high school. Then it had paid off even more through college and after, when he helped Dover Incorporated go from a tiny little start-up to one of the biggest tech companies on earth.

“I’ll go quietly,” Xander said, holding up his hands.

“That’s the smart play,” Simon said with a hard nod. “I don’t know why in hell you would hand over private information about my company shares to one of our biggest rivals.”

Xander crossed his arms. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“You know what the rules are,” Simon reminded him. “That kind of information is confidential. Not to mention revealing it to someone you know would act on it is illegal. You deliberately told someone about my private financial information to help them game the system.”

“We all do what we have to.” Xander stood up, tossed his key card, ID, and phone onto the table and glowered. “I’m looking out for my best interests.”

“What I don’t understand is why you did it,” Simon said. “Your salary’s far higher than the going rate. Your benefits are incredible. Why put a job like this in jeopardy?”

“That’s for me to know,” Xander said coldly.

“Fine, keep it to yourself,” Simon said, his voice hard. “You can leave. Police will escort you if you can’t figure out how to leave without so much as a paperclip in your hand. You’ll get your severance pay and I’ll say you resigned.”

It was a better deal than Xander deserved, but it looked like sentiment was about to win out after all.

“I’ll clear out my stuff and then leave,” Xander said.

“No. You leave your stuff. Just leave.”

His former assistant marched towards the door and turned the knob.

“Xander?” Simon said as he opened the door.

Xander turned to him, his eyebrow raised in a question.

“I hope it was worth it,” Simon said darkly.

“Damn right it was.” With that, Xander stepped out of his office without another word in response, slamming the door behind him.

Simon leaned forward, held his head in his hands, and let out a groan. Frustration was already taking its toll. He had no room for distractions like this. Anytime someone was let go, it was messy. To be avoided. Dover, Inc. ran like a well- oiled machine. Having a wrench tossed into the works like this set him on edge. One thing Simon hated more than anything was surprises. Unpredictability and he did not mix well. He hated the unexpected.