Beyond The Boardroom

By: Maureen Child

Chapter 1

“Okay then,” Rachel Adler said, keeping her voice pitched to be heard over the thumping of running feet and the hum of the treadmill. “I’ve got you booked for dinner with Tawny Mason tonight at eight.”

“At Une Nuit?” Shane Elliott asked, reaching for his water bottle, tucked beneath the cord at the head of the machine.

“Where else?” Rachel muttered with a little shake of her head. Why in heaven would he even ask? she wondered. Hadn’t she been taking care of every detail of Shane’s life for four years now?

“Good.” Shane took a long drink of water and Rachel’s gaze locked on the bobbing motion of his Adam’s apple. Seriously, even the man’s neck was sexy.

When he’d finished off the last of the water, he wiped sweat from his face with the towel looped around his neck and tossed Rachel the empty bottle. “And call ahead. Have Stash order in some flowers for, um…” He waved one hand in a silent attempt for help.

“Tawny,” Rachel provided dryly as she set the empty bottle down on the floor beside her. For heaven’s sake, the man couldn’t even remember his date’s name.

Plus, he knew as well as she did that Stash Martin, manager of Une Nuit, never missed a beat when getting the Elliott family table ready. There would, she knew, be flowers, champagne and some delicious appetizers just waiting for Shane and Tawny.


What kind of woman named her daughter Tawny? A stage mother, hoping for a starlet daughter? Or had the woman taken one look at her newborn baby girl and decided…future bimbo?

“Right.” Shane nodded. “Tawny. She says her mother named her for the color of her eyes.”

Rachel rolled her own green eyes.

Shane grinned at her and Rachel’s stomach did a quick dip and spin.

If she could have managed it without looking like a complete idiot, she’d have kicked her own ass. Honestly. Why was it Shane Elliott who could turn her insides to mush with a simple smile?

The first three years she’d worked with the man, everything had been fine between them. They’d had a good working relationship and Shane even appreciated Rachel’s sometimes quirky sense of humor, when most of her previous employers hadn’t. Then she’d had to go and ruin the whole thing by falling for him.

For the last year she’d suffered silently, wanting him every day, dreaming about him at night, all the while knowing that he thought of her only as Good ol’ Rachel.


“What do you think?” he asked, clearly oblivious to her thoughts. “Roses?”

“Huh?” She blinked, shook her head and reminded herself to concentrate on the moment. “Right. Flowers. Roses are boring.”


“Trust me.”

“I always do,” he said, giving her another of those smiles that had the power to zap an unwary female at twenty paces.

She couldn’t do this much longer, she thought. Couldn’t keep working with him every day and dying a little more every day. Couldn’t set up his dates with other women and imagine him in bed with every one of them. Couldn’t keep wasting her life away waiting for the wrong man to wake up and stumble on her.

Sighing, Rachel flipped through her memo book, scanned the notes she kept on the legions of Shane’s women and found what she was looking for. “Tawny prefers daisies.”

“Sure, I remember now. Such a simple girl.”

“Simpleton, you mean,” she muttered again, keeping her voice low enough that her boss’s running feet would drown out the comment.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.” She automatically handed him the second bottle of water she’d brought with her to the executive area of the company gym on the fifth floor.

“Rachel, what would I do without you?” he mused, not really expecting an answer.

But oh boy, could she give him one. Rachel was Shane’s right hand at The Buzz, one of the magazines in the Elliott family empire. As a weekly entertainment magazine, The Buzz covered all the new movies, did interviews with up-and-coming directors and fawned over whichever actor or actress was the current hot topic.

And as editor in chief of The Buzz, Shane did his best to keep on top of everything going on around him.

Of course, when she’d first come to work for him, he hadn’t been so involved.

Instead he’d tried to avoid the office as much as humanly possible. But slowly, Rachel had convinced him to enjoy his job more.

Back then, he’d resented being pulled into the family business. But Rachel had seen just how good he was at not only handling the day-to-day running of the magazine but at dealing with people and managing disasters. She’d eventually convinced him that he was meant to run this business.