But thanks to Lillian, I can hold my head high. True to her word, she couriered over a contract, spelling out my dizzying new salary and benefits, plus a company credit card and instructions to look the part when I showed up here Monday morning. I have everything an up-and-coming hotel exec needs.
“Miss?” The doorman nods to me, one hand on the handle ready to open the doors. I don’t recognize him, and apparently he doesn’t recognize me. Which means I might actually get in this time without any problems.
“Thank you,” I nod back. My brand new black leather pumps make a satisfying click, click, click on the marble floor. It’s good for the confidence.
I. Can. Do. This.
The lobby is busy, which is great. Camouflage. My plan for today is to hide out and keep a low profile without running into Dominic. Focus on work, and leave the heartbreak and drama for another day. Simple.
Someone rushes up behind me. Scratch that. Two someones. My heart leaps to my throat as security guards come at me.
“Ms. Evans. This way please.” The taller guard reaches for my arm.
“Hey!” I protest. “This is all a misunderstanding. Check with Lillian—“
He doesn’t even let me finish. “Mr. Rexford has made it clear that you are banned from the building.”
A voice comes from behind me, smooth. “That’s enough. Everyone forgets there are two Mr. Rexfords. And this one says you better release Miss Evans right now.”
We all turn. It’s Xander, looking like he’s just strolled in off his yacht – as usual. He smiles at me, charming. “Apologies, Lillian thought you might have a few hiccups on your first day back.”
“Thank you.” I find my voice, straighten my suit, and follow him into the elevator. He’s amused.
“I didn’t believe it when Lillian said she’d offered you a job. I’m happy you accepted. I can’t wait to see the look on Dominic’s face when you walk into the board meeting.” He smirks. My mind clings to ‘board’ and ‘meeting.’
“Uh, when is the meeting?”
The elevator dings, stops, and opens before he replies. “Oh, right now. Senior management.”
So much for taking a few days to acclimate. “What’s on the agenda?” I ask nervously.
“We’re discussing plans for the hotel’s new direction.” He pauses. “Just a warning. Dominic isn’t going to like anything we have to say today. You know he thinks this place is his own personal kingdom. Listening isn’t his strong suit.”
Even after everything, I find myself bristling. “This is your chance to kick him when he’s down, is that it?”
“No,” Xander says quietly. “This is all of us coming together for the benefit of the Rexford. You know that we have to fight against Prescott’s threat. For years, this place has been Dom’s domain, his territory. But it’s time for him to see the bigger picture before Prescott destroys us.”
Xander leads me into the conference room. He blocks me as we enter so I don’t get a full view of the table or the room. But then I spot Lillian and she waves to the chair next to her.
Xander moves, and then I see him, Dominic, standing in his normal spot at the head of the table. The lines of his body are severe and my hands itch to knead the tension out of him. I don’t notice who else is in the room, or even that I’m staring until Xander whispers at me to sit.
That’s when he notices me.
Dom looks straight at me, his gaze like a cold wind. The tension before was nothing to the way his body tightens now. I slip into my chair and look away, trying to stay calm.