If you haven’t read the PROLOGUE you can catch up now.
Made Her Hot
Fifteen Months Later
“Chloe,” Grant Fierce said, knocking on her door in early November. “How are the plans coming?”
“Almost done,” she said. She’d been working on several parts of the commercial building for over a year now. When Grant and Garrett brought her in and said she’d be one of the few engineers responsible for the work, excitement had filled her over the task.
She loved her job here and didn’t care there weren’t that many female engineers. The owners of Fierce treated everyone the same regardless of their sexual orientation and position.
“Great,” Grant said. “Royce will be stopping over tomorrow to pick them up. I know they are on a timeline and the new tenants are itching to get in.”
“I’ll have them for you to look over and sign off within a few hours,” she said. She tried not to think about Royce Kennedy coming into the office and maybe seeing him.
She didn’t always, even though they’d worked together on and off since she’d been hired here five years ago.
Sometimes she did the work and he came in to get it when she wasn’t around or picked it up at the front desk. If he had a question he’d email or call, but they were both busy and it’s not like his projects were the only ones she had on her desk.
“Thanks,” Grant said. “I know Royce is ready to get this space done. These tenants have been more difficult than the rest, but they are taking up most of the fourth floor.”
The commercial building project had been massive and the work even more so. Many of the tenants were lined up prior and the work they wanted done was figured out before they moved in. She’d heard the talks that the cost of the construction over the standard was normally incorporated into the monthly rental. Made sense to her though that wasn’t her job.
Nope, her friend Megan in accounting was overseeing all the costs on this project too. But she knew based on the amount of work she’d done with this one tenant their rent might be the highest and not because of the space but because of the sheer pain in the ass they’d been with nonstop changes.
“I’m sure he’s as ready to be done with them as I am,” she said, smiling at Grant. “Though he has it worse than me. I finish this and it’s back to him. He has to worry about them changing colors and finishings I’m sure.”
“I heard from Richard that keeps happening too,” Grant said.
“Better him than me,” she said.
“He’s a nice guy,” Grant said.
“Richard?” she asked.
“Yes, Richard, but I meant Royce. You work with him a lot. He’s pretty easy to get along with.”
“Sure,” she said. “I have no problem getting along with anyone though,” she said.
Which was true. Though she tended to keep to herself, she was always professional. Maybe she was a little cooler with Royce than others because when he was in the room he made her hot.
She wasn’t sure the last time a guy made her feel that way just being in a room with them, but since their conversations never really turned personal, she didn’t know what was going through his mind.
She knew he wasn’t married because Grant and Garrett had mentioned it a few times in passing. She wasn’t stupid either. She knew why they were saying it and wasn’t going to let on that she knew where their thoughts were going.
Those two men liked to set people up. You’d think they’d be satisfied with the couple they were working with now. Megan from accounting and her boyfriend, Jonah Davenport. Jonah’s sister, Raina, worked at Fierce and was married to Cody McMillan. Cody was the brother-in-law to Ryder Fierce.
Yep, they were keeping it all in the family and working this magic they all said they had.
She figured they were just getting lucky.
“Royce, he’s had a lot on his plate for years,” Grant said. “After his heart attack Richard had to step back from the day-to-day grind, but he’d never back off completely.”
“I’m sure it’s hard when it’s your family business,” she said.
“That’s true. And it’s in your blood too. It’s hard to step back. I think Richard went from seventy hours a week to a normal forty at this point.”
“But someone has to work those seventy hours so it’s probably Royce,” she said.
She should have realized that. Maybe he had no time for a personal life.
“It is. And Elise. You know his sister owns part of the company too and runs the business part of it. She oversees the staffing in the office and the dealings there.”
“I did know that,” she said. “Royce has mentioned it before.”
Or maybe Megan did. Sometimes Megan would come in and ask her a few things so she could come up with an invoice to send. Yeah, maybe she didn’t hear it from Royce because they never talked about anything other than the current project they were working on.
Grant was still standing in her doorway and she got the feeling that he wanted to talk more but wasn’t opening his mouth.
“Oh, sorry to interrupt,” Raina said when she stopped by her office.
“No interruption,” Grant said. “I’ll let you get back to work then, Chloe.”
“Thanks,” she said. She watched Grant leave and then asked Raina, “What can I help you with?”
“Nothing,” Raina said, laughing. “I could hear Grant talking to you and thought I’d come save you.”
She started to laugh. “Save me from what?”
“Come on now,” Raina said, moving into her office. “You know as well as I do they are trying to move onto you next, right?”
“You think you’re so smart now that you are happily married.”
Raina shrugged and grinned. “It did fall into place nicely. Megan agrees too.”
“What do I agree with?” Megan asked, popping her head in. “I was looking for Raina but heard her in here.”
Raina moved closer to the door and shut it. “That Grant and Garrett did a good job setting us up.”
“They didn’t set me up,” Megan said. “I met your brother for the first time at your Jack and Jill party.”
“Please,” Raina said. “You know they are pushing it and going to take the credit for it.”
“It seems like that, but it’s not going to be with me,” Chloe said, putting her hands on her desk as if she wanted to stand up and lean into the conversation.
Megan shrugged and then grinned. “I wanted to do it myself, but Jonah is a bit bullheaded. If his name comes up they are always pushing more.”
She should have thought of that herself. It just wasn’t going to work for her. She was going to keep her lips sealed on her personal life.
“Good move,” she admitted. “And it seems to be working.”
“I came in to save Chloe. Grant was fishing and Chloe isn’t ready to bite on anything. I could tell by her tone she didn’t want to push Grant out of her office but didn’t want to talk about it either. But you can talk to us.”
“I don’t have anything to say,” she said.
“Come on now,” Megan said. “There is no one you have your eye on?”
There was no reason to lie. “Maybe,” she said. “But there is no way I’m telling anyone in this office where there are big ears.”
“What?” Megan said, laughing. “We tell you everything.”
“No,” she said. “Raina didn’t tell us about Cody for a while.”
“She’s right,” Raina said.
“I told you about Jonah pretty early. How he’s rough around the edges. He’s not rugged like he’s going to go out and swing a hammer and get dirty but he’d mop the floor with someone so that’s dirty in his own right.”
Jonah owned a gym and trained MMA fighters and boxers. Not too many would mess with him, she was sure.
“Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this,” Chloe said.
“That isn’t your type?” Raina asked. “Is that the problem? You like the suit-and-tie guy?”
“God no,” she said. “Or I don’t know. It seems like it doesn’t matter their career or what they wear to me. I just have horrible luck with men. I want someone that doesn’t crowd me too much and lets me do my own thing.”
“Oh, because you are so busy with all your friends,” Megan said, grinning.
“I can’t help it if all my close friends are getting lucky and left me out in the cold. Now I’m busy binge watching TV at night. What if I like a show this fictional guy doesn’t? I’m not giving up watching something because they don’t like it.”
Both girls started to laugh at her. “We have more than one TV in our house,” Raina said. “Cody and I don’t watch the same thing all the time.”
She looked at Megan. “Don’t look at me. I don’t see Jonah enough to worry about that.”
“And you are okay with that?” she asked.
“Yeah. Like you, I don’t want someone in my space all the time either. It sounds to me you are just making excuses though.”
“Whatever,” she said. “If you two don’t have a work conversation for me I’ve got to get this done so Royce can pick it up tomorrow.”
“Let’s go, Megan,” Raina said, smirking. “Chloe needs to figure this out on her own.”
“Nothing to figure out,” she said. “I’ve got work to do.”
Both girls left and she did what she said she was going to. She got to work and tried to push Royce from her mind. Too bad it never seemed to happen.
“Did you get anywhere?” Garrett asked Grant before he could sit down in his office. He’d rushed in and shut the door behind the two of them.
“No,” Grant said. “She’s like a vault. Either the two of them are extremely clueless to the potential we see or we are way off.”
“We aren’t off on this one,” he said. “No way. We’ve been watching the two of them look at each other for years when they worked together. We noticed it a long time ago.”
“I know,” Grant said. “That’s part of the reason we named her to this project. Not that we wouldn’t have done it regardless based on her work alone, but it’s been over a year and nothing from these two.”
He sighed. “I never expected it to be this hard. I talked to Richard a few weeks ago and he said Royce never slows down to even want to meet a woman.”
“I can’t believe you told Richard that we thought Chloe and Royce would be perfect for each other,” Grant said.
“I know. Normally you’re the one with the loose lips, but this time I couldn’t help it. Maybe it had more to do with hoping Richard could push on his end. This is getting tiring, don’t you think? I thought for sure something would have been going with those two before Megan.”
“I know,” Grant said. “Royce is going to come get the new plans tomorrow. I’m going to make sure he has to get them in Chloe’s office. We just have to figure out how to keep putting them together and hope sparks fly.”
“Might be time for a field trip to the site when we know Royce is there too. Nothing like watching someone in action to see if it works.”
Grant started to laugh at him. “I don’t know what goes through your mind half the time.”
“Don’t knock it,” he said. “Sometimes we might have to get out of this little box we are in. I’m running out of ideas. Do you have anything better?”
“Sadly, no,” Grant said. “Let’s see what tomorrow brings before we try that.”
If they didn’t see anything soon, they were going to have to change tactics. Once Royce got these plans from Megan the two of them might not cross paths again until they got another tenant for one of the other open spaces. They were running out of time and space.