A Christmas Bonus
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by EM Lynley
Category: Romance/Gay Fiction
Description: Alec Compton's dream job at a Wall Street investment firm is on the line if he can't close a make-or-break takeover deal by the end of the year. The buyer is none other than world-renowned billionaire and corporate raider Brant Linton, recently named one of the hottest and most eligible gay businessmen. Electricity crackles at their first meeting, and Alec's thoughts drift far from business, despite his distaste for Brant's business practices. When Brant takes off early to spend Christmas with his sister's family on the exclusive French Polynesian island of Taha'a, Alec has no choice but to follow if he wants to get Brant to sign on the dotted line. But Brant's sister has forbidden him from conducting business during the holidays and Alec must masquerade as Brant's boyfriend. Then business turns into pleasure, but neither Brant nor Alec know whether the other is there for the deal, or for something more personal in EM Lynley's sizzling holiday novella A CHRISTMAS BONUS.
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: February 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [137 KB]
Reading time: 83-117 min.
Monday, December 20
New York City
Alec glanced at his watch and tried to swallow but his throat was dry. Nearly Christmas, his favorite time of year: bonus time at Whitman, Whitman, and Walker, the Wall Street investment firm where he was a whisper away from making full partner. They wouldn't give out checks until January but at the obligatory pre-Christmas meeting with the firm's founding partners, he'd get a taste of what was in store.
He'd had a stellar year, his best yet, and he expected not only a healthy bonus but a promotion as well. Generally, the mood of the whole office would be loud and light, but this year had been tough given the state of the economy and markets, so nearly everyone was in a sour mood. The firm as a whole hadn't done well and some people wouldn't be back after Christmas; a few people had already been let go.
Alec couldn't delay any longer so he got up, pulled on his suit jacket, shot his cuffs, and headed for his boss's office. He moved down the hall, and his colleagues nodded greetings as he passed open-door offices. The hallway was strung here and there with tinsel, random Christmas decorations, and anemic sprigs of mistletoe hanging from a couple of doorways.
At the end of the hall, he entered Ben Whitman's outer office. Gina, Whitman's secretary, greeted him with a silent thumbs-up and a nod in the direction of the dark walnut door, slightly ajar. Alec took a deep breath and pushed it open.
Inside, Ben Whitman sat at a conference table at one end of the richly appointed office. Flanking him were his two partners: his younger brother Will Whitman and Rob Walker. Alec padded across the thick oriental carpets and greeted the men with a weak smile as he took a seat across the table from them.
Ben Whitman was known as "Big Ben" to Wall Street and the firm's employees, but never to his face. Alec and Ben had never really clicked. Despite Alec being considered the up-and-coming star of the firm, Ben had never been more than cool and distant toward him. Without so much as a greeting, Big Ben slid a yellow craft-paper envelope across the smooth, wide table, and left it sitting in the vast expanse halfway between himself and Alec.
Alec stared at the envelope for a moment, then at Big Ben's face. with its pale watery blue eyes betraying no emotion, so he waited for instructions.
"Open it up, Alec."
Alec turned the envelope over. His name was scrawled in spidery ink. The envelope felt light, giving Alec a little surge of relief. If they were cutting him loose, they'd have a thick sheaf of paperwork for him to sign, giving up his right to just about everything and anything he'd known or enjoyed while here at Three Dub. It must be his bonus check, which even with the firm's bad year, wouldn't be too light. He resisted the urge to hold the envelope up to the light.
With a dry mouth, Alec slipped a finger under the flap and eased it open. It was empty. He blinked a couple of times and looked inside again.
"Nothing in there but air. A little bit like some of our staff this past year," Big Ben glanced over at his brother and the two of them chuckled.
Sure, let them yuk it up. Alec admitted to being surprised either of the Whitmans could even laugh.
"Schrader was in here just before you. His envelope had a big fat termination package." Big Ben paused for effect.
Alec tried to hold back a gasp, but a tiny strangled sound managed to escape. Schrader was his boss. If Schrader had gotten canned . . .
"Hank Schrader failed to close on the biggest deal we've been working on here at Whitman, Whitman, and Walker." He never called the firm "Three Dub" or any of the other industry nicknames. "So we're hoping you can step up to the plate and salvage the mess he's made."