Summer Wager:Romancing Wisconsin Book 16

By: Stacey Joy Netzel
Romancing Wisconsin Book 16



Chapter 1





Jaw set as stiff as her spine, Shanna Rogers sat across from her CEO boss and friend, Nash Riley, but refused to acknowledge the other man lounging to her right. Of course Kevin Cain wouldn’t sit in a chair like a normal person. Instead, the arrogant ass leaned against the windowsill in the late afternoon August sunshine, thumbs hooked all casual in his jeans pockets, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

As if he had the right to hijack another one of her meetings.

She clenched her jaw against the urge to scream. He’d done the same damn thing earlier in the week in Atlanta. His undermining of her abilities in front of a client had been the last straw. He hadn’t seen it that way, but after years of his egotistical, self-centered bullshit, she was done.

The new office administrator had left for the day, and the outside lobby area was quiet, as expected for a Friday at five p.m. It was why she’d chosen this time, to have privacy for her one-on-one meeting with her boss.

She shifted in her chair, stiffly crossing her right leg over her left before smoothing the hem of her pale pink, sleeveless blazer dress from Neiman Marcus. The move gave Kevin more of her cold shoulder while she fumed over the fact he’d followed her from Atlanta to Wisconsin. Because clearly, ruining things in Georgia wasn’t enough.

How the hell did I end up here?

It was a rhetorical question. She knew how, it was just that certain events that brought her here weren’t part of the plan.

The plan being, skipping a year in high school in order to graduate early and at the top of her class, four years of college for her finance degree, and another two for her MBA. And finally, seven years of employment with NWR Investments while earning said degree, which gave her the opportunity to step into a senior executive role at age twenty-seven when Nash decided to move back to Wisconsin for “the one who got away.”

She’d busted her butt to ensure herself the independence and financial security her mother never managed to achieve. But now, two years after her promotion, here she sat, because one night of foolish, romantic, hopeful stupidity flushed years of dedication and hard work straight down the damn toilet.

“Is this really what it’s come to?” Nash tapped his pen on the desk as he shifted his gray-blue gaze between her and his vice president. “How have you two not figured out a way to work together without a mediator?”

Shanna bobbed her light gray, Manolo Blahnik stiletto with annoyance. “He’s an insufferable jackass.”

“And you’ve got a stick up your ass,” Kevin countered. “Explains how you can sit so straight.”

She balled her hands into fists on her lap. “Screw you.”

The moment the words left her mouth, heat flushed her face. Still staring straight ahead, she imagined a cocky smirk curving the lips she’d simultaneously hated and fantasized about for years.

Since her foolhardy screw-up a month ago, she still hated and fantasized about the jerk’s mouth.

The heat in her face spread through her body, making her fight the urge to squirm in her seat as she thought of the places his mouth had been.

Everywhere.

Damn it—stop!

“I came up to Wisconsin to meet with you,” she told Nash, determined to ignore the idiot in the room. “I don’t even know why he’s here, so I’d rather he leave.”

“I came up here to meet with him,” Kevin stated.

“You followed me,” she retorted before she could help herself.

He gave a rude snort. “Hardly. I wanted to get away from you.”

Pain stabbed in her chest, but she shoved the familiar emotion away with bitter resolve. Easier to summon her angry snark than give in to the ache in her heart. “Well, which is it? Did you want to meet with Nash, or get away from me?”

“Both.”

She tilted her head toward their boss, raising her eyebrows to silently ask, See what I’m dealing with?

He watched them both from behind his desk, his mouth pressed into a displeased line. The years she’d spent as his personal assistant told her his patience was wearing thin. It usually did when he had to deal with Kevin being a jackass.

“Clearly, we can’t work together anymore,” she explained.

“Anymore?” the jackass muttered. “Never could in the first place.”

Ignore him.

Shanna took a fortifying breath as she kept her attention focused on Nash. “I’d like to propose that I move up here and expand the Wisconsin office with you. You and I have always worked well together, so it’s a win all the way around.”

She didn’t want to move from where she’d established roots for the first time in her life, but seeing Kevin every day was making her miserable. More miserable than usual, actually. If she got away from him, maybe she could get over him.

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