Temptation: CLUB X #1

By: K.M. Scott


Dedication





To my wonderful friends and assistants, Kelley, Erica, and Lea. You not only make my job easier, but you make me laugh every day. Thank you for being there.





Chapter One





Olivia





The large, manila envelope sat on the coffee table with the ticket to the next chapter in my life. After nearly six months of being unemployed, it was time to join the ranks of the working again. I knew that. But after being out of commission for so long, all that was running through my mind was pure, unmitigated fear.

Whoever said a degree meant a sure job must have been living in a different century. I’d done everything right. After four years of college, I’d graduated magna cum laude from a good school with a degree in management in hand ready to conquer the world. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realized thousands of others just like me had the same plans, many of whom had attended even better schools and had a jumpstart on me with even better internships than mine.

So after five years dedicating myself day and night to climbing the corporate ladder at the nation’s newest sports apparel company, the fine folks who sat in cushy corner offices at Premier Sports decided to promote the other guy to regional sales manager of the northeast and gave me a pink slip. “You know how it is, Olivia. The economy just isn’t what we hoped it would be. Best of luck.”

Best of luck. Nice. So Tony Galente and his lovely wife and three kids moved to Boston while I got a weak excuse for being fired and stayed right there in Tampa. Picking up the envelope, I thought about the frigid New England winters and muttered, “I hope he freezes his ass off up there.”

Printed in big letters, the name of my new employer stared up from the envelope at me. March Enterprises. The real name on the envelope should have said Club X. I’d lived in Tampa all my life and never once had I heard of any club named that, and I’d spent my fair share of nights celebrating everything from birthdays to bachelorette parties to my friends’ promotions. But my friend Jake had and thinking he was helping me one night while he was on a partying binge had mentioned my name to one of the owners who was looking for an assistant to the main owner. That he was entirely too vague on the particulars of Club X made me uneasy, but he’d assured me this was a job I’d be perfect for. All I had to do was find a way to be okay that Club X was, as Jake termed it, “the kind of place I was in desperate need of,” whatever that meant.

Well, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and this beggar had just about depleted the last of her savings. Whatever Club X might be, I needed this job.

So I sat there with a potential job offer in my hands, unsure of what exactly the owner at Club X would want me to do but sure I couldn’t turn it down. Slowly, I slid the lone piece of paper out to again see merely a paragraph telling me that if I desired, the job of executive assistant was available. All I had to do was interview at two that afternoon. Reading between the lines, I knew they wanted to see if my in-person style was as impressive as my qualifications on paper.

“So they want to see you, Olivia. Time to show them what you got.”

Standing on shaky legs, I walked into my bedroom and checked out my interview look in the mirror. A navy blue business suit, white blouse, and navy three inch pumps said I was a confident businesswoman, even if my insides were shaking like jelly. I smoothed a few stray red hairs back into my bun and took a deep breath. I could do this.

I had to do this.





Arriving much earlier than I’d planned, I parked my 2005 Subaru Impreza across the street from an enormous warehouse and checked the address on the paper, sure I’d made a mistake. Jake had told me Club X was a bar and entertainment complex. Looking out my driver’s side window, all I saw was an huge building that resembled an old factory. My GPS said I was in the right place, though, so I sat back and listened to music for ten minutes, hoping my interview jitters would calm themselves soon.

As Katy Perry’s Roar played like an anthem for my interview, I watched for any sign of life in the building I was supposed to enter in just minutes but saw no one. The warehouse was five floors and took up half an entire city block. Unlike other factories, though, this building had few windows. In addition, there was no neon sign alerting potential patrons that Club X even existed there. Perhaps that was why they were looking for an executive assistant to the owner. Someone needed to clue these people in on basic marketing techniques.

The song ended, and I checked my phone for the time. 1:48. Time to head in. One last quick look in the rearview mirror to check that I didn’t have lipstick on my teeth and I was ready to go. Stepping out into the warm May sun, I took a deep breath and made my way to the building.

Unsure of which door to enter through since all the doors looked like the basic industrial strength steel variety, I turned the doorknob on the one closest to the left side of the building and hoped I wouldn’t have to try too many and end up being late for the interview. Luck was with me and the door opened into Club X.

I tried to calm my shaking legs, stepped inside, and stared with wide eyes at the scene in front of me. Open to the ceiling two floors above, the room was enormous. A solid glass bar ran the entire length of the far wall on the main floor, along with tables and chairs that took up most of the room. At the opposite end of the room was a huge space, I suspected for a dance floor. Craning my neck, I slowly turned around and tried to see the floors above but in the dim light I could only see walkways and staircases leading from level to level.

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