Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Junkyard Dog" Excerpt


Release Date: 3/11/16
I’ve only heard horrible things about Angus Hayes. He’s a ruthless man and all-around terrible person. He’s often compared to a junkyard dog. The asshole apparently rules the small industrial town of White Horse with an iron fist. After hearing so many bad things about him, I’m not surprised the bastard can’t keep an assistant. Lack of social skills aside, Hayes offers a solid salary and full medical for the position, and I’m lured to give the job a try.
His office is a concrete mass likely capable of withstanding a natural disaster or zombie apocalypse. The front door weighs, at least, fifty pounds, and I struggle to open the damn thing. Inside, I find a large front office filled with stacked boxes and discarded furniture. Before I wonder if I’ve stumbled into a storage unit, a woman pops her head up and stares shocked at me.
“Are you Candy Wilburn?”
“You came,” the frazzled blonde says, gesturing me closer. “A lot of people chicken out when they have interviews with him.”
I check my simple black blouse for fuzzies and then ask, “And you are?”
“Oh, I’m just the temp. A few girls at the agency and I trade off days here. No one can deal with him for…” The woman’s eyes widen. “I’m not sure if I should warn you or if warning you will make you run.”
“I don’t run especially not in these shoes,” I say, glancing at my slightly scuffed black heels.
The woman follows my gaze down to my shoes and then she focuses on my face long enough to lie. “He’s not so bad.”
I slide off my jacket and shake out my long, blonde hair. “I’m ready whenever he is.”
The woman hurries to the back room and mumbles something. Hayes yells that he can’t hear a fucking thing she’s saying. I jump at the sound of his booming voice and wonder if he’s hard of hearing.
After a minute, the woman returns looking extra rattled. “He’s ready for you.”
“He isn’t naked, is he? I’d like to prepare for whatever weird behavior this guy might pull.”
“No, he’s not weird. Just…” She pauses and considers her words. “He’s high maintenance.”
“Aren’t all men?” I ask, but she only stares at me. “Can I go back now?”
Nodding, she says nothing. Her fear doesn’t bode well for me, but unless the guy is handsy, I’m taking the job. Hell, I’ll put up with handsy if he adds vision to my benefits package.
When I enter, Angus Hayes is standing with his back to me. The guy is huge at over six and a half feet. No wonder the ceilings are tall in his bunker office. His hair is nearly black with a few stray grays. Going for a lumberjack look, he’s wearing a flannel shirt, blue jeans, and hiker boots. I suspect he shops at a special store for giants. Will part of my job involve picking up his oversized clothes?
Hayes turns to me and frowns like I’m annoying him. His people skills are stellar right off the bat.
“Wilburn?” he asks, sitting in a monster-sized chair behind a messy as hell desk. I’ve never seen so many post-it notes in my life.
“I prefer Candy.”
“What’s that short for?”
“Your mother didn’t love you much, did she?”
“My mother adored me,” I say, sitting across from him. “She just loved sweets more.”
Hayes doesn’t react. “You don’t have any experience running an office.”
“That’s not the most important fact about me.”
“What is then?”
My brown eyes find his nearly black ones, and I hold his gaze. “I’m excellent at tolerating assholes.”
The corners of Hayes’s mouth curves upward. “You suck at interviews.”
“You suck at keeping employees.”
Hayes looks at my resume. “Did you hear about that all the way from Cincinnati?”
“My sister lives in White Horse.”
“What’s her name?” he asks before throwing up his hand. “Let me fucking guess. Your sister is Honey Mayer.”
“Mom loved her sugar.”
Hayes finally smiles. “I know everyone in my town.”
“And they all know you. Honey said you haven’t kept an assistant for more than a few weeks. Why do you think that is?”
Still smiling, he leans forward. “I don’t suffer fools.”
“That’s one way to put it.”
“Where are you living now? Can’t imagine there’s much space at the Mayer house.”
“We stayed there for a few days, but her husband kicked us out.”
“How fucking come?”
Shrugging, I consider my sister’s bad taste in men. “I mentioned he was an asshole, and he didn’t take it as well as you did.”
“No, I suspect he wouldn’t. Andrew Mayer is a thin skinned fucker.”
“Among other things.”
Hayes studies me for a minute, and I can see him figuring things out. He knows I’ve worked as a filing clerk and data entry. I’ve never managed anything in my entire life unless he considers my kids as employees and my house as a business.
“Where are you staying now?” he finally asks.
“We’re at the Hilltop Inn. You know the place that’s nowhere near a hill, let alone on top of it.”
“Who the fuck is we?”
“Me and my twins.”
“They're not babies, are they?” he asks full of disgust. “I hate babies.”
“They’re nine.”
Still irritated, he asks, “Girls or boys?”
“One of each.”
“Do they get sick a lot?”
“No, but I won’t pretend I won’t ditch work if they need me.”
“Fair enough, but I won’t baby you just because you forgot to take the fucking pill. Understand?”
“Do your medical benefits include vision?” I ask, standing up. “The woman on the phone didn’t know.”
“Sit the fuck down!” he hollers.
“No,” I casually respond while sliding on my jacket. “I need to get back to my kids before the thin-skinned asshole returns from work.”
Crossing his arms, he glares at me. “So you’re walking away from the job then?”
“No, you’re giving me the job. I’ll start tomorrow. See you then.”
Hayes jumps up from his desk and lunges to stop me from walking out of the door.
“There’s one fucking boss in this fucking office,” he growls at me.
Noticing his shirt collar is crooked; I reach up and fix it. “I appreciate height in my bosses. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Hayes glares hard at me, but he’s all bluster. I know he won’t hurt me except for possibly blowing out my eardrums from all of his hollering.
“Be here at eight,” he says, relenting when I refuse to.
Once Hayes steps aside, I walk past him. “That’ll work until the kids start school. Then I’ll come in at nine.”
I hear Hayes grunt behind me. The woman at the front flinches when he slams the door, but I only keep walking. Based on the mess of boxes, I have a lot of work waiting for me here. That’ll wait for tomorrow. For tonight, I’m taking the kids out to dinner to celebrate my new job.

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