From the first time I played army as a kid, the military has been my life. As an Airborne Major, I"d led my men through two tours in Afghanistan. But when my father was elected president, I became an even greater target for the enemy"a prize for someone to take out. To ensure not only the safety of myself, but of my men, I got stripped of my cammies, shoved into an Armani suit, and placed into a management position at my father"s company. After years of trekking through the desert with an assault rifle, I was way out of my area of expertise, which my transition coordinator was more than happy to let me know on a daily, if not hourly basis. The brunette bombshell would be the death of me in more ways than one, especially since I hadn"t been with a woman since my last deployment. She"s turning out to be one of the greatest foes I"ve ever done battle with.
In the backwoods Georgia town I was born in, you either married right out of high school or got the hell out of town. I chose the second and never looked back. After graduating top in my class, I started working for The Callahan Corporation. Fast forward five years and I was about to become the youngest female manager in the history of my department. And then all the blood, sweat, and tears I"d put into my career were for nothing when the boss"s billionaire son was handed my position on a silver platter. Not only that, I was expected to help transition him into the job that was supposed to be mine. Sure, he"s easy on the eyes with his chiseled good-looks and impossibly built physique, but I"m not going to let that distract me. I hope soldier boy is good at military strategy because sabotage is the name of the game I"ll be playing.Books by Author:Katie Ashley Books
Chapter One: Isabel
There are some days that are destined to change your life. Ones when you"re old and grey, you"ll look back on as the day when everything became different"the day when your ship finally came in. If you"re a Type A extreme planner like me, you"re lucky enough to know when and where fate is going to smile on you. Therefore, you"re able to prepare for the enormity of the moment. You"ve thought out every scenario and have a plan of action for each and every possibility to ensure you make the most of your day.
The day of my own personal life changer had arrived. Everything I"d been working for professionally converged on this moment. The years spent slaving over textbooks and writing countless essays while getting my undergrad and MBA, the sixteen-hour work days after landing my job, the weekends spent in the office away from family and friends"it all came down to this promotion, the day I, at just twenty-nine, would be elevated to a vice president in investment banking at the Callahan Corporation.
Sorry, I had to add that part. It probably sounds pretentious, or like I"m bragging. Trust me, I hate when people do that"like, it"s a serious pet peeve. It"s just I"ve been through a hell of a lot to get where I am. I was the first member of my family to graduate college, let alone get a graduate degree. As a kid who grew up on free lunches and thrift store clothes, the odds were stacked against me from the start. A lot was made harder simply because I possessed a vagina.
I"ll be forever grateful to the women before me who shattered the corporate glass ceiling. The thing is, even in 2018, the shards from that glass can still cut you. Women have to work harder to get where they are, and for someone like me who didn"t come from a prestigious family with connections, I had to do even more.
Back home in my small, backwoods town of Dawsonville, Georgia, my family wasn"t part of society. If you want a small glimpse into my childhood, watch Sweet Home Alabama. While my father didn"t do the Civil War reenactments, I did grow up in a double-wide trailer, and my mom did shove me into every imaginable pageant to pad my scholarship fund to get me the hell out of town. She wanted me to have all the opportunities in life she hadn"t. It"s why when I was eight, she went to battle with the administration at my elementary school to allow me to skip a grade. Little girls who lived in trailers weren"t always the first ones on the list for special testing and advancement. I was grateful I"d inherited her intelligence and tenacity, along with her auburn hair and blue eyes. The junk-in-the-trunk booty she"d graced me with wasn"t exactly on my preferred trait list, but such was life.
Thinking of my mom caused a wave of homesickness to wash over me. She was a thousand miles and what seemed like a lifetime away. When I was just twenty years old, I"d traded the Peach State for the Big Apple. After transferring to Columbia, I"d finished my undergrad before entering the accelerated MBA program. While my dad had harbored hopes I might come back to Georgia and find work in Atlanta, I"d taken a job with the company where I"d interned: the Callahan Corporation. I made it home for Sunday dinner at least once a month, even though my parents and sister teasingly called me a Yankee.
Speaking of work, I eyed my phone. It was five minutes until my alarm went off. In spite of my scheduled wake-up time not having come yet, I"d already been awake for an hour. Staring up at the ceiling, I"d gone over in my mind exactly what I planned to say when the job was formally offered to me, my own version of an Academy Award acceptance speech. I wanted to appear humble, yet at the same time highlight the reasons I"d been chosen. Remember how I said I hate bragging" Anyway, I"d even gone so far as to practice it in front of the mirror the previous night to analyze not just my word choices but also my facial expressions.
It"s probably right about now you"re thinking I"m a wee bit of a perfectionist. The phrase "control freak" might be flashing like neon in your mind, and trust me, I get it. In fact, I embrace my perfectionist side. Without that essential yet equally annoying quality, I wouldn"t be where I am today.
With a pep in my step I didn"t usually possess in the mornings, I threw back the covers and hopped out of bed. My dog, Dani, popped one eye open and gave me a disapproving look for disturbing her sleep. Once I got into the bathroom, I flipped on my iHome. Instead of an upbeat pop tune or a hardcore rap beat filling the room, it was the latest stock market updates from Bloomberg Radio. Perfectionist, remember" I liked to get a feel for the markets first thing.