Kelly Maher


Closing the Deal Excerpt

I’m still bouncing in my seat over the sale I announced on Friday! Closing the Deal features Julia and Paul, two co-workers who need to work out some non-co-workerly feelings for each other, and the island of St. Thomas is just the place to do so. Once they finish the business meetings they’re there for.

She’d made it only a couple of hundred feet down the path when she heard a bang behind her. She looked over her shoulder and saw it was her neighbor. Dark suit, short copper hair, a good half-foot taller than her even in the heels. Her eyes widened.

Paul.

She turned back around and ran for the resort, not caring that her heels echoed with every step. The conference center loomed out of the vegetation as she rounded the corner. Through the glass walls she could see her boss and their vice president standing near the door. She paused to catch her breath. She was a professional. Inner turmoil had no place in international business.

Closing her eyes, she pictured the centering image her yoga instructor had taught her. Five seconds and she had herself in hand, her decidedly non-work colleague feelings for Paul shoved into a tiny mental box.

As the door opened as she approached, arctic air spilled out, cooling her down even further.

“Julia, there you are! Did you have a nice little vacation?” Her vice president was one of those guys who had gotten to his level due to a good dose of charm. At least he was one of the few who was as willing to dole out credit as to take it for himself.

“Yes, sir. Thank you. I’ve got all of the figures for the Monteblanca side of the deal ready.”

“Wonderful. Go on in and grab some grub. We’re still waiting on a few players.”

She nodded to her boss and did as directed. A tropical bounty was laid out on the side table. She picked at some fruit and eggs for protein. She glanced through the windows on the conference room door and saw Paul had arrived and been cornered by her boss. Taking advantage of his delay, she moved to the corner where another coworker already sat. As he was her counterpart for another section of this hydra of a deal, they compared notes as they ate.

Paul walked in to the room. Even though she tried to keep her body under control so not to draw his attention, her breath hitched. He was with her boss, so instead of making a bee line for her, he was herded to the buffet.

However, she’d underestimated him as he quickly filled his plate and distracted her boss by snagging another coworker before heading her way. There were no other unoccupied chairs in their corner, which was why she selected it. He made room anyway.

“Hey Dave. Do you mind if I sit next to Julia? There are some last minute projections I want to go over with her before we start.”

“Sure, man. Hey, want to hit the driving range when we’re done here?”

She bored a hole into the opposite wall with her gaze as she fought the compulsion to look at him.

“Maybe. I got in late last night and the jet lag’s still killing me. I may go for a swim in the ocean. Got to take advantage of being put up in a beachside villa.”

“Definitely. Catch you later. See you, Julia.”

“Later, Dave.” She waited until Paul sat and saw no one paying them much attention. “Did you have to sit there?”

He speared a piece of pineapple. Chewed it. “We need to talk.”

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