Fragments That Fit

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Hating Luc Davin is easy. Working for him? Worst. Job. Ever.

When Shoshana Glass lands an interview for a senior position at a top venture capital firm, she can't believe her good luck. Until she’s dismissed before even saying hello. It might be that she’s underqualified. Or maybe turning down Luc Davin’s drunken advances the night before did the trick.

When she calls him out, Davin wastes no time cutting her down to size. Not finished humiliating her, he then offers her a different job—as his personal assistant. Shoshi knows she should walk away. But being able to afford luxuries like food and heat trumps any remaining shreds of her pride, so she accepts.

Davin’s outrageous demands quickly dominate her life. Still if he thinks he can chew her up and spit her out, he's got another thing coming. Shoshi’s determined to make the most of this opportunity and walk away on her terms: with a résumé boost, a stronger network, and a cushion of savings tucked away. All she has to do is survive Davin’s mind games. Having a cute, charming new coworker definitely helps.

But as she painstakingly gathers the fragments of her new life, Shoshi realizes the pieces may not fit together after all. And her battle of wills with Davin may not leave any winners.

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Fragments That Fit is a standalone romantic women's fiction novel. With a strong woman struggling to find her way, a romance she never saw coming, and the boss you’ll love to hate, this is one heartfelt story you won’t want to miss!



Enjoy an Excerpt from Fragments That Fit:



Chapter One


Son of a—

Not that Shoshi should have been surprised, really. Of course on the day she’d been running late for work, and there’d been no parking at the Chestnut Hill stop—so she’d had to shell out twenty bucks to park in the city—her car would die. And her ancient cell phone’s battery would, too.

Shoshi dropped the useless thing in her purse and trudged toward the only place that looked open, which was—of course—a bar. Not exactly the best place to find herself stranded alone after midnight.

But it was her best hope for a phone, and to avoid freezing to death in the middle of the street.

Shoshi pulled the door open and stepped into the darkened room, stamping her boots free of snow on the waiting mat. A few patrons glanced her way, but otherwise no one seemed to pay her any attention, thank G-d.

She walked over to the bar and tugged off her gloves. When the bartender looked up, she shot him a tight smile, her cheeks still tingling from the change in temperature. He frowned, sizing her up, but made his way over.

“Hi,” she exhaled when he reached her.

“What can I get you?” he asked in a weary monotone.

Could she ask for the phone without ordering something? Best-case scenario, his eyes would shoot daggers her way the entire time she was here. What was the cheapest drink she could stomach nursing while she waited for help? “Just half a pint of whatever cider you have on tap.”

He nodded, tossing a cardboard coaster onto the bar.

“Wait,” she added as he started moving away. “Listen, I’m really sorry, but my cell’s dead and my car won’t start. Is there a phone here I could use?”

He stared at her for a few pounding heartbeats then turned to pick up a handset. Shoshi sighed, pushing her hair back from her face and trying to smooth down the grease-coated frizz before he turned back around. She aimed for a grateful smile when he handed her the phone. “Thank you.”

He didn’t respond.

Nat’s voicemail greeted Shoshi’s first attempt to rouse her potential savior from sleep. She hung up and hit redial. The bartender set her cider down before shifting toward a man who came up to trade his empty glass for a fresh drink. Shoshi angled her body away.

Right before the rings clicked off onto voicemail for a third time, a groggy voice muttered, “Who’s this?”

Shoshi stifled the pang of guilt. “Nat, I’m so sorry, but it’s Shoshana.” She waited, but there was only silence. “You there?”

“What’s wrong?” It wasn’t even really a question.

“My car’s dead. I need a tow, and I’d call triple A or someone, but you know they take forever at night, and I have this super important interview tomorrow that I’m woefully underqualified for, so not sleeping definitely wouldn’t help, and—” Shoshi bit back the flow of words. “I’ll make it up to you,” she promised.

“Yeah, yeah. Where are you?”

A wave of relief eased the tension thrumming through her. “Dalton and Scotia.” She glanced around for the name of the bar. “At the Roaring Serpent.”

“Got it,” Nat said and unceremoniously hung up.

Shoshi set the phone on the edge of the bar and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before sipping the cider. It wasn’t awful. She unzipped her jacket a little, settling in for the wait. It would take Nat at least twenty minutes to get here, but that still meant Shoshi would make it home in about an hour and a half. Hopefully. Other than the fact that her car being out of commission meant she had no way to get to her interview tomorrow, it was all fine. She could handle it.

When the bartender came by to pick up the handset, the man she’d noticed earlier moved closer, looking her up and down. Shoshi shot him a polite half-smile and refocused on her cider.

“Rough night?” The man’s deep, sleek voice interrupted her scrutiny of the stream of bubbles in her glass. His self-assured smirk and a disquieting glint in his eyes killed any remaining interest she might have had in being social.

“I’m fine,” Shoshi brushed off.

His eyes trained on the region of her chest, focusing on the vee of skin exposed between the edges of her coat. “If you’re worried about getting to bed, my place is only a short walk away.”

“That’s charming.” Her head shook unevenly. Un-friggin’-believable. “Because what I need to top off this crappy, crappy day are the drunk advances of someone with nothing better to do than hang out alone in a bar in the middle of a Tuesday night, who couldn’t even be bothered to ask my name before suggesting we sleep together. Not that that basic human courtesy would have changed anything. But lucky me, your place is nearby.”

Unfazed, he raised his tumbler to his lips and sipped the dark liquid, gaze trained on her. “I didn’t say anything about sleep.”

Shoshi rolled her eyes, turning away once again. A long sip of her cider did little to clear the bad taste of the brief exchange.

“And your name is Shoshana,” the man added.

Her head snapped toward him. How…?

Then her brain caught up. “Eavesdropping. You’re just full of impressive traits, aren’t you. Haven’t you ever heard of manners? I mean really, do these half-assed lines ever even work?”

One of his eyebrows crooked, emphasizing his pale eyes. Eyes that were once again examining her, lingering over the messy mass of her hair, the collar of her Wendy’s uniform, the un-manicured hand resting on the bar. His head turned slightly, indicating toward the room behind him.

Shoshi glanced in the same direction. There were no other women in the bar, at least none that she could see.

“Slow night,” he said, as if his gesture needed further explanation. She was nothing more than a last resort.

Sure, she was no knockout even on her best day. After a nine-hour shift that left her smelling like grease—even though she’d mostly been on register tonight—and months subsisting on fast food meals, sexy would be the last way to describe her. Meanwhile, this man with his square jaw, chiseled cheeks, and impossibly symmetrical dark features juxtaposing his light skin—not to mention broad shoulders and fit build beneath a nice, if slightly rumpled, suit—would be appreciated by any straight woman with a pulse. Until he started speaking, anyway.

But that really wasn’t the point. “Shocking how the women of Boston have something better to do than wait around to service you, isn’t it?” Shoshi asked deadpan.

The corner of his lips quirked up, and his eyes ran over her body again, assessing rather than appreciating.

One of them was saved from further comment by the blinking lights of a tow truck pulling up outside. Shoshi dug into her purse for her last ten-dollar bill and set it by her unfinished drink. “Thanks for all your help,” she called to the bartender, who’d stayed strategically away from the two of them, before heading outside.

All she had to do was make it to her place, and then she could officially put this night behind her. At least until she had to figure out how to get to her interview. And how to make this up to Nat. And how to cover the bill for her car repairs.

Yeah. Everything was totally under control.



Chapter Two



“You’re not what I’m looking for,” Luc Davin said without even looking up when a secretary showed Shoshi into his office the next morning.

She froze half a step inside the door. “I don’t understand,” she admitted after a touch too long.

When the regional vice president of one of the biggest venture capital firms in Boston did look up, recognition momentarily dropped Shoshi’s jaw. She snapped it closed. “Oh. Now I do.”

Davin’s eyebrows jerked upward, and his eyes trailed over her body for the umpteenth time in twelve hours. He was really going to deny her a job because she’d turned down his coarse come-on? She’d wasted money on cab fare for this!

His gaze dropped to the tablet he held before coming back to her. “Shana Glass.” He paused. “You applied under a fake name?”

“It’s the name I use professionally.” Neutral enough not to sound “ethnic” and a perfectly reasonable shortening of Shoshana. “I’m sure your birth certificate says Luc on it, right?”

He let the tablet displaying what had to be her résumé drift down onto the lacquered desk. “As I said, you aren’t right for this position.” He turned to the computer angled toward him. The dismissal was unmistakable.

“Then why ask me in for an interview?” Shoshi challenged, stepping a bit further into the room. Her fingers dug into the portfolio she held so she wouldn’t fiddle nervously with the charm around her neck. This was the first interview she’d gotten in months of applying to positions that would actually use her master’s degree in finance. She couldn’t afford to simply walk away.

He sighed, then leaned back in his chair. Unlike last night, his suit was crisp, the slate tie carefully knotted. “HR handles pre-screenings for positions. Someone must have made a mistake. How was it you put it? You’re woefully underqualified.”

So there wasn’t going to be even a hint of professionalism. Then again, with his reputation, Luc Davin could do whatever the hell he wanted. His methodical—though now she suspected ruthless—rise to regional VP of Griffith & Moore was incomparable. Admirable, she would have said before meeting him. He must not have been as drunk as she’d thought if he could quote her words back at her so easily. Was there any way to salvage this?

“Look, Mr. Davin, despite my private comment to a friend last night and completely natural pre-interview nerves, I can assure you, I am more than capable enough to be your next financial director.” Liar. This job was way out of her league. It was also her only option, one she couldn’t let slip away, even if someone’s mistake was the only reason she stood there now. “I may not have as many years of experience as some of your other candidates, but I am determined, efficient, and adaptive. If we could both agree to move on past last night’s unfortunate—”

“Enough.”

Shoshi’s lips clamped shut. The lascivious drinker from the night before had nothing in common with the calculating, astute, and obviously capable man in front of her now. A man who saw right through her practiced bravado.

“We both know you were reaching when you applied for this job. Director of finance? With four months at Keres Financial as your most relevant experience? Doesn’t exactly recommend you.”

At least she’d anticipated that being brought up. “I’m sure you can understand attributing that situation to me is about as reasonable as blaming your junior associates for any of your hypothetical misconduct.”

“Ignorance isn’t a particularly desirable attribute in an employee. No one in their right mind would hire you for a position like this.” He glanced at the tablet again. “Though I see you left Wendy’s off your résumé.”

The derision in his expression notched her chin up a fraction. Heat filled her cheeks, and malicious enjoyment touched his eyes. There was no question he was relishing dressing her down after the night before, even if he was right—on paper, this job was so far out of her reach. She’d only applied out of a growing desperation to escape the fast food world.

“It didn’t seem relevant,” Shoshi managed in response to his dig.

“And even if you were otherwise qualified,” he continued, “the way you comported yourself last night proves you’re not ready for a position that would require you to represent a company such as ours with all manner of professionals from all over the world.”

“And what about your behavior last night?” she asked, her tone remaining remarkably even. “How well did that reflect on this company?”

His expression didn’t change.

She held his sharp gaze a moment longer in the resulting silence. “Thanks for your time and consideration,” she said on autopilot before heading out the door.

~*~

Shoshi kept it together until she made it out of the firm’s office space and ducked into the hallway bathroom, which was thankfully single-occupancy. She locked the door and leaned against it, blowing her breath out in a steady stream as her eyes prickled. When that didn’t help, she pounded her fist gently against the door, her other hand fingering the hamsa charm her dad had given her for her Bat Mitzvah. She’d worn it for luck and courage, a reminder of the encouragement he would’ve offered had he known about the interview. It hadn’t been enough. Because she wasn’t enough. None of this was supposed to be this hard.

Shoshi’d had a plan. Her father’s life insurance money had mostly been spent on covering his healthcare bills, so freshman year of college, she’d sold the house. That money had run out midway through her senior year, but loans and part-time work had seen her through her master’s. Landing the job at Keres Financial was supposed to mean a stable future, even if it was a commission-based position. That was when she’d left her education off her résumé and picked up some shifts at Wendy’s.

It was only supposed to be temporary, a way to survive while she proved herself. An offer from Keres had been everyone’s dream. Until it turned out the firm’s executives had engaged in some extremely shady—read: illegal—practices. Not that anyone else at the company had been aware, much less Shoshi, who’d only been there a few months when everything came to light. But she also hadn’t been there long enough to establish her own reputation, and now no one wanted to hire her.

Shoshi had done everything “right,” but so what? She was still stuck two years later, balancing her hours at Wendy’s and her “side job” at Dunkin’ Donuts while sending her résumé to every moderately relevant listing she could find.

She wasn’t alone in the endless job hunt, of course. Plenty of recent graduates struggled to find positions related to their field of study, relying on their parents or moving home.

Shoshi had neither.

Just a worthless degree, a mountain of debt, and two dead-end jobs. At least she could eat half her meals at work, though G-d only knew what the repercussions for that would be down the line.

Not that it mattered now. Since coming here had turned out to be a waste of time, she had to get out of this bathroom and back to Riverside so she could call a cab, get to the mechanic’s, and hopefully get her car before she had to head to work. Lingering disinfectant coated the inside of her nose, like the building itself was eager to wipe any trace of her from the premises, but Shoshi was happy to oblige. She splashed some water on her cheeks then ran her fingers over her hair to catch the frizz no styling product could entirely control, even if she could have afforded one. With a fresh coat of lip balm slathered over her lips, she tugged on her coat and picked up the faux-leather portfolio Bentley had given them all right before graduation. As if the thin folder would help them land jobs.

The hallway was silent, Griffith & Moore’s secretary perfectly centered behind their glass doors. Shoshi turned and headed to the bank of elevators. Luc Davin may be one of the most successful men in Boston’s financial world, but there was no way she could have worked with him, not after her brief but all too informative glimpse into his personality.

This was for the best, she told herself as the elevator descended. It had to be.

~*~

Luc tapped the screen and dragged Shoshana Glass’s application file into the Rejected folder. He’d have to have a talk with whoever had passed her through to this interview. He would have thought it was a poor excuse for a prank, if she hadn’t actually shown up with that barely buried disgust in her eyes.

Not that anyone in the company would prank Luc Davin. No, someone had made a stupid or thoughtless mistake and wasted his time.

Shoshana Glass was inexperienced, with a degree whose shine had quickly worn off and an aura of desperation. She might have hidden it better today than the night before, but it was there. Along with a seething disdain for him, and just enough of a backbone to make her interesting.

~*~

Shoshi’s phone buzzed against her hip as she made her way to the Green Line. The number was local but not one her phone recognized. Could it actually be another interview? With her luck, it would be some spambot.

Holding her breath, she ducked into the next recessed doorway to answer the call away from the wind. “Hello?”

“Miss Glass? This is Priscilla Klein from Griffith & Moore.”

Oh, no. Had Shoshi forgotten something at their office? Maybe it was something she could live without. But then, what were the chances of running into Davin if she did go back? Shaking her head slightly, Shoshi pressed the phone closer in case she’d heard wrong. “Yes?”

“Mr. Davin would like to see you in for a follow-up interview this afternoon at three.”

Had she slipped somewhere on the ice? There was no way Davin wanted to hire her; he’d made that abundantly clear. Did he have nothing better to do than humiliate her further? Who would’ve thought a man in his position had so much free time to treat others as playthings.

“Miss Glass?” the secretary asked in her silence. If this was a hallucination, it was a vivid one.

“Oh, yes?”

“This is extremely rare,” Priscilla Klein informed her, as if she’d expected Shoshi to shriek in excitement. “Shall I tell Mr. Davin to expect you at three?”

Did she really have a choice? Even if he offered her some other job low down in the ranks, it had to be better than wasting away—mentally, not physically—serving up a steady rotation of burgers and donuts. Taking it might shred whatever molecules remained of her pride, but she didn’t have the luxury of walking away. “Yes,” she heard herself saying. “I’ll be there.”



Chapter Three



Just before three, Shoshi swiped a moist paper towel over her face. After getting someone to cover the first couple hours of her shift, she’d called Nat, only to learn her car needed much more work than just replacing the battery. So instead of going to pick it up or wasting money on the cab fare home, especially since she would have to rely on a cab after tonight’s shift, she’d hopped off the T at the Prudential stop and headed to the library to kill the time. She’d splurged on lunch at the Newsroom Café and settled in with a new dystopian. It had almost even worked to distract her from mulling over what Luc Davin could possibly want with her.

On her way back, she’d detoured to CVS to grab a travel-sized bottle of hairspray and some mascara to go with the tiny tube of lip gloss in her bag. She’d reached the Griffith & Moore building with enough time to lock herself back in the bathroom outside the office doors and do what she could to smooth back the frizz in her hair and touch up her makeup. If she had to face Davin again, she would do her best to look the part.

Priscilla Klein pursed her lips as she took Shoshi’s coat and bag once more, clearly unimpressed with Shoshi’s efforts. This time the woman didn’t announce Shoshi’s arrival, merely waving one hand toward Davin’s office with a reserved, “He’s expecting you.”

Shoshi took a deep breath, then another one. She could do this. A job at Griffith & Moore—any job—would be life-changing. Maybe she could work her way up or transfer internally to one of the company’s other locations. There wasn’t much keeping her in Boston.

Steeling herself for whatever awaited her inside, she resettled her necklace so the charm sat dead center and knocked decisively on the wooden door.

“Yes,” he called, managing to sound imperious in that one syllable.

Shoshi’s damp palm slipped on the handle before she got the door open. “Mr. Davin.” His light, piercing eyes found her, and Shoshi swallowed her discomfort. “Nice to see you again,” she forced out.

One eyebrow crooked, but otherwise he didn’t acknowledge the obviously false pleasantry. “Shut the door,” he directed.

She obeyed and stepped further into his office, resisting the urge to fiddle with the hamsa or smooth the line of her top. Fidgeting betrayed nerves, and he didn’t need visible confirmation of the unease zinging through her.

Luc Davin observed her for a prolonged moment, not speaking. Was he judging the small changes in her appearance? The silence was clearly a power play, intended to disorient her or maybe intensify her anxiety.

But she had nothing to lose in this game. “You asked to see me?”

“I have a proposition for you.” Was that choice of words deliberate? He gestured to the high-backed chairs set across from him.

Shoshi walked toward his desk, her heart pounding so loudly he could probably hear it. She lowered herself to the edge of one chair and waited.

“I need an assistant,” he said finally.

She dug her fingertips into her thigh to help keep her professionally blank expression in place. She’d been half right: he was offering her a job. But being his assistant would mean dealing with him constantly—and politely deferring to him at all times. Well, unless he crossed a line in front of witnesses so she could take a grievance to HR, but the man had to be smarter than that.

“You’d have a variety of responsibilities, everything from taking care of my dry cleaning to preparing materials for investors, facilitating meetings, and miscellaneous other projects,” he elaborated, maybe taking her silence for a tactical maneuver rather than shock. “The hours won’t be traditional, and you’ll generally be on call at all times.”

“Why me?” she interjected when he paused, and instantly kicked herself mentally. She couldn’t afford for him to rethink his offer. Then again, could she stomach taking the job? “You made it quite clear that you don’t appreciate my limited work experience.” Even if her degree qualified her for at least a Senior Associate role.

“On the contrary, your current position has given you invaluable experience for this. I imagine you’ve mastered the question, ‘Is there anything else I can get you, sir?’” He stopped, cold eyes searching out Shoshi’s response. As her face heated, he continued, “You also have the background to understand what the job requires, or so you assured me. And you’re desperate enough to accept the unconventional hours.”

Shoshi’s eyes widened, and her head tipped back before she caught herself. No equivocating, no hiding his assessment, just flat out: desperate. He wasn’t wrong.

But if the position was salaried, that could give her some breathing room to continue searching for a real one, one actually utilizing her degree. Surely Davin would maintain a level of professionalism if she were to work for him.

“You do understand there’s a difference between a secretary and an executive assistant,” she half asked.

His head tilted and one index finger lifted off the desk.

“I would expect a salary commensurate with such a difference, if I accept.” Not that she had any idea what a reasonable salary for an executive assistant was. Even a lowball offer had to be more than she was making now. At least her voice had come out steady.

His lips pulled into a half-smirk, and a predatory humor came into his eyes. “What’s living cost here nowadays,” he mused, “thirty-five grand? I’ll start you at seventy.”

Shoshi’s heart stopped. Even forty would’ve been a small improvement, but seventy?

“You’ll also have health insurance and other benefits, a company car…”

“I have a car, as you know.” And if she accepted, she could cover the repairs to keep it running. Maybe even get some extra work done so it’d be more reliable.

Davin’s jaw tightened, but she resolutely kept his gaze. He was probably unused to anyone challenging anything he said, but cowering before him now would set a precedent decisively not in her favor. Desperate or not, she would not let him walk all over her.

Wait, was she actually considering this?

“Fine, then,” he said eventually. “I’ll tack on three grand as a signing bonus. If you deign to accept, of course.”

Shoshi didn’t miss the sarcasm. Pulse whooshing in her ears, she inclined her head, mimicking his earlier motion.

“You can use it to get your car fixed.” Before she could protest, he added, “You’ll be using that car for work, errands, et cetera. You have a responsibility to ensure your vehicle is safe.” Steel laced the words, allowing no room for argument.

The dictatorial manner scraped along her nerves, even if that was exactly what she’d planned to do. Shoshi uncurled her toes in her boots. Imperious or not, he was offering her a lifeline. Before last night, she would have been thrilled at an offer to learn from the man, given his reputation. Maybe the best choice was to forget their uncomfortable encounter at the bar and start fresh, take this opportunity for what it could be.

“Priscilla will set up an appointment for you to come in tomorrow to handle the paperwork.” His eyes skimmed over her once again before he turned a few degrees away and picked up his tablet. “That’ll be all.”

Shoshi stood. The absurdity of the situation made her add, “I haven’t said I’ll take the job.”

Davin lowered the device and looked back at her with an unsettling blend of challenge and satisfaction. “Won’t you?”

How could she not? Who knew what was crazier—passing up this opportunity, or agreeing to work for him, doing goodness knew what at all hours. He’d undoubtedly derive pleasure from assigning her ridiculous, menial tasks with impossible deadlines, fully embracing the caricature of a terrible boss. But being desperate only made her more tenacious. And resilience was bred in her bones. “We’ll see,” she bluffed then strode to the door, a spike of adrenaline pumping through her.

Even without glancing back, Shoshi would have bet that predatory smirk of his had returned. But if Luc Davin thought he could chew her up and spit her out, he had another thing coming.

~*~

Luc tossed back his scotch, lifting two fingers to the passing waitress. It didn’t take long for her to slip a fresh tumbler onto his table. He swirled it in a couple circles between his palms before downing this one as well.

A trio of women clustered around a cocktail table near the bar kept eyeing him one by one in an attempt at discretion. But it was the one who’d stalked out of his office twice today that he couldn’t get off his mind.

His memory of meeting her the night before was hazy at best. The distaste that radiated off her in his presence, overshadowing even her desperation, was crystal clear.

It was rare anyone saw Luc as he truly was. Somehow Shoshana Glass did. Once she took the job, both she and her low opinion of him would be inescapable.

Was it cruel to invent a position simply for the sake of tormenting her, provoking that simmering dislike into a roiling hatred? Perhaps. But Luc was damned sure bastard enough to do it.