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How To Fire Your Billionaire Boss by Laura Burton

 

Overview: Zachary Brown CEO of Smart House is in deep trouble. Ex-employees are filing lawsuits for wrongful dismissal and whistleblowers have gone to the papers. Now his sterling reputation is in danger and the company he has built from the ground up is on the line.
And there’s one person in the middle of it all: Melanie Hart.
He hatches a plan to go undercover as a new employee so he can get to the bottom of the mystery and save his company.
But can he find out who is money laundering before Melanie fires him too?
Melanie Hart has problems of her own. All eyes are on her during a financial scandal and she’s had to fire five employees within six weeks.
Her boss has made it clear, if she can’t clean up the accounts soon, she can kiss her career goodbye.
Now, she has to train the new guy and keep her nose out of trouble. But the new guy is a British stud with a smile that makes her weak at the knees.
And boy, trouble has never looked so good.

 

How To Fire Your Billionaire Boss by Laura Burton Book Chapter One

 

Zachary Brown considered himself an intelligent man. He had finished top of his class at Oxford University and graduated with honors.

Then he went on to build a business from the ground up, turning a smart phone app for investments into a multi-million-pound empire.

But now, for the first time, he had found himself facing a problem he wasn’t entirely sure how to handle.

His company’s reputation was on the line, and all eyes were on him to fix it.

He pored over the papers strewn in front of him on the conference table and rubbed his chin with a sigh.

Numbers were down and he had several lawsuits to deal with. All of them were for an allegedly unfair dismissal.

“Ever since we opened up the office in Los Angeles, things have been going wrong,” he muttered under his breath, ignoring the blank stares from the directors sitting around the table.

“I told you Los Angeles was a bad idea. Too much drama. We should have expanded the New York office. Or gone with Dubai for crying out loud.”

Zachary looked up at Oliver, the oldest man in the room, who seemed to be the only one confident enough to tell him the truth. He raised his tablet and pointed at a news article with a large photo of the company logo plastered all over it.

“Have you seen this? Five former employees have gone to the papers about us. All talking about the same thing. Spreading rumors about offshore bank accounts I know nothing about.” Zachary looked around at the professionals in the room, all dressed in black and looking at him like soulless ghouls. “Can somebody please tell me what this is about?”

His question hung in the air like a foul smell. No one replied. Zachary swiveled his chair and looked out of the window. A line of red double-decker buses rolled by in the street below, and the taxi cabs honked. London life was bustling, as always. Oblivious to Zachary’s problems.

“Mr. Brown, the finance department has been flagging up discrepancies for months, and with these whistle-blowers, the Ombudsmen have called for a full investigation.”

Zachary turned back to the directors and sighed.

“So, what now? We hire contractors to audit the financial reports and we interview the whistle-blowers to find out what’s going on?”

The only woman in the room cleared her throat and raised her hand. Zachary looked pointedly at her.

“With all due respect, we don’t have enough time for that, we need to act now and clean up this mess before the Ombudsmen get their claws in,” she said. The other directors murmured in agreement and bobbed their heads.

“What do you suggest?”

The room became so quiet, all Zachary heard was the traffic outside. He hummed and scratched his arm until a woman’s voice broke the silence.

“If I may?”

Zachary looked at the petite woman, Natalie, with an arched brow, willing her to share an idea––any idea––to deal with this mess. She shifted in her seat.

“I did my own investigation,” she began, her eyes taking in every person at the table. She stood up, walked to the head of the table and switched on the projector.

“The five former employees all worked under one person, Melanie Hart.”

The face of an angel flooded the back wall. Soft white blonde curls, crystal blue eyes and little rosebud lips curved upward. Zachary could not stop himself from smiling at it.

“You think Melanie is money laundering?” he asked incredulously. The petite woman turned and frowned as the room grumbled at the notion.

“I’m not entirely sure. But if anyone knows what is going on, it’s her,” she said firmly. “Now, we need someone to go undercover as a new employee in the finance department. Do some digging around and find out if there’s any truth to these rumors.”

Zachary inhaled and puffed his cheeks out.

“And when you say someone, you mean…” He looked around the sea of eyes boring into him like lasers. “Me?”

“Yes. That’s not a bad idea,” one director said, stroking his dark moustache.

“But I’m the CEO of the company, how will I pull that off?” Zachary said.

“Aren’t you more concerned that there are people who are potentially syphoning dirty money through the business?” another director asked, wagging a stubby finger at him. Zachary swallowed.

He knew about statistics and market share. He knew nothing about money laundering. Or whistle-blowers. And above all, he hated lies. How could he possibly go undercover and pretend not to be the billionaire owner of the company?

But if the rumors were true, and the Ombudsman found evidence of illegal activity in his business, Zachary’s excellent reputation would be forever ruined.

He stared at the photo of the blonde woman smiling as sweetly as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. “Fine. I’ll do it,” he said.

“How long can you stall the investigation?” he asked the woman, who was still standing beside the projector. She knitted her brows together and murmured something under her breath.

“Three weeks––a month tops,” she said.

Zachary whistled.

“Right, so I just need to fly to Los Angeles, pretend to be the new guy, find out about any illegal activity, and identify the culprit. Piece of cake.”

One director held up a hand.

“And don’t get fired,” he said with a chuckle. The room guffawed in response except for Zachary, who raised a brow.

“Right. Well, I guess I need to get packing then,” he said, pushing back from the table and rising to a stand. The directors followed suit.

“Here’s to saving the business!” Zachary said, raising his mug. He put on a bold grin, but his insides were churning.

Zachary was a homebody. He loved being in the English countryside, and the farthest he’d ever traveled from home was Scotland. Now, he had to fly to America, lie to his employees while looking for information that would square the company accounts, and try not to get fired in the process.

He stared at the blue eyes on the wall and his heart leapt. But then he shook himself and did his best to smother the excitement brewing inside. He couldn’t be attracted to Melanie.

Melanie. Her name really rolls off the tongue.

Zachary clenched his jaw.

“Oh, and Mr. Brown?” the petite woman said as the directors filed out of the room. Zachary joined her and gave her a polite smile, trying to ignore the photo staring at him from the wall.

“Melanie has a reputation for breaking hearts. So, be careful.”

Zachary wanted to laugh but thought it impolite. Instead, he faked a serious face and nodded.

“Thank you for the warning,” he said formally. His eyes flitted to the photo of Melanie and he smirked. Getting his heart broken was not on the list of worries he was dealing with right now.
 

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