Sold To The Sheikh Bidder

By: Holly Rayner

“Like that’s ever stopped a creep from being a creep?”

“True, but at least it sets expectations. And if it comes to that, then yes, I will find a way to buy myself out of the contract.”

Kayla leaned next to Lauren against the wall. “How are we going to stay on top of work while you’re gone? You weren’t actually supposed to be out of the office.”

“It’s not like I haven’t been out of the office before,” Lauren said in her most reassuring tone.

Kayla snorted. “Not for an entire week, you haven’t. What if you can’t get online?”

“I’ll get online. I’ll check in early in the morning, and then when I get home. Plus, I’ll work out some way to check email and messages through the day. Think of it as a way to practice our continuity of operations plan.”

Kayla only raised an eyebrow at Lauren’s way to find the silver lining. “Okay. I’ll keep a running track of things you need to respond to, and send them to you in a big package at the end of the day. You can get them back to me that night, and I’ll deal with them first thing in the morning.”

“You’ll handle all my meetings?”

Kayla nodded. “Or postpone them, if necessary. There are a few things that aren’t time critical.”

“I’ll keep my phone with me, so if it’s an emergency, text me.”

“And if you’re not allowed to have a phone?”

Lauren gave her a rare grin that showed why she had been so successful in a cut-throat industry. “It’s in the contract. He can’t take away my phone.”

Kayla studied her for a moment. “You know, I could have one of the security guys stay with you for the next week.”

“Are you suggesting I need a bodyguard?”

Kayla tilted her head and grimaced. “Maybe?”

Lauren laughed again, this time genuinely. “Thanks, but I’ve got this.”

“If you change your mind…”

“I will let you know. Promise. Now, come on,” Lauren tugged Kayla’s arm, “let’s go back to our party.”

Chapter 4


Lauren woke up the next morning with just a hint of a headache. She wasn’t sure if it was left over from the party or simply tension caused by anticipation of the week ahead. Either way, she definitely needed a couple of aspirin.

She checked the clock and realized that there wasn’t much of the morning left. The party had run late—which Lauren had been more than happy to encourage, since her employees had been having such a great time. Even though the event had been held on a Sunday night, and they all knew they had to be at work the next morning, Lauren had spread the word before the party that a relaxed start on Monday would be expected. That way, no one had to feel guilty for staying until the early hours.

So, Lauren hadn’t felt guilty for staying late, even though she wasn’t sure what her next few days at work were going to be like. It was possible she wouldn’t be in the office at all.

Kayla had continued to send her worried looks for the rest of the night, until Lauren finally hid from her vice president by hanging out with the interns, who were amused that the boss ended the party with them.

Between a long day of work, rehearsals, and the party, Lauren was in no mood to do any research by the time she returned home. She had to get some sleep, and looking into her mysterious buyer would just have to wait.

Lauren sighed and rolled out of bed. She had no idea what she was going to walk into that afternoon. She thought about doing a quick search on the address, but after looking at the clock, she decided against it; she needed to check in with the office, and then get ready. Better to face the day looking calm and put together instead of ruffled and with messy hair.

She rushed through her shower, but took her time picking out something to wear. She wanted to project control, to make it clear she didn’t intend to be taken advantage of no matter the circumstances.

Her hair went back in a sleek ponytail and she kept her makeup light. Having made every effort to look older than her twenty-eight years, she nodded firmly at herself in the bathroom mirror. Whatever happened, she’d get through it and she’d show the mystery man that she was no one to be pushed around.

Checking her email was less time-consuming than she expected. The rest of her staff must have been moving more slowly than usual that morning, too, because she only had a few emails to deal with, all from outside the company.

Lauren managed to get through two cups of coffee and some breakfast while responding to a client email thanking her for the party, a request for her to speak on a panel at an upcoming conference, and a potential client seeking reassurance that BingeWatch could was really the best company to work on her project.

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