DEMANDING MOB BOSS
COPYRIGHT © 2023 LUCY MONROE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without express, written permission from the author Lucy Monroe who can be contacted off her website https://lucymonroe.com.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
I really need this job. Only I don’t know how long I can sit here. There’s so much movement, so much noise.
Stay calm. You can breathe. Inhale. Exhale.
One, two, look at my shoe.
My feet are aligned under my chair, no scuffs on my leather flats. Should I have worn heels? I have a pair, but they feel unsteady.
Three, four, find the door.
It took nine steps to come into the room and meet the HR person who checked me in. It was six more to reach the chair where I sit. If I went directly from the chair to the door, that would be twelve steps, I think.
Five, six, click, click, clicks.
I tap my thumbnail and my middle fingernail together three times, the familiar sound soothing me.
Seven, eight, release the weight.
Breath out slowly. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. My lungs are empty. I do not breathe in or out for seven and eight.
Nine, ten, inhale the Zen.
I inhale counting to ten.
Now start again.
The rhyme is something I made up with my mom and it still gives me comfort when my anxiety spikes.
Mrs. Bantry is in the doorway.
She gives us all that big fake smile. But her eyes…they are not friendly. They’re smug. She will decide which one of us gets the job, and she likes knowing that. She looks around at all of us, like she’s measuring our worth.
The other people in the room sit up straight and smile at her, hoping they will be the next one called in. The longer it takes for her to call our names, the more chance the position will be filled before she gets to us. It’s simple math.
Her gaze skips right over the two men in the room, like it has each time she’s come out of her office. I do not know why. Men can be receptionists as easily as women. I do not understand most people’s prejudices. They confuse me because they make no sense to me.
She points at a brunette sitting across the room from me. The woman grips her purse tightly but smiles brightly and follows Mrs. Bantry into the office. The door closes behind them. The noise and the movement start all over again, only worse, because she has been in here. People talk and speculate. They shift and adjust their clothing.
I want to leave. I can’t. Ini is relying on me to pay my half of the rent and everything else. I only have two friends. Her and Mrs. Hart. I met Ini in elementary school right after I moved in with my aunt and uncle. Ini had just been placed with a new foster family.
When she found out my parents were dead like hers, she said we would be best friends. And we have been, ever since.
I can’t let Ini down. Not again.
Keeping a job is as hard for me as getting one. After a certain point, they all become too much. Too many sounds. Too many people. Things get too bright. Too chaotic. I say my rhyme so often, I lose track of what I’m supposed to be doing on the job itself. Either I leave and can’t go back, or I get fired. It’s inevitable, but I have to work.
I force myself into stillness, not even letting myself say my rhyme again. Though I cannot control the chaos around me, I try to control the anxiety within.
Suddenly, everyone goes quiet. No one even moves. The stillness is delicious. I look up and I see a man standing in the doorway to the hall. He’s big. Well over six feet tall. His shoulders are broad; power exudes from him. He caused the stillness.
I want to thank him.
The door to Mrs. Bantry’s office opens again. The broad smile and smug expression fall off her face when she sees the man. Shock widens her eyes. Her mouth opens, but I count five seconds before she speaks.
Five seconds of peace.
“Mr. Doyle, I did not expect you today. Can I do something for you?” She sounds obsequious.
He does not look at her. There is an air about him, like he is taking everything in with his blue gaze, assessing, cataloguing.
No one looks at him. They don’t want his attention to land on them. I wonder why. We are all here to apply for a receptionist position in the main lobby for Doyle Construction.
I don’t know what his role in the company is, but he must be either one of the owners or related to them. All morning, everyone in this room has done their best to catch Mrs. Bantry’s eye. Yet no one wants to catch his.
He fascinates me. The effect he has on the room is amazing. I revel in the calm.
His eyes land on me. Although I cannot tell him thank you because he probably would not understand why, I smile for the first time this morning.
Something flashes in his eyes. “Who are you?”
“She’s nobody. She is just here to apply for the job downstairs.” Mrs. Bantry dismisses me with a wave of her hand.
I’ll take self-important petty tyrants for five hundred, Alex.
Mr. Doyle’s eyes do not leave mine. “I was not talking to you.”
Mrs. Bantry gasps. “I am sorry Mr. Doyle. I did not mean to overstep.”
I wonder if he can tell she is lying like I can. I do not have to see her to know. I can hear the insincerity in her voice.
“My name is Anna Lake,” I tell him.
“You want to be our receptionist?”
I do not know how to answer. It feels wrong to lie to him. “I need the job.”
He nods, like he hears the subtext of my words when almost no one else ever does. “I need someone to work with my personal assistant, doing the grunt work.”
I am not sure what he wants me to say. I like his bluntness. He does not try to dress up the job. Not like Mrs. Bantry, who gave us all a peptalk this morning about how being a receptionist here is a great opportunity, with potential to go far.
I did not believe her. I wonder if anyone else did.
“Oh, so that’s why you were down here. I’ll get right on that for you Mr. Doyle,” Mrs. Bantry gushes.
Mr. Doyle looks over his shoulder at someone behind him. “She is what we have in charge of our human resources?”
“Apparently.” I can’t see the speaker, but there is an Irish lilt to his voice.
“Tell Uncle Jimmy to get someone else. She annoys me.” Though Mr. Doyle’s name is Irish, his accent is pure Chicago.
Mrs. Bantry makes a squawking noise and I look at her. She’s furious, her mouth set in a flat line, the fake smile completely gone. “You can’t just fire me.”
“You don’t think so?” There is a quality to Mr. Doyle’s voice, like he’s daring her to disagree with him.
Mrs. Bantry flinches and remains silent.
What the fuck is happening? I feel like I took a shot to the chest with my vest on.
It aches. Looking at the blonde beauty with the gorgeous tits sitting so primly in that boring office chair is doing something to me.
I fucking want her.
My cock is surging like she dropped to her knees and offered that pretty mouth. Violet eyes trap my gaze and I cannot look away.
I felt something like this. Once. A long time ago. But it wasn’t this strong.
My world exists in shades of grey. Right now, a kaleidoscope of colors surrounds Anna Lake like a damn aura. I don’t believe in that shit.
But I can’t look away from her. From the color. From the feelings bombarding my insides. Feelings I would have told you ten minutes ago I don’t have the capacity to experience.
It is only my iron control that stops me grabbing the little beauty, throwing her over my shoulder and carrying her up to my penthouse. How much Lachlan will bitch if I kidnap a woman in front of witnesses from our own HR department helps me keep my urges under control too.
But I want to take her and keep her until I figure whatever this is out.
I can see myself doing it. Picking her up. Ignoring her shocked scream. Holding her kicking legs so she doesn’t fall off my shoulder. My muscles bunch with anticipation.
Anna blinks. Innocence shining out at me from her eyes. She looks at me like she’s happy I’m here.
People are rarely happy to see me.
My sister sure as hell isn’t. Shea is glaring.
But this sweet little morsel watches me like I’m all that and a new, fully loaded gun.
Women play their roles in my life. Mother. Sisters. Soldiers. Employees. I do not have lovers. I do not date.
I don’t do relationships. Hell, I don’t do sleepovers.
I do not feel whatever it is that makes men want to keep women in their bed. Once I get my rocks off, I’m done. I prefer getting blown because there are fewer complications. Less talking that way too.
But the thought of never seeing Anna Lake again fills me with a killing rage. It does not matter that we haven’t spoken more than a dozen words. Or that we met only moments ago.
An atavistic certainty that this woman is mine settles low in my gut. I’m about to complicate the hell out of her life. She caught the attention of the apex predator and I always take down my prey.
I almost feel sorry for the sweet thing, but that’s too much like regret. An emotion I don’t experience.
I can’t look away from Mr. Doyle. I enjoy looking at him. He is handsome and I like the red gold of his hair. It’s so different from my boring blonde.
There’s an odd expression in his blue eyes though. Like he’s hungry and I’m his next meal. I don’t always read emotions right in other people, so I’m sure I’m wrong.
But if I am right? I don’t mind. And that is really strange because I don’t like being noticed. I don’t like being the center of attention either, but I want this man’s attention.
I want it a lot.
“Anna, you have been here all morning?” he asks me.
I force a single word past my suddenly tight throat. “Yes.”
“Who do you think would make a good receptionist?”
Taking his question seriously, I consider everything I have seen and heard this morning.
Then I point to an older woman, who has been here since 7:30 AM just like me. “Her.”
“Why?” He asked me.
Do I have enough words right now to explain? I’ve been psyching myself up for the interview, but if I use my words up with him, I won’t have any left for that. I need this job, but I have to answer Mr. Doyle. Even if there are no words left to talk to Mrs. Bantry.
Only Mrs. Bantry won’t be interviewing anyone else, will she?
Relieved that I can use up my words without worrying about later, I say, “She’s kind. She answers questions but does not pretend to know more than she does.”
I haven’t spoken to the woman, but I’ve observed every interaction since I arrived. She looks at me now with surprise and gratitude. I do not know why. I am only speaking the truth. I have no influence on who will get hired. I am simply answering a question.
Mr. Doyle looks at the woman and asks, “Do you want the job?”
“Yes, very much.”
He looks back over his shoulder again and says, “Tell Uncle Jimmy to get her on-boarded and the other one out of my building.”
His focus turns to me, and it is absolute. Like there is no one else in the room. I wish I could do that. Only, when I’m looking at him, I can. It’s odd.
“Anna, you come with me.” He shifts his gaze to someone else and I miss the intensity, the ability to block out the rest of the room that locking our eyes gave me.
“Shea, go up to Uncle Jimmy’s office. If you want to work for the company this badly, he’ll find you something to do.”
“I don’t want a found job,” says a woman who looks a little younger than my twenty years. “I want to get a job and live my own life.”
Mr. Doyle moves out of the doorway. Toward me. My heart does this funny skip thing in my chest.
He says, “Lachlan.”
The other man steps around Mr. Doyle and into the room. He is a couple of inches shorter than his boss, though he is also over six feet tall. His hair is brown though, not nearly as pretty as the reddish gold of Mr. Doyle’s and the woman he called Shea. Are they related?
Mr. Farrar goes straight to Shea and takes her by the arm. “Come on, Trouble. Jimmy is expecting you and you need to call your mammy to let her know you aren’t dead in a ditch.”
“As if, with all you goons looking over my shoulder.” She stands, yanks her arm from Mr. Farrar’s hold and flounces out of the room. Smirking, he follows her.
Mr. Doyle puts his hand out to me. “Come.”
Usually, I avoid touching other people, but I place my hand in his without hesitating. Weird. His big fingers curl around mine, warm and safe.
This man, who can bring stillness, makes me feel safe. And he’s going to be my boss. I have a job! Ini is going to be so happy.
With Mr. Doyle as my boss, this job might even last longer than the others.
“What the hell is going on?” Lachlan takes a drink of his whiskey, his eyes on me and not the raised dais with three of our best dancers on the poles.
“We’re checking on the clubs like we do every week.” The Doyle clan owns three clubs in Chicago. Two are strip clubs and one is a nightclub.
Just like the construction business, clubs, because they do a lot of cash business, are a great way to launder money. This one is my favorite. There is always a dancer or staff member eager to suck off the boss. They think it will earn them special privileges. It won’t.
But I’m not interested in getting my rocks off tonight and I’m paying no more attention to the dancers than Lachlan is.
“We weren’t at HR this morning to hire an assistant for Connor.” Lachlan frowns at me, like he expects me to say something.
But he already knows why we were there. To track down my errant sister. I’m not sure how to handle Shea. She’s unpredictable and emotional. Both things I am not. I’m not known for my tolerance in dealing with those traits either. Even in my family. But because Shea is my youngest sister, I try with her. Tolerance doesn’t make it any easier to understand her.
“Why the hell was Shea applying for that job?” I ask Lachlan.
He’s a stone-cold killer, just like me, but he has a wider range of emotions.
“She said she wanted to take the summer to explore her options before starting at DePaul in the fall. Maybe getting a job is part of that.”
“She can’t work in reception. It’s not safe.” We have too many enemies for her to be that exposed.
“You heard her as well as I did.” Lachlan’s gaze wanders to the dancers. He sees something he likes and watches in silence for several seconds before turning to me, his gaze intent. “She wants to forge her own path.”
“She can forge it working for Uncle Jimmy.”
Lachlan shrugs. His attention moves back to the middle dancer. She’s tall with big tits, brown eyes, and long brown hair she uses to tease the customers.
I turn away and back to my drink. Big tits still do it for me, but I’ve got a new preference for tiny blondes with pretty, heart shaped faces.
“Why did you hire an assistant for your assistant?” Lachlan asks. “The boy can do his job.”
“Connor bitches about doing the mundane shit. So, I got him someone to do it for him.”
“He’s been bitching since he started working for you a year ago. Why now?”
What he means is why did I hire Anna Lake. “I like Anna’s smile.” I like her name too. Just saying it settles something inside me.
Lachlan chokes on his whiskey. “Did you just say you like her smile? Since when do you like anything about a woman except how tight her pussy is?”
“You’re the one who likes to audition pussy.” When I’m looking to blow a load, I want a woman on her knees in front of me. When her mouth is busy, she can’t talk.
Most people talking annoys the shit out of me.
Right now, Lachlan is no exception.
“So, you made up a job for her in your office because you like her smile.”
“It’s real.” Anna’s smile is even more genuine than the job. I probably wouldn’t have given into my cousin’s moaning about how much time he wastes filing and other shit like that. “There’s no fear in her eyes when she looks at me.”
I like looking at her, whether she is smiling or scrunching her nose in that cute way she has when she’s trying to figure something out. She spent a lot of time today trying to figure out the office machines, the computer and how our filing system works.
“That will change once she finds out who you are. With her working in your office that’s going to happen sooner than later, or did you forget that you run both the mob business and the construction company from there?”
“Uncle Jimmy runs the construction side of the business.” His office is on the same floor as mine, and his title is project supervisor, but he makes all the major decisions for that side of our business. Those in Chicago who need to know, do.
“My point exactly. She’s in your office, Cian, helping Connor. She’s an outsider.”
I say the one thing I know to be true, but that she has no clue about yet. “She’s mine.”
“Bloody fecking hell.”
I like working for Cian Doyle, though I guess, technically, I work for his personal assistant, Connor.
The job pays more than the receptionist position would have. Which is nice. There are only a handful of people I see most days. Mr. Doyle, who comes out of his office three or four times a day to say something to Connor. He always greets me and asks how I’m doing. It’s nice. He told me to call him Cian. I do, but it makes me blush every time I say his name. It’s a nice name though.
I see Connor, of course, who I have learned is one of Cian’s cousins, Jimmy Doyle, who seems to be in charge of all the construction projects and I think is Connor’s dad, and Lachlan Farrar. I’m not sure what Mr. Farrar does, but he’s almost always with our boss. He doesn’t ask me to call him Lachlan.
It turns out that Cian is the CEO of the entire conglomerate, of which Doyle Construction is only one business. He seems young to be in charge of such a big company, but he’s got the boss vibe down. It’s kind of thrilling. Everyone, even Jimmy, who is old enough to be his dad, defers to him.
And best of all, whenever Cian is in the room, he brings tranquility with him. Which makes this the best job I’ve ever had. When his attention is on me, everything inside me quiets. It’s amazing.
Ini is happy for me, and I can tell she’s relieved because it looks like I’ll stick with this job. We’re both thankful we can afford groceries and rent now. We haven’t had to get a free meal at a shelter since I got my first paycheck.
I come into the office early, before anyone else. I have something I need to do. Having Anna working here is good, but I need to see more of her.
It’s an itch in my brain that I can’t scratch without laying eyes on her. And it’s only getting worse as the days go by. I made up an excuse to go into Connor’s office six times yesterday. I can’t afford this kind of distraction. So, I’m installing a couple of cameras in my cousin’s office. They are tiny and I know my shit. No one else is going to notice them.
It takes me about fifteen minutes, all told. When I’m done the feeling of wrongness that has been nagging at me since she left to go home yesterday is silenced. For now.
I think I’m going to have to put a couple of cameras in her apartment too. I’ll need to find out her roommate’s work schedule, but once I do, picking the lock on their door and getting the cameras in place will be easy. It’s the kind of stuff I’ve been doing since I was a boy, training under my dad to take over the Doyle clan one day.
Maybe I can get it done today. That would be good.
Cian has a meeting with a bunch of men in his office. They’ve been arriving for the past thirty minutes. Connor doesn’t introduce any of them and I don’t mind. I don’t like meeting new people and these men are all like Mr. Farrar, with an air of repressed violence around them. I keep my head down and focus on my work, so no one talks to me.
“Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” someone says from in front of my desk.
I force myself to look up. The man standing there is almost as tall as Cian, but he’s not as broad. His hair is brown, and his eyes are dark too. He’s wearing an expensive suit and his smile makes me think of a shark.
I don’t say anything, waiting to see what he wants.
He comes around and leans against the side of my desk. “When did you start working for Cian?”
Pushing my chair back, I stand up. “I need to do some filing.” He’s in my personal space and I don’t want him there.
“Murphy,” Cian barks from the open door to his office. “Get your ass in here.”
“Give me a minute, I want to get to know this sweet little employee of yours a little better.” He sounds like he expects Cian to go back into his office.
My muscles tense and I look at my boss, hoping the man called Murphy is wrong.
Cian moves with the stealth and the speed of a panther across the office and grabs Mr. Murphy. “Get the fuck away from her.”
He tosses the other man like he weighs nothing. Mr. Murphy lands against the wall by Cian’s office door with a thud. I’m sure this show of physical dominance should upset me. Ini wouldn’t like it. But I find it way less stressful than having Mr. Murphy in my personal space.
He stumbles, but he stays upright. “It’s like that, is it?”
“My employees, like my clan, are off limits. You want to talk to one of them, you fucking show respect and ask.”
Mr. Murphy doesn’t seem offended. He smiles and this time, he seems genuinely amused. “Hey, Cian, I want to ask your receptionist here out. That okay by you?”
I don’t give my boss a chance to answer. “I’m not a receptionist and I’m not interested,” I say, feeling like my heart is going to beat out of my chest.
Cian nods to me then glares at Mr. Murphy. “You heard her. Stop pestering my employee, and get into the meeting. We’re done waiting on you.”
The way he says my employee sends a frisson of confusing delight through me. He’s just a really possessive guy. I get that, but it sounds personal. In my heart of hearts, where I don’t let anyone see, I wish it was personal.
Mr. Murphy winks at me. “Maybe another time.”
The air around Cian charges with menace.
“All right, all right, I’m going.” Mr. Murphy puts his hands up like he’s surrendering, but nothing else about him gives the impression he’s giving in.
I don’t want to be here when the men come out of Cian’s office. Maybe I can time my lunch hour to coincide with the end of the meeting.
Though I don’t know how I’m supposed to know when that will be. Connor is attending the meeting as well. The phone on my desk rings and I know I have to answer it since Connor forwarded calls to my line while he’s in the meeting.
“Doyle & Byrne,” I answer.
So far, I haven’t met any Byrnes but the parent company must have been started by one, along with one of Cian’s ancestors.
“It’s Jimmy, lass. I could use some help with my filing. Will you come to my office?”
I don’t know what to do. I want to be out of here when the meeting ends, but I don’t want to do something that will upset Connor or our boss.
“Cian approved it,” Jimmy adds.
I let out the breath I am holding, relief making me sag into my desk. “I’ll be right there.”
I text Uncle Jimmy and tell him to get Anna into his office and keep her there until I give the all-clear. Fucking Quinn Murphy. He’s distant family. My mom was a Murphy before she married a Doyle, but I’ll end him if he doesn’t leave my Anna alone.
Thinking he can ask her out. She said she wasn’t interested though. My Anna doesn’t say much, but she said that, didn’t she?
Once I know she’s safe in my uncle’s office, I get down to business. We’ve got a gang trying to move in on our territory to sell their low-quality shit that’s put more than one user into the hospital already. Since the Kicks Bandidos are doing the same thing in the Murphy and Walsh clans’ territories too, it’s a matter for all of us.
We argue over how to handle it for a while, until I’m sick of the bickering back and forth. Éamon Walsh doesn’t like that both the Murphy and Doyle clans are now headed up by men young enough to be his sons. He thinks his age makes him the de facto big boss. Neither Quinn nor I agree.
“Enough,” I say, cutting off a shouting match between him and Quinn. “Walsh, if you want to negotiate with the fucking Kicks Bandidos for the right to deal in your territory, I’m not going to stop you.”
I don’t say I can’t stop him, because we both know that if I chose to become his enemy rather than his ally, I would crush him. My clan is three times the size of his. But we’ve got family ties through the Byrnes with the Walshes. That’s how we became allies seventy-five years ago.
“We’re kicking them out of Doyle territory,” I bark. “I’m not letting that cut-rate shit bring the heat down on us.”
“Same,” Quinn says.
Most days I appreciate his succinct use of words. His clan is almost the same size as the Doyles and he’s a good ally. But today, I want to cut out his tongue for talking to Anna. Maybe cut off his hands so he won’t even think about trying to touch her.
“Do you want to coordinate attacks?” Lachlan asks him when I just sit and stare at the man as I picture his demise in my mind.
“I think it would be more effective,” his underboss replies to Lachlan. “Right Quinn?”
Quinn is busy staring back at me. There’s no expression on his face. Some might find that intimidating. I don’t. I will fucking cut him and bathe in his blood if he comes near Anna again. We stare at each other in silence until the other men in the room start to move restlessly, but no one speaks.
Finally, Quinn asks, “That what you want, Cian?”
“So long as you remember what’s yours and what’s mine,” I say.
He jerks his head in agreement. “I’ll let Paddy work out the details with Lachlan.”
We both trust our men so I have no problem with that.
~ ~ ~
After the meeting I text Jimmy.
Me: Send Anna back.
Jimmy: She just left for lunch with Shea.
I pull up the app that monitors my mother and sisters’ phone trackers and see that Shea and Anna are at a Greek deli a couple of blocks from our offices. “Let’s get some Greek food,” I say to Lachlan.
“Sounds good. I thought you were going to make me work through lunch figuring out these logistics with the Murphys.”
“You can meet with Paddy away from the offices later today.”
“Away from Anna you mean.”
I don’t reply.
~ ~ ~
The deli is crowded. It usually is, which is what makes it such a good front for the Greek mafia’s less than legal endeavors. They’ve been our allies sharing territory for three generations. They cover smuggling, illegal prescription drug sales, and weapons. We have the protection racket, illegal drugs and gambling. We both hire our soldiers out for hits and do our own money laundering. Anything not covered in our blood oath agreement is fair game for both families.
Stavros, head of his family, comes rushing up to us, his usually affable manner a front for a total sociopath. I relate. Except for the affability part.
I let Lachlan greet him while I scan the tables for Anna and Shea. They’re sitting in a booth against the back wall. Heading toward them, I notice that Anna looks tense. She’s smiling at Shea, but it’s not her usual smile. It’s forced. Her hands are in her lap, her fingers twisting together.
A couple of jerks wearing identical button ups and chinos are standing beside their table. They’re saying something and Shea is laughing, nodding. Anna looks like she wants to bolt.