- Author: Tara Wyatt
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Snow Job © 2021 by Tara Wyatt
All rights reserved.
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes only.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Three Months Earlier
“Prescott, I need to see you in my office. Now.” Sebastian looked up from his desk, his head pounding dully, the remnants of his hangover refusing to let go. He closed his email and stacked the proposals he’d been working on into a neat pile, stood and adjusted his tie and then followed his boss, Robert Stammler, down to his office at the end of the hall. As he walked, he glanced out the window at the Manhattan skyline, sunlight glinting off of the windows of the buildings below, some of them buildings he was directly involved with as the VP of Marketing and Project Management for one of Manhattan’s biggest real estate development firms. The rest of his life might be in shambles, but at least he still had his career. It was the only thing keeping him anchored. The only thing keeping him from completely going off the deep end.
He stepped inside Stammler’s office and before he could take even two steps, Stammler pointed and said, “Shut the door.” A creeping sense of dread worked its way down Sebastian’s spine, but he kept his expression neutral. Without waiting to be invited, he took a seat across from his boss.
Stammler tossed a file across the sleek glass desk at him. “Tell me about this.”
Sebastian frowned and picked it up, leafing through it. “This is the Ashbar project.” The development was a massive undertaking, nearly fifty stories tall with over six hundred apartments and ground floor luxury retail. Sebastian and his team had been in charge of marketing the high-end condos as well as attracting the right retailers.
“And what did you contribute to this project?”
Sebastian frowned. He’d contributed...well, he’d been at some of the meetings, and...He shook his head. “Why do you ask?”
Stammler said nothing and pulled out another folder, tossing it at him. “Tell me about this one.”
Again, Sebastian paged through the folder, his skin suddenly feeling tight and itchy. “This is Barnett Tower,” he said. It was a low-rise office building in Harlem with ground floor retail as well as over 40,000 square feet of community space for after school programs. He’d been responsible for developing relationships with potential businesses looking for space as well as some of the non-profit organizations who might be interested in using the space. As he skimmed through the folder, he saw that many of the spaces were already leased and several organizations had signed on, which was news to him.
“This one,” said Stammler, sliding another folder to him. A private school they were building in Queens. Another for a hospital in Harlem. Another for a massive residential project in Washington Heights. All projects on which he’d been the lead. All projects on which he’d apparently dropped the ball, and yet...the work was done. And done well.
All signed off on by Kayla Bristowe, his manager of marketing and communications.
“Miss Bristowe brought all of this to my attention this morning,” said Stammler, leaning back in his chair, his thick, stubby fingers tented. “Apparently she’s tired of doing your job for you.”
“She doesn’t do my job for me. She works under me.” His mind spun, scrambling to think of an excuse to explain away the obvious fact that he’d been fucking up his job along with everything else in his life.
“Not anymore. You’re fired. I’m promoting Kayla into your role since she’s already doing it and doing it better than you ever did. You’re a mess, Prescott,” Stammler said with a sneer. “It’s a shame because you’re one of the smartest guys here, but you drink too much, you’re never here, and you’ve embarrassed this company one too many times. You’re done.”
Sebastian felt as though the floor was dropping out from underneath him, his stomach in freefall mode. A week ago, he’d been kicked out of his apartment after a misunderstanding with his landlord—you run one tiny gambling ring and everyone freaks out—and now he was unemployed. His life was unraveling before his eyes and he knew it was entirely his own fault. His breathing became faster and shallower, panic swamping him. What was he going to do now? He was unemployed and homeless, crashing with his brother.
It was terrifying enough to make him want to go do something stupid. Something reckless and risky and thrilling so that just for a little while, he could forget about the total clusterfuck his life had become.
No. No! That was what had landed him here in the first place. He knew it and knew he needed to figure his shit out and get his act together if he didn’t want to crash and burn to a point beyond salvaging.
And yet all he could think about was drinking until he was numb. Or taking what little money he had left and betting it all on something wild and crazy. Or heading to his “boxing gym” that was really an underground fighting ring where he’d let someone pummel him until he couldn’t think or feel anymore.
“Collect your things,” said Stammler with a dismissive wave of his hand, as though Sebastian was no one and not a guy who’d worked as a senior executive there for the past six years. “I want you out of the building within the next ten minutes.”
Pulling together the ragged scraps of his dignity, Sebastian stood and headed back to his office, where two security guards