The Paris Connection

The Paris Connection by Cerella Sechrist

Book: The Paris Connection by Cerella Sechrist Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cerella Sechrist
“We’re still friends,” she confirmed, “but we...” He noted her hesitation. “We try not to talk shop too much now that she no longer works for Aquitaine.”
    Emma turned her attention to her lap, where her napkin still rested, and began folding it neatly. He thought about questioning her further on her friend, but before he had a chance, the conversation continued.
    “It is a much more competitive market,” Marc stated. “And we must be better to accommodate it. It’s as simple as that.”
    Giselle scoffed. “It is hardly simple. We may have to be more creative than you think, Marc.”
    “Speak for yourself. I still have the technology sector well in hand. My placements are still considered some of the best in that field. If the consumer media market does not feel the same about you, then perhaps I could offer some pointers.”
    This sharp exchange barely registered with Cole. He had forced his gaze back to the tabletop, wondering how long he could keep from looking in Emma’s direction. So he was rather taken aback when he felt her elbow nudging him gently in the side. He straightened and turned to find her facing the others. But clearly she wanted him to join in.
    “That is why the merger with Reid Recruiting will be so beneficial to us. We’re now in partnership with one of the top-ranked recruitment firms in the United States. It is no longer just us. We’re part of something bigger, with increasing opportunities.”
    When she turned to face him, her eyes begging for his input, he found himself buoyed by her words. She had just declared herself a team player in this, had gone all in for the sake of him and this merger. Even after what he had implied just hours ago. Emma truly was exceptionally dedicated to this company. He nodded and looked around the table at each of his top-level recruiters.
    “Emma makes a good point. Not only do you—we,” he quickly corrected, “gain an even stronger reputation as a world-class recruitment firm, but our resources have effectively doubled. That gives us the edge we need to stay on top, as long as we keep seeking out and delivering the best possible candidates to our clients.”
    He watched as they straightened, taking in his words and recognizing that this was their company—he was their leader, and they were going to continue to be at the forefront of their field. He earned a reaction from each of them—Aurora straightened and lifted her head proudly; Louis squared his shoulders; Marc smirked with satisfaction; and even Giselle gave him a nod.
    When he finally looked at Emma, he found her smiling in a way that let him know he had said everything she wanted him to say. Unexpectedly, he grinned back and even went so far as to reach his arm around the back of her chair, feeling, perhaps for the first time since he had arrived, that he was truly a part of things and the leader of this company.
    He only had a few seconds to enjoy this feeling, however, before René appeared in the dining room’s doorway.
    “Is everyone ready for the evening’s activities?”
    Cole felt René seek him out and watched as the other man’s scrutiny passed between him and Emma. Cole relinquished the back of Emma’s chair and pushed away from the table, offering his assistance to help Emma to her feet. She paused briefly, looking at his proffered hand and then up into his eyes. She placed her fingers into his and allowed him to help her from the table. When he looked back toward René, he found the other man nodding at him in approval. Apparently, René thought he had patched things up rather well.
    Cole hoped that he had. Because for some reason, all he wanted at the moment was for Emma to keep a good opinion of him.
    * * *
    C ONSIDERING HOW MISERABLE she had been this afternoon, Emma had to admit that she was enjoying herself immensely. Dinner had been delicious, and she felt satisfied with the conversation and how Cole had helped her reinforce the benefits of the Reid and

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