Home > Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(15)

Professor Feelgood (Masters of Love #2)(15)
Author: Leisa Rayven

Not so cocky now, are you, sport?

Despite the positive feeling in the room, I’m not stupid enough to think I have this thing in the bag. I spied on Devin’s presentation earlier, and it pains me to admit he did an amazing job. His graphics were slick, elegant, and enticing, and let’s face it, if he were able to land a sequel to Rageheart, it could be written in crayon and barely legible, and people would still buy it. His proposal equals money in the bank. But mine has edge, and that’s going to be our big point of difference. Does Mr. Whip want something that’s traditional and safe, or risky and exciting? I’m hoping it’s the second option.

I click my controller again, and the profit graph flashes on the screen. “As you can see, these projections are conservative. If only ten percent of his followers buy the book, we’re still looking at having a major hit on our hands. But to be honest, I’d expect the sales numbers to be significantly higher. I think word of mouth is going to make this book a viral sensation, and the professor’s style would appeal to a broad cross-section of readers.”

I can hear my voice trembling as I speak, but I think it’s more from excitement than nerves. I haven’t stumbled over any words or accidentally flashed anyone, so overall, I’m calling it a win.

I glance at the screen as I bring up a final montage, featuring some of the professor’s most striking photos superimposed with his powerful words.

Okay, girl, bring it home.

“There are certain defining moments in the history of publishing. Those in which the right book comes along at the right time and speaks to the hearts and minds of a generation. I truly believe this is that book. And I would be honored to be given the opportunity to make it the new flagship in the armada of Whiplash success stories. Thank you.”

I let out a shaky breath as I finish and then stand there as I wait for feedback. Serena is practically beaming at me, and Sidney gives me a subtle thumbs-up.

Mr. Whip takes his time before he says anything. He flicks through the hard copy of my presentation once more, and then stares at me for a few seconds before giving a small nod. “Well done, Asha. A very creative idea. We have a few more presentations to see before we make our decision, but I think it’s safe to say you’ve impressed us.”

My smile is so big, it hurts my face. “Thank you, Mr. Whip. I appreciate that.”

“Please send in the next candidate.”

I quickly gather my materials and hustle out to where Kandace, one of our veteran editorial assistants, is nervously waiting. “They’re ready for you. Knock ‘em dead.”

She gives me a tremulous smile before heading into the lion’s den.

When I get back to my desk, I collapse into my chair. God, this promotion is so close, I can taste it. Everything just feels right, like I should email our office manager and tell her to order my new business cards.

My phone buzzes with a text from Joanna. <You NAILED THAT! You’ve got this promotion in the bag, baby!>

I text back a range of happy/nervous emojis, and then look up to find Devin standing in front of me.

“Not bad, Tate,” he says as he shoves his hands into his pockets. “There were a couple of moments there I thought you were going to ralph on your notes, but you managed to keep it together.”

“I just kept thinking about how much I wanted to beat you, Devin, and my stomach was more than happy to cooperate.”

He smoothes down his tie. “It’s a big risk, gambling everything on a guy who isn’t even an author.”

“I think there’s a small leap from being a writer to being an author, and this guy is definitely a writer. Not much of a gamble in my mind when he can describe emotions so well. People are going to lose their minds over him.”

He gives me a condescending smile. “Did you see my presentation? Sandra Larson. She’s a pretty big deal, right?”

“Absolutely. Your presentation was excellent.”

“But you think you have me beat?”

I shrug. “I think Whiplash is ready to showcase an author they’ve discovered. It’s beyond overdue. Professor Feelgood could be their guy.”

Devin’s face twitches. “You keep telling yourself that when I’m sending you to get my coffee.”

He slinks away, and I marvel that all I had to do to get him to stop flirting with me was compete for the job he wants. So simple, and yet, so effective.

I stand so I can spy on what’s happening in the fish bowl. Poor Kandace looks like she’s about to pass out.

After sitting back down, I wake up my computer and try to concentrate on work for a while, but the second I hear people emerging from the conference room, I stand to see Serena coming back to her office.

She gestures for me to follow her. “Pretend we’re chatting about the Delaney book, and keep your face neutral,” she says in a low voice.

I nod as she hands me a file. “Okay.”

She shuffles papers around her desk as she talks, barely looking at me. “I can’t say anything officially, but you blew us away, Asha. Your presentation was excellent, and I think you convinced Robert that you’re the right person for the job. I’m talking with finance about what sort of offer we can put together for the professor, and I’ll contact him tomorrow to get the process started. Do you have a number for him?”

I nod. “I’ll text it to you. What about Devin and Sandra Larson?”

“Robert doesn’t want the hassle of getting her out of her current contract; it could take months. Plus, we can’t afford her. It would blow our entire budget for next year. She’ll no doubt go with one of the big five.”

I keep my face neutral, but I can’t help the edge of excitement that creeps into my voice. “My God, Serena, I’m really going to be an editor?”

She scribbles something on her day planner and flashes me the briefest of smiles. “Looks like it, sweetheart. Are you ready to publish a bestseller?”

“Hell, yes!”

“Good. Now, get out of here and act like I didn’t say anything. Don’t even tell Joanna. Once I’ve locked down the professor, Robert will make the formal announcement. Oh, and be prepared to help me find someone to replace you. You’re a pretty hard act to follow, young lady.” She shoots me another look, and I pull down the corners of my mouth as I nod and head back out to my desk.

Acting as natural as I can, I shoot off a text to the professor’s number.

<My bosses LOVED the idea of your book. Nothing is official yet, but if it all goes as expected, someone will contact you tomorrow to sort out the details. CONGRATULATIONS! You’re going to be a published author!>

As I send the message, I can feel a giant smile threatening to reveal itself, but at the last second I press my lips together and head it off at the pass.

Across the office, I see Devin leaning against the doorway to the break room, staring at me. I’m positive I’m not giving anything away, but I don’t miss the slight frown he gives me before he salutes with his coffee cup and goes back to his desk.

Wow, I’m really not going to miss having him drop by every day. Soon I’ll have a real office with a real door, and Devin is going to have to get used to it slamming in his face.

SIX

____________________

It’s All Good, Eventually

THE NEXT MORNING AS I stroll down the bustling streets of Brooklyn on a particularly glorious autumn day, I swear I can hear the strains of “Walking on Sunshine” following me around. I’m having one of those days; the kind where you have the world on a string, and it feels like nothing can derail your positive momentum.

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