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Mr. Hotshot CEO

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Mr. Hotshot CEO

  Mr. Hotshot CEO

  Kwan Sisters, Book 2

  Jackie Lau

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, companies, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

  Copyright © 2018 Jackie Lau. All Rights Reserved.

  First edition: July 2018

  ISBN: 978-1-7753047-1-5

  Editor: Latoya C. Smith, LCS Literary Services

  Cover Design: Flirtation Designs

  Cover photograph: Shutterstock

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page


  Meet Julian Fong...

  Chapter 1 | Julian

  Chapter 2 | Courtney

  Chapter 3 | Julian

  Chapter 4 | Julian

  Chapter 5 | Courtney

  Chapter 6 | Courtney

  Chapter 7 | Julian

  Chapter 8 | Courtney

  Chapter 9 | Julian

  Chapter 10 | Courtney

  Chapter 11 | Julian

  Chapter 12 | Courtney

  Chapter 13 | Julian

  Chapter 14 | Courtney

  Chapter 15 | Courtney

  Chapter 16 | Julian

  Chapter 17 | Courtney

  Chapter 18 | Julian

  Chapter 19 | Courtney

  Chapter 20 | Julian

  Chapter 21 | Courtney

  Chapter 22 | Julian

  Chapter 23 | Courtney

  Chapter 24 | Julian

  Chapter 25 | Courtney

  Chapter 26 | Julian

  Chapter 27 | Courtney

  Chapter 28 | Julian

  Chapter 29 | Courtney

  Chapter 30 | Courtney

  Epilogue | Courtney


  About the Author

  Also by Jackie Lau

  For Mom

  I miss you

  Meet Julian Fong...

  As CEO of Fong Investments, I’m a busy man. In fact, my family claims I’m an obsessive workaholic, and when they force me to take two weeks off, I have no idea what to do with myself.

  While brooding over an espresso, I meet Courtney Kwan, a biomedical researcher who savors the little things in life. And, suddenly, an idea strikes me—I will pay this woman to teach me how to enjoy my vacation from work.

  Soon, I find myself doing crazy things like baking cookies, reading for pleasure, buying a phallic cactus, and falling in love. But Courtney is dealing with some serious issues of her own, and I fear that when I return to work, I won’t be able to give her what she needs, and I’ll lose her forever...

  Chapter 1


  It’s five o’clock on a Thursday, but I’m far from finished work. I rarely leave my office at Fong Investments before seven.

  I pull up another report on my computer and stand up to stretch before I start reading. My shoulders are tight, and I can feel the beginnings of a headache.

  Unfortunately, just as I sit back down, I hear yelling outside my office door.

  “He’s my son! I don’t care what you say. I can see my son whenever I like. I know he’s in there. Don’t try to tell me he’s gone home. He never leaves the office this early.”

  That’s my mother.

  “I’m an old woman. Eighty-nine. Could drop dead any moment. Show me respect.”

  And that’s my grandmother. Po Po.

  Oh, dear God. Both my mother and my grandmother have shown up at my office.

  I feel bad for my assistant. Of course, part of Priya’s job is dealing with crap so I don’t have to, but it isn’t her responsibility to deal with my family.

  I swing open the door and see my mother, my grandmother, and a frazzled Priya.

  Plus Vince, my brother, who is smirking behind them.

  Shit. This is bad.

  “I’m sorry, Julian,” Priya says, wringing her hands. “I tried—”

  “It’s fine,” I say. “You can go home now.”

  “What do you want me to tell this guy?” She gestures to a man in overalls, standing behind Vince.

  “Who on earth is that?”

  “He says he’s here to change the locks on your office door.”

  “What the hell? I don’t want the locks changed. Find out who called him and get him out of here.”

  “I save you trouble. Locksmith was my idea.” Po Po lifts her head proudly. She’s less than five feet tall and missing a couple of teeth...and she’s a force to be reckoned with, especially when she has the support of my mother.

  “Good call, Ma,” my mother says. “Change the lock and don’t give him the key.”

  Vince slaps me on the back before sauntering into my office.

  “What’s going on?” I shout. “What are you all doing here?”

  My brother sits down in my chair, hands behind his head and feet up on the desk. “I’m just here for the entertainment.” He’s still smirking. That bastard.

  “Wait a few minutes,” Po Po says to the locksmith. “I have little talk with grandson, then you get to work.”

  The rest of my family parades into the room. Po Po sits down on the couch, and Mom and I remain standing. I shut the door, leaving Priya and the locksmith outside.

  “Now will you tell me what’s going on?” I ask.

  “Look at the vein throbbing in his temple,” Mom says to Po Po. “Not good. He’s stressed. Gets angry too easily.” Mom turns back to me and takes my hands in hers. “Julian, you work too hard.”

  “Of course I work hard,” I say. “I have a company to run. You, of all people, should appreciate how difficult that is. You know what it was like for Dad.”

  She nods. “And then he had a heart attack.”

  That was three years ago. My father had planned to retire at sixty-five, but after the heart attack, he figured he’d better take it easy, so he handed control of the company over to me a little earlier than we’d planned. Now he spends his time golfing and traveling the world with my mother, both of them wearing ugly T-shirts and multi-colored fanny packs.

  And this is the man who built Fong Investments from nothing and wore a suit every day.

  “We’re worried you will have a heart attack, too,” Po Po says.

  “I’m not going to have a heart attack. I’m young. I’m in excellent shape.”

  “I’m worried about your health in general,” Mom says. “What if you burn out? That’s why I want you to take two weeks off work.”

  I must be hearing things. “You want me to take two weeks off?”

  “That’s right. You need a break.”

  “It’s not possible. I have too much to do.”

  “I’ve talked to Raymond.” Raymond is one of the vice-presidents. “He said the next two weeks would be the best. Actually, it’ll be more than two weeks, since you’ll take tomorrow off, too. Eleven workdays and three whole weekends without any work. Seventeen days.”

  I look at my mother in horror.

  Asian mothers aren’t supposed to tell you that you’re working too hard. They’re supposed to tell you that you’re not working hard enough.

  “What am supposed to do for seventeen days without work?” I ask.

  “You can relax,” Vince says. “Like me.”

  “You’ve been relaxing for a full year.”

  “I know. It’s wonderful.”

  I’m the oldest of three boys, and Vince is the youngest. He started a tech company soon after finishing university and sold it for a lot of money last year. Since then, he’s been chilling in his swanky bachelor pad, eating and drinking like a king, jetting around the world, and chasing women.

m under the impression there have been a lot of women, but I try not to ask questions. I have a feeling I’m better off not knowing the details of my brother’s life.

  “It’s only seventeen days,” Mom says. “Seventeen days without coming into the office.”

  “Locksmith will change the lock so your key won’t work,” Po Po says. “See? Didn’t I have great idea?”

  Hmm. I can still work from home. This won’t be too bad, actually.

  “And you can’t work from home,” Vince says, holding up my laptop, tablet, and phone. “Because I’m going to put these in a safe for safe keeping.”

  I hurry across the room and try to yank the phone out of Vince’s hand. He dodges me and rushes to the opposite corner.

  “Aiyah!” Po Po says. “You act like little boys.” She stands up and gets between us.

  Dammit. I can’t go after my brother when my grandmother is in the middle.

  “You can read a book,” Mom says. “Maybe go to a resort and hang out by the pool? Or go on a date?”

  “Yes,” Po Po says. “You work too hard, and now you’re thirty-five, still single. All three of you in thirties, no one married, no great-grandchildren for me. Very sad. All my friends have many great-grandchildren, and I have none.”

  Her face scrunches up, and it looks like she’s about to cry.

  I suspect she’s trying to manipulate me.

  Mom pats her shoulder. “My friend Violet—do you remember her? She’s two years younger than me, and she also has three children. She’s already planned three weddings. Her fourth grandchild will be born next month. Four grandchildren, and I don’t even have one.”

  “I do not owe you a wedding to plan and a grandchild to coddle,” I say, gritting my teeth.

  “But you do owe us two weeks away from the office. I won’t take no for an answer. Raymond will be in charge, and your father can help out as needed.”

  “What does Dad think of your plan?”

  “He thinks it’s a great idea.”

  “Why isn’t he here?”

  Mom makes a face. “He’s golfing again.”

  “You can’t refuse,” Po Po says. “If so, I will make your life miserable.”

  I have no doubt she could accomplish this.

  “Every day at lunch,” she continues, “I bring new woman to your office. Will say you’re looking for nice bride. Also, will play Chinese opera music outside your door all day. Very loud.”

  Vince doubles over in laughter.

  “Priya wouldn’t let you do that,” I say.

  Priya must have been listening at the door because she chooses that moment to walk in. She’s in her late twenties, and she’s been my assistant since before I became CEO. She ought to be loyal to me.

  Except apparently she isn’t. Apparently, our many years of working together just mean she’s comfortable saying whatever she wants to me.

  “Your family is right,” she says. “You work too much. You need some time off. If you come into the office anytime in the next two weeks, I’ll get security to escort you out.”

  “You can’t do that,” I say.

  She puts her hand on her hip. “Why not?”

  “It’s my company. You can’t kick me out of my own company.”

  “I’m not kicking you out of your position. It’s just two weeks, Julian. The company will survive without you for two weeks.

  “Two weeks and three days,” I mutter.

  “I know you won’t fire me,” she says. “If security refuses to escort you out, I’ll let your grandmother bring in these prospective brides and blast opera music. You need this. You can’t keep working fourteen-hour days for the rest of your life.”

  I cross my arms over my chest. “Says who?”

  It’s my life. I can do whatever I want with it, and what I want is to turn Fong Investments into an even more successful company than it was under my father. My parents always had high expectations of us, and I want to make them proud. Plus, I’m the responsible son who gets things done. It’s just what I do. It’s unfair for them to expect that of me, then accuse me of working too much.

  Besides, it’s not like I don’t keep myself in good health. I wake up at five every morning so I can work out in my gym before getting into the office at seven. Then I’ll stay at work until about eight o’clock at night, go home and eat dinner, maybe read another report. After that, I’ll watch a TV show.

  See? I have free time. Not as much as Vince, but he has far too much of it.

  I look toward him and he grins.

  “I’ll help you figure out what to do with your time,” he says. “I’m going to a party tomorrow night. What do you say?”

  When I was a university student, I once went to a crazy party, which ended with me puking and passing out. That was sixteen years ago, and I’ve never done anything like that again.

  I suspect this is the sort of party Vince has in mind, not a fancy charity event where I can schmooze with important business people.

  “Are you ready for me yet?” It’s the locksmith. He’s standing in the doorway.

  “Almost done,” Po Po says. “Just wait.”

  My mother, my grandmother, and my assistant stand before me with their arms crossed. It’s a rather terrifying sight.

  “You know you’re screwed,” Vince says. “When we’re all on the same side, there’s no stopping us. Remember, Dad’s on our side, too, and I’m sure Cedric will be as well, once I tell him.” Cedric is my other brother.

  I sigh and scrub my hand over my face. “Fine. I’ll take two weeks off work.”

  But here’s my little secret: I don’t actually intend to take the full two weeks off.

  Instead, I’ll stay away from the office tomorrow and Monday, and I won’t come in on the weekend, either. Hopefully four days will be enough to appease them, and then they’ll move on from this little Julian-is-banned-from-work decree.

  Four days without work is bad enough, but seventeen days?

  Not happening.

  * * *

  After having dinner at a Thai restaurant with Mom, Po Po, and Vince, I get home at seven thirty. I live in the penthouse of a condo building in downtown Toronto. It’s only a ten-minute walk from Fong Investments, so it’s very convenient.

  With a groan, I collapse on the couch in the living room. Not because I’m exhausted—far from it. I’m home earlier than usual, in fact.

  What on earth am I going to do for the next four days? I can barely comprehend the idea of having so much free time. I can’t remember the last time this happened to me.

  Probably when I was in kindergarten, if that. We always had lots of activities: baseball, soccer, piano, math class, Chinese school...

  The thought of Chinese school reminds me that I’m teaching myself Spanish—I’m nearly fluent. For the next few days, I can immerse myself in Latin American literature and popular culture. Maybe I’ll even binge-watch a TV show in Spanish. Apparently, binge-watching is when you watch several episodes back-to-back. I’ve never done it—when would I have the time?—but I could give it a try.

  I’m about to pull out my phone to look for some new shows when I remember that Vince confiscated it.

  Damn. It’s going to be a very long four days.

  Chapter 2


  I rock Heather back and forth, careful to support her neck as she is only a month old.

  Heather decides she’s hungry and starts looking for a nipple. Unfortunately for her, I am her aunt, not her mother, and cannot provide her with the breast milk she seeks. Also, she’s latching onto my shoulder, not my breast. She starts crying when she realizes no milk is coming from Aunt Courtney’s shoulder.

  I stand up and walk around the room, putting a bounce in my step, as this is what Heather likes. Or at least, it’s what she liked the last time I saw her, which was four days ago.

  “I asked Will if he wants children,” says Naomi, my sister. She is Heather’s other aunt, and she’s sitting on the couch, watc
hing me doing this strange bouncing walk.

  “Oh? What did he say?” I ask.

  “He says he wants one or two.”

  Naomi smiles. She and Will are sickeningly cute together, although Will would probably grumble about the word “cute” being used to describe him. They’re in the early stages of their relationship, but Naomi says she “just knows,” and to be honest, I feel that way about them, too. My younger sister and I have always been close, and this man is different. I can tell.

  So now it’s just me who’s single. Jeremy, my older brother and Heather’s father, is married, and Naomi is already talking about marriage and kids with her new boyfriend.

  It’s okay. I’ve always known it would turn out this way, and I’m happy for my sister.

  Heather has stopped trying to get milk from my shoulder. She looks up at me with serious dark eyes, discovering her new world, and I can’t help but smile at her.

  “I’m Auntie Courtney,” I say. “Your favorite aunt. Your fun aunt.”

  “Hey!” Naomi says. “Stop feeding her lies. Heather, don’t listen to her.”

  Naomi looks at me and we laugh.

  My sister was joking, but it’s true. She’s definitely the fun aunt.

  Most people think of Naomi as a fun person, whereas I’m pretty sure nobody thinks of me that way. I have a PhD and I work as a biomedical researcher...things that certainly don’t scream “fun.” Plus, I’m the complete opposite of a party girl. Just the thought of me partying is worthy of another laugh.

  It’s a good sign that I’m still able to laugh, but that will change soon. It’s August, and autumn is just around the corner.

  It’s been five years since the last time I was sick. I know it’s coming, sometime this fall.

  Because it’s always five years.

  Heather closes her eyes and starts sucking her fist. She’s wearing an adorable dinosaur onesie. My chest squeezes.

  You can’t have this, I remind myself, and I try not to be sad about that. My life is pretty good. I shouldn’t complain about the fact that having a partner and a baby doesn’t seem possible for me, although I can’t help longing for those things.

  “You’re just so cute,” I say to my niece.

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