Oui(The French Connection Book 1)(6)

By: Brooklyn Knight

The sensation of Ryder’s eyes burning holes through me filled me with joy and a small smile formed on my lips.

Mr. Carter’s voice cut through the unspoken tension. “If there aren’t any more questions, I’d like to introduce the man I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for. He’s one of the business world’s savviest moguls and a very good friend of mine, and I’m sure you each have read a lot about him.” Mr. Carter extended his hand to the double doors of the boardroom as it parted. “I now invite Mr. Dylan Hamilton to take the floor.”

Dylan Hamilton appeared at the threshold and in less than a second their air in my lungs dissipated. The CEO walked into the room dressed in a fine, heather-gray Italian suit, tailored to expensive perfection. The woven turquoise tie he wore was fixed with a Prince Albert knot, and his cufflinks sparkled against the bright, artificial lights. He was tall, stately, and solid. His jaw, covered with the right amount of stubble, was chiseled and strong, and his fierce brown eyes surveyed the room; but when they landed on me, my breath escaped me.

A debilitated whimper escaped my parted lips and I snapped my mouth closed.

His eyes narrowed, and hands curled into loose fists.

I tried with all my might to avert my gaze, to look at something – anything else, but the intensity of his eyes refused to release me. Our stares were locked and there was nothing I could do.

“Mr. Hamilton...” Mr. Carter called his name. It was only then that I was set free.

Chapter Two


‘Make It Up To You’

“Sir,” Mr. Carter called him again. “Dylan!” he whispered forcefully.

The CEO’s head shot around and he grabbed his tie, running his hand over it.

“Sir, I was just telling the students what a pleasure it is for you to do this every year...”

“Right, yes,” he responded. He turned to look at us again, but this time, there was no glitter in his eyes. He stepped further into the room, bringing with him a rich and delightful aroma. “Good morning to each of you,” he greeted us corporately. “I don’t doubt you’ve had an adequate welcome, but I would like to personally say how special this time is for me.”

He assumed his position in front of the room, towering over us, asserting his potent presence.

Ashely kicked my foot under the table.

“Every year, we are privileged to be exposed to new and exceptional talent; people that we desire to employ and work with as we strive to make ourselves the leader in the investment and insurance industry,” he continued. “That’s why each of you is here - because your professors at Johnson and Wales have seen something in you and have been kind enough to expose our upper level management to your skills and ability.” His profound voice seemed to rattle the room to the very corners.

Or maybe it just rattled my corners.

He looked around the room again but glossed over me. “I want to go around the room and have each of you tell me who you are and what your distinct area of interest is.”

Silence enveloped the room. I could hear breakfasts churning in stomachs.

“Starting with you.” He pointed to Ashley.

She cleared her throat. “My name is Ashley Tatem sir, and though I haven’t settled on a distinct area of interest as yet, I’m an eager student who wants to be exposed to all aspects of business. I think the benefits of general knowledge outweigh those of specialization.”

Mr. Hamilton’s lips formed a tight smile. “Welcome, Ashley.” He turned to Ryder, who jumped to attention.

“Ryder Hanson, sir. I have experience managing the high-income portfolios of some very wealthy clients. I worked at my father’s firm for three consecutive summers and as a result, have obtained a sound knowledge and understanding of diversification and asset management. I believe that’s where my skillset lies.”

“Very impressive, Mr. Hanson,” the CEO said crossing his arms over his broad chest. “And of course, your father is Ted Hanson, of Hanson and Hanson.”

“Yes, sir, that is correct.”

I bristled in my seat.

“I am very familiar with your father’s work. In fact, we’ve attended many conferences together. I understand you will be our intern for the next few months.” He offered Ryder a smile that turned me green. “I heard about your proposal. It had something to do with cyber insurance. Tell me more about it.”