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       Pencil Me In (Cubicle Thunder Book 1), p.1

           t. h. snyder
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Pencil Me In (Cubicle Thunder Book 1)


  Pencil Me In #1

  Cubicle Thunder Series

  by

  Author t. h. snyder

  © 2016 t. h. snyder (Tiffany Snyder)

  Published by t. h. snyder

  First published in 2016. All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from the fair purpose of private study, research or review as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

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

  Image Copyright

  Cover Artist Judy Perkins of Concierge Literary Promotions

  Acknowledgements

  I want to THANK the following people for their SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT throughout this journey.

  The idea of Cubicle Thunder was something that seemed to have just happened. I was at work one day chatting away with my coworkers and it hit me. Thank you Stephon and Jared for making me laugh Monday through Friday…y’all rock!!!

  My READERS, I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you for sharing in my stories and allowing your minds to live in the lives of my characters. I love receiving your words of encouragement and telling me how much you love the craziness that runs rapid through my head.

  Those AMAZING Indie Authors out there who INSPIRED me to do something I never thought was possible. You showed me that with a little motivation and imagination anything is possible.

  My street team #Pimpette4Life…I really don’t know what I would do without all of you ladies by my side. You support my crazy and always push me to my limits.

  My TWO fanflippintastic PAs Traci and Beth. I couldn’t do half of the stuff I do without you two. Thank you for taking so much time out of your days to support me, pimp me and love me for who I am.

  My two very BEST FRIENDS. When times get rough and I want to bang my head against the wall (don’t laugh, true story), I can always count on my girls. Love you both long time Skye Turner and JM Witt #OverAnalyzeThisGirls.

  My ROCKS…you three are my sounding boards, my stress relievers and the ones I turn to when I feel like I have nowhere else to go. I couldn’t be me without you guys….love you so much Carrie Moore, Kris Adams and Jason Kercheski.

  My #MamaBoo Judi Perkins, who listens to my hours of rants, calms my nerves and created an amazing cover. Love you forever woman!!!

  My editor Donna S. Perkins, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking on the challenge of reading my words. I appreciate you more than you know.

  My incredible BETA girls! You ladies tell me how it is without holding back. I love and value your opinions more than you know

  My FAMILY!! You all CHEER me on every day telling me how PROUD you are of my ACCOMPLISHMENT. I couldn't have done this without you Mom, Angie, Dad and Mar.

  To my two WONDERFUL kids, you are my world Raeghyn and Mason. I love you both to infinity and beyond.

  Chapter One

  Judi

  My nerves are running rampant through my entire being. For the past forty-five minutes I’ve managed to shower, get dressed and apply my makeup without slipping, falling or breaking a limb.

  “Ugh, this is so not an easy task”, I mutter to myself while blowing a strand of hair from my face and attempting to not poke out my eye with the mascara wand.

  I need to be more careful, I am slightly accident prone. Umm…no Judi, you are an on-purpose accident waiting to happen. Rolling my eyes, I get it…I get that Grace should not have been my chosen middle name but I’m usually a cool and calm chick. It’s just that this morning I’m rushing around faster than a hamster spinning on its wheel cracked out on speed. I’m out of sorts and can barely catch my breath, let alone remember if I’ve put on my panties.

  Shit!

  Trying to recall if I actually did, I slip my hand beneath the hem of my skirt and shimmy my way up to the promise land. Feeling the lace material against my fingertips, I release a heavy sigh. Yup, I’m good. Phew, no commando today. Quickly removing my hand from between my legs I straighten my skirt before reaching for the curling iron. Pulling my long blonde strands of hair through the hot metal clamp, I stare back at my reflection within the mirror. With a smirk, I admire my bright blue eyes trimmed in black eye liner, my high cheek bones adorned with a subtle blush and the natural golden glow of my complexion.

  Meh, I don’t look half bad…considering I’ve overslept.

  I hate being late and having to race around like a loon. Today is my first day at a new gig with Half Staff Consulting and I’m feeling a tad bit anxious. Shit who am I kidding? I’m a hot fucking mess. Pausing for a moment, I attempt to think of anything else I may have forgotten. Scrunching my brow, I set down the curling iron before lifting my arm over my head and sniffing my armpit.

  Ugh, damn it to all that is holy.

  Opening the top drawer, I pull out my deodorant and continue to curse under my breath. Carefully I slip the plastic container into the front of my shirt without leaving a trail of white. Once I’ve applied enough powdery fresh scent to both pits, I scan myself in the mirror, double and triple checking I didn’t leave behind any residue. Tossing it back into the drawer, I rapidly finish curling the last few strands of hair. With the last piece of hair steaming away, I click my tongue against the roof of my mouth. An annoying noise begins to play from my cell, startling me and causing my arm to flinch. The quick movement of my arm pulls the heat of the metal flush against my skin searing a burn to the side of my neck. My finger tips quickly drop the device onto the counter as I push my hair to the side and lean in closer to the mirror.

  “Really….seriously….are you kidding me?!?!?” I screech as a bright red mark begins to appear on my neck.

  Could anything else go wrong – no, I can’t even think it. With little to no time left to fix this issue, I grab my make-up bag and dab on a coat of liquid foundation. The stress of all this rushing around makes me feel like I could hurl at any given moment.

  Trying to focus on the tasks at hand and not the mere fact that I must look like a chicken running around with my head cut off, I take in a few steady, short breaths. Swallowing the lump rising in the back of my throat, I glance down at my Michael Kors watch. My head starts to spin as I close my eyes and count backwards from ten. Breathe woman, in through the nose and slowly out through the lips.

  After a few moments I begin to calm myself down and completely forget why I even looked at the time. My mind goes off to another place. Opening my eyes, I admire the rose gold links that beautifully accent my wrist. I love this watch. One, that I might add, cost me a pretty penny. After learning that my last place of business was going under, I knew I shouldn’t have gone on that ‘lil shopping spree, but shit why else were credit cards invented? The moment I saw this I knew I had to have it. I like nice things. I feel attractive when I’m sporting the most fashionable accessories and wardrobe attire. It’s the not-so-simple things in life that make me content. I’m not vain…well maybe just a bit, but who cares. This is me and I’m all about looking as amazing as fanflippin’ possible. Smiling to myself, I look down at the hands resting against the face of the watch. Realization of the time registers through my mind, panic once again setting
in and causing my smile to fade into a frown.

  “Son of a bitch!” I shout to no one but myself. I’m going to be late. I can’t afford to be late. Who the hell forgets to set their God damned alarm clock on the first day of a new job? “Me, that’s who,” I mutter to my reflection in the mirror. “Shut the hell up Judi,” I curse back to myself with a sneer. Good lord shoot me now. I’m having a conversation with the mirror, well myself…myself in the mirror.

  With a pout of frustration on my face, I quickly grab the new tube of lipstick off the vanity and apply the ravishing color to my plump and perfectly round lips. Smacking them together I glance into the mirror before checking the time again. Damn it, ten minutes has passed. Seriously, I’m so lost in thought I don’t know where the hell the time has gone. Slapping my palm to my forehead, I try to push the past half hour behind me and set my mind on what else I need to do before leaving. I’m so all over the place this morning I can’t keep a coherent thought for more than a few moments. I need to pull my shit together, I have to focus. Otherwise I’ll never get out of here and I’ll be late…very late for my first day of work.

  With quick strides, I make my way toward the door of my apartment as I shake my head at the insanity that courses through my veins, before sliding my toes into my three inch black heels. With one last look in the hallway mirror, I admire my perfectly painted red lips. I stand tall running my hands over my hips while pushing out the girls. The curves of my body are nicely on display beneath the black blouse and skirt. Even for work I look fucking hot. Inhaling a deep breath, I rush toward the door, quickly grabbing my keys and purse.

  Half Staff Consulting is a firm whose primary focus is on the entertainment industry, something I’m not too familiar with and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a slight bit intimidated. I’ve worked as a consultant in the marketing industry for years and it’s something I’m damn good at. I know my shit. I’m highly educated and have the experience to make a huge difference regardless of the business focus. Consulting others and helping them increase their worth is a part of who I am and something I can do very well, no matter how much self-doubt tries to weigh me down.

  Pulling into the lot, I’m able to make it to the office with ten minutes to spare, thanks to the speedy flow of traffic along the freeway. The last thing I needed was to get caught up in a traffic jam and be late. Setting my car in park, I glance in the rearview mirror examining my lipstick. While running my fingertips through the length of my long blonde waves, I make a point to check the burn on my neck and ensure it’s well hidden. Considering the lack of time I had to get my shit together this morning, I look pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Now it’s time to put on my work face and get inside. I can do this, even if the uncertainty of being the new girl sits low in the pit of my stomach.

  Exiting my car, I move toward the building. Looking up into the sky, large dark clouds swiftly begin to move in. A raindrop falls down onto the tip of my nose, my strides increasing. A gust of wind whirls around me causing my hair to flutter across my face. The tangled web of strands continues to fly all over the damn place as I hurry through the parking lot. My hands move to comb them down in place as the sky opens and the rain pours down on top of me.

  “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me Chicago,” I squeal before running in my heels to the building. As I approach the tall glass structure concern spirals down my spine. Could this morning get any worse? I’m completely soaked from top to bottom. I can only image that I now look like a drowned rat.

  A subtle cry releases from my throat as I make my way into the building and through the lobby. I can feel a hundred eyes boring holes through my chest. Men and women in business suits move rapidly around me while I stand here dripping wet. Embarrassment lurks its way up my mind, I don’t want to even imagine how dreadful I must appear in this given moment. Making eye contact with the receptionist, I take a few more steps toward her.

  “Hi, my name is Judi Marcs and I’m here for my first day,” I quietly remark.

  She continues to stare back at me, her eyes lingering at mine before scanning their way over my soaking wet body.

  “Oh my dear, it seems as if you got yourself caught up in that storm,” she pauses for a moment while her hand covers her mouth to quiet the giggle bursting from her lungs. “Bless your heart. Why don’t you go tidy yourself up and dry those clothes in the ladies room while I let Mr. Shire know you have arrived,” she replies, looking to me with what I’m not sure.

  Is she being sarcastic or empathetic? Either way I know I need to fix myself before my future boss sees me looking like I just fell into a carnival dunk tank. Looking to my left, I see the restroom.

  “Yes that would be great, thank you,” I reply moving through the large space. The sound of my heels click loudly against the tile floors, the feeling of water oozing between my toes with each step.

  Entering the room, mirrors surround me. “Good lord,” I gasp. My appearance is worse than dreadful. Hot mess can’t come close to justifying the way I look. My long blonde strands of hair are matted down to the sides of my face, makeup running down my cheeks and my clothes sticking tightly to every inch of my body.

  Lifting my arms in the air, I begin to run my fingertips through the tangled mess of hair.

  How in the hell am I going to clean this up?

  Chapter Two

  Palmer

  Tapping my fingertips against the top of my desk, I glance at the time on my computer screen before I begin to stare off into space. The bleak colored walls of the room are tiresome and I’m bored. I’ve only been in the office an hour and already I’m counting down the hours toward the end of the day to hit. Not like I have much awaiting me at home, just the couch, a cold bottle of beer and whatever the hell is on television…thrilling, I know.

  I really shouldn’t complain, yet here I am doing just that. Honestly I really do enjoy my job as a senior consultant. The pay here is amazing and the benefits are top notch, it’s just that lately the work load and the unintelligent agents are becoming more than mundane. Every day is the same thing, different shit. There’s no challenge, I’m damn good at what I do. I’ve become a robot within my own work environment. I come in, wheel and deal a few fancy propositions, reel in the men and women who make millions and then slap up the high dollar price tag. I never fail and the services we offer are well worth the money. I’m competitive as hell. I set high expectations for myself and I’d be damned if I didn’t see them through. I want the client and I’ll basically stop at nothing to get the win.

  Working in the entertainment industry can have its fill of interesting moments to say the least, but I need more. Something that will make me want to come into the office every day. Perhaps a little eye candy, someone who I can actually have a connection with outside the mediocre banter I share with my coworkers. I don’t want to appear as an ungrateful ass, “err…too late I suppose,” I mutter with a roll of my eyes. I like what I do and the people I work with. I just need a boost, a pick me up and a task that will push me to my limits. For the past five years I’ve spent hours upon hours trying to be the best at what I do, it just has gone unrecognized and the frustration of it all is wearing me down.

  Seriously, fuck my life.

  Removing my gaze from the wall, I realize I’m whining like a three year old who lost his puppy dog. I’m better than that and I need to snap myself back to reality. Scrolling through my calendar a small window pops on the screen, alerting me to an incoming email. Minimizing some unnecessary windows, I open Outlook to find a response from my last sent proposal. For a second I pause, staring back at the computer screen. This is one of the largest deals Half Staff has ever produced. It could be millions of dollars for the firm and a nice piece of change for myself. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned to open the email. I may indeed be good at getting what I want, but this is a win of a lifetime for me.

  With my hand trembling, I lift my half empty coffee mug to my lips. Not paying attention to my hand-to-mo
uth coordination skills, I completely miss my chops while the now cool liquid trickles out of the ceramic cup and down onto my pants. With eyes bulging out of the sockets, I jump out of my chair, letting the mug fall out of my fingertips down onto the floor.

  “Shit, piss, fuck,” I shout causing the whack-a-mole effect to circulate around the nearby cubicles in the office.

  “Palmer, your mouth,” Wendy whispers with her index finger pressed firmly across her lips.

  I roll my eyes in her direction before bending down to pick up the fallen mug.

  “Zip yo lip woman, I just spilled brown shit all over my khaki pants. Now it looks like I shart myself,” I grumble under my breath.

  “I can still hear your whining Palmer. Go clean your shit pants up or go home. Either way I see it, you’re going to look like a fool,” she retorts with a giggle.

  Reaching for something to throw in her direction, my eyes spot the stapler but I change my mind. That would indeed leave a mark. Instead I grab a handful of paperclips and chuck them in her direction.

  “Asshole,” she squeals shielding her face from any additional objects I could choose to toss her way.

  Laughing at the look on her face, I decide to end our fit of shenanigans for now and find a way to clean up my pants. Making my way around the tall and short cubicles, my boss Taylor Shire cuts in front of me catching me off guard.

  “Palmer, excellent, just the man I needed to find. I need a favor and I’m hoping you’re able to assist. It’s a bit last minute on my part, but a new employee is starting today and I need your help.”

  “My help?” I ask with a raised brow, his need of my assistance intrigues me. He rarely ever approaches me unless he needs something…shocker, here he is asking for help, yet again.

  “Yes Palmer. As much as I’d love to show her around and introduce her to the team, there’s a meeting I must attend. I would greatly appreciate you showing her to her desk and helping her get situated until I’m available,” he states.

 
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