Unworthy Heart Deleted Scene #1


“Are you crazy, Ryan? We can’t do that. You know each team is responsible for their individual piece of the project.” Maiya Rossini sat at her desk in her home office listening—or cutting off rather—Ryan Donnelly as he lay out his latest and greatest for solving the newest roadblock on the marketing project he managed for their company. A campaign her team had a large stake in. 

Propping her elbow on her desk, Maiya rested her head in her hand, tapping her pen on her notepad with the other. “The better approach is to hold them accountable and make sure they complete the layout validation themselves like they’re supposed to do.” There. That sounded professional and matter of fact.

“They haven’t gotten to it yet. Why can’t we just test it ourselves? Then it’ll be done and we can move forward. Listen, I have this all figured out.”

“No, no way. Besides, that’s not how we do things. Look, I know you’re frustrated, and I appreciate your…” She searched for the right word. “Dedication, but…” Maiya blew out an exasperated breath at a complete loss of what else to say.

They’d had this same conversation—or variation of it so many times in the last few weeks it bordered on ridiculous. The man needled every patient bone in her body, and although she could appreciate his drive to succeed, she needed to rein him in.

“It’s simple, we just...” Ryan continued, oblivious to her words.

Tossing the pencil aside, she leaned back in the chair, and propped her feet on the edge of her messy desk. She gazed up and mentally traced little shapes in the textured ceiling, half listening as he babbled on and on. Every so often she’d interject the ever important, “Uh huh’s” and “Mm hmm’s,” adding an eye roll here and there, which of course, he couldn’t see. She really should think about repainting the ceiling. 

“You’re not even listening to me are you?” 

“Huh? Oh, of course I am.” She dropped her feet to the floor. “I think you’re jumping the gun is all, and you’ll probably screw it up, but... you do what you feel is right. You are the lead project manager after all.” She rolled her eyes.

“Why am I not surprised you don’t agree with me?” He let out a sigh and her skin tingled. 

“Sorry.” She shrugged. “I really think you need to just realize I’m right and do what I say. The sooner you do that, the easier things will get.” Maiya raised her brows, and pursed her lips, eager to hear his response. She knew full well her playful arrogance would annoy him. A beat of silence hung on the line before he finally spoke again. 

“Black.”

“What?” 

He chuckled. “Now you say, white.” 

“What. Ever. Are you saying I’m being difficult on purpose? You know, no need to answer that question. It’s okay, I know your sensitive male ego just can’t take being wrong so often In fact, admitting I’m right might just be the death of you.” 

A half groan, half growl sounded in her ear from the other end of the line. Damn, he sounded so yummy when he made that noise.

And there it was. Again! The little warm knot she felt in her stomach each time their conversations strayed from serious work topics to laughter, and something akin to flirtation hidden beneath sarcastic teasing sparked to life. Never mind how sexy his voice sounded over the phone. It made every inch of her skin get tight. 

“You’re getting an answer. You ready? Yeah, you love being difficult for no reason. I think your middle name is difficult. It is, isn’t it? Maiya ‘Difficult’ Rossini. I know it.” He laughed. “Look, either way, I need your team’s help if I’m going to pull this off.”

“Ooh, you’re so lucky I’m going to let those zingers slide... for now. And FYI, you already have my team’s cooperation, Ryan. You have one of my best analysts on this project. What you’re proposing is to do everyone’s job for them. Control freak much?” She snorted. 

“Low blow. I’m not a control freak. I’m simply saying— Wait, did you just snort?” 

“Of course I did.” She spun in a circle in her chair, wearing a grin the size of her couch. 

He burst out laughing. “You kill me, Maiya.” 

“Not dead, yet, Ryan. Guess I need to step up my game.” 

“Bring it. I don’t think you have it in you.” 

“A challenge, huh? You’ll lose if I really turn up the heat.” Speaking of heat, she’d gone warm all over. And again, dead silence on the other end of the line. She guessed she won this round. Point for me. Maiya cleared her throat and leveled her tone in an attempt to sound more serious and get the conversation back on track. “Anyway, let me know what you decide to do.”

Their teasing banter came too easy between them now, and Maiya was trying her best—sort of, but not really—to avoid it. And lately ruffling his feathers had become a game she enjoyed a little too much. 

 “Okay, okay. I’ll get back to you. Talk soon.” He hung up.

Shaking her head, she placed her wireless headset on its cradle, scooped up her cell and walked to her backyard.  Maiya plopped down in one of the cherry red, cushioned Adirondack chairs on her patio, stretched out her legs on the ottoman and lit a cigarette.  “That man is a pain in my ass.”

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