“You’re a professional guy, Cal,” Warner began, choosing his words with care. For the most part, this call was meant to keep his fiancée from sticking her nose where it didn’t belong, but the subordinate staff didn’t need to know what was going on between Jessica and him. “You’ve already proved we can count on your discretion.”
“Of course,” Cal said, responding as expected to Warner’s calculated ego stroking.
“I don’t have to tell you nothing should be said to anyone about any of the phases of this development. I only want to make sure it’s crystal clear how sensitive the situation is.”
Cal remained silent, giving Warner room to make his point.
“When I say not to discuss details with anyone, I mean everyone other than Mr. Hayes or myself. Not even Jessica Hayes has clearance to access information about what we’re doing in Cedar Ridge.”
“She toured the site with you yesterday. She already knows what we discussed. Met some of the crew, too.”
“True,” Warner allowed. “A few things have come up, though. It could mean taking some … unusual steps to get back on track. It’s why your discretion is so important.”
Hopefully, he did. Warner didn’t want to have to spell it out completely. It eased his mind, though, that Jessica didn’t seem to have contacted Cal—yet. “Good. We’re on the same page,” he said. Now he could get to the second reason for the call. He’d come up with a brilliant plan for nudging one of the hold-out ranchers toward selling, and Cal would play a part. “There’s something else. I wanted to ask about the guy you pointed out yesterday. One of the men you hired to do day-work, on call.”
Cal paused for a moment. “Boone? The fella workin’ on the drywall crew in the dining room?”
Warner nodded. “I think that’s the one. Didn’t you say he also works at a local ranch?”
“Yeah. The Silver Jack. It’s not a full-time job. From what I understand, it’s been awhile since they had a regular crew. He works there when they need him and tries to get as many hours over here when they don’t. He’s good at construction. Reliable, too.”
Precisely what Warner wanted to hear. “Sounds like he could be an asset to the company. I want you to give him more hours. Full-time.”
“I’m not sure he’ll be open to that.” Cal hesitated. “I get the feeling he likes the flexibility of day-work. Likes to be available to work out at the ranch when they need him.”
“Why don’t they put him on full-time, then?” Warner already knew the answer.
“Dunno. Maybe they can’t afford it.”
Exactly. “We can afford it, though, and we were planning on expanding your crew anyway. Put him on as foreman, under you. Double his wage and have him start today. Pull a few guys from Edwards’ and Mendoza’s teams and put them under Boone. Set them to work on the spa. They can pick up where you had to leave off when we revised the blueprints for the main lodge.”
The pause on Cal’s end rang with uncertainty. “Yeah, we could be back on schedule in a week or two if we put another crew over there. I guess if Boone doesn’t accept the offer, we could give it to—”
“It’s not an offer,” Warner snapped. “This opportunity is strictly for Boone. Tell him it’s urgent, and there are no other options. Do what it takes to get him on board so we can get back on track. The guaranteed hours and increased pay should be enough. Tell him there’s a bonus if he finishes ahead of schedule.” No man would turn down a challenge with money attached to it.
“I’ll make the call as soon as we get off the phone.” Cal said, his voice conciliatory.
“Good. I’ll check back with you in a day or two. And, Cal—” Warner was still all-business, but he brought his tone down a few decibels, “—if Jessica shows up or calls or tries to insinuate herself into the project in any way, remember—you’re not to say anything to her. Not about what we’ve discussed today, or to confirm anything she may have picked up on when we were at the site yesterday.” He heard his voice growing hard again and forced himself to take a calming breath before going on.
“Look.” Warner continued, “Other companies want to get a toehold in the region. We want to be the first and the best resort in the area, so we can’t afford any leaks. I don’t think Jessica would tell company secrets indiscriminately, but you know how women are. They get to chatting at lunch or the salon without a thought to who might overhear.” Warner could good-old-boy the best of them and blue-collar Cal was no match. “You understand. Keeping her out of the loop is as much for her own sake as for protecting the business.”
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