Unbuttoned By Her Maverick Boss(4)

By: Natalie Anderson

He was still smiling but there was an edge back now—a deliberate challenge. But it was one she just had to turn down. No way was she playing ball with him. This wouldn’t be like some Hollywood movie where she scored a hoop first shot. She’d miss it by a mile and totally embarrass herself. She hadn’t played in years—to land baskets you needed to practise. She had no hope of relying on muscle memory now.

‘Perhaps it would be best if we reschedule this meeting,’ she ducked it.

The smile tugged harder on one corner of his mouth.

‘You might want to take a shower now,’ she added coldly.

His brows lifted then. ‘You really don’t like sweat?’ He laughed as he looked over her pale blue suit. ‘No. You wouldn’t, would you?’

She went silent—refusing to rise to that one. Truth was, she was feeling utterly human right now and starting to sweat herself just from looking at him. Cara hadn’t mentioned that her boss was completely gorgeous.

She looked at the graffiti again, eyes narrowed as she tried to work out one of the letters in that word.

‘Damn kids.’ He’d followed the direction of her gaze.

‘It could be worse,’ she said. Not wanting to find anything to agree on with him.

‘You think?’

‘Yeah, it could just be a tag—you know, initials, a name or something. But that’s actually quite a cool picture.’

He coughed. It started as a clear-your-throat kind of cough, but rapidly turned into a hacking one that sounded as if he were in danger of losing a lung. Anyone else and she’d ask if he was okay. But she wasn’t going anywhere nearer the personal with him. As it was they’d crossed some polite lines already and she was finding it way too unsettling.

‘It must have taken a while.’ She commented more on the graffiti just to cover the moment until he breathed freely at last. There actually was a lot of depth to the design. It couldn’t possibly be a three-minute spray and run number. ‘But it’s bad to do it to someone else’s property.’

‘You’re so right.’

She gave him a quick look. Was that a touch of laughter in his voice? His expression was back to brooding, even so, she suspected him.

‘So you’re desperate for an administrator, is that right?’ Finally she snapped back on track.

‘For the Whistle Fund, yes.’ He too suddenly went professional. ‘Kat, my receptionist here, has been too busy to be able to help much since Cara left. We’ve got a lot on right now so I need someone who can stay on board for at least a month. I need the mess sorted and then help with training a new recruit. I haven’t even got to advertise yet. Can you commit to it?’ He looked serious. ‘You’ll be paid of course. I wouldn’t expect anyone to take on this level of work voluntarily.’

‘I don’t need to be paid. I like to work voluntarily.’

‘You’ll be paid,’ he clipped. ‘You can donate it back to the charity if you like, but you’ll be paid.’

So he didn’t want to be beholden to her? But she didn’t need the money, the income from her trust fund was more than enough for her to get by. She’d always needed something to give her a sense of dignity—had never sat around doing nothing but shopping and socialising. It wasn’t the way she’d been raised. Yes, they had money, but they still had to do something worthwhile with their time. Only she hadn’t managed to follow in the family footsteps and pursue a law based career. Her mother, brother and sister were all super successful lawyers. All the true save-the-oppressed kind, not corporate massive-fee-billing sharks. Worse was her father, who was a retired judge. He still worked—publishing research, heading reviews of the system. Sophy’s surname was synonymous with excellence in the field. Not one of them had failed or even deviated from that path.

Only Sophy.

So she’d tried to gain her credibility by being the yes-person. Doing all the voluntary stuff, being the consummate organiser of everything they asked for—mainly their own lives. She might not have their legal brains, but she was practical. Yet in trying to keep up with them she’d made one stupid, massive mistake—she’d mistaken her personal value. So she’d gone away. While overseas she’d finally found her own passion, her own calling. And as soon as she got the time she was going to build her business and prove her skill to the family.

‘Cara’s office is in the building here.’ He seemed to take her silence for acquiescence. ‘It’s all yours. I thought we could cover her okay but with her baby coming so soon and with Dani away with Alex, I need someone who can concentrate wholly on it.’

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