Unbuttoned By Her Maverick Boss(5)

By: Natalie Anderson

‘Full time?’ Sophy’s heart was sinking. She just wasn’t going to be able to say no.

‘Maybe for the first week to catch up.’ His grin was touchingly rueful. ‘After that just the mornings should be enough. And I’d need you to be present at whatever evening meetings there are and the functions. Actually, you need to finalise the details for the next one.’

Yes. The Whistle Fund was famous for its functions—fabulous evenings of entertainment that drew the rich and famous out, and got them to open their wallets too. The presence of the ‘stars’ meant the presence of Joe Public was huge too—everybody liked to be a VIP for a night.

‘You can’t find anyone else?’ Sophy tried one last avenue. ‘Maybe from a temp agency?’

‘Cara wanted to be sure the office was in good hands. She doesn’t trust that a stranger will be able to come in and fix it. I don’t want to stress her any more than she already is. And she told me you’re the only one who can get this job done. I promised her I’d give you a shot.’

Sophy’s ears pricked at the slight hint of sarcasm—did he think she couldn’t get it done? Her spine stiffened—why, she could sort that lot upstairs in her sleep.

Cara had pleaded for her to come. Because Sophy’s sister, Victoria, was one of Cara’s best friends. And Victoria had talked to Cara—assured her Sophy was the one to do it: she was available, she was capable. Now it seemed she was all Cara could accept.

Sophy might as well have never gone away. Since landing back she’d stepped straight back into the overcommitted, overscheduled life she’d left two years before. No one had stopped to think she might have other things she wanted to do. And why should they? Hadn’t she been saying yes—as she always had?

So she should say no now. Say sorry, but that she had other priorities and couldn’t give him that much time. She looked at him, tried really hard not to let her gaze slip down his body again. There was a hard look in his eyes—as if he didn’t really believe what Cara had told him about her, and that he expected her to say no. That he’d just as soon phone for some anonymous temp and be done with it. Suddenly she sensed that he didn’t like having to ask her at all. That made her stand up even straighter.

And there was Cara herself, wasn’t there? Hovering over her tiny daughter in the incubator—with enough on her mind without needlessly worrying about her boss being so stressed out. What a crock. If Cara had seen him today, she’d have known she had no cause for concern—he was so relaxed he was out wasting time playing ball. But Sophy couldn’t let her sister’s friend down—just as she’d never let her sister down.

‘I’ll be back tomorrow to start,’ she said briskly.

‘I’ll be here to show you the ropes.’

‘Nine a.m.’ She let her gaze rake him one last time. ‘Sharp.’

She turned and walked. His words came just as the door closed behind her. Whether she was meant to hear the low suggestively spoken reply she didn’t know, but she did—and it almost incinerated her.

‘Yes, ma’am.’


NINE a.m. came and went. Sophy sat in the office that looked as if it had been hit by a cyclone and checked her watch every thirty seconds or so. Unbelievable. No wonder this place was in such a mess. He certainly needed help. But he was so going the wrong way about getting it.

She filled in five minutes by moving some of the mail to find the keyboard. Decided to start opening and sorting it. Forty minutes later a portion of the desk was clear, the recycling bin was full of envelopes and half the letters were neatly stacked in classified piles. At that point she decided she shouldn’t go further without consulting him. She went downstairs to the receptionist.

‘Kat? I’m Sophy. Here to work on the Whistle Fund admin. Do you know where Mr Hall is?’

The receptionist blinked at her. ‘I thought he was up with you. I’ve been taking messages because he’s not picking up the phone.’

‘Well, he’s not with me.’

‘He’s not out the back?’

No. Naturally out of the window had been the first place she’d looked. Sophy heard the front doors slide open and turned expectantly. A courier driver walked in with a parcel under his arm.

‘Can you see if he’s on the third floor?’ Kat asked. ‘I need to deal with this.’

‘Of course,’ Sophy answered automatically.

The third floor—was that where Lorenzo’s office was? She climbed the stairs. Stopped at the second floor and checked the other two offices there once more—both were in a far better state than Cara’s. They actually looked as if people worked in them—several people even—but there was no one present. Further along the corridor there was a massive room that was almost totally empty. Was the place run by ghosts? The communication was appalling. Sophy swallowed the flutter of nerves as she climbed up the next flight of stairs. There was no corridor off them this time—just the one door marked ‘private’.

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