Her Millionaire Boss(9)

By: Jennie Adams

‘Then maybe you should contemplate the concepts of kindness and mutual respect,’ she snapped, and crunched Gertrude’s gearbox as she tried unsuccessfully to get the old car into first gear.

One minute the man made her want him and almost like him, and then this! Ooh, it made her blood boil.

Never drive while you’re angry.

Bella’s words of warning rang in her head. Chrissy dropped the car back into neutral, irritated that she had gone so close to being irresponsible simply because this man had annoyed her. He stirred her way too much.

A firm hand closed over hers where it rested on the gear stick.

‘I see I was off base.’ His deep words, although quiet, seemed to fill the small car space. ‘I apologise.’

The warmth of that hand over hers was far too comforting and she thawed a little. But some of her anger remained. ‘I care deeply about my boss. If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.’

‘I’m glad…you’ve been here for him.’ He squeezed her knuckles and let go.

Why hadn’t Nate been here for Henry?

He’s here now.

That’s nowhere near enough.

‘You’ll make sure he doesn’t feel as though things are out of his control, won’t you, while you’re running the company?’

She had intended to extract a promise. Instead, it came out as a plea, but she cared so much about Henry. He hadn’t been himself lately, and now with the stroke—well, she just wanted him to have every chance to get better, that was all.

The scent of Nate’s spicy aftershave came to her subtly as he turned to face her in the confines of the car. ‘I’ll respect his dignity as much as I can.’

‘More zesty smells,’ she muttered to herself. At least this one wouldn’t tantalise her taste buds. ‘We should leave now,’ she snapped. ‘The car’s warm enough.’

And I’m even warmer!

She clamped her mouth tight as she eased Gertrude into the traffic and headed straight for the slowest-moving lane, where she wouldn’t feel quite so bombarded by the volume of traffic.

‘It’s just that Henry hates to acknowledge that he’s getting older.’ She disliked the defensiveness in her tone. ‘And there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to come back to work. It was a minor stroke.’

‘Not so minor at his age and when he has other health considerations. Heart. Blood pressure…’

Henry would show him. Chrissy didn’t know anyone with the amount of determination her boss had. Except maybe…his grandson.

Henry would be OK, wouldn’t he? ‘It was my fault,’ she blurted. ‘He wouldn’t have had the stroke if I hadn’t dragged him all over Melbourne that day.’

‘Surely you don’t believe that?’ Nate’s tone was openly surprised. ‘If a stroke is going to happen, it happens. And, in fact, the hospital staff told me your swift actions probably prevented an all-out heart attack.’

‘Oh.’ The load of guilt lifted somewhat. ‘Well, what I did when the stroke happened was little enough.’

Her hands tightened on the wheel as she fought to suppress the memories of the frightening event. And acknowledged how ungracious she had been back in Henry’s hospital room. ‘I’m sorry I tried to discourage you from taking over Henry’s work. I was out of line.’

‘Perhaps we should both forget the way we started this morning, and begin afresh.’ The suggestion was almost toneless. Definitely uninterested.

Just like that, he had turned off all feelings of attraction to her?

So much for thinking they had both been whapped in the face by it earlier. Whatever had happened, Nate Barrett had apparently simply chosen to be over it.

A humbling thought, but then, she wasn’t anything special, was she? She certainly hadn’t been special enough to hold her parents’ interest.

That’s over, and this is now, and has to be dealt with now. Her pride swelled to her rescue. ‘I couldn’t agree more. The only things that matter are those that relate to my boss’s recovery.’

‘I’m glad we’ve achieved Feng Shui on the matter.’

Was he being sarcastic? Somehow she couldn’t see this man putting himself out to try to live in harmony with the natural elements and forces of the earth. He would be more likely to try to bend them to his natural force!

‘Uh, right, then.’ She accidentally tramped the brakes a bit too hard when a car in front of her slowed suddenly, but he simply sat there, apparently calm.

Bella always ground her teeth. She thought Chrissy couldn’t hear it, but she could.

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