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Buttoned-Up Secretary, British Boss. Susanne JamesЧитать онлайн.
That was a…a terrible thing to have happened! Sabrina told herself, knowing that she should never have let it take place! To allow her boss to kiss her, really kiss her, in an unbelievably heart-stopping way, was pure madness! Their relationship…association—whatever the word was—was going somewhere neither of them wanted!
Well, she was sure he didn’t want it, and she couldn’t afford to want it! They could never have a business arrangement now, after that, surely!
Buttoned-Up Secretary, British Boss
About the Author
SUSANNE JAMES has enjoyed creative writing since childhood, completing her first—sadly unpublished—novel by the age of twelve. She has three grown-up children who were, and are, her pride and joy, and who all live happily in Oxfordshire with their families. She was always happy to put the needs of her family before her ambition to write seriously, although along the way some published articles for magazines and newspapers helped to keep the dream alive!
Susanne’s big regret is that her beloved husband is no longer here to share the pleasure of her recent success. She now shares her life with Toffee, her young Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who decides when it’s time to get up (early) and when a walk in the park is overdue!
Recent titles by the same author:
THE MASTER OF HIGHBRIDGE MANOR
THE BOSELLI BRIDE
THE PLAYBOY OF PENGARROTH HALL
SABRINA’S heartrate quickened slightly as she walked along the unfamiliar street. If it wasn’t for the money that was being offered for this post, no way would she have considered applying for it, she assured herself. But the straitened circumstances they were in at the moment left her little option. She would have to bite the bullet and hope that her face fitted.
Most of the houses in this part of north London were rather grand, Sabrina noted, yet now and again a distinct shabbiness was apparent. But when she arrived at the one she was looking for—number thirteen—she saw at once that it stood out from the others. And why wouldn’t it, when you considered who lived there? The imposing, deep-blue front door had been freshly painted, its brass knocker and bell-push gleaming brightly in the mid-morning September sunshine.
She pressed the bell once—its discreet tone reminding her of the one at the dentist’s—and waited, trying to imagine what her interviewer, the world-renowned author, might look like in the flesh. Of course, she’d seen him featured in the newspapers from time to time, but press photographs were never accurate or flattering.
Suddenly, the door was opened by the man himself—and Sabrina recognized him straight away. He must be nearing forty by now, she thought instinctively. His dark, tousled hair had begun to grey slightly at the temples, and there were discernible frown lines on the handsome, rugged face. But the penetrating, inky blue-black eyes were clear and discerning as he looked down at her. His expression was somewhat implacable, though not unfriendly, as he opened the door wider.
‘Ah, good—Sabrina Gold?’ When Sabrina smiled up at him in acknowledgement, he said, ‘I’m Alexander McDonald. Come in. You found us all right…clearly,’ he added.
His voice was businesslike, strong and authoritatively resonant, and Sabrina couldn’t help feeling just slightly in awe of him as he led her up the thickly carpeted stairs to the first floor of his house. Treading carefully behind, Sabrina was more than aware of his athletic, vigorous body. He obviously worked out daily, she thought, no doubt with a personal trainer. Well, he and his equally famous brother Bruno—the well-known impresario with so many successful musicals to his credit—seemed to hold a permanent position in the Times Rich List. They could have whatever they wanted of this world’s goods.
Realizing that she’d barely spoken since her arrival, Sabrina cleared her throat. ‘Actually, I don’t know this part of the city,’ she said. ‘But I had no problem finding you. And the walk from the tube was quite pleasant, especially in this sunshine.’
He glanced back at her casually as she spoke, feeling reasonably cheered at his first impression of her. She was simply dressed in jeans and a cream shirt, her long, fair hair pulled well back from a somewhat nondescript face which was devoid of any make-up, he noted. But she had expressive, large, grey-green eyes which he found interesting; they had a most unusual, feline shape.
They reached the first floor and he pushed open a door at the top, ushering Sabrina in before him, and as she brushed past he caught the drift of the perfume she was wearing, only just enough for him to be aware of it. Good; women who soaked themselves in heavy scents unnerved him. It was something he’d always hated. Since of necessity the successful applicant for the vacant post of his personal assistant would be sharing his space for a good part of every day over the next few months, it was essential that he found her presence acceptable. If ever she was going to materialize, he thought ruefully. Was Miss Gold number six or number seven so far? he thought wearily. He’d lost count.
Sabrina took in her surroundings at a glance. It was a large, high-ceilinged room, its full-length windows permitting daylight to reach every corner. A huge Persian rug covered much of the well-worn dark-oak flooring, and generously stocked bookshelves lined the walls. The whole room was dominated by an untidy, massive mahogany desk holding a computer and telephone and littered with random sheets of paper and other writing materials. Slightly apart from it was another, smaller desk with another computer—obviously awaiting Alexander McDonald’s new assistant, Sabrina thought. There were also a couple of easy chairs and at the back, away from the light, was a chaise longue covered in brown velvet with a few cushions scattered on it haphazardly.
Alexander pushed one of the easy chairs forward. ‘Have a seat, um, Miss Gold,’ he said, as if he’d already forgotten her name, before moving behind the desk and seating himself in his large leather-upholstered swivel chair.
Doing as she was asked, Sabrina looked across at him steadily, trying to remind herself that she was here for one reason only—to secure the very highly paid employment he was offering, which could be hers if luck was on her side.
He came straight to the point. ‘I see you have a degree in psychology,’ he said, glancing down at some papers on his desk. ‘Are you sure that this job, working for me, is what you want? What you think you can…tolerate, shall we say?’ he added, the uncompromising mouth twisting slightly at one corner. The remark surprised Sabrina. She hadn’t anticipated any degree of diffidence from Alexander McDonald. She decided she wasn’t going to tip-toe around—she’d tell him the truth and be done with it.
‘I think what you really want to know, Mr McDonald, is why I am not using my qualification,’ she said coolly. ‘And the answer is that it is difficult, with all the cutbacks, to get suitable work in my own field at the moment. My department was halved last year, and I was one of the unlucky ones that had to be let go. I’m sure you’ve heard the term.’ She paused. ‘It means that I was sacked for being too highly qualified and they could no longer afford to pay me on that level—and I was not prepared to accept the rather demeaning position I was offered instead.’
She hesitated before adding, ‘The salary which the agency told me you were prepared to pay the right person encouraged me to try and persuade you that I could be the one.’ She swallowed, realizing how awful that must sound, avaricious and money-grabbing. She might as well explain now, she thought desperately.