Boss Man [A Long, Tall Texan Story] [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Diana Palmer
eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Blake Kemp was a man who knew his own mind and was as stubborn as the day is long in Jacobsville, Texas. As the town's leading lawyer, he had a reputation to uphold, and he didn't want the tender ministrations of his assistant to get in his way--even if he desperately needed her, since those big boots of his did have a tendency to step on toes? So, of course, the boss man fired pretty, gentle Violet, for having the nerve to, of all things, try to help him! But, being a smart as well as hard-headed man, Blake could soon see that without his guiding light, his life would soon be in darkness. Only one thing to do--hire her back and make sure that business didn't mess with matters of the heart. Only then did he find that Violet had an agenda of her own--and it didn't include letting the boss man forget how indispensable she was--both on and off the job!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2005
This eBook is part of the following series:
117 Reader Ratings:
Violet Hardy sat at her desk and wondered why she'd ever taken this secretarial job in the first place. Her boss, Jacobsville, Texas, attorney Blake Kemp, didn't appreciate her at all. She'd only been trying to keep him from dying of a premature heart attack by changing his regular coffee to decaf. For her pains, she'd been on the receiving end of the worst insult she could ever imagine, and from the one man in the world that she loved above all others. She knew her co-workers were as upset as she was. They'd been kindness itself. But nothing made up for the fact that Blake Kemp thought Violet was fat.
She looked down at her voluptuous body in a purple dress with a high neckline, frilly bodice and straight skirt, vaguely aware that the style did nothing for her. She would be wearing it today, of all days, when Kemp gave her that disapproving scrutiny. Her mother had tried to tell her, gently, that frills and big bosoms didn't match. Worse, a tight-fitting skirt only emphasized those wide hips.
She'd been trying so hard to lose weight. She'd given up sweets, joined a gym, and worked hard at cooking regular and weight-conscious meals for herself and her elderly mother, who had a heart condition. Her father had died the year before of an apparent heart attack. But just lately there were rumors that her co-worker Libby Collins's stepmother might be responsible for Mr. Hardy's sudden death. Janet Collins had been suspected of poisoning an elderly man in a nursing home, and she'd taken Mr. Hardy for quite a sum of money before he died unexpectedly, just after being seen with her in a motel room. It had been too late for Mrs. Hardy to stop payment on the check, because she didn't realize the money was missing until well after the funeral.
Violet and her mother had been devastated, not only by his loss, but by the disastrous financial condition he'd left behind. They'd lost their nest egg, their home, their car, everything. The woman who'd convinced Mr. Hardy to give her a quarter of a million dollars couldn't be positively identified. And she'd run up accounts in department stores and even jewelry stores for which Mr. Hardy's estate was suddenly responsible. Her mother had had the first stroke just after the funeral. Violet's small, separate inheritance had been just enough to support them for a few months. But after it ran out, Violet had been forced to support them both. There had been a vacancy at Kemp's office, working with Libby Collins and Mabel Henry. Fortunately, Violet had taken a business course in spite of her father's disapproval. She'd never have to get a job, he'd said confidently.
It was nice working in Kemp's office and she was a good secretary. But her boss didn't appreciate her. Less today than ever before. She raged for five minutes, while her helpless co-workers listened and sympathized. She poured out her heart, including her feelings for her taciturn boss.
"Don't take it so much to heart, dear," Mabel said finally, sympathizing with her despair. "We all have bad days."
"He thinks I'm fat," Violet said miserably.
"He didn't say anything."
"Well, you know how he looked at me and what he insinuated," Violet muttered, glaring down the hall.
Mabel grimaced. "He's had a bad day."
"So have I," Violet said flatly.
Libby Collins patted her on the shoulder. "Buck up, Violet," she said gently. "Just give it a couple of days and he'll apologize. I'm sure he will."
Violet wasn't sure. In fact, she'd have bet money that an apology was the last thing on her boss's mind.
"We'll see," she replied as she went back to her desk. But she didn't believe it.
She pushed back her long dark hair and her blue eyes were tearful, although she was careful to conceal her hurt feelings. It was far worse than just his insinuation that she was overweight. She'd overheard Mabel and Libby whispering that the intercom had been on when Violet had poured out her heart to her co-workers after Kemp's blistering attack over the decaffeinated coffee he'd been given. She was crazy about him. He'd heard that. How was she ever going to be able to face him again?
It was as bad as she feared. All day, he walked out to the front to meet clients, talk about appointments and get coffee. Every single time he walked in, he glared at Violet as if she were responsible for the seven deadly sins. She began to cringe when she heard his footsteps coming down the hall.
By the end of the day, Tuesday, she knew she couldn't stay with him anymore. It was too humiliating all the way around. She was going to have to leave.
Libby and Mabel noticed her unusual solemnity. It got worse when she pulled a typed sheet from her printer, got up, took a deep breath, and walked down the hall to Kemp's office.
Seconds later, they heard him. "What the hell…?"
Violet came stalking back down the hall, red-faced and unnerved, with an enraged Kemp, minus his glasses, two steps behind, waving the sheet of paper at her back.
"You can't give me one day's notice!" he raged. "I have cases pending. You're responsible for sorting them out and notifying the petitioners…!"
Copyright © 2005 by Diana Palmer