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Linda Lael Miller Bundle [Secure eReader]
eBook by Linda Lael Miller

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Enjoy 3 heartwarming classics by New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller: Ragged Rainbows, There and Now, and Here and Then.

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Special Edition
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2006


19 Reader Ratings:
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1

Marvin's toupé was slightly off-center and he was wearing his standard smile, one that promised low mileage to the public in general and headaches to Shay Kendall in particular. She sat up a little straighter in her chair and looked across the wide polished plains of her employer's desk to the view outside the window behind him. Thousands of red, yellow and blue triangular flags were snapping in the wind, a merry contrast to the cloudy coastal sky.

"I'm an office manager, Marvin," Shay said with a sigh, bringing wide hazel eyes back to his friendly face, "not an actress. While I enjoy helping plan commercials, I don't see myself in front of the camera."

"I've been promising Jeannie this trip to Europe for years," Marvin said pointedly.

Richard Barrett, a representative of an advertising agency in nearby Seattle, was leaning back against a burgeoning bookshelf, his arms folded across his chest. He was tall, with nicely cut brown hair, and would have been handsome if not for the old-fashioned horn-rimmed glasses he wore. "You're Rosamond Dallas's daughter," he put in. "Besides, I know a hundred women who would give anything for a chance like this."

Shay pushed back a lock of long, layer-cut brown hair to rub one temple with her fingers, then lifted her head, giving Mr. Barrett an ironic look. "A chance like what, Richard? You make this sound as though it's a remake of The Ten Commandments instead of a thirty second TV spot where I get a dump truck load of sugar poured over me and say, 'We've got a sweet deal for you at Reese Motors in Skyler Beach!' Furthermore, I fail to see what my being Rosamond's daughter has to do with anything."

Marvin was sitting back in his leather chair and smiling, probably at the image of Shay being buried under a half ton of white sugar. "There would be a sizable bonus involved, of course," he reflected aloud.

He hadn't mentioned a bonus on Friday afternoon, when he'd first presented Shay with a storyboard for a commercial starring herself rather than the infamous "Low-Margin Marvin."

Shay sighed, thinking of all the new clothes her six-year-old son, Hank, would need before school started and of the IRA account she wanted to open but couldn't afford. "How much of a bonus?" she asked, disliking Richard Barrett for the smug look that flickered briefly in his blue eyes.

Marvin named a figure that would cover the IRA payment and any amount of jeans, sneakers, jackets and T-shirts for Hank, with money left over.

"Just for one commercial? That's all I'd have to do?" Shay hated herself for wavering, but she was in no position to turn her back on so much money. While she earned a good salary working as Reese Motors's office manager and general all-around troubleshooter, it took all she could scrape together to support herself and her small son and meet the property taxes on her mother's enormous, empty house. Lord in heaven, she thought, if only someone would come along and buy that house….

Marvin and Richard exchanged indulgent looks. "If you hadn't stomped out of here on Friday," Richard said smoothly, "I would have gone on to explain that we're discussing a series of four spots, thirty seconds each. That's a lot of money for two minutes' work, Shay."

Two minutes' work. Shay was annoyed and insulted. Nobody knew better than she did that a thirty second commercial could take days to perfect; she'd fetched enough antacid tablets for Marvin and made enough conciliatory telephone calls to his wife to know. "I'm an office manager," she repeated, somewhat piteously this time.

"And a damned good one!" Marvin thundered. "I don't know what we'd have done without you all this time!"

Shay looked back over the half dozen years since she'd come to work for Marvin Reese. She had started as a receptionist and the job had been so important to her that she'd made any number of mistakes in her attempts to do it well. Marvin had been kind and his wife, Jeannie, had been a real friend, taking Shay out to lunch on occasion, helping her to find a trustworthy baby-sitter for Hank, reassuring her.

In many ways, Jeannie Reese had been a mother to Shay during those harried, scary days of new independence. Rosamond—nobody had suspected that her sudden tendency toward forgetfulness and fits of temper was the beginning of Alzheimer's disease—had been living on a rancho in Mexico then, with her sixth and final husband, blissfully unconcerned with her daughter's problems.

Now, sitting there in Marvin's spacious, well-appointed office, Shay felt a sting at the memory. She had telephoned her mother right after Eliott, then principal of a high school in a small town in Oregon, had absconded with the school's sizable athletic fund and left his young and decidedly pregnant wife to deal with the consequences. Rosamond had said that she'd warned Shay not to marry an older man, hadn't she, and that she would love to send money to help out but that that was impossible, since Eduardo had just bought a thoroughbred racehorse and transporting the beast all the way from Kentucky to the Yucatan peninsula had cost so much.

"Shay?"

Shay wrenched herself back to the present moment and met Marvin's fatherly gaze. She knew then that, even without the bonus check, she would have agreed to be in his commercials. He had believed in her when she had jumbled important files and spilled coffee all over his desk and made all the salesmen on the floor screaming mad by botching up their telephone messages. He had paid for the business courses she'd taken at the junior college and given her regular raises and promotions.

He was her friend.

Copyright © 2006 Harlequin Books S.A.


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