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Hard at Work [MultiFormat]
eBook by Cherie Amour

eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
eBook Description: Just when James Colfield wants to get away to mend his broken heart, a gorgeous brunette literally falls into his lap. Before he knows it, he's smitten with Miss Amazon. The problem is she's his new supervisor who has a huge chip on her shoulder and an extreme hatred for men. Elizabeth Rivers can't believe her boss hired a new senior editor behind her back. What's more, she can't seem to take her eyes off the new dashingly handsome and smug employee. The attraction between these two is scorching hot and they find it hard to concentrate on their jobs and promising careers. When they get stuck in an elevator alone together, whatever inhibitions they have seem to disappear. Will they give in to their wanton desires? [Erotic Contemporary Romance: contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]

eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Siren Classic, Published: 2008, 2008
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2009

7 Reader Ratings:
Great Good OK Poor

"4.5 BLUE RIBBONS: Hard At Work is a sweet romance of heartbreak, insecurity and trust. Throw in a little work place angst and you end up with a book that's good from the first page to the last. Elizabeth and James are magic together--they are at such different places and phases of their lives, that it uncanny how well they fit together--give or take a few skirmishes. High level of sexual tension and funny moment make Ms Amour's Hard At Work a pleasure to have read."--jhayboy, Romance Junkies

"4 STARS: Cherie Amour does an excellent job developing her characters, considering the length of the novel. The plot is interesting. Fans of romantica will enjoy Hard At Work."--Debra Gaynor, ReviewYourBook.com

"4 STARS: I was so happy to be able to get the chance to review Hard at Work. Having read the first book, Let's Get Physical, I was anxious for James to get his own story and I can honestly say that this book does not disappoint. Cherie Amour, a rising star in the romance genre, takes the reader on a roller coaster type head trip?If you want to know the ending you'll have to read the book, don't worry it's well worth it."--Valerie, Manic Readers

"4 HEARTS: Cherie Amour has aptly titled this book as the two can't seem to get control of their raging hormones at work or anywhere else?The author makes this romance so close to what often happens in real life that it's almost scary."--Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio

* * * *

Chapter 1

The day started out splendidly. James Colfield wondered if he should just forget the whole thing and go back to bed. He had awakened late this morning with a splitting headache, thanks to his lovely sister Katherine and brother-in-law Anthony, who decided to give him a surprise party to celebrate his new job the day before he left for Toronto. Big mistake! He hadn't packed anything before he went over to their place, thinking they would enjoy a quiet and short dinner together and then he'd be back early, having plenty of time to pack his clothes.

James was always a procrastinator, especially when it came to tedious, mundane chores, and he loathed packing. He figured he'd pack his clothes at night, and then prepare all his files and documents he needed to bring with him in the morning. His flight left at eleven, so under normal circumstances that would have been plenty of time. But as usual, life, or rather his antsy sister, decided to throw him a curve ball and screwed up his plans.

She thought James needed a farewell party to celebrate his new job. For the life of him, he didn't know why. Odds were he'd hate the job and be back in a month or so. He hadn't even packed up his things or looked for a realtor to put the house on the market. What was the use if it turned out the job stunk and he decided to come back home?

He asked Katherine to take care of things for a few months until he was sure about the job, and then he'd make arrangements to sell everything and put the house on the market. He found himself a small-furnished apartment to lease on a monthly basis thanks to a friend of his in Toronto.

Rent in Toronto was absurdly high, but with the salary he'd be making, he could easily afford the place and still live comfortably.

As he scurried around his bedroom packing his luggage, he rubbed his temples. The headache was excruciating. He took two extra-strength Tylenol when he first got up, though they hardly had any effect. He should have been watching how much he drank last night, but somehow the alcohol spoke to him, luring him to drink more so he could forget about Samantha once and for all.

Four weeks had passed since they broke up and she and her husband, Leo, decided to work things out and save their marriage. She called James twice to see how he was and how things were coming along with his new job. Both times he spoke amicably, honestly not holding an ounce of resentment toward her or Leo.

He had gone into the relationship with his eyes wide open. He knew she had just separated, still had strong feelings for Leo. Never once did she claim or promise him anything. He was the stupid one who let his emotions run wild. Perhaps his extreme loneliness of losing his love, Sarah, to leukemia six months before, made him fall so quickly. Who knew why? Falling out of love unfortunately was not as easy as falling into love. That took time, lots of it.

Not all of the alcohol in the world could make it go away any faster. He knew that now. Too bad his senses hadn't kicked in last night when he guzzled two cognacs and five glasses of wine.

It was almost nine and he hadn't finished packing yet. Unfortunately, he couldn't reschedule his flight for a later time. The meeting with the publisher was at two. Throwing what was left of his cloths into the last suitcase, he set to work getting all his papers ready to bring with him on the plane. Thirty minutes later, he was ready, got into a cab, and freaked when he glanced at his watch.

He just made it on time to check in and rush on the Air Canada plane. He had a first class window seat, compliments of Byrd Publishing. Nice perk.

Once he put away his overhead luggage, he sat down, taking a big breath. The day was hardly over and the most stressful part yet to come later this afternoon, but at least he didn't miss his flight and the hangover from hell had started to finally become bearable.

As he stared out the window waiting for the rest of the latecomers to board, he heard a lady's cursing voice get closer. Turning around, he saw a tall Amazon beauty with shoulder-length, dark brown hair stop at his aisle and frown. She looked at him but didn't seem to register he sat there, then she walked back up to the stewardess, and he heard her say, "This must be a mistake. I usually get the window seat."

The petite brunette looked up at her and then glanced at her ticket. "Miss, it says here you have the middle seat, not the window seat."

Miss Amazon snorted. "I know what it says here, but it must be wrong. My company always reserves me a window seat."

The stewardess shrugged. "I'm sorry, miss. But there's nothing we can do about it."

"Fine." Miss Amazon huffed and walked back toward him muttering to herself while she tucked the ticket into her purse and lugged her onboard luggage and briefcase behind her. When she stopped, she opened the overhead compartment and tried to get her bulky piece of baggage into it.

As she stretched and struggled, her tight blouse lifted and he could see her flat tummy and the diamond piercing she had in her belly button. He could also see the blouse stretched open where her bosom was and her lacy red bra peeked through, along with her enticing cleavage. James lifted his brow and admired the view.

But after a minute's struggle, he stood. "Excuse me, madam, may I offer my assistance?" Standing fully erect, he could tell she was only a few inches shorter than he, maybe five feet eleven, or possibly even six feet tall.

When she turned and looked at him, his heart jumped. She had the most gorgeous green eyes he'd ever seen with long dark brown eyelashes. "It's 'Miss.' Thanks, but no thanks." She pushed harder and in a strained voice added, "I can handle it."

Within a few seconds, the bag popped into the compartment and she lost her equilibrium, falling into James's arms. Her right breast rubbed against his forearm as they made eye contact. Her perfume was intoxicating. His body reacted, naturally. "Are you all right?"

She broke eye contact first by pushing away. "Yeah, sorry about that."

"It's perfectly all right." He grinned.

But she didn't reciprocate his smile. Instead, she sat in the seat next to his and took out her laptop. The rush of cold air hit him from her brush off. Okay, this is going to be fun. He sat down as well and couldn't help but notice her short skirt rode up her leg, giving him a better view.

The woman definitely had a body to die for. He wondered how she looked without the dressy suit skirt and blouse. She certainly would be a handful in bed if her behavior today were any measure of her true character. He smirked, then took a deep breath and turned his attention to the view outside.

Within a few minutes, the 'Buckle seatbelts' light came on and the pilot and stationed stewardess both addressed the passengers on procedures and their plane's ETA. James continued to stare out the window as the plane took off and gained altitude. When he left that morning, it had been snowing lightly and although the wind was strong, it wasn't too bad.

The weather had changed. The wind blew fiercely and the snow made visibility impossible. Feeling bored, he turned to his neighbor. She looked busy reading a file on her laptop. He tried to lean in to see what was on the Word document.

Most probably sensing his efforts, she turned her laptop to the side. Strike Two.

Checking his watch and seeing he had quite a lot of time to kill, he decided to take his laptop out as well and finish the chapter of his mystery novel. He worked slowly at first since it always took him time to warm up and get into the story. He caught her, too, dipping subtly to see what he typed, but he leaned his back on the side, lifted his left knee, resting it on the seat, and turned the screen so he faced her and she couldn't see what he wrote.

James didn't glance up to see her reaction. He ignored her. Within five minutes, the words flowed through his fingers at incredible speed. He felt the occasional jerk and heave the plane made as it passed through turbulence, but he hardly took notice. Being totally oblivious to everything, except his story, he completed the chapter in record time. Checking his watch again, he realized they'd be landing soon, so he put his laptop away.

Miss Amazon had already put hers away. She leaned her head on the headrest and secured her seatbelt. She looked awfully pale and worried. He turned to her. "Is everything all right, miss?"

She stiffly nodded. "Yeah, it's just I hate turbulence. I usually sit near the window and for some reason that helps me, but the secretary at my company screwed up."

Feeling sympathetic, he leaned forward. "If you'd like my seat, I don't mind."

She stared at him with big eyes and stood. "Yes, please. That would help."

He got up and took her seat, moving his feet to the side, so she could pass him and sit in his seat. He peered at her ass as she wiggled past him. It indeed was a nice view, far better than the window. Before she could move further, her shoe seemed to catch on something and she tripped suddenly, falling into his lap.

For some warped reason, his hand ended up cupping her full breast in reflex to catch her. He saw her take a deep breath and stare at him. His cheeks heated up and he let go of her voluptuous breast in lightening speed. "Sorry."

She got up quickly, straightened her blouse, and sat in his seat. Still feeling extremely awkward, James decided to break the tension with some casual talk. "So, is this your first time to Toronto?"

She avoided his gaze and just stared out the window. "No, I live here. I'm coming back from vacation and a convention. I stopped in Montreal to visit family and friends."

"Oh, I see." He waited for her reciprocal question if this was his first time to Toronto, but it never came. He decided to force feed her the information anyway. "I'm moving to Toronto. Actually, I just got a job and am looking forward to--"

"Look, mister, I'm sorry, but I'm not in the mood for idle chit chat. I have too much on my mind, okay?"

He lifted his hand in surrender. "Sure, whatever. Sorry."

He zipped his mouth and stared at the chair in front of him, counting the minutes until the plane landed. It was the longest half hour of his life, and also, the most excruciatingly uncomfortable.

* * * *

James's heart palpitated for how nervous he was. The receptionist had brought him into Mr. Byrd's office stating he'd be in soon, and then left him there to wait for a few minutes.

The office looked amazing. The desk was massive, in mahogany finish. The walls lined with mahogany shelves were filled with thousands of books. James walked around looking at the vast array, noting the logo on the spine of them was the same, all Byrd Publishing books. Impressive selection! I never knew they had so many imprints.

He picked up one book that caught his fancy, in bright red. As he leafed through it, he heard the door open. He didn't know what to do, so he just stood there with the book in hand. To his relief, the elderly man grinned when he saw him. "So what do you think of the quality of our covers, James?"

James smiled as he touched the cover. "It is very nice, Mr. Byrd, very impressive."

Mr. Byrd sat behind his gargantuan desk. "Good. I'm glad you like them. The cover is the most important thing, you know. No matter how good the contents are readers look at the physicality of it first. If it catches their eye, then they'll leaf through it, and then buy it."

James nodded. "You're right, sir."

Mr. Byrd slapped his desk. "And that's why I hired you, James. Because I knew we'd see eye to eye."

"I'm looking forward to working with you, Mr. Byrd. I can't wait to get started in my new job. And I promise I won't disappoint you." James sat down in the plush chair facing the desk when Mr. Byrd motioned for him to do so.

"Well, James, I'm not going to lie to you. The changes I have in store for my company will involve a lot of work at first, but once we are all set up, things will be easy going."

He nodded. "I don't mind the hard work, Mr. Byrd. I look forward to it." And that was the truth. He hoped if he liked this job, he'd jump into it with both feet, enthusiastically, and become a workaholic. He needed it to make him forget his loneliness and sadness, especially to forget Samantha. Writing and work had always been the best remedy for what ailed his mind and soul.

"I'm glad to hear that, James." Mr. Byrd beamed. "Because you will most probably be putting in some long hours and working very closely with the Editor-in-Chief until you learn the ropes and can solo with no problems." Mr. Byrd picked up his phone. "Actually, I think this is the perfect time for you to meet her. She's been away for a bit and just came back today. She doesn't know I hired the new Senior Editor."

"Hello, Elizabeth, welcome back. I know you must be pretty busy, but if you could spare a few minutes, I'd like you to meet our new Senior Editor." He nodded. "Yeah, I hired him a couple of weeks ago when you were on vacation. Anyway, I'll explain everything when you come to my office."

When he hung up, he picked up a blue folder and handed it to James. "In this, you'll find an in-depth listing of your job tasks and the schedule for your three-month training."

James turned to the first page. "As you can see, James, you will be working very closely with Elizabeth for those three months. When she comes, I'll explain exactly what type of training she will have to give you. I want her to teach you everything she knows."

James coughed. "You mentioned I'd be assessing manuscripts."

"Yes, you will, at first, be assessing manuscripts, but as you can see from the job tasks, once Elizabeth has finished training you, and depending on your progress, I'd like you to--" He paused and then just stood up. "I think before we continue, I should go get Elizabeth. Even though I told her to come right over, I know her. She's probably collecting a bunch of papers she would like to show me and discuss. She is a little obsessive at times."

He pointed to the folder. "Why don't you take a look at that and I'll be back with her in a minute."

James shrugged. "Sure."

When his boss left, James turned to his 'job tasks' page. 'Assessing manuscripts' was first, 'Reviewing junior editor's work' was second, which were things Mr. Byrd had discussed with him, but as he kept reading, he couldn't believe his eyes. This was too good to be true!

Enthralled with the list, which kept getting better and better, James didn't hear the door open.

What he did hear was a chuckle and Mr. Byrd say, "I think you like what you see there, aye, James?"

Rattled, James jumped out of his chair. "I'm sorry, sir, but I didn't hear you come in."

"It's quite all right." He motioned with his hand while still looking at James. "And this here," he turned, "is Eliza--" Rolling his eyes, he walked to the open door. "Elizabeth, get in here."

James heard a female voice say, "Yup, I'm right here."

Then he saw the outline of a tall woman walk in, but couldn't see much because Mr. Byrd was in the way. James got up and waited to shake her hand as Mr. Bird walked in front of her. "Well, James, I'd like you to meet," he moved away and James could get a clear view, "Elizabeth Rivers."

James's eyes popped open and his jaw fell in shock as she mimicked his gestures, making her load of files fall to the ground. He stuttered. "You ... you're the Editor-in-Chief?"

His new boss, Elizabeth, was none other than the arrogant and ever so sexy Miss Amazon. Naughty and delicious thoughts fermented in his mind, making him horny and excited in more ways than one.

Yes, this new job would be a lot of hard work. He'd most surely face many long hours and endure several obstacles along the way, but he'd never declare defeat. He was willing to put in as much as he could ... and definitely be enjoying every minute of it.

* * * *

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