The boss: (billionaire romance) (page 3)

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Face burning, Jamie shoved her phone back into her purse and brought her head up to look at Alex. She didn’t have the courage to let her eyes meet his. “Sorry, Mr. Reid,” she mumbled. “My sister’s having a mid-day crisis.”

“Apparently not that severe if you can hang up on her for the sake of an interview.”

Jamie flushed a deeper shade of red and struggled to keep her expression neutral. “It was resolved quickly,” she said. She wanted to smile but pressed her lips tight to prevent the corners of her mouth from curling up. “Thank you for making the time to see me today.”

He inclined his head and then gestured her into the office. “Like I said on the phone yesterday, your resume was impressive.”

Jamie went in and sat down stiffly in the chair in front of the giant, but neatly organized, mahogany desk.So this was how it was going to be from now on. Aside from their informal meeting and talk on the phone, it was clear that Alex preferred his business relations strictly formal. That was fine by Jamie. She preferred to keep her distance.

“Shall we get to it then?” Alex sat down behind his massive desk in a chair that was unnecessarily big, even for his significant frame. He folded his hands over a leather binder. “Why should I hire you?”

Because I don’t want to live in my parents’ basement?“I have an outstanding work ethic,” Jamie said. “I’m not afraid of hard work, I’m efficient, overtime doesn’t scare me, and I’m overqualified for your job.” Was he smiling? She blinked and focused on what her qualifications were. “I’m beyond efficient with multitasking and time management – both yours and my own.”

“Most time management courses say that multitasking makes you inefficient with low quality work that takes too long.” He didn’t bat an eye.

Neither did she. “Those people are doing it wrong.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You don’t say.” He shifted and undid the button on his suit jacket. “Why do you say that?”

“The trick is not to do two things simultaneously,” Jamie said, her mind imagining what she wanted to explain to him. “It is to do one while waiting for the other. For instance, if my computer is doing updates, I can be answering the phone, or organizing my materials to suit my schedule that day. For this to work, you need to switch all of your focus completely from one task to the other immediately.”

“What if the phone rings first?”

“Pardon?”

“What if you’re waiting for the phone to ring and while you are waiting you decided to update your computer?”

She stared at him. “You answer it. The computer can update by itself. All you have to do is click ‘ok’ when it’s done.” Was this some sort of trick question?

“Interesting,” Alex said, his face and body language giving away nothing. “Tell me, Ms. Connors, what was the crisis your sister was having?”

And now she would lose her chance at this job. Jamie sighed. “She needed to know about the invitations for the wedding.”

“What about them?”

“Whether or not they were sent out.”

“Were they?”

She shook her head.

“Your fault or hers?”

“Neither. Both, I guess. The guest list isn’t finalized and the stationary envelopes hadn’t arrived with the invitations. We’re still—”

“How did you find my secretary’s hospitality?” He nodded, leaving her completely baffled as to why he had even asked her the question.

“She was very courteous and professional,” Jamie replied without missing a beat.

“What was that about the stationary envelopes?”

“They haven’t arrived.”

“There’s an important file that is too big to be attached in an email, but I need it in an hour. How are you going to get it to me?”

“Bike messenger.”

“You’re going to bike?” He blinked as if surprised at his own comment. “Why not fax?”

“Because you don’t have a fax machine.”There! Take that! Kapow!

Jamie caught a trace of a smile on his face and returned with a small one of her own.

“You do know how to switch focus easily.” Alex leaned back against his chair. “At least in conversation. Your former bosses have done nothing but sing praises of your work ethic. Why did you leave your last job?”

Jamie pressed her lips together. She had left because Stephen was her former boss’s son. Except that would mean Alex Reid would have to know that Stephen was her ex, and dating the boss’s son was definitely a professional no-no, not to mention it would make her look that much more pathetic. “There was a personal conflict between me and another employee. It’s been resolved, and I don’t intend to repeat it.”

Alex rested his arms on his chair, the trace of the smile gone. “Let me make myself clear, Ms. Connors. I value complete honesty from my employees more than anything else and if you think vague half-truths will make yourself look flawless, and will get you the job, then think again. I won’t ask you why again.”

Jamie took a deep breath. “Fine. I left because I had gotten into a relationship with my boss’s son. It didn’t feel right working at that company after that happened.”

Alex nodded. “How do I know that something like that would not happen again?”

“It didn’t end well. I’ll never make that mistake again.”

“What happened?”

“He got engaged to my sister.”

Alex’s eyes widened slightly and Jamie waited for the look of pity. She expected him to hurry her out of his office so he would never have to see or speak to her again. Instead his usual cool and enigmatic expression slid into place. He smiled and stood up. “I believe I have all the information I need,” he said.

Jamie stood as well and shook his hand.

“Thank you, Ms. Connors. Have a nice day.”

“Have a nice day, sir,” she said, her heart sinking.

He walked her to the door of his office and opened it for her. Jamie was halfway to the elevator when he called out, “Ms. Connors?”

She turned. “Yes, Mr. Reid?”

“Be here tomorrow at six o’clock sharp. You don’t want to be late for your first day of work.” He shut the door, leaving Jamie in the lobby, her mouth hanging open in a very unprofessional manner.

Chapter 4

“Are you sure you want to do this, Jamie?” her mother said. “Your sister’s wedding is only a few months away and she really needs you right now. Besides, I don’t think days of sitting down will do anything for your diet.”

She wanted to throw a pillow at her mom.Really? Not one ounce of encouragement or congratulations?Jamie gritted her teeth. “Just think of it this way; now that I’m making money, I can get them a better wedding present.”

Her mother still looked skeptical. “You had better get them a very nice present,” she said. “Stephen had to go through a lot of trouble to get you this job.”

Yes, because I can’t get anything on my own merit. That was probably why he recommended me. To get them a better wedding present.She doubted the dickhead actually had anything resembling a conscience which needed easing. “I will, Mom.” Jamie forced a smile as she packed the rest of her belongings in the last cardboard box and taped it shut.

It was eight o’clock at night, only a little less than six hours since she had been officially hired to work for Alex Reid. This was the fastest move she had ever done, even faster than when she had moved out of her—excuse her, Stephen’s—apartment. Except now, she needed to get out of her parents’ basement before they drove her crazy or they discovered the stash of junk food she kept under the couch as she dealt with the worst wedding craze ever. She’d take her stuff to the new apartment which was, luckily, already available. Alex Reid had raised his eyebrows when she had asked for the key, but he had given it to her without question. She planned to unload everything herself and sleep on the floor tonight.

Her mother sighed loudly for the umpteenth time that evening. “I really wish you had thought this through, dear.”

“I already have,” Jamie said. “Really. It’s a good decision, Mom. For all of us. This place will be good for me.”

“I just wish you had thought about your sister before going.”

Jamie rolled her eyes. Christine was hardly dependent on her and she had her own life to live. Why the hell would she have to think about Christine before every decision she made? She grinned. That was Stephen’s job now. “I’m going, Mom. Deal with it,” she snapped. She lifted the box up and walked through the open door and set the box on the grass beside her car. Her mom went off to sulk, leaving Jamie to move her own stuff, which was all right with her, even though it took twice as long and left her exhausted. At least the apartment came furnished.

As she slammed the trunk of her car shut, her father came out of the house. “Your mother’s crying inside,” he said, looking like he wanted to come with her. “You’re leaving?”

“I got a job, Dad,” she said. “It comes with its own apartment. I start tomorrow.”

He grinned and then pulled her in for a hug. “Congratulations, kiddo,” he said.

Jamie grinned, savoring his approval. “Thanks D—”

Just then his phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at it. “It’s work,” he said. “Excuse me, Jamie. Good luck moving.” He answered the cell as he walked back to the house.

Jamie watched him go as she climbed into the driver’s seat and started her car.

Just like that, the only excitement that came from her family over her new job was over.

She pulled out of the drive determined to make this a new beginning for herself.

Chapter 5

Jamie set the address of the apartment into the GPS and followed the streets as it brought her to where she needed to go. She didn’t recognize the street but assumed it wouldn’t be far from Alex Reid’s office. Her bungalow neighborhood disappeared and began being replaced with larger ranch-style homes set back against the road. She had assumed by the suite number on her new address it was an apartment building. She scratched her head as she stopped before a very large modern-style house that ended at the long, gated driveway in front of her. Jamie double-checked the address and the GPS.

Both were right. Unless this was some kind of terrible sick joke Stephen was pulling on her.

She clenched her jaw as she rolled down the car window and spoke into the intercom. “Hi. This is, uh, Jamie Connors. I’m, uh, moving in today.” Why did she sound like an idiot? At least the person controlling the gate wasn’t laughing at her. Or if they were, they had the decency to turn the mike off. She ran her tongue over her lips and checked her watch. Half past eight and the sun had disappeared. It had grown dark quickly, telling Jamie that summer had given way to fall.

As she debated backing out of the driveway and returning to her parents’ place in defeat, the gates silently opened. “Thank you,” she mumbled as she closed her window and headed up the long drive.

She hadn’t taken a good look at the house before and now in the darkness, she couldn’t make out much more than the modern structure and what looked like a lot of windows. Not much was lit on the house except for a set of lights that led her to the large driveway and parking area with a fountain in the middle of it. She pulled her car into the last spot towards the iron gated backyard. Nothing was lit back there except for a sliver of the moon. She was pretty sure she saw a pool, but didn’t bother confirming what her eyes had a hard time seeing in the dark.

An older gentleman came out of the house by a door near where she had parked.

Jamie jumped out to get his attention. “Excuse me?”

He looked up, startled. “Sorry, ma’am. Ya’ gh-ave me a fright.” His thick Scottish accent couldn’t be missed.

“I’m looking for Suite number two?” She had no idea how else to explain it.

He smiled. “Oye! So yer tha new assistant fer Mr. Reid. Welcome.” He held his hand out.

She shook his hand. “So I am at the right place. I was beginning to wonder. I’m Jamie Connors.”

“Nice ta meetchya! I’m Murray MacBane. The cook.” He gestured with his hand. “Come in, love. I’ll show ya to yer suite. Mr. Reid mentioned you might be arriving tonight. I made ya a pie and put it in yer fridge jus’in case.”

“Thank you.” Her mother wouldn’t like this man, making Jamie pies and helping to fatten her up for the wedding. Jamie smiled. “I’m glad I ran into you.”

“Oye! I was jus’ leavin’! I’m glad too.” He led her through the iron gate to a door around back with the number two on it. “Here she be. I put the key I used in yer mailbox.” He smiled brightly at her, his hair looking silver under the light of the balcony above them.

“Thanks so much.”

He turned to go but paused and shifted her way again. “Do you need any help unloaden’ yer car?”

She smiled. “Thanks but I’ll be okay. I didn’t take much... for tonight. Just the basics.” Why did she feel embarrassed that everything she owned fit into her car?

“Good luck then missy!” Murray waved and headed back the way they had just come.

Jamie reached for the door and turned the knob. It was locked. She pulled the key Alex had given her out of her purse.Mr. Reid. She needed to make sure she called him that. Apparently everyone else did.

Unlocking the door she stepped inside, lights automatically switching on. Her mouth fell open. Simple grays, whites and creams furnished the massive apartment. Just from the door, Jamie had full view of the open concept space. It had to easily be two thousand square feet—and that was just the kitchen-living area. A slightly opened door showed a bedroom. Jamie started laughing. What did Mr. Reid want her to do? Whatever it was, she didn’t care, she’d do it!

Slipping her shoes off, she ran across the hardwood floor and twirled in the living room. So much space! She’d bloody work for free just to live here! She ran her hand over the granite counter and then opened the fridge, curious about the pie Murray had been talking about.

Inside the stainless steel, double-door fridge was a small type of meat pie and a bottle of white wine. Perfect! She turned the oven on to reheat the pie and pulled a wine glass off the rack that hung beside the fridge. Reid wasn’t kidding when he said the place was furnished!

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