Sophia Gable is anything but conventional, and multimillionaire Grey Barlow knows this the second he meets her. With her bright clothes, and even brighter outlook on life, Sophia is no ordinary PA! And Grey is beginning to wonder why he's hired her... Sophia is nervous about her first temporary assignment, and falling for her boss is the last thing she needs. But how can she not want to get personal with broodingly handsome Grey? He may not be the commitment type, but she has a warm, generous heart that may be just what this grumbly boss needs!
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August 11, 2008
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Excerpt from The Boss's Unconventional Assistant by Jennie Adams
'So this is where a multimillionaire property developer comes for the occasional weekend away from the city.' Sophia Gable made the observation as she drew her elderly yellow car to a stop outside Grey Barlow's country home. 'Or in this case it's where he comes to recuperate from an accident.'
The house sat part way up an unspoiled section of Victorian mountainside, a large, solid structure made of slate and stone and mortar with a weathered roof of terracotta tiles. Vines twined about the veranda posts. Meadows full of wild flowers bloomed in every direction. Beyond those, snow-capped mountains rose in early spring splendour.
It was a change from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, but Soph was adaptable. She glanced at the white flop-eared domestic rabbit that rested, nose twitching, in a deep basket strapped to the front passenger seat of the car. Alfred might also enjoy the change of scene.
Despite Soph's efforts to remain calm, a small bout of nerves surfaced. This was a change of more than just her usual city surroundings. She sucked in a steadying breath. Her career change had been the right thing and for her first assignment she got to help a man in need, which she knew she would find fulfilling. It was all perfect. There was nothing to worry about.
Nothing except the fact that Soph had used up three of her four weeks of financial buffer zone before the We Work for You agency had given her this first posting. But the agency would see this proof of her versatility and skill and go on to send her into all sorts of varied jobs where she could help others and feel great as she did so.
Soph climbed out of the car, twitched her fluffy cerise jumper and black trousers into place and spared just a moment to admire the matching crimson ankle boots. With a cheerful expression pasted on to her face, she headed for the house and climbed the steps to the veranda.
'You're Sophia Gable, the assistant I acquired through the staffing agency?' The question came as a low rumble of sound from a corner of the veranda where the speaker would have had a perfect view of Gertie the Beetle's arrival, and Soph's exodus from said car. 'I thought you'd be older, less colourful.'
Was it the crimson tips in her hair? They probably looked a bit metallic in the sunlight, now Soph thought about it, but she'd wanted power hair for this fresh start. She squinted into the shadowed corner.
'I'm Sophia, but most people call me Soph. I hope you will too, Mr Barlow.' Despite the shadows, she could make out a cast on his arm and one foot in an ankle brace, stuck out awkwardly in front of him where he sat in an outdoor chair.
Poor fellow, but at least his injuries were temporary. 'The position outline said clerical with a bit of housekeeping and cooking, other general duties and assistance related to your injuries as required. I want to assure you I'm prepared for all contingencies. I've given quite a bit of thought to how I can best assist in your recovery.'
'You can assist by performing the required tasks and driving me places when needed. I'm certain nothing else will be necessary.' He rapped the words out with every appearance of annoyance and even a hint of suspicion. 'My injuries are simple, after all.' Following this pronouncement he glared and said, 'I'm merely dealing with a sprained ankle and a broken arm. There's nothing at all to fuss about.'
'That's a very positive outlook.' Though a bit taken aback, Soph tried to put a good spin on his grouchiness. The man may have placed his injuries last on his list of needs with the agency, but they were still needs. He might require a little coaxing to accept help with them. That was all. 'Even so, I have lots of great ideas--'
'Sit down, please.' He interrupted her without compunction and gestured towards the chair opposite his. 'At least you're not late, but I don't have a lot of time for pleasantries.'
Soph moved forward and got a proper look at him. 'I thought you'd be older. It's always the way when we anticipate meeting someone, isn't it? We tend to imagine something quite different to the reality.'
She wondered what made him so defensive about his injuries, but didn't have time to think about it now.
In truth, she was a little distracted. Now she could see him properly, she acknowledged that he was rather impressively packaged. Broad-shouldered, dark-haired, he had a chiselled face and stormy green eyes and not an ounce of spare flesh on him anywhere. She'd place him in his mid-thirties.
He said in a dry tone, 'I'm sure we'll manage to get over our mutual astonishment.'
'Yes. I guess so.' Despite his dryness and his wounded irritability, he had a presence. There was something compelling about him.
Soph's pulse skittered, but she rejected her reaction. The man was a stranger, not in her social or economic set, at least a decade older than her, and her employer to boot.