His Secretary Mistress(3)

By: Chantelle Shaw

She was just as he had guessed, he decided. A scatterbrained miniature Venus. But at that moment another blast of icy rain sent the crowd sheltering in the doorway surging inwards, and as she pressed up close against him he caught the drift of her perfume, a light, fresh fragrance that stirred his senses. Stirred rather more than his senses, he acknowledged.

This was ridiculous—to be so aroused at nine-thirty on a Monday morning. He had been too long without a lover, he decided grimly. At thirty-eight he was no longer at the mercy of his hormones. His days, or rather nights, with a variety of girlfriends were past, and he had certainly become more selective in his choice of lovers. But there was a huge difference between selective and celibate, and just lately he had definitely veered towards the latter. Work had become his all-consuming mistress; perhaps his body was simply reminding him that it had other needs. ‘Let me buy you a coffee,’ he offered as the shop door opened and the rich aroma of freshly ground beans assailed his senses. ‘You can phone Directory Enquiries for the number of your office. You’re late now anyway,’ he added persuasively. ‘Another five minutes can’t harm.’

For a few seconds Jenna was tempted to throw off the weight of responsibility that had hung on her shoulders for the last three years. She stared at the stranger and her heart began a slow, thunderous beat in her chest. It wasn’t just coffee he was offering, she acknowledged. The invitation was in his eyes, in the sensual curve of his mouth, and for an infinitesimal second she imagined his kiss, the feel of his lips on her neck, sliding lower to linger in the hollow between her breasts.

‘I can’t,’ she said thickly. ‘Thank you, but I can’t. I’m sorry.’

She didn’t know how long she stood, trapped in a haze of awareness that she could see mirrored in his eyes, but suddenly she realised that the crowd in the doorway had moved. The rain had stopped, and in the street pale sunshine danced across the puddles.

‘Well, it was nice to have met you,’ she said lamely as she stepped back from him, and found to her disgust that she was unable to drag her eyes from his face.

She didn’t want to leave him, didn’t want to walk away, knowing that she would never see him again, and she fought the urge to throw herself at him. It was only the thought of his embarrassment, let alone hers, which stopped her, and with another awkward smile she stepped into the street.

‘I have to remember the way to the office block yet, and I have a terrible sense of direction.’

Alex watched her go, consumed by a fierce compulsion to follow her, pull her into his arms and kiss her delectable mouth. What was the matter with him? he thought irritably. He hadn’t felt this hungry for a woman in a long time—and he didn’t like it. He liked his life to be well ordered and controlled. There was no place in his schedule for sex with a scatty redhead, and he ignored the dull ache in his gut with ruthless tenacity as he strode towards his office.

‘I can’t understand it,’ Margaret fretted when Alex entered his office to discover that the temporary secretary still hadn’t shown up. ‘She seemed so keen to take the job, and really she was so…’ Margaret paused, and then said emphatically, ‘Nice. I suppose I’d better get on to the agency,’ she continued, and Alex glanced at her downcast face and sighed.

Margaret had been very enthusiastic about the young woman she had hired, and he had been happy to leave the decision to her, trusting her judgement implicitly. It seemed as though, for once, Margaret had been proved wrong.

‘I’ll give it until ten o’clock and then phone them myself. You’d better go if you’re going to make John’s appointment on time.’

‘Perhaps something has happened—an accident, maybe,’ Margaret said worriedly, but then her face brightened. ‘You did say the traffic was particularly heavy this morning, I expect she’s caught in a jam.’

Personally, Alex did not share his personal assistant’s optimism that the temp would turn up. He hated having to rely on an agency for staff, but his secretarial assistant had inconveniently given birth to her baby two months early, and thrown his usually well-ordered office into chaos. It was Margaret who had suffered most; he had a particularly heavy workload of cases and the two previous temporary secretaries sent by the agency had been absolutely useless. Rather than rely on the agency’s choice again, he had instructed Margaret to interview the next candidates, and he knew she would be deeply disappointed if her choice proved to be a mistake.

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