The Boss's Unconventional Assistant [NOOK Book]


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 ...

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The Boss's Unconventional Assistant

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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426820557
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Series: 9 to 5 Series , #4043
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 288,794
  • File size: 194 KB

Read an Excerpt

'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 trousersinto 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.

When Soph chose to date, it was with average guys her own age and financial status, and she made it clear she only wanted company for an evening out or two. If they started to want a piece of her soul or anything similar, she was out of there.

One day, a long time in the future, Soph might want to choose someone more permanent from among those very ordinary men but it would have to be a relationship she could control, and she would have to feel ready.

Something told her that Grey Barlow couldn't be ordinary or controllable if he tried. Nor did he seem the kind who would seek permanency, certainly not if it came with the picket fence she imagined she might some day want. Well, her sisters had both fallen for it.

With millionaires of their own, no less, and in spite of the trust issues they had carried, thanks to their deserting parents.

Soph hadn't suffered like Bella and Chrissy. Her older sisters had shielded her, allowed her to live a normal and happy life after their parents had abandoned them, even when things had been at their toughest. Nope. Soph had no hang-ups, just a lot of gratitude and love and the wish that she could have done more for Chrissy and Bella in return.

'I'm pleased to meet you, Mr Barlow. I hope we'll have a satisfying association while I work for you.' This was the point. Something new and interesting to do, something which would drive away her restlessness, give her a feeling of completion, a feeling that she had contributed in a pleasing way. She simply liked to help people, and wanted more of a chance to do so.

'The agency assured me you were the best they had to offer.'After a brief hesitation in which he lifted his right hand, frowned in annoyance and dropped it down again, he reached out his undamaged left one.

Did he have to sound so dubious about her? Soph hoped he hadn't got that impression from the agency itself. She reached out her left hand too. 'I'll do my utmost to live up to your expectations.'

The back to front handshake was firm and quickly over. It should have felt impersonal or simply awkward, but a flash of heat travelled up her arm and into her chest. She thought she saw a matching momentary reaction in his gaze.

Of course her response was a glitch, since she'd decided it wouldn't be wise to notice him in that way.

As for him, a second glance revealed nothing but a blank mask. She had probably imagined anything else.

He began to rap out words. 'On doctor's orders, I've agreed to a break here for the next week. I concede the fresh air and change of scenery probably won't do me any harm, although I think my doctor is being overly cautious about my…health.

'After the week here, I'll relocate to my town house in Melbourne.You'll carry out your work for me at both locations.'

'I'll do my best to assist you.' The town house would have a garden, a place for Alfred's collapsible enclosure. That was a good thing. She needed to explain about Alfie, how she'd found the domestic pet abandoned, tied to a pole near her flat just last night and now needed to keep him with her.

Her employer gave a nod. 'Aside from the duties you mentioned earlier, you'll screen all my phone calls and turn away any person who might appear here at the house. I've made it clear I don't want visitors, but some people might try to ignore that fact.'

No visitors, huh? If Soph had a broken arm and a damaged ankle, her sisters and brothers-in-law would be all over her. They'd tell her how to get better, bring her food and comfort. Actually, they'd probably insist she go to live with one or the other of them until she made a complete recovery.

She wondered about Grey Barlow's family. Maybe he didn't want his work colleagues or relatives to see him at less than his best. It made a proud male kind of sense. In response to this thought, she smiled at him extra kindly. 'If anyone tries to get inside the house, I'll be better than a Pekingese. They won't know what's—'

'Bitten them?' He finished the sentence for her and a wry smile touched his lips.

'Do Pekingese bite? I think they just yap, don't they?' Soph's heart pitter-pattered. He looked younger and more approachable when he smiled. Could she be blamed for noticing? 'Do you have pets, Mr Barlow? You see, I have this—'

'No, I don't do the pet thing.' The hint of a smile disappeared, replaced by a frown. 'I'd find that kind of commitment restricting.'

Maybe she wouldn't mention Alfie's presence just yet. And definitely no picket fences on this man's horizon if he couldn't even cope with the thought of a pet responsibility. She'd been right about that, and it was fine with her.

'Perhaps we could get back to our discussion of your duties?' He sounded irritable again. 'Although I'm incarcerated here for no good reason, I concede that I can't physically cover ten floors of office space every day or go out to examine the construction sites in Melbourne and beyond until my ankle is better. But I will keep my finger on the pulse of the company.

'I'll keep in touch by electronic conferencing. I'll also review and respond to written reports from the various departments daily.' He paused to draw a breath. 'You'll type my correspondence and do any other work I hand over to you, including research.'

'I look forward to getting started.' Soph curved her lips into what she hoped looked a confident smile, although she began to wonder just where the 'rest' portion of his recovery came in if he planned to do all these things.

In any case, she wanted him to put his faith in her. 'I'm up for any challenge this job may represent.'

'Your positive attitude is…appreciated.' His dark gaze roved over her, lingered on the fluffy jumper, the colourful hair. It then cut to the driveway, where Gertie the faithful Beetle sat in loaded-to-the-rafters splendour.

His eyebrows lifted infinitesimally. 'You do have the skills to perform well in these areas?'

'I have proficient computer skills, I touch type at a speed of seventy-five words per minute, can format and edit any document as required and know my way around transcription machines.' It didn't matter that none of these areas had been tested beyond an evening course at the local further education college and lots of practice on the computer at home over the past months.

She'd trained for it; she was ready for it. Soph also had other skills. She hit him with all of them that she thought might be relevant. 'I understand filing systems, both on the computer and off it. I've spent plenty of time running an appointments diary and handling incoming and outgoing phone calls.' Nothing was busier than an inner city hair salon. 'My driving record is spotless.'

That last part she threw in because no doubt they'd end up going somewhere sooner or later, even if only when they moved from here to Melbourne. Backing into a pole once on her L-plates didn't count. 'Um, I've rather a lot of stuff in my car, but I'm sure I'll be able to fit your things in when it comes time for us to return to the city.'

'Your vehicle will be returned to the city for you eventually. I prefer my own car so I had a driver drop me here in it.'

Oh. Right. He'd probably sent the man back in a taxi or even had a company car and driver follow him out for the purpose. 'No problem. I enjoy the chance to drive different vehicles.'

Namely, she had driven Gertie and one other car—her brother-in-law Nate's old restored convertible, which she still remembered with fondness. She'd worn a silk scarf around her neck and big sunglasses and pretended to be a movie star, and then she'd talked her landlady into going with her and done it all again. Fun!

'I can spare you fifteen minutes to unload your belongings.' He rose to his feet and hobbled towards the front door of the house. 'Once that's done, join me in the office. It's the large room on the right as you come in. Your bedroom is upstairs, first on the left.' With those words, he tugged the door open.

It was going to be like that, was it? Come help me, I'll even pay generously for you doing so, but don't acknowledge my injuries?

She could take care of him silently, if he wanted it that way, but Soph would perform all her duties to him.

'Did you bring the voice recognition software package?' He had lifted his foot off the floor, clearly because standing still on it had made it ache.

'Yes, I collected it from the agency yesterday afternoon.' She searched his face again. This time she looked beyond the appealing features to the weary lines around his eyes, the slight pallor of his face. Oh, yes. He needed to rest, get off that foot. Be pampered a little.

'Bring me the software first.' He stepped inside the door. 'I'll install it and get it going so I can at least send emails without your help and without having to type with one hand. Your first job will be the dictation I've done this morning.'

It was barely nine a.m. Soph had risen at the crack of dawn to load her car and get here on time and the man had been at work for how long already?

'I'm happy to do whatever works best for you.' Provided it included appropriate care of his injuries. She turned away and moved towards Gertie. 'I'll bring the software package straight in, then sort out everything else.'

Alfred would have to be secreted into the back garden for the moment.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Super sweet


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2008

    Pleasure to read from start to finish

    Sophia Gable leaves the busy city life of Melbourne, Australia to arrive at the country estate of Grey Barlow, a multimillionaire property developer. Having used up much of her financial buffer zone, she finally has a posting. Ready to begin her career change, Sophia has to make this work and does she ever have her work cut out for her! Grey Barlow is used to being an active, in-charge kind of man. When a sprained ankle and broken arm put a kink in his full steam ahead work schedule, he is forced to hire a temporary assistant and he is none to pleased at the idea of handing over the reins even for the most regular of tasks. With her bright clothes and unconventional ways, Sophia is not exactly what he imagined. Bright, intelligent with looks to match, his new assistant has a knack for breaking rules and protocol. Ordered to rest and take it easy by his doctor, Grey is one hard-to-please grumbling boss. Does Sophia have what it takes to bring this man under control? Can they control the unspoken physical attraction that only seems to grow the closer they become? When disaster strikes, will Grey be there for Sophia? Grey might not be the commitment type, but will he stand up for her?// In THE BOSS'S UNCONVENTIONAL ASSISTANT, Jennie Adams brings together two unlikely characters who bring out conflict and through that conflict, they discover the best in themselves and each other. Unconventional yet full of warmth and cheer, Sophia has just the perfect combination of spunk, innocence and humor to shake this handsome man out of his bad humor and open his heart. Grey is a successful businessman. He prepares and gets things right in every detail. Can Sophia teach him that sometimes rules and seriousness need to give way to softness and love? When needed, Grey goes beyond the call of duty, but can he do the same for love? When Sophia herself becomes vulnerable and needs someone to stand up for her, is serious, grumbling Grey the man for the job?// With a delightful sense of humor and detail, Jennie Adams creates memorable characters to steal he heart. The inner thoughts of her characters, expressed in italics, versus the words they actually say to one another bring lots of smiles as these two battle the growing attraction between themselves. Sophia's love for animals adds a nice twist, showing her heart to both Grey and the reader. Despite his no-nonsense exterior, Grey's good nature and qualities shine forth. Jennie Adams ends this romance and indeed the series with a bold plot twist that brings her sisters and family together, giving the reader a nice portrait of the Gable women and their interconnections as well as a heartwarming, romantic portrait of Grey as a hero. THE BOSS'S UNCONVENTIONAL ASSISTANT is a perfect feel good romance that puts a smile in the heart.

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    Posted July 18, 2011

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    Posted November 24, 2010

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    Posted June 11, 2011

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    Posted February 21, 2012

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    Posted February 24, 2011

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