Memo: Marry Me? (Harlequin Romance #3953)

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When I agreed to be Zach Swift's secretary, I was expecting demanding and high-flying--not seriously gorgeous and generous! I usually don't like working in an office, because of how the accident affected my memory, but with Zach it feels different. And now he's asked me to go on a business trip with him!

Nine-to-five is hard enough for me to hide my feelings, and Zach's bound to guess that I'm not as perfect ...

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Memo: Marry Me? (Harlequin Romance #3953)

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When I agreed to be Zach Swift's secretary, I was expecting demanding and high-flying--not seriously gorgeous and generous! I usually don't like working in an office, because of how the accident affected my memory, but with Zach it feels different. And now he's asked me to go on a business trip with him!

Nine-to-five is hard enough for me to hide my feelings, and Zach's bound to guess that I'm not as perfect as he seems to think I am. And he's also mentioned he has a proposal for me. I'm meeting him for dinner--tonight!

Wish me luck!
Lily Kellaway

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373039531
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Series: Harlequin Romance Series, #3953
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennie's first attempt to become a writer at age four involved sneaking off to go to school with her older siblings. Unfortunately, those efforts were foiled by a very small tricycle, three-and-a-half very long miles of dirt road between her and the school, and a vigilant mother who could drive faster than Jennie could pedal.

At age eleven, Jennie conducted her first love affair—on paper, of course. Sadly, that relationship was not to be. Jennie buried her disappointment in several years of poetry writing. Her English mistress said (perhaps more kindly than truthfully), that Jennie's work showed promise.

Life as a farm girl included twice weekly classical piano lessons, the occasional terrifying eisteddfod (a competitive festival of the arts), egg fights, billy-cart races, and Jennie and her siblings begging their Dad to let them run through the empty sheep dip (in their defense, they were very young at the time).

Jennie walked straight out of her years of schooling into a bank job. There, she learned that there is no automatic carriage return on a ledger machine, a trans-coding machine will blow up if you use it continuously for several hours, and a waste bin full of carbon paper burns very quickly. After some time on the road as a relief bank officer (truly, it had nothing to do with the unfortunate incidents mentioned above), Jennie discovered her real-life hero and fell instantly in love. On their first date they agreed they were going to get married—and they've been together ever since.

Her first real "story" was written whilst raising two babies. Sadly, there didn't seem to be much of a market for the tale of a cartoon possum whoenjoyedretail shopping.

While Jennie shifted from at-home-mother to secretary, to piano teacher and numerous other jobs, the desire to write grew and grew until, when her children were in primary school and Jennie was working part-time as a Church secretary, she signed up for a correspondence writing course and began to write and submit her work.

Jennie's first sale was an article about alpacas, and she takes no responsibility for the fact that the publication closed down soon after her piece was printed. Jennie wrote her first romance novel soon after, and sold her first Harlequin Romance in 2004. She hopes to write many more Harlequin stories in the future.

When she isn't writing, working her current part-time job or taking long walks, Jennie loves to read (romance, of course), watch movies and eat out with her friends. Jennie lives in a small inland city in New South Wales with her husband, and an elderly tabby cat with a royalty complex.

Jennie loves to hear from readers.

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Read an Excerpt

"Are you Zachary Swift?" Lily stood in the doorway of the spacious eighteenth-floor Sydney office, and pushed words up through a throat filled with fear. She hoped she sounded calm and rational, and not worried sick. "I'm Lily Kellaway, owner and manager of Best Secretarial Agency. I'm here in response to your—concerns about my employee."
He could refuse to speak to her. Could have her and her agency blackballed, and end her career just like that. Lily knew it, feared it, but if she wanted any chance to make this situation right she had to sound confident, a woman who could and would make things better.
"I'm Zach Swift, yes, and it's no idle accusation against Rochelle Farrer." He sat at his desk, broad shoulders pressed into a black leather chair, confidence and assurance written in every line of his body.
Sydney's leaden April sky loomed behind him, viewed through a bank of plate-glass windows. Through a long, slim grill above those windows, the sounds of a city that never stopped emphasised his decisive words— vehicles possessing the roads below, the blast and clang of construction, a siren's blare.
Firm, determined sounds, when Lily only wanted to hear his deep voice softening, inviting her in to discuss this problem face to face.
"I don't dispute your accusation.'she wished she could disprove it, but, sadly, it was all true. "But it's one that can be addressed. Amends can be made. The situation can be fixed."
"Is that why you're here? To try to fix what happened? There's no turning back the clock." Dark brows drew down. His lean, tanned face revealed his irritation. "I think I made my feelings quite clear when we spoke by phone halfan hour ago."
She recalled the shock of that phone call very well. Dismay and embarrassment had robbed her of the ability to reason with him. While she'd still been floundering, he had told her he wanted nothing more to do with her agency, and had hung up.
"You raised certain issues when you phoned." The empty secretary's desk in the reception room at her back mocked her. Her fingers clenched around the notebook held in her left hand, and she prayed that he would listen. "I'd like the chance to address those issues, now that I've had time to assimilate what's happened."
Please, God, she wouldn't forget the speech rehearsed three times on the frantic taxi trip here.
"What's to address? I sacked your employee. I've sacked your agency. End of story."With an irritated growl, he rose and stalked across the thick beige carpet until he stood before her.
Over six feet of annoyed, affronted male, and her agency was responsible for his anger. She quaked. But something else happened, too. Something quick and unexpected when her gaze zeroed in on thick-fringed hazel eyes. A mixture of curiosity and interest flowed through her, locked her breath in her throat. Shock and dismay followed. She couldn't be attracted to him? It must be some sort of nervous reaction, surely?
Yes, that must be it, and just as well, because all other facts aside she was too busy for a relationship with a man right now. Busy. Inadequate. Just look at your relationship with your parents, a silent voice interjected. "All I ask is a few minutes of your time. If you'll hear me out, those minutes will be well invested."
"Will they, Ms Kellaway? You seem very sure of that."
Lily adjusted the weight of the tote bag slung over her shoulder, tugged her green skirt into place and smoothed the matching blazer. "I have a solution."
"Do you? For the past week I've been sexually stalked while your employee ignored her duties." His narrowed eyes revealed his distaste. "My working life has been thoroughly wrecked, culminating in this morning's episode. Your agency is responsible for that, and you want to solve my problem?"
Lily drew a sharp breath. Something mellow and male drifted across her senses. Cedar wood and citrus, heated by warm man. "I do apologise—' The words trailed off as her attention seemed to shift of its own volition to the black leather sofa in the corner.
He followed her gaze, and his lips thinned. "Were you aware I would walk in on that particular sight today? Perhaps your agency condones such behaviour in its temp secretaries?"
"I was certainly not aware that Rochelle had behaved in such a way, or that she might do so."
Lily had no doubt that this indelible piece of conversation would stick like a barnacle to the inside of her head. "If I'd known, I never would have employed her. Until now, I've not had a whiff of trouble from any of my employees."
"Then how did it happen, Ms Kellaway?" He strode away, clasped the edges of the desk in long-fingered hands. An intense and focussed scrutiny demanded her answer. "How was it that I walked into my office this morning to find Rochelle Farrer waiting naked for me on my sofa?"
Lily's hand shook as she snared a few errant strands of hair and pushed them back off her face. Rochelle had believed if she'd stripped off and waited this man would leap at the chance to have her, and afterwards to keep her. She hadn't hesitated to say so, when Lily had confronted her by phone as she'd rushed here to try to put things to rights. 'Rochelle— appeared to be under the misapprehension that she could, uh—"
"Marry a rich husband and live off his wealth for the rest of her life?" He inserted the words with freezing helpfulness. 'And she only needed to throw herself at her potential victim to get her wish?"
"Well, yes." Lily's mouth tightened into a stiff pucker. He might be angry, but the interview with Rochelle hadn't exactly been pleasant for her, either! 'I didn't know Rochelle would sell herself that way for the chance to become a wealthy man's wife. When I interviewed her, she seemed very genuine and businesslike."
His prolonged silence made her want to fidget. And she wanted desperately to use her notebook to try to get down what they had said so far.
At least she only had to be here long enough to get him to agree to take Deborah on. Then she could return to the safety of running her agency from her small apartment. To days filled with the transcription typing that allowed her to remain out of harm's way, where her shortcomings couldn't get her into trouble. To only venturing out when she felt up to the challenge.
He examined her with disconcerting thoroughness. Eventually, he dipped his head slightly in acknowledgement. "Surprisingly, I believe you."
"Thank you." Her knees sagged with the weight of that gratefully received reprieve. "I'm so pleased to hear you say—"
"Not that it changes anything." He burst her bubble of hope expertly and without waste of words. "Rochelle didn't exactly deliver on your agency's promise of 'a reliable secretary with previous experience in busy, challenging office environments', did she?"
"No. She didn't."
And, while Lily stood in his doorway and attempted to sort this out, she was at a distinct disadvantage. "I respect your concerns, and the distaste you must feel for all that you've been through. But I have an offer to make that can turn this situation into something more positive. I believe it will be in your company's best interests to hear it."
After a long moment, he sighed and waved an arm towards the studded visitor's chair that faced his desk. "All right, I suppose I can spare you a few minutes in comfort. If we're lucky, the phone might even stay quiet for that long."
He didn't clarify, 'a few minutes to settle this permanently before I contact a more reliable agency and get them to send me a decent secretary', but she had no doubt he thought it.
"Thank you." She started towards the chair. "All I want is enough of your time to allow me to resolve this matter."
"As far as I'm concerned the matter is—' His words faltered. His gaze locked on the movement of her hips beneath the conservative green skirt.
His eyelids dropped, but not before she saw the mixture of knowledge and curiosity that confirmed his interest in her—willing or not.
If she'd felt a certain tingling something just now too, well, that was because being here gave her the fidgets. It was nerves that sent ripply feelings down her spine, and made her skin feel too tight, certainly not some reaction to him.
Even as she denied any interest in him, a small part of her catalogued the harsh face with its angry frown line and strong jaw, and the thick, dark brown hair.
Lily shook her head and dragged her thoughts back to business. She would finish this. Then she would leave, with a dignified, impersonal handshake. This—interest, or whatever it was, would quickly be forgotten.
"I hope you don't expect to be paid for the week Rochelle stalked me around the office, ignored her work and made a mess of everything?" Zachary gifted her with a glare from beneath his brows.
"Certainly not."That loss of revenue was only one of her worries right now. "I would never ask such a thing of a valued employer."
"But you're here to ask something."
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