Read an Excerpt
Sleeping With The Boss
By Maureen Child
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Eileen Ryan faced her grandmother down in battle, even knowing that she would, eventually, lose the war. It was
inevitable. Her grandmother was undefeated. If she wanted something, Margaret Mary - Maggie to her friends - Ryan,
usually found a way to get it. But Eileen was determined to stand her ground. "Gran, I'm not a secretary anymore."
Sunlight danced in the small living room. The tiny beach cottage that Maggie Ryan had called home for more than forty
years was packed full of her memories, but was never less than tidy. Gran sat in a splash of sunshine that gilded her
perfectly styled gray hair. The older woman wore a pale peach dress, nylons and sensible black shoes. Her deeply lined
features creased in a patient smile and her hands rested on the doily-covered arms of her favorite chair. She looked
quietly regal - which was one of the reasons no one ever won an argument with her.
"Yes, but it's like riding a bike," Gran countered.
"You never forget."
"You can if you work at it hard enough," Eileen told her, stubbornly clinging to her argument.
Heaven knows Eileen had certainly tried to forget everything about being a secretary. It had been three years since
she'd last worked in an office. And she didn't miss it.
She'd always hated working in offices. First, there was the whole "trapped behind a desk" feeling - not to mention
having to put up with a boss looking over your shoulder all the time. But the absolute worst part of being a secretary,
as far as Eileen was concerned, was being smarter than the boss and having him treat her like an idiot. An old echo of
pain welled up inside her and she fought it back down. Her last boss, Joshua Payton, had pretended to love her.
Pretended to need her. Until he got the fat promotion that had taken him up the ladder of success and sent her back to
the secretarial pool.
Well, she wouldn't be used and discarded again. She'd made her escape and didn't want to go back. Not even temporarily.
"Piffle?" Eileen repeated, laughing.
Maggie's nose twitched. "It's not as though I were asking you to take a nosedive into the black hole of Calcutta."
"I'm only asking you to help Rick out for two weeks. His secretary's gone on maternity leave and -"
"No way, Gran," she said, shaking her head and taking a step backward, just for good measure. Going into an office
again was going backward. Revisiting a past that she'd just as soon forget.
Maggie didn't even blink. She simply stared at Eileen through emerald-green eyes and waited. And waited.
Eileen folded. She never had been able to stand tough under the silent treatment. "Come on, Gran. It's my vacation."
"Your vacation was canceled."
True. She and her best friend, Tina, had planned on two weeks in Mexico. Until, that is, Tina had unexpectedly
eloped with her longtime boyfriend, leaving Eileen an apologetic message on her machine. Now Eileen had her passport in
hand and no real desire to go to a fun-in-the-sun spot all on her lonesome.
Frustrating, since she'd spent so much time arranging things so that her flower shop wouldn't fold in her absence.
Eileen had prepped her staff, coached her assistant and cleared her own decks to allow herself two whole weeks of a
well-earned vacation. Early October was the best possible chance for her to take some time off. There was a real lull
in a florist's calendar at this time of year - and as soon as October was finished, the holiday frenzy would kick in.
She wouldn't have a moment to herself until after Valentine's Day.
Stress rattled through her like a freight train and even her eyes suddenly hurt. She could almost feel her time off
slipping away from her. "The trip was canceled. I still have my two weeks."
"And nothing to do," her grandmother pointed out.
True again and darn it, Gran knew her way too well. Yes, she'd probably go a little nuts with nothing to occupy
her time. But she was willing to risk it. "Hey, you never know. I might actually learn to like doing nothing at
Maggie chuckled. "Not you, honey. You never were one to sit still when you could be up and running."
"Maybe it's time I slowed down a little then," Eileen said, and started pacing. "I could read. Or go to the movies. Or
maybe sit down at the beach and watch the waves."
Maggie waved a hand at her. "You wouldn't last twenty-four hours."
Eileen tried to placate her grandmother even while sticking to her plan to escape doing her this "favor."
"Rick Hawkins is a pain, Gran, and you know it."
"You only say that because he used to tease you."
Eileen nodded. "You bet. Every time he came over to pick up Bridie for a date, he tormented me. He used to make me so
"You were a little girl and he was your big sister's boyfriend. He was supposed to tease you. It was sort of his job."
Maggie's sharp green eyes narrowed. "His grandmother is a very old, very dear friend."
"Great," Eileen interrupted in a rush. "I'll go help her, then."
"Nice try, but Loretta doesn't need a secretary. Her grandson does."
"So what's he do, anyway?" Eileen plopped down into a chair close to her grandmother's. "With as mean as he was to me,
I'm figuring he's some sort of criminal mastermind."
"Financial advisor," Maggie said, reaching up to tuck a stray curl behind her ear. "He's doing very well, too,
according to Loretta."
Eileen wasn't impressed. "She's his grandmother. She's deluded, poor woman."
"Fine. So he's rich. Is he on wife number five by now?"
"Awfully curious, aren't you?"
"It's a tragic flaw."
Excerpted from Sleeping With The Boss
by Maureen Child
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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