The Davis Landing Observer Page 5
The Gossip Guru
hears tough tycoon Tim Hamilton—the legitimate son currently running Hamilton Media for his ailing father—was seen squiring his assistant, Dawn Leroux, around town last week. Inside information is that Tim wrecked Dawn's car and offered to lend her a replacement, but her concern was with the people on her meal-delivery route. Only time will tell if the lovely Ms. Leroux's sweet nature can tame Tim's all-business beast and turn him into a human being.
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Dawn Leroux tensed the moment her boss pushed open the door of his private office and entered hers. She was hard at work, as usual, so no one could question her diligence. Just the same, there was always a niggling feeling of intimidation associated with being in the presence of Timothy Hamilton.
"I left a short list of personnel on my desk," Tim said. "I'll want their files updated and waiting for me when I get back. It shouldn't take you too long."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Hamilton. Anything else?"
"Not that I can think of."
"Fine. I'll take care of it right away."
Dawn smiled inwardly. She wished she had a nickel for every time she'd told her boss that very thing. Being his administrative assistant wasn't a bad assignment as long as she was quick to respond to his orders—and do things his way. The man was predictable, if nothing else. Whatever he wanted done, he wanted it done yesterday.
"Will you be out of the office long?" she asked, pen in hand, as he breezed past her desk.
He pushed back his cuff to check his Rolex. "I have a ten o'clock meeting with Ed Bradshaw in the Dispatch office downstairs, then lunch with my mother at twelve. If you need me, we'll probably be across the street at Betty's. Mom prefers the Bakeshoppe."
"I can understand why. The food is delicious." Dawn was making notes. "Is that all?"
"For the moment," Tim said. He tapped the breast pocket of his immaculate gray suit. "If I think of anything else, I'll phone you." He paused.
"You'll be here?"
"All day," Dawn said pleasantly, knowing exactly what he meant. "I brown-bagged it today." She gestured toward a lower drawer of her desk to reassure him. Knowing Tim Hamilton, he'd chain her to the stupid desk 24-7 if he thought he could get away with it! The man was so focused on business he made a normal workaholic look like a hopeless slacker.
"Right." Tim was already striding away and disappearing through the door as he spoke.
Dawn heard the outer door close and sighed with relief. She stretched, fingers laced together, hands raised over her head. She loved her job, she really did, but ever since his older brother Jeremy had left town in a huff and Tim had moved up in the Hamilton Media corporate hierarchy, he'd acted as if his every act was of monumental importance. He even drank his morning coffee with deliberateness. The poor man was more of a machine than a human being, although she knew he'd be incensed if he suspected that anyone, especially a member of his staff, felt sorry for him.
Sighing, she breathed a quick prayer for her boss's mental health—and her own—then rose and went into his private office to retrieve the list he'd mentioned.
She paused at the window overlooking the meandering Cumberland River. Fall had already touched this part of Tennessee. The trees along the water were bright and bold, soon to lose their leaves.
Dawn wrapped her arms around herself and gave a little shiver. Her home state of Louisiana might stay hotter in the summer than a bowl of Mama's homemade jambalaya but it made up for it with mild winters. Though she loved Davis Landing and the Nashville area, there were still times when she longed for a cup of rich Café du Monde coffee and one of their famous beignets dusted with powdered sugar. Thankfully that terrible hurricane had spared the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Her stomach growled. Thinking about food was making her hungry far too early in the day. She swung her long blond hair back with a toss of her head, smoothed her skirt and returned to her desk. At five foot three she didn't have a lot of room to store extra pounds and she didn't want to lose control of her eating habits. There weren't many areas of her life over which she had complete control and she wasn't about to relinquish what little she did have.
The heavy, brass doors of the elevator slid open and Tim stepped out on the ground floor. He knew better than to pass through the lobby and engage either Louise or Herman Gordon in casual conversation so he whipped around and ducked into the newspaper office. The elderly Gordons took their jobs as Hamilton Media greeter and guard far too seriously to suit him, and both were terrible gossips. Unless he wanted to listen to their opinions on everything from the weather to their favorite TV shows, he knew it was best to avoid them entirely.
He waved to his sister, Heather, in passing. She absentmindedly returned his greeting with a nod and a smile while toting an armload of paper out the door toward the elevator. Tim figured she was probably headed back up to her Nashville Living office on the second floor. He was pleased to see her applying herself. It was never easy to manage staff and he sure didn't want to have to reprimand anyone in his own family. There were times when he secretly envied his father's unwavering sternness. Wallace Hamilton was not a man to trifle with. All six of his children knew that, even Jeremy.
Thoughts of his older brother made Tim's jaw muscles clench. Now that they all knew the truth about Jeremy's parentage it explained a lot. No wonder he'd never had the inherent drive or the business savvy of Wallace's other children. The biggest puzzle was why a perfectionist like Wallace had allowed a laid-back guy like Jeremy to run Hamilton Media at all.
Tim brushed aside his troubling musings and headed straight for the editor's office. Bradshaw's desk was so piled with papers it looked like a copy machine had exploded on it. Tim would have chastised him for his lack of organization if he'd been present.
Frustrated, Tim whirled and accosted the first Dispatch employee he came to. "Lyle. Where's Bradshaw? Have you seen him?"
"Sorry. Don't have a clue, boss," the seasoned reporter said. "Maybe Felicity knows where he's at."
Wondering what the man's grades in English class had been, Tim scanned the half-walled cubicles in the newsroom. Heads down, fingers flying on keyboards, everyone was so busy looking busy it was hard to tell who was who.
He finally spotted Felicity Simmons, his brother Chris's girlfriend, returning from the company break room. "Felicity!"
"I was just getting a cup of coffee, Mr. Hamilton," she said quickly as she glanced at her watch.
"I was only gone twelve minutes, so technically I'm coming back early."
"I don't care about that," Tim said, annoyed. "I want to know if you've seen Bradshaw."
She glanced over her shoulder. "Ed? I passed him in the hall. He was just leaving. Said something about a sick cat, I think. I suppose he was going home."
"Terrific." Tim scowled. "Okay. Maybe I can catch him in the parking lot. Thanks."
"You're welcome, Mr. Hamilton. Have a good day."
Tim's scowl deepened. A good day? A good day was when things flowed smoothly, not when you had unforeseen changes foisted on you. If Bradshaw really had gone home to look after a sick animal instead of keeping their appointment, Tim was going to mention more than his poor office housekeeping. He wasn't about to try to run a publishing empire like Hamilton Media without the complete support of his staff, from the senior editors all the way on down to the likes of Louise and Herman Gordon. Wallace had always understood that and so did Tim. There was no other way to ensure success.
He took an incoming cell phone call with his usual efficiency, waving at the Gordons in passing but not slowing his pace as he left the building. "Oh, hi, Mom. How's Dad this morning?" He knew the answer but felt he had to ask.
"There's been no change," Nora said sadly. "Are you sure you can spare the time to have lunch with me? I know how busy you are and—"
"Nonsense. I always have time for you, you know that." He slid behind the wheel of his silver BMW, slammed the door and turned the key in the ignition.
"I know, but..."
"Where are you now?"
"At the hospital. Where else?"
"Exactly," Tim said. "You've been spending way too much time there for your own good. You won't do Dad any good if you ruin your health, too."
He slipped the car into Reverse and started to back out of his reserved spot in front of the old brick building they'd renovated to house Hamilton Media. Before he headed for Bradshaw's house he'd cruise the employee parking lot and see if the editor's car was still there. Felicity might have been wrong. There was no sense running all over town if he didn't have to.
Tim had the tiny cell phone pinned between his chin and shoulder. He felt it starting to slip and made a grab for it, leaning to one side in the process. "Oops!" He recovered. "Sorry, Mom. Almost dropped you."
That moment of inattention was all it took to ruin his morning completely. He glanced up, never dreaming he'd see another car so close. The sun was in his eyes, half blinding him. His foot twitched instinctively, only it was poised over the accelerator, not the brake pedal. In the split second it took for him to realize his mistake and switch to the brakes, his bumper had smashed the other car's grille.
Astounded, Tim bit back a colorful comment. That idiotic driver had come out of nowhere! Why didn't people watch where they were going? "Tim?" his mother said, "are you okay? I thought I heard a crash."
"Fender bender," Tim said. "I'm fine."
"Oh, honey. I'm so glad you're all right. I'll talk to you later, okay? Call me if we're still on for lunch?"
Flipping the phone closed, Tim climbed out of his luxury car, fully expecting to confront the careless driver who had run into him. He shaded his eyes from the glare that had temporarily distorted his perception during the accident. His jaw went slack. There was no adversary to argue with. He'd smashed into an empty parked car! How embarrassing.
He removed his suit jacket as he circled the accident scene and hunkered down to assess the damage. The car he'd hit looked like a clunker but its owner probably valued it just the same. He'd better jot down the license number and drop it off for his administrative assistant to deal with before he left the lot.
Rather than phone from there and possibly have to explain his stupidity in the presence of passing employees, he decided to return to the office and make sure Dawn understood his wish to assume complete responsibility for what had occurred.
He still couldn't fathom how he'd made such a careless mistake but he had. Naturally he'd pay for whatever repairs were necessary. The poor old junk heap he'd hit was probably on its last legs, anyway. Chances were, taking the little dent out of his bumper would cost as much or more than fixing the crumpled fender and grille of the car he'd hit!
Moving the BMW into the nearest available slot, Tim headed for his office. The sooner he got this over with, the sooner he could get his packed schedule back on track.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is part of the Davis Landing Love Inspired series and had both humor and uplifting content. A good choice