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Glancing down at my watch for the hundredth time, I decided that arriving fifteen minutes early would be all right. I didn’t want to come off as too desperate, but I wanted whoever was interviewing me to know that I was serious and reliable. Unfortunately, my resume didn’t look that way since I’d worked one crap job after another, usually quitting because the asshole of a manager would make a move on me or the pay was so awful that it wouldn’t even cover my bus fare. Taking a deep breath, I somehow drummed up the courage to walk up the stairs leading to the door. I pressed my finger on the doorbell and had a last-minute wish that I had painted my nails a delicate pink or something.

I didn’t have to wait long before the door opened and a tall man with piercing dark eyes gazed down upon me. He was dressed casually in jeans and a white button-down shirt. His sleeves were rolled up, giving him a relaxed feel, yet his entire demeanor gave off an aura of authority. To only say the man was handsome would be an understatement. Mouthwatering, gorgeous, a gut-punching, breath-captivating sexy would be a better way to describe him.

“Yes?” he asked, tilting his head ever so slightly as he examined me from head to toe.

I shifted uncomfortably before I said, “I’m Tessa Stanton. I applied for your position.” When he didn’t say anything but instead continued to stare at me, I added, “I have an interview at three.” I swallowed hard and attempted to look directly into his eyes. But when I saw the intensity in the rich brown color, I awkwardly looked toward the ground, feeling a sense of defeat. I was no match for the power he exuded. “I’m sorry I’m early.”

He opened the door wider and moved to the side. “Come on in. My name is Price Anderson, and I’m the one hiring for the position.” He gave a slight smile, but not enough to come across as particularly friendly. He had a thick English accent that only added to his appeal for some unknown reason. The way he said each word sounded aristocratic, yet extremely masculine at the same time. “I like seeing my potentials arrive on time. Starting off on a good foot.”

As I walked in, he placed his palm on my lower back and applied some pressure as he led me to a room toward the right. I wasn’t used to a man touching me so freely unless he had something else in mind, but I didn’t get that feeling from Mr. Anderson. If anything, the touch seemed like the courteous thing to do.

“You’ll be meeting with me in here for the interview.”

When I entered the room, it was hard not to feel instantly at ease. The room looked like it came right out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The colors of light blue and classic gray blended perfectly. A large blue couch with patterned throw pillows expertly placed mastered the room. Armchairs sat across from the couch with cherry wood end tables on each side. Lamps with lovely shades stood nearby casting a warm glow on the room even though the sunlight still shone through the large windows with sheer lace curtains adorning them.

I wore black ballerina slipper shoes—scuffed and faded—and they made a light pitter-patter on the wood-plank floor as I was gently guided into the room. I tried to control all the nerves that wanted to release from my body in a big whoosh. I had never been so anxious before, and I only prayed that he wouldn’t notice just how jittery I felt.

Mr. Anderson motioned to the couch with a brisk gesture of his hand. “Please have a seat, Miss Stanton. Let’s begin the interview.”

Chapter Two


When I didn’t move immediately, he continued to guide me to the couch with the warmth of his palm still against the small of my back. When he removed his hand to take a seat in the armchair directly across from where I was to sit, I felt a sense of loss. I hadn’t even realized that his touch had given me a warm feeling of security until it was removed.

I sat down, held my shoulders back, positioned my feet together, and placed my hands on my lap. I wanted to appear distinguished and mature even though I felt anything but. The large cushions of the couch seemed to dwarf me in size, and the very tall and large man before me only added to that feeling. I struggled not to look around and fully examine all the little knickknacks that were scattered about. From the angle where I sat, I could see a fireplace with an ornate mantel and large mirror that hung above it. Classic would be a perfect word for this room. Every single item seemed to be in its assigned place without one thing being out of order.

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