Hi, Chicks of Characterization and lovers of Romance,
If you’ve caught the last few days of this blog, you know I’m Michele Hart, the author of the steamy new Sci-Fi Romance release, Mind-Blown, a copy awaiting you at Siren-BookStrand. It’s my last day visiting Chicks of Characterization, so it’s time to throw everything out there for your perusal. Here it goes!
Here’s the book trailer for Mind-Blown. I hope you enjoy it.
Here’s Chapter One of Mind-Blown for your enticement:
Holly could taste the bitter desperation in her mouth…or was it the taste of Dallas’s resident pollution? Whatever position this interview was about—physical torture notwithstanding—she’d take the job. In fact, she’d beg for it. Biting back her anxiety into a manageable corner of her mind, she shelved the fact that she hated job interviews. Just like everyone else in the world.
She stood outside the double doors of the Marriott Hotel Ballroom C, cupped her hand against her mouth, and checked herself for bad breath, then she tugged on her best gray business suit, nervous for the upcoming job interview. Since her brutal lay-off three months ago, she sought any position not selling her body. She’d lost count of the employment applications she’d put out in the last few months, long weary of writing out her job experiences and contact information, and to no avail from the count of callbacks it generated. Last night, she’d been overjoyed to get the call for this interview.
Giving herself no opportunity to chicken out, she reached for the heavy door and entered a starkly appointed waiting room attended by a handful of people seated along a row of chairs planted against three walls. A small front room was walled off in the giant hotel ballroom where a lone desk stood before another door. A fluffy fake fern stood in the corner. No company insignia identified the employer. No office supplies lay on the desk but a clipboard with a pen attached and a calendar blotter still wrapped in plastic. Several fishing magazines lay on side tables capping the ends of the seats. An engraved desk plate suggested, Please Sign In, so she did so on the accompanying clipboard, then she took a seat along the wall and retrieved the ancient supermarket rag she’d found on the bus, grateful for something to read.
She checked her watch, one thirty p.m., right on time.
A handful of people dressed in business attire sat in stiff banquet chairs, looking alert and anxious, their resumes in hand, obviously here for interviews. Some thumbed through the old fishing magazines, the only choice of reading material left by the person who’d put together this half-crocked temporary office. The large African American lady seated several chairs away from her knitted for her entertainment, and a blanket in baby colors spilled from her lap into a bag of craft supplies. Smart, at least she accomplished something in her down time. One black-suited, dark-haired man sat in the corner chair, scanning the stock exchange page of The Dallas Morning News while he sipped a cup of hot coffee and dashed off random notes on a spiral pad, probably fine-tuning his portfolio His coffee mug sitting on the side table beside him said I cheated Death.
Her nose buried in the gossip article on the recent pursuits of Tom Cruise, she looked up to see people slowly filing into the room, signing in, and taking seats.
Two forty-five p.m. The delay burned sunlight during precious job-hunting hours, and her butt was getting sore. She’d hoped to return to Dillard’s today and check on her application there, but that goal drifted further away with every ticking hour.
A woman pushing a double-wide stroller struggled to overcome the heavy door, and Holly watched the man who’d been reading the newspaper rise and kindly hold the door for her. She brought the entire family to her interview, probably unable to afford a sitter Holly disliked seeing someone in a more acute situation than her own. She wondered if she shouldn’t just walk out and leave the jobs to those more desperate than she, but she couldn’t. Doing so would necessitate a loan from Mom, and Mom didn’t have a money tree in her back yard.
With a few words exchanged, the man politely gave up his chair and the empty one beside it for the young mother to settle her sleeping entourage before her and organize herself. Holly was happy to be through that stage of motherhood. She counted herself very lucky her mother was available for afternoon babysitting while she looked for a job. She couldn’t imagine dragging Annalisa along on the dreadful odyssey of job hunting. Fortunately, her daughter started preschool last week, making the job search less difficult.
Coffee cup and newspaper in hand, the chivalrous knight of honor spanned the small valley of the waiting room to stop before her.
“May I take this seat?” he asked Holly in a warm baritone voice, his sight landing on her with charitable regard. He possessed a short cut of dark brown hair and sparkly seafoam green eyes aimed her way, too lively to go unnoticed. Breaking their mesmerism of her, she nodded quickly, a little embarrassed to be in his direct gaze. He took the empty seat beside her and refolded his newspaper to expose the crossword puzzle. He smelled good, like a cedar stick.
Ten people and two sleeping babies now packed the small room. No person came to greet or direct them. Holly had gone through her out-of-date gossip magazine twice. Then she cleaned out her purse. They watched another hopeful done up in a business suit and tie file into the cramped little room and take one of the few remaining seats.
Growing impatient, Holly leaned over to the large woman beside her who’d been there longer and whispered, “Has anyone been called into the interview room yet?”
Waving a dismissive swat at the door of mystery, the lady shook her head, setting her dreadlocked hair astray from her shoulders, and she went back to her knitting. A soft laugh shook her big body wrapped in rayon and elastic that separated her into sections like a busted tube of biscuits. Loud enough for others to hear, she testified in a soft rollercoaster Jamaican accent, “I beent here two and da half hours, and ain’t no one’s come trough dat door.”
Everyone took an anxious moment to stare at the door behind the empty desk as though it was the door into the Twilight Zone, but no one else volunteered any opinion or observation.
“I remember this company calling itself The Demarco Group. Does anyone know what this company does?” Holly asked to the other lost-looking job applicants, but not loud enough to penetrate the mystery door. “I admit, I don’t remember applying for this job.”
Some of them ignored her question. A few shook their heads. A few nodded.
The large lady knitting said, “They probly pickt up our names from enployment databases. I signt up for everyting online I could. Saves gas.”
Knowing she’d done the same, Holly nodded, though she remembered no mention of the company’s information source on the phone last night when the woman scheduled this interview. Or Holly was too jarred by the call to have caught the job Web site’s name in conversation.
Checking her watch, three fifteen p.m., Holly turned to the man who sat beside her, the one who’d been reading his newspaper when she’d arrived, and he looked over to her, locked his stunning gaze on her for a moment that appeared to be recognition.
Holly put a little song in her voice to hide frustration. “How long have you been here?”
He rubbed his neck and winced. “Since nine a.m.”
She reared back as if he were contagious. “They’ve made you wait all day? What kind of company is this? Is patience your talent?”
He gave a funny little chuckle for an answer.
They watched one man dressed in a suit swat the side table with a magazine in disgust, clearly tired of the wait, and he rose, passed through the doors, and onto freedom. A few left with less temper showing. If Holly hadn’t needed a paycheck so badly, she might have rushed the bars of their cell herself.
“Maybe they’re testing the applicants,” the handsome, dark-haired man in the next seat said to her, his voice spoken softly, loud enough for only her to hear. “They’re looking to see who wants the job the most, who will buckle under a little stress.”
“Hmm,” Holly said. “Three-to-one odds are betting the interviewer’s sleeping off his three-martini lunch on his couch.”
The man beside her sputtered a quiet hint of amusement.
“He’s a three-martini-lunch executive. On-the-tee-after-four-on-Fridays guy. He’s most likely quit the day early. He’ll reschedule all these interviews for a less hung-over day.”
The green-eyed man’s smile lit with delight. “Know the boss, do you? Sight unseen?”
“Sure.” She nodded again, taking note of his spirited smile egging her on. “The boss is married to a botox-addicted soccer mom with two and a half kids attending Catholic school, receives six-digit Christmas bonuses, and thinks the crashed economy is merely a whimsical story of woe for the middle class. Probably embezzling the company payroll with small, unnoticed debits from the books to pay his gambling habit.”
“Wow. You’ve got him all figured out.”
“Yeah,” she concurred, her quirky tone of voice giving away her obviously ridiculous villainization of their would-be boss. “These executive types are all pretty much the same. It’s their taste in mistresses that vary.”
His interest piqued, given away by the widening of his gaze, he gave up his crossword puzzle entirely to focus on her hyperbolic babbling. She felt a shiver of warning, but his consuming attention dared her to go on with her absurdities. Why not? It was entertainment. The challenge to keep the acidic bite of humor growing occupied them during a boring moment.
“You can never tell on sight if he’s the type to hop in bed with his socialite wife’s best friend or the type to purchase the company of strippers and prostitutes. You’ve got to get to know him a little better to make that call. Clearly, this guy’s list of important things to do doesn’t involve filling his open positions or concern for people out of work wasting their time in his office waiting room. Typical management type. Self-focused, values his own time while devaluing the time of others.”
“Hmm...” her handsome audience muttered, tapping his strong chin with a finger and appearing to consider her revelations. “He sounds pretty empty inside.”
She nodded. “He covers the pain with the bottle of aged Scotch he keeps in his bottom drawer and periodic power trips wielded over hapless employees, crushing the souls of the vanquished. That, and eating small children for breakfast.”
“What happens if a woman—a mother of six, minister of her church, and founder of her own charity—comes out of that office, apologizes for the flat tire she got during lunch, and hires everyone in the room?”
Holly crossed her arms over her bosom, issued her most stunning smile of sarcasm, and fluttered her eyelashes. “Then I’ll owe her quite an apology.”
He dragged his spiral notebook to his lap and jotted. “Holly Maddox. Amateur detective, part-time mentalist, junior psychological profiler. Big mouth. Not fond of upper management.”
Her gaze darted to the pad to see his scribblings, and she spotted her name within a list of typed names. How did he know her name? “Hey! Are you taking notes on me?”
He didn’t answer her question, but flipped though the first few sheets on his clipboard until he came across a typed page and showed it to her. It was a schedule with times and names, his finger under her name. “You’re the one thirty appointment. Stay here.”
She watched, suspicious, as he rose, crossed the room, and confiscated the sign-in clipboard, then he strode through the mystery door and closed the door behind him, just like that. She realized with shock-filled clarity she’d just run her mouth to the wrong person, if she wanted this job. There were over a dozen people in the room, and she’d picked the most lethal person to play with.
As if awaiting indictment, Holly watched as each person arrived before her was called into the office for his interview, late in the afternoon as it was. Mr. Crossword-puzzle didn’t once look her way when he came to collect another applicant. Still, like a well-trained pet, she felt compelled to stay! Instead of babbling to herself for having blown the interview before getting through the door, she turned to the lady beside her and chatted.
The knitting lady’s name was Gladys, and she was full of sunshine, cooing over the awakening twins from ten feet away while sharing a few stories of her own children. Rosalee was the name of the soft-voiced mother of twins. The babies never cried, to the entire room’s secret relief, and Holly enjoyed the ladies’ company, despite the expectation of a harsh rebuke from Mr. Crossword-puzzle. Mr. I-sit-through-my-appointments-watching-people.
Then he called all the people individually who’d arrived after her. She kept telling herself this wasn’t high school, and he wasn’t the principal. She could make a run for it, but she didn’t leave. That seemed the chicken’s way out. Maybe he’d be forgiving. She took the gamble that staying would have a happy ending.
Finally, when everyone had come and gone—both Rosalee and Gladys leaving quite pleased—and Holly spent the time in the empty room fidgeting, the dark-haired man in the black suit finally emerged from the back room, the look on his face serious.
“Miss Holly Maddox?” he called out unnecessarily in the depleted waiting room, waving her into his office. Her stomach slammed into her guts. She should’ve just sensibly given up on the job and left.
Cowed by her earlier foot-in-mouth infection, she entered the room quietly and stood at the seat before the rented desk, hoping this would be a quick deboning of her. She wasn’t sure why she’d stayed around for what would most likely be a deserved tongue-lashing. Maybe it was because she owed him an apology for stereotyping him when she really just meant to be cheeky and entertaining.
The man returned to his desk, removed his business suit jacket, slung it over the back of his executive’s chair, then he dropped into the seat to face her, his mood seeming light for the end of a long day.
“Take a seat, Holly. You must really need a job to still be waiting.”
She smiled as genuinely as she could with a rear-end throbbing from sitting in a cheap chair for hours, and she pointed to the engraved nameplate that said Jonathan Paige. “Mr. Paige, I presume?”
Mr. Paige loosened the knot of his tie with one hand while he shuffled papers around his desk with the other, looking for something specific. Then he threw his feet onto the corner of the desktop and settled a file onto his lap.
“Please,” he said, studying the files, “call me Jon, Holly. As of five o’clock and the end of this interview, I’m no longer a contractor for The Demarco Group.”
She checked her watch. It was five forty-two p.m.
“It’s not my golf day, in case you’re interested. On Fridays, I go out with the guys for pizza and beer.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Paige. Do we know one another?”
“I remember you from my high school days,” he explained over the manila file. “I was on Mitch’s football team. We were good friends, although I think the only time I’ve seen Mitch’s little sister was at the memorial and that was at a distance.”
Her small smile faded at the remembrance of her brother’s death, felled by a highway accident months from his graduation from high school. Mitch was supposed to go on to Michigan State and quarterback that team to all-time highs. He’d been engaged to marry Cindy Shepherd, his high-school love, had planned to become an ecological engineer, and had hoped to raise a family in the Amazon Valley, helping the Peace Corps and the natives turn their river into an environment-friendly source of power. Mitch had been a hero to his little sister.
She focused on the very handsome Jonathan Paige before her, and couldn’t say she recognized him. Mitch had been very popular in school, had made uncountable friends. The memorial for the seven students who’d died in the accident had been big. The entire county had turned out to bury really good young men who’d all had bright futures. Because of the eight-year gap in age between them, Holly hadn’t been very familiar with her brother’s buddies beyond the ones he brought home to dinner from time to time.
At least she now understood why this really great-looking guy knew her name
“I’m sorry,” he said sympathetically, his fabulous eyes darkening with attention. “I didn’t mean to take you back to uncomfortable memories.”
“It’s okay,” she replied softly, pictures of her energetic and good-hearted brother floating through her head, his age forever frozen at seventeen. She’d learned to keep happy memories of her brother available when her thoughts wandered to him. “It’s been fifteen years. The grief softens after a few years, but you never stop missing the people you’ve lost.”
“How’s your family, if you don’t mind me asking?”
She nodded, feeling a small bond with him for having known her brother. “Dad died from a broken heart after losing his son. Mom and I have recovered from the losses over the years. Hard finding a job in this market, though.”
Catching the hint, he returned to the folder on his lap, scanning its reports.
Holly squeezed the perspiration from her hands. “Look, Mr. Paige....”
“I realize I’ve already blown this interview. If you were looking for patience in your employees, I blew that, and honestly I’ve no idea why I’m here after witlessly insulting the man I wanted to hire me.”
“You’re here because you want a job.”
Squeeze. “Yes, I want a job, but I’m more concerned for the people you so callously made wait half a day while you watched them all and took notes. They could have been applying for legitimate jobs while you pulled psychological interview tricks.”
“You’re more inclined to tell me off for making people wait than to revive your chances of acing this interview? Did you wait all this time just to chew me out?”
Holly clammed up. She was only digging herself deeper in her hole. Finally, she said, “At this point, what words would get me this job? The bus doesn’t come again until six fifteen, so I can take the time to tell you off.”
He fluttered the file and resettled it onto his lap. “I hired most of them, having already pre-screened them before their arrival. I knew ahead of time who’d get hired and who wouldn’t. You merely stumbled upon a behavioral-screening test meant to reveal my applicants’ temperaments and stress reactions.”
“And I failed.”
“Yes, in the conventional sense, you failed the employer’s entrance exam, but you still sat patiently for another two hours just for this opportunity to chew me out.”
A moment of awkward silence hung between them.
“You taught me other things about you that make up for poorly timed one-liners. You’re headstrong. You’re observant and inquisitive, and you’re a quick thinker to have been so detailed in your snarky clichés. I’ve never heard all those stereotypes lumped together so succinctly into one sum.”
“Who made any of it up? I’ve worked for all those guys.”
He chuckled, entertained. “I admire your concern for others. You have a strong sense of fairness. You’d make a good human resources specialist. But it must surprise you to hear that from me, that I admire your attitude despite your assessments of my relationships with marriage, embezzlement, and noon-day drinking binges.”
“That part was a joke.”
“I laughed. Didn’t you see me spill my third martini?”
Holly felt the flush of embarrassment and wished she could just get up and leave the room, but she was chicken, more chicken to leave than to chew him out. “I guess it’s a pretty good thing you were friends with Mitch, then. Did I mention I’m not above begging for a job?”
He squinted at her in place of a lashing.
“The Demarco Group is a health care conglomerate who has created a medical testing facility for sleep research here in Dallas, supported by various grants and funds, which is not enough to fully fund the project. One of their financial strategies to generate research capital will come from an off-shoot medical coding and billing business, a clearinghouse catering statewide to private medical and dental offices. My job was to hire a large pool of people who’ll undergo a fast-train course in medical coding. Most of the interviewees were quite happy to be hired and to learn a new skill on an employer’s dime. You are the opposite of an ideal TDG employee, and you’re over-qualified.”
Holly’s jaw dropped. “Over-qualified?”
“Sure. Prior to the appointment calls, the interviewees had been screened, credit and criminal backgrounds checked. I reviewed the list of rejections, and I recognized your name, so I pulled your file and studied it. You were rejected for pay requirements, but I had the secretary call you in anyway.”
Holly rolled her eyes. “So it wasn’t just my stunning performance in the waiting room that got your attention.”
His smile sneaked back onto his handsome, square-jawed face. His eyes flashed lightning at certain angles. Was he enjoying her bad attitude?
“No, definitely, Mitch’s last name got my attention, and I remembered seeing you as a child at the memorial, seeing your first name from the funeral pamphlets, one of which I have saved and looked at from time to time over the years.
“I was going to pass on hiring you, due to pay expectations. You have experience as an executive assistant here and recommendations from solid companies. Medical coding is a waste of your management skills and inquisitive nature. You could make more money as an executive assistant than a medical biller. That is, if you didn’t loathe upper management so potently.”
Her fingers went her jacket lapel, fiddling to suppress nerves. “Oh, I think loathe is a strong word to apply when a paycheck is inserted into the situation. There are few executive assistant positions open in the area right now, and the competition grueling. I realize no one’s making what they used to make because of the economy. As a medical biller, I could blissfully drown in automation of codes and numbers, unlike being an assistant juggling an egomaniacal personality day in and day out. Too much human nature for me.”
He closed the file and tossed it onto his desktop, then he leaned back in his chair and made a pillow of his hands for his head. “I’ll add you to the list of hires. After you attend classes on coding, TDG will need billing team leaders. They’ll be building a human resources department, as well. That would be worth sticking around for. I’ll recommend you in my final report for a human resources position.”
She crossed her arms over her bosom again, disbelieving he’d recommend her for anything. “After all the vitriol I spewed in the waiting room about egomaniacal executives, you think I should be managing people.”
“Yeah. You came in here to chew me out for what you saw as an injustice for others. That kind of concern makes a good and dedicated people manager. You’re also unlikely to stay quiet, making you an affective voice for employees”
“Why wouldn’t they hire someone with experience in human resources over me?”
“The Demarco Group wants a staff of freshly cut employees who’ve learned all the same methods. They’ve picked up many of the available billers in the area, but they’d rather start off with beginners than to have to break old habits. TDG has a new business plan, and they want fresh minds on it. They won’t shy from a manager who’s a little green if that employee shows potential and energy.”
Holly was instantly humbled by the good deed he’d done for her. She was getting by on her brother’s good name, despite a barrage of insults launched at Jon’s kind. “Final report?”
He checked his watch. It was five fifty-eight p.m. by her watch.
“I work for an employment consulting firm, temporarily contracted to hire the medical coding staff. At the end of this interview, my contract and goals with The Demarco Group are complete. I’ll be headed back to Connecticut tomorrow, my home plate.”
“So I really lucked out, telling you those ‘my executive so lazy’ jokes.”
He chuckled. “I’d venture to say you’d have lost the position had an employee of TDG been in earshot of the remarks. They’re bound to have less of a sense of humor than me.”
“I have you to thank. Thank you.”
Jon smiled again. “I’ll consider it a favor to Mitch. Thank me by doing well in code school and getting the billing team leader position. By the way, I was instructed to hire the least moody of the applicants. I hope you’re planning to keep your spunk at an unassuming level and your clueless assessments to a minimum.”
Holly plastered her most effervescent smile on her face, and she vowed, “For a job that will pay the bills, I’ll not stick out at all. I’ll be positively vanilla.”
* * * *
A week later, Jon sat at his desk before his computer in the dark, only the screen’s light to aid his sight. He’d been up late, reading the surprise contract offer from The Demarco Group. It was a cherry-sweet deal, cheese on a mousetrap. Head their human resources department for their medical billing satellite, six figures a year, full benefits, company stock, condo, country club membership. It was too sweet a deal to offer an HR consultant with no indirect medical insurance experience, a bigger deal than he wished to sign. Having your employer owning your living space was not a good thing, often a camouflaged arm of control over executives. It meant the day you’re fired is the day you get evicted from the corporation’s home.
That thought was unpleasant. He didn’t like giving up that kind of control.
Doing TDG’s initial mass recruitment of billers was one thing, a one-time event, but signing on to their experimental business plan for the long run was something else. Though TDG had expressed their preference for fresh minds, new ideas, Jon didn’t think choosing freshness over experience was necessarily the smoothest way to go. Perhaps they wanted beginners who’d stand aside when issues of policy were on the table. Perhaps they wanted yes men.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to be back in the frontline responsibility of running an HR department again. Consulting had been a great gig that netted him an airport-hopping lifestyle...which hadn’t turned out to be as fulfilling as he’d first thought it would be. Instead of visiting a hundred cities, he’d visited a hundred blank assignments, a hundred bland hotel rooms, a hundred movie nights on hotel TVs. Living on the road held appeal for the first few years, but now it all seemed a boring blur in retrospect. He could use a change and a challenge. And he liked the idea of coming home again.
Holly’s pretty face came to mind and made itself the new picture of home in his head. Her soft brown eyes set under smooth red bangs smiled back at him, a sharp wit behind them. Since he’d returned to his condo in Connecticut, he hadn’t been able to erase her from his mind. That led to thoughts of Mitch, and how Jon should be dead right now. He felt a responsibility to see Mitch’s baby sister doing well.
Shooing away memories that had too often taken his thoughts in the past, Jon opened a browser on the computer alongside the company’s portfolio, and he prepared to search the names of every board member of The Demarco Group. He’d researched the company months ago before he’d taken the recruiting job, but he felt like he needed to be more thorough this time since a much deeper commitment from him was now on the line. He’d dig into the individuals behind TDG, as far into the past as he could go to learn exactly who The Demarco Group was, and he only had days in which to do it, the longest amount of time he could put a contract decision on hold without giving TDG a solid answer
He started with the head research scientist, Dr. Josephina Demarco Ramirez, a slightly built lady of harsh temperament very focused on her sleep science work to the exclusion of all else. Jon had met her once, and her abrasiveness was off-putting. She hadn’t cared a flip about the creation of the medical billing infrastructure, only that it supported her science. Clearly her maiden name connected her to the sleep clinic in a significant way, but no one had offered to explain that relationship.
Searches of her name in archived Web sites led from one link to another for three straight hours. Old newspapers, corporate newsletters, declassified military records as far back as the early nineties. Around forty-five years of age, she’d gone to Yale, her entire academic career focused on brain studies, often for medical contractors. She’d been given a few high academic awards early in her career, but none later She’d married in her twenties, had no children underfoot, two daughters in college. Her medical records with the AMA were spotless, no complaints against her nor extraordinary words of praise. She’d served on the boards of a handful of pharmaceutical companies.
Jon sat back and rubbed his eyes, tired. It was two thirty-five a.m., and a cast of his gaze outside his apartment window found a dark, moonless night He’d exhausted the databases on Josie Ramirez. There was no ugliness to be found on her surface, but he wondered what made her so nasty.
He closed all the open windows of his search until he came across the last window open, Dr. Ramirez’s marriage announcement in the Yale Report, the campus’s social magazine. Because she was a legacy, her announcement had been posted in upcoming events. For the sake of thoroughness, he scanned the names, and a listing of her Yale lineage mentioned Dr. Jose Demarco, her paternal grandfather. The Demarco Group being fifty years old, this man had to be the inspiration for the company’s name.
Despite a hunger for sleep he ignored, Jon went back to the search engine and input Dr. Jose Demarco. In minutes, he learned Josie Ramirez was the granddaughter of Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Jose Demarco had headed CIA mind-control experiments in the sixties, responsible for some hair-raising experiments he should have been jailed for instead of applauded as a brilliant researcher, as he had been.
Did that make Josie evil? Was she in a family business? Both scientists studied the human brain.
To Jon’s knowledge, the sleep center held no government connections, besides general medical grants to study basic human brain and sleep patterns, nothing deeper than that. The same grants were given to many science projects across the nation. Other legitimate grants to the clinic came through pharmaceutical lobbies in hopes of finding clues that lead to new medications. Everything seemed aboveboard with TDG, despite the head scientist’s shadowy family tree.
His danger radar tingled and for no discernable reason. He was suddenly very unsettled to have placed Holly at this job. Was she in danger? Probably not, but the employer was creepy. He thought of digging for Holly’s number in his paperwork and convincing her to quit, but he had no hint of something bad going on, and they hardly had a relationship where she should trust a stranger on something so big. Causing her to quit a good paying job in this miserable job market wasn’t in her best interest, if this instinct was all his imagination. That did Holly no good at all.
Jon wasn’t about to forget he owed Mitch his life, and he didn’t feel comfortable leaving Mitch’s little sister at this company. Thoughts of her, smooth waves of red tresses curtaining keen brown eyes of dark humor, the soft curve of her figure in her tailored business suit, now filled his mind unrelentingly. Would he take this job just to get back to her side and make sure nothing went wrong for her?
Or he could move on to the next blank assignment, bland hotel room, and rented TV.
Jon was too adventuresome for that.
Find out how wrong it went. And how right. :-)
by Michele Hart
Read a blurb at: Buy Link: http://www.BookStrand.com/mind-blown
Available in e-Book ISBN#: 1-60601-773-X * Soon in Print
Read hot, action-packed excerpts, watch the book trailer at:
Thank you so much, Chicks of Characterization, for the wonderful opportunity to showcase my work. It was a blast.
Thank you, everyone, for checking my books out.
Come visit me at my Web site:
Wishing you all prosperity and romance,
Michele HartSci-Fi/Fantasy Romance Author
~Walk Another World ~
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