Sneak Peek of Chapter 1
Kate breathed a sigh of relief while she sorted through her own files. Maybe with a quiet morning she could get a handle on her own deadlines. That thought vanished when she saw Dorene Peters striding toward her.
“These contracts are unacceptable,” Dorene said. Her pert features fixed in a scowl as she thrust the documents at Kate. She glanced at the contracts that contained the usual boilerplate language, nothing complicated. How did Dorene manage to get an artistic director position? Was strutting around in stiletto heels and snug sweaters a part of the job description?
“What’s the problem?”
“They’re too long! The artists won’t read them,” Dorene declared.
“They’re simple agreements—” Kate began, Dorene held up a slim, manicured hand to stop her.
“Maybe to you they’re simple. You’re used to all this legalese,” she retorted, waving her hand as if to sweep away the unnecessary text. Kate tried to explain, but Dorene refused to stop her tirade.
“You have to cut them down, reduce the font size. Do something!”
“Won’t smaller print make them more suspicious?” Kate asked. Dorene threw her hands up in frustration.
“I need solutions here, not more problems.”
Kate stared down at the contracts as if one of the provisions could reveal how to shut up Dorene. She struggled to remain calm. Her pulse roared in her ears while hot needles of pain coursed through her fingers. Kate rubbed her hands under her desk, desperate to stop the sensation from spreading up her arms and through the rest of her body.
“If you’ll have the artists mark their revisions, one of the attorneys will review their changes,” Kate said. She silently pleaded for Dorene to go away before something happened. She fought the temptation to tear at her blouse to release the heat radiating from her skin. Kate braced her elbows against the arms of her chair to stop the shaking. Dorene’s brown eyes narrowed to dark points. Moving closer with her hands on her slim hips, she blocked Kate’s only path to escape.
“You don’t understand…” She spoke slowly as if talking to a child. “The artists will not read them.”
“I drafted these agreements. What was your question?” Jack Walker asked. Dorene’s ire suddenly melted away. She turned to face the attorney with an ingratiating smile fixed in place.
“As I explained to Kate…” She shot a pointed look in Kate’s direction. “These contracts are too long. They must be pared down or the artists won’t sign them.” Dorene gazed beseechingly at Jack.
Intent on the contract, Jack missed the doe-eyes and the saucy pout. A deep sigh also failed to divert his attention.
Kate fiddled with a stray paperclip while she watched Dorene in action. Did Dorene put forth such effort on all males or just the attractive, single ones with high earning potential?
With his collar-length, thick, brown hair, broad shoulders and blunt hands, Jack didn’t fit Dorene’s urban style. Kate sensed something untamed about Jack that he attempted to keep buttoned down under white starched shirts. His hazel eyes gazed wistfully out the window at the trees, his long legs stretched across the cubicle with his hiking boots up on his desk while he studied contracts.
“Everything that’s in there needs to be there. I’m sure once you explain to your artists the contract is as much for their protection as ours, they’ll understand.” Without breaking stride, Jack handed Dorene the contracts and walked her toward the door.
“I’ll be happy to review any of their revisions. But remember, Accounting won’t pay a single invoice without an executed contract,” he interjected before she could object. Having deftly maneuvered Dorene out of the way, Jack returned to Kate’s cubicle.
“I told her the same thing,” Kate said.
Jack grinned. “Some people need to be told a second time—in her case, maybe a third or fourth. I was on my way for coffee,” Jack said.
“I’ll join you.” Kate reached for her mug, ignoring the irritated sigh from Linda. Maybe after a cup of coffee, she could focus on her work and forget about her close call with Dorene.
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