The Perfect Pairing by Susan Ann Wall
“What the hell are you doing back there?” a deep voice echoed in the empty foyer. Courtney looked up to find a man with broad shoulders and an angry scowl looming over the reception desk, his dark eyes burning right through her soul.
What was she doing there? Courtney tried to remember, but the way he looked at her, angry yes, but something else too, it made her all fluttery.
“I asked what you’re doing behind the desk,” he said again, his voice even more demanding.
“I, you, I’m…” She paused and sucked in a deep breath, focusing on his neck instead of those penetrating eyes. Then he swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing beneath the line where his beard ended and Courtney lost the train of thought she hadn’t quite grasped again.
Shaking it off, she focused on his forehead, a technique she learned in a public speaking class. Instead of reaching across the reception desk and smoothing the crease, she licked her lips and focused on answering the question. “The phone, it kept ringing, and, well, no one was here to answer it, so I—” she extended her hand, the yellow sticky note gripped between her fingers. “This message is for you, I think, if you’re Mr. Black, that is. If not, I guess you know who Mr. Black is.” Shut up, Courtney. “She didn’t leave a name.”
The man dropped his chin, relenting just enough for Courtney to take a breath. She’d always thought her brother had the most intimidating scowl on the planet, but this man, wow, he made Brent look like a bear cub.
As the man read the note, Courtney eased out from behind the desk, hoping to hit the bathroom to clean up and wrestle with her bearings before she met Mr. Black. First impressions were so important and she prayed this man was just an employee and not the owner.
“Hold it,” he commanded with more authority than any of the commanding officers she’d served under during four years in the air force. “What are you doing here? We’re closed.”
Courtney stood at attention as if commanded, her shoulders back and her chin up, doing an about face and breathing through her nose so she could speak like a professional instead of the idiot who’d stammered her way through the previous response. “I’m here for a job interview. I’m Courtney Daniels.”
“Job interview? With who?” he asked.
“With Mr. Black, sir, at eleven.”
He shook his head. “With me?”
Great. Way to make a first impression, Court. Kiss this job good-bye.
His brow creased even further. “Son of a bitch. Who called you?”
“Amber,” Courtney said, mentally checking her posture and forcing herself to breathe. “She interviewed me a couple weeks ago. She called Monday and said you requested a second interview.”
“I’m gonna kill her,” he muttered.
Courtney remained at attention, her bare feet rooted to the granite floor. The cold had started to seep into her body, sending a chill across her skin and up her spine.
Or, maybe that was the man. He was fierce, but she still fought the urge to touch him, to soothe the tension and…
No, no awry thoughts about the man who could be her boss. That kind of thinking led to bad decisions that would ultimately get her into trouble.
“Looks like you’ve been rolling in the dirt,” he said, his gaze going down and back up, raising every hair on Courtney’s body. “Is that how you always dress for an interview?”
“No, sir,” she responded, her temper flaring as she remembered the incident in the parking lot. “I was almost rundown in the parking lot by some jack-ass in an old Ford. I got the license plate if you want to speak with whatever employee was driving like a maniac.”
The bark of laughter echoed but Courtney didn’t see the humor. Maybe she shouldn’t have said jack-ass, but sometimes her tongue had a mind of its own. It had gotten her into trouble more than once and not just while in the air force. The back of her father’s hand liked to smack the smart ass right out of her when he’d had too much to drink, which was always.
“I was just on my way to the restroom to clean up before the interview.”
“Interview, right,” he drawled, his posture loosening. “You can forget about the interview.”
“No, wait,” she pleaded. “Just give me a chance. I have a copy of my resume right here.” Courtney reached inside the case holding her iPad, dust flying when she pulled a paper out. “I don’t have extensive experience, but the experience I do have has prepared for me a job like this. I have a lot of energy and ideas. You won’t be disappointed.”
“You misunderstood. You can forget the interview because you’re hired. You start right now.”
From The Perfect Pairing (A Superstitious Brides Novella)
Copyright: Susan Ann Wall
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Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a national bestselling, multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance and women’s fiction. Her bragging rights include the Fighting Back for Love series, Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love series, Superstitious Brides Romance series, Sunset Valley Women’s Fiction series (coming soon), and Devon Taggart Suspense series. She also likes to boast about her three perfect children, two amazing rescue dogs, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned over two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).
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