Teaching The Boss

By: Mallory Crowe


Something about the way she asked told him he was in trouble. “Umm...yes.”

“She’s different than you described.” Oksana crossed her arms over her chest.

Yep. Now she was pissed. Was this about him not taking her out? He raked his mind, trying to remember what he’d said about April, but came up blank. “What are you talking about?”

“You said she was a frumpy art student.”

He frowned. “I never said ‘frumpy.’ I don’t even talk like that.”

“Maybe not explicitly.” She leaned to sit on the edge of Sam’s desk. “I thought she was going to be a dowdy little thing. Not that.”

“I suppose she used to be.” His brow furrowed as he thought back to April six years ago. Sure, when he’d first met April, she’d been twenty pounds larger and wore clothes for a woman fifty pounds heavier, with a horrible blonde dye-job. The sight of her standing in the rain, looking downright miserable, was cemented in his mind. Out of pity, he’d offered to share a cab with her, but the second she was in the backseat with him, she’d opened up about her dislike of art, her family, and how much she dreaded picking a new major.

Despite the heavy subject matter, she’d smiled and even managed to make him laugh harder in that cab than he’d laughed the entire night. By the time the cab stopped in a neighborhood he didn’t feel comfortable driving through, let alone living in, he’d handed her a card and offered her a job.

But that was six years ago. She didn’t look like the broke Jersey girl anymore. She was a sleek and manicured New Yorker. When the hell had that happened?

“We moved to the city and her style changed. I guess I didn’t notice. It’s not a big deal.”

Oksana pursed her lips, but didn’t mention April again. “I have a fitting for the LeFarge shoot tomorrow morning, so I hope you don’t mind having a light lunch.”

LeFarge! That was the handbag line. “You have to be fitted for a purse?”

Finally he got a smile from her. “For the clothes I’ll be wearing. It’s less a fitting and more dress rehearsal for the shoot. Normally there isn’t all this pomp and circumstance, but you know how some of these designers can be.”

Truthfully, he tried his hardest not to deal with fickle designers, but he refrained from telling Oksana. It was one of the benefits of being in the appliance business. “Yeah, tell me about it.”

“I’m not sure if he’s more excited about the launch or the party. He was telling me some of the celebrities who were going to be there. It’s going to be crazy. When I told him I was bringing one of the Hunt boys, he could hardly contain himself.”

Shit. He bent down to grab his bag and collect his wallet and keys. “About the launch party—I checked my calendar today and it looks like I have a previous engagement.”

“No.”

He jerked his head back up. “No?”

“This is too important for you to blow off. You told me you were coming and I told LeFarge you were coming.”

“I know this is important to you, but there’s a fundraiser I already said I would go to.”

Her expression didn’t soften at the mention of charity.

“It’s for kids in the foster care system,” he continued. “I met this one kid, Jimmy, a few months ago and we completely connected. He told me about his dad being carted off to jail and how his mother has been fighting the courts to get him back and...” Sam stopped when he saw Oksana wasn’t melting in the slightest. “I’m sorry to bail on you, but when April reminded me about it this morning—”

“April reminded you?”

Shit. “She helps to keep track of my appointments, so, yes, she’s the one who reminded me.”

Oksana paced back and forth. “So your secretary is more attractive than you ever told me, and she is forcing you to cancel events we’d already had planned.”

Sam pinched the bridge of his nose. “That’s not what happened.”

She abruptly stopped her pacing and set her hands on her hips. “I don’t mind attractive women. I really don’t. But I can’t believe you’ve been with her for only three hours and you are already following her every order. You know how important this launch is to my career.”

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