The Argentinian's Demand(5)

By: Cathy Williams

A player. Someone so inherently aware of his massive pulling power that it would be just inconceivable that it might not work on some women.

‘I haven’t got a gripe against you,’ Emily said slowly.

She felt a thrill of recklessness, because right now, at this very moment in time, she was permitted to speak her mind. By tomorrow afternoon she would have cleared her desk and would have disappeared from here for good, with no need for references from him—although she knew instinctively that they would be very good, because he was, for all his faults, scrupulously fair.

Leandro tilted his head to one side and kept his eyes firmly fixed on her face. Her colour was up. Was she blushing? He hadn’t associated her with such a girlish reaction. She was always so self-possessed...and yet...

His dark eyes drifted down to her mouth. She had full, soft lips, and even if they had registered somewhere in his subconscious before now he certainly felt as though he was seeing them for the first time. Perhaps she had shed that ice-cold image, because there were cracks in it now, through which he wanted to pry, find out what lay underneath.

Emily sensed the shift in his attention—from boss trying to uncover the reasons for her sudden unexpected resignation to boss looking at her with masculine interest.

Her skin tingled. She felt as though she was in the grip of an acute attack of pins and needles.

‘No?’ Leandro drawled. ‘Because your expression is telling a different story.’

Emily, so accustomed to being the dutiful impeccable secretary in his presence—the secretary who never allowed her personal feelings to tip over into the work arena—stiffened.

‘If you must know, I’ve never enjoyed having to do your dirty work for you.’

‘Come again?’

She couldn’t quite believe that she had just said what she had. The blood rushed to her head and she knew that she was as red as a beetroot. Gone was the frozen, aloof façade she had kept up for the past year and a half.

She looked at him with defiance and took a deep, steadying breath. ‘Presents for those women you no longer had any use for...goodbye gifts you couldn’t even be bothered to choose...arranging opera tickets and theatre expensive restaurants for women I knew I would be sending those goodbye gifts to in a few weeks’ time... That should never have been part of my secretarial duties...’

‘I don’t believe I’m hearing this.’

‘That’s because you’re not accustomed to anyone telling you anything you don’t want to hear.’

Leandro released a long, sharp breath and sat back to look at her. Her face was alive with genuine, sincere emotion. She was leaning forward in the chair, and of their own accord his eyes drifted down to the prissy top.

He wondered what she looked like underneath it—wondered what it would feel like to make love to his icy secretary who was now in the act of revealing the sort of passion that could make any red-blooded man burn. He wondered what that hair would be like let loose. Hell, he didn’t even know how long her hair was! His intense curiosity extinguished any anger he might have felt at what she had just said. At any rate, it was certainly true that he wasn’t accustomed to being criticised.

‘So you didn’t like your involvement in my personal life?’ he murmured.

‘Maybe Marjorie was accustomed to doing stuff like that, but I feel you should have established whether I would mind...’

‘I guess if you felt so strongly about it you should have said something earlier...’

Emily blushed, because he was absolutely right. And why hadn’t she? Because she had needed the money and she had been keen not to put a foot wrong.

‘There’s nothing more annoying than a martyr who puts up with the unacceptable and only says her piece when she’s handed in her resignation...which brings me back to the why...’

‘Well, like I said, I feel it’s time to move on... I realise you will probably want me to leave immediately, so I thought I could just pack my things up and be done in a day...’

‘Leave immediately? What gives you that idea?’

‘What do you mean?’ Emily asked in some consternation. ‘Of course you want me to leave immediately. You don’t see the point of employees hanging around once they’ve handed in their notice. I remember quite clearly you saying that they need to be removed from sensitive information, and also that their demotivation can spread like a virus...’

In actual fact she had only known of a couple of instances of employees handing in their notice. Pregnancy and emigration being the reasons. Mostly people stayed with the company because the pay was second to none—as were the working conditions.