The Bride Fonseca Needs(2)

By: Abby Green

Which was laid out on his desk.

This had been a huge mistake.

‘Look, I saw your name come up on the applications board—that you’re looking for a PA. I probably shouldn’t have come.’ Darcy reached down to where she’d put her briefcase by her feet and picked it up.

Max was frowning at her. ‘Do you want a job or not?’

Darcy felt tetchy with herself for having been so impetuous, and irritated with Max for being so bloody gorgeous and distracting. Still. So she said, more snippily than she’d intended, ‘Of course I want a job. I need a job.’

Max’s frown deepened. ‘Did your parents lose everything?’

She bristled at the implication that she was looking for work because her family wasn’t funding her any more. ‘No, thankfully my father was able to recover.’ And then she said tartly, ‘Believe it or not, I like to make my own living.’

Max made some kind of a dismissive sound, as if he didn’t quite believe her, and Darcy bit her lip in order to stay quiet. She couldn’t exactly blame him for his assumption, but unlike the other alumnae of their school she didn’t expect everything in life to be handed to her.

Those mesmerising eyes were looking at her far too closely now and Darcy became excruciatingly conscious of her dark hair, pulled back into a ponytail, her diminutive stature and the unfashionably full figure she’d long ago given up any hope of minimising, choosing instead to work with what she had.

Max rapped out in Italian, ‘You’re fluent in Italian?’

Darcy blinked, but quickly replied in the same language. ‘Yes. My mother is from just outside Rome. I’ve been bilingual since I learnt how to talk and I’m also fluent in Spanish, German and French. And I have passable Chinese.’

He flicked a look at her CV and then looked back, switching to English again. ‘It says here that you’ve been in Brussels for the past five years—is that where you’re based?’

Darcy’s insides tightened at his direct question, as if warding off a blow. The truth was that she hadn’t really had a base since her parents had split up when she was eight and they’d sold off the family home. They’d shuttled her between schools and wherever they’d been living which had changed constantly, due to her father’s work and her mother’s subsequent relationships.

She’d learnt that the only constant she could depend on was herself and her ability to forge a successful career, cocooning her from the pillar-to-post feeling she hated so much and the vagaries of volatile relationships.

She answered Max. ‘I don’t have a base at the moment, so I’m free to go where the work is.’

Once again that incisive gaze was on her. Darcy hated the insecurity that crept up on her at the thought that he might be assessing how she’d turned out, judging her against the svelte supermodel types he was always photographed with. Beside them, at five foot two, Darcy would look like a baby elephant! In weak moments over the years she’d seen Max on the covers of gossip magazines and had picked them up to read the salacious content. And it had always been salacious.

When she’d read about his three-in-a-bed romp with two Russian models she’d flung the magazine into a trash can, disgusted with herself.

He suddenly stuck out his hand. ‘I’ll give you a two-week trial, starting tomorrow. Do you have accommodation sorted?’

Darcy blanched. He was offering her the job? Her head was still filled with lurid images of pouting blonde glamazons, crawling all over Max’s louche form. Reacting reflexively, she put out her hand to meet his and suddenly was engulfed in heat as his long fingers curled around hers.

He took his hand away abruptly and glanced at a fearsome-looking watch, then back to her, a little impatiently.

Darcy woke up. ‘Um...yes, I have somewhere to stay for a few days.’ She repressed a small grimace when she thought of the very basic hostel in one of Rome’s busier tourist districts.

Max nodded. ‘Good. If I keep you on then we’ll get you something more permanent.’

They looked at each other as Darcy’s mind boggled at the thought of working with him.

Then he said pointedly, ‘I have a meeting now, I’ll see you tomorrow at nine a.m. We’ll go through everything then.’

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