The Wedding(2)

By: Emma Darcy

“A slight twang of pre-wedding nerves?” he teased.

“The wedding,” Tessa said through her teeth, “is off. O-F-F off!”

Jerry’s eyebrows rose above his gold-rimmed spectacles. His mouth pursed. “It’s quite normal, you know. Little tiffs do happen in the final rundown to the marriage ceremony.”

Tessa’s heart cramped. Infidelity was not a little tiff! It was on the tip of her tongue to say exactly that but she bit the words back at the last moment and clamped her mouth shut.

No need to say anything. No need to go public yet. No need to castigate Grant Durham for what he had done. Although he certainly deserved every bit of castigation he could get. To Tessa’s mind, castration was probably better than castigation!

The humiliation searing her soul was too painful to discuss with anyone. She hadn’t even told her sister when she had taken refuge there last night.

“Perhaps a little separation will help cool things down,” Jerry went on smoothly.

Tessa gave him a blast with her eyes. The thick dark fringe of her eyelashes did nothing to fan the heat of molten gold.

Contrary to his own expectations, Jerry Fraine was not fried on the spot. He did a hasty reappraisal. He didn’t relate to anger, and he liked to run a smooth ship. What employees did away from work was none of his business, and right now he had a problem. Which had to be addressed without further delay.

He relaxed, projected geniality, a soothing composure. “We have an emergency situation, Tessa.”

She paused in midstep between the filing cabinet and her desk. She looked at him, really looked at him for the first time this morning. When Jerry Fraine put on that bland face and used that quiet voice, Tessa knew it was serious business. Her mind instantly changed gears; anger pushed out, concentration forced in.

Knowing that he now had her full attention, Jerry went on. “You’re needed for the Japanese conference. Today. Right now, in fact.”

Tessa was dumbstruck. “Why?” she croaked, unable to comprehend what was happening.

“Rosemary Davies was involved in a car accident on her way in this morning. She’s in hospital. Nothing too serious but...”

Rosemary Davies, the ultra-cool, immaculately groomed, beautiful blonde, who was personal secretary to Blaize Callagan!

“I’ve chosen you to replace her.” Tessa’s jaw dropped open. In her world, this was like trying to fly, then suddenly soaring to the sun. Jerry Fraine was an important man. Tessa thought she had reached her career heights when she was seconded to him. But Blaize Callagan—he was the absolute top! Only rarely did she see him, tall, powerful, riveting, a man who stood out amongst other men.

“You’re free to be away for the three days of the conference, aren’t you?”

Tessa unlocked her jaw. “Yes. Yes, I’m free.” Very definitely free, her mind added savagely. Her Ex-fiancé had no further say in her life.

“Take a taxi home,” Jerry instructed. “Pack fast and be back here in Blaize Callagan’s office at ten-thirty. Not a second later.”

Tessa jerked into action, wheeling around to shove the folder of reports into the filing cabinet and lock the drawer. Her mind was in a fever. She was going to fill in for Blaize Callagan’s secretary. She would be in close contact with him for three whole days. Lord above! Her knees went weak even thinking about it. It would be a miracle if she didn’t melt into a heap at his feet. If ever there was a man made for female fantasies, Blaize Callagan was it!

“And, Tessa...”

“Yes?” She tore the key out of the drawer and swung around, still dazed by the prospect ahead of her. “Yes, Jerry?”

“Please don’t stuff up.” He lifted his hands in imploring appeal, “I am a married man. I do have children to support.”

“Well?” said Tessa, trying to get the point.

“I don’t want Blaize Callagan to think I can’t choose an efficient secretary.”

Tessa pulled herself together. Forget the fantasies. This was business. Big Business, with capital Bs. Blaize Callagan might be lethally attractive, but he was way out of her league, and all he wanted from her was her secretarial skills. If she acted like a star-struck idiot and messed up, it would reflect badly on Jerry Fraine. Not to mention the fact that it wouldn’t do her own career any good, either. Since marriage was no longer on her immediate horizon, her career was all the more important to her, and she had better concentrate pretty fiercely on it.

“I’ll do my best,” she promised grimly. “Better get moving then,” Jerry advised. Tessa snatched her handbag from the bottom drawer of her desk and raced for the door. It was only when she was in the corridor she realised that she couldn’t possibly go home to her apartment to pack the clothes she would need. If Grant was still there... If that big-boobed floozy was still there...