Honeymoon with the Boss. Jessica HartЧитать онлайн книгу.
‘I was about to go back in for another swim,’ Imogen said, then hesitated. ‘Why don’t you come?’
It might be better to do something than sit here trying not to look at her, Tom decided. ‘All right,’ he said, getting to his feet.
They walked over the hot sand together and into the water. It was so clear they could see their feet in extraordinary detail as they waded past the shallows.
‘It feels like silk against your skin, doesn’t it?’ said Imogen, trailing her fingers over the surface.
Tom wished she hadn’t mentioned her skin. It was hard enough to keep his eyes off it as it was. As soon as it was deep enough, he dived into the water and swam in a fast crawl out towards the reef.
How long was it since he had stopped like this and just listened to the silence? Just felt the sun on his shoulders? His life was so focused, so driven by the need to succeed, that he had forgotten how to relax the way Imogen was relaxing. But he had the strangest impression that the tight feeling was starting to loosen the more time he spent with her on this idyllic island…
Jessica Hart was born in West Africa, and has suffered from itchy feet ever since, travelling and working around the world in a wide variety of interesting but very lowly jobs, all of which have provided inspiration on which to draw when it comes to the settings and plots of her stories. Now she lives a rather more settled existence in York, where she has been able to pursue her interest in history, although she still yearns sometimes for wider horizons. If you’d like to know more about Jessica, visit her website www.jessicahart.co.uk
HONEYMOON WITH THE BOSS
MILLS & BOON
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This one is for Julia, who was there at the start
‘WHERE would you like to go on honeymoon?’
Imogen paused in surprise, her arm still extended in the act of handing her boss a folder of letters across the desk. ‘Honeymoon?’ she repeated cautiously, wondering if she had heard correctly.
It was unlike Tom Maddison to ask personal questions, let alone one so unexpected. Sometimes on a Monday morning he remembered to ask her if she had had a good weekend, but never as if he cared about the answer and she always said ‘Yes, thank you’ in reply, even if it had been a disaster—as, frankly, it often was.
‘Yes, honeymoon,’ said Tom with an edge of impatience. He took the folder and opened it. ‘You know, after you get married.’
‘Er…I’m not getting married,’ said Imogen.
Chance would be a fine thing, she thought wryly. All her friends seemed to be settling down, but she was obviously doomed to remain single— and it wasn’t for lack of trying, whatever her best friend, Amanda, might say. Ever since Andrew had announced his engagement, she had thrown herself into the dating game, but no matter how promising her date seemed at first, Imogen always ended up making an excuse to leave early.
‘Pretend that you are,’ said Tom, skimming the first letter and scrawling his signature at the bottom before looking up at her with the piercingly light eyes that always reminded Imogen of stainless steel, so cool and unyielding were they.
He put down his pen. ‘You’re a woman,’ he said, as if noticing the fact for the first time, which it probably was, Imogen thought. She was resigned now to the fact that, as far as Tom Maddison was concerned, she was little more than a walking, talking piece of office equipment.
‘I have it on good authority that most women start planning their dream weddings when they’re about six,’ he said, ‘so you must have given it some thought.’
‘That’s true, but at six you’re only interested in pretty dresses,’ Imogen pointed out. ‘You’re not that concerned about the groom at that stage, let alone the honeymoon.’
Tom frowned as he pulled the next letter towards him. ‘So you haven’t thought about it since then?’
‘Well, I wouldn’t say that,’ she admitted scrupulously, ‘but my fantasies have never gone beyond getting married. Sadly, I’ve never been in a position where there’s any point in planning a honeymoon.’
‘You are now.’ Tom cast a cursory glance over the letter and signed it before reaching for the next one.
‘I want you to plan a honeymoon,’ he said, his pen moving briskly over the paper.
‘For me,’ said Tom, as if it were obvious.
Imogen stared at him. She shouldn’t be surprised, she realised. Tom Maddison was thirty-six, single, straight and very, very rich. Why wouldn’t he get married?
It wasn’t as if he was unattractive, either. You couldn’t call him handsome exactly, but he was tall and powerfully built and attractive in a way she couldn’t quite explain. His stern face was dominated by a strong nose and those strange light eyes under formidable brows. So, no, he wasn’t handsome. And yet…
And yet there was something about the line of his mouth that made the breath stick in her throat sometimes, something about the big, square, capable hands and the angle of his cheek and jaw that prickled excitingly under her skin and sent a little shiver snaking down her spine.
Offset against that was the fact that she had worked for Tom Maddison for six months without any indication that he had any emotions at all. Not once had he mentioned his personal life. It was only thanks to her friend Sue in Human Resources that Imogen even knew that he was single.
She knew all about his professional reputation, though. In the City, they called him the Iceman. He was famous for the chilly precision of his negotiations and his cold-blooded approach to the failing companies that he was brought in to turn around. She knew Tom had been in New York for a number of years, transforming the fortunes of a succession of firms familiar from the Dow-Jones Index, and that he had been lured back to London at a reputedly gigantic salary to be CEO of Collocom, which had been struggling in the competitive communications market.
But really, that was all she knew. Imogen had never met anyone so driven and focused. It was like working for a machine.
Maybe that wasn’t quite fair, she amended mentally. He was too brusque and impatient to be a machine. He was tough, even ruthless, but he was absolutely straight too. Tom Maddison wasn’t a man who played games, and she admired that. With Tom, what you saw was what you got.
Except now it turned out that there was another side to him.
‘You’re getting married?’ she asked him, just in case she had misunderstood. It was hard to imagine Tom