Dream Lover (Chapter One, page 1 of 15)

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What the hell, Charly thought, I've already lost the job so there's nothing to be gained by being polite.

"Very well, Mr. McKinnon. But I'd like to make a small wager with you. If I win, you hire me. If I lose, you hire any man you like."

As she was speaking, Charly saw the muscle in his jaw relax, the hostility in his eyes change to interest and speculation.

"And the nature of this wager?"

"You choose any company files you wish and give them to me. I'll carry out the inspections under your supervision. Today is Friday. The wager will start Monday morning at nine and end at five p.m. on Wednesday, if you can spare the time, of course. And I'll work without pay. You can make my salary retroactive when you hire me Thursday. Have we got a deal?"

"We have a deal, Miss Benson. I'll meet you here at nine on Monday. But don't spend any money yet." And he smiled.

It was the first time his face had relaxed since the interview started two hours earlier. But the smile wasn't friendly. It was smug, a definite smirk. Ah well, she'd won the first round.

Picking up her résumé she stood, said, "Thank you for your time, gentlemen," and left the room. The tension that had been with her for the past several hours drained away as she shrugged into her coat, under the curious glances of the office staff.

Moving towards the door, she swung around as she heard her name being called. Bearing down on her was a still-smug Mr. McKinnon, some files held loosely in his right hand.

"You might like to look these over this weekend. We'll do three a day. See you Monday."

Taking the files from him, Charly had time only to murmur, "Thank you," before he had turned back to the boardroom.

Tucking them into her carrying case, along with her résumé, Charly went out and got behind the wheel of her SUV. Aware that she was still under the surveillance of the staff, she started the engine and moved off down the road, out of their line of vision.

Why the devil hadn't the manager told her that Mr. McKinnon was a confirmed misogynist? Was it just her he hated, or was it women in general? The manager had assured her the job was as good as hers two days ago, after reviewing her qualifications and interviewing her. He'd said the meeting with the Board of Directors was only a formality and a courtesy to herself and the directors.

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