Home>>read The Billionaire Boss's Bride free online

The Billionaire Boss's Bride

By:Cathy Williams


THIS, the first day of Tessa Wilson’s new job, was not proving to be a very good day. She stood at the reception desk in the foyer of the avant-garde glasshouse that housed the computer software group for whom she was now working on a super, quite unbelievably bumper salary, and frowned at the chap smiling at her. His badge said that he was called George Grafton and he looked like a George. Plump, balding, comfortable. Tessa’s first job had been with a George. They could have been brothers.

‘What do you mean you saw them all leaving the building this morning?’ Tessa looked at her watch. It was a sensible Casio watch. No frills, no calendar indicating day, month and year, no option to see what time it was in all major cities across the world or to time herself should she spontaneously decide to do a spot of exercise. It was as practical as she was. Practical, diligent and punctual.

‘And it’s eight-thirty in the morning! Surely…’

‘You’d think so.’ The man at Reception nodded sagely, reading her mind. ‘Most people are buzzing in to start the week, but…’ He raised his shoulders in an expressive gesture of incomprehension.

Tessa glanced around. Yes, people were pouring into the squat five-storeyed building, which was cunningly designed like Lego bricks surrounding an inner courtyard with benches and eating areas on most of the ground floor. Busy, industrious people who worked for the other companies there. Meanwhile, she was to believe that everyone working for the Diaz Hiscock group had mysteriously decided to take a day off for no apparent reason. It didn’t make sense. She wondered nervously whether this was some sort of test, some kind of trick initiation procedure that she was required to get through.

‘I’m sorry. This is my first day here. Look. See for yourself.’ She pulled out her letter of employment and pointed to the date she was supposed to commence work.

‘Yep. You’ve come on the right day, all right.’ Now the man was looking sympathetic, as though she were the recipient of some brutally bad news. ‘Can’t explain it. I mean, you can go up to the floor and have a look for yourself, but I was here at six and they were streaming out of the building.’

‘Maybe they all went out for breakfast,’ Tessa said hopefully. That, in itself, was a ludicrous notion. What sort of company operated along the lines of mass desertion at the start of a busy working day, by employees who needed to have breakfast when they surely would have only just arrived?

‘Third floor.’ He nodded over to where three lifts were furiously trying to deliver employees to their various destinations and reached to answer the telephone.

Tessa dubiously looked at the suited crowd and wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt. She had been full of enthusiasm when she had got out of bed at seven. A little nervous, sure, but she was an experienced PA and confident that she could handle whatever was thrown at her.

Now she wasn’t too sure. Now, it occurred to her that the whole interviewing process had been a little on the odd side.

Yes, Diaz Hiscock was a family company, a small but successful and powerful family company, but hadn’t it been a little strange that her interview for the job had been with the boss’s mother? And conducted in the elegant sitting room of a house, over scones and tea? Six weeks ago, Tessa had found it very charming and such a blessed relief from the frantic pace of her old firm. Now she just wondered whether she was dealing with lunatics and had made a fatal error in jacking in her ordinary but perfectly secure job working for an accountancy firm.

‘I suppose I’d better… Well!’ She neatly folded up her letter and stuffed it back into her handbag. ‘Thanks for your help!’ She extended one polite hand and smiled. ‘And I guess I’ll be seeing you around!’

‘If not in ten minutes!’ He grinned with his hand over the receiver and she smiled weakly back.

‘Ha, ha.’ If that was meant to sound reassuring then she sincerely hoped that George never decided to go into counselling.

Her face was burning as she waited by the lift, sneaking in when the doors opened and maintaining zero eye contact with anyone else in it, focusing one hundred per cent on the gradual ascent of the lift to the third floor. She wondered whether there would be a roar of laughter behind her when she stepped out onto the third floor, whether they all knew that floor three was vacant.

Roar of laughter, no. Vacant floor, yes. Just as George had predicted. It wasn’t a huge office. Reception desk, empty. Tastefully arranged desks with occasional partitions filled the space behind the reception desk. All empty. And as Tessa made her way along the corridor, her feet making no sound as they sunk into the thick pile coffee-coloured carpet, she could feel her heart sinking. Offices to the left and the right, empty. Spacious offices, some with several plasma-screen computer terminals, offices that emanated financial well being, all deserted. The lighting wasn’t on and the bleak winter sunshine struggled to make its way through the glass and into the uninhabited office.