Read Baby Comes First Online

Authors: Beverly Farr

Tags: #romance, #pregnant, #contemporary, #baby, #boss, #quirky, #sweet, #attorney, #wedding, #bride, #sperm bank, #secretary, #office romance, #clean

Baby Comes First

BOOK: Baby Comes First
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Baby Comes First

 

By Beverly Farr

 

 

Copyright 2012 Beverly Farr
Giroux

 

Smashwords Edition

 

 

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved.

 

Cover design by Rita Toews www.yourebookcover.com

 

Cover image by: iofoto/Shutterstock.com

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading
this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your
own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

 

 

 

TABLE OF
CONTENTS

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

 

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

EPILOGUE

Note from the Author

 

CHAPTER ONE

Hannah stood on shaky legs and walked out of
the restroom stall. So that was morning sickness. It wasn’t as bad
as she’d heard, but definitely not fun.

She glanced at her reflection over the row of
sinks, and winced. She looked terrible, but then fluorescent
lighting was never flattering. Her hair was its normal bush of red
curls -- no surprise there. She’d given up trying to control it
years ago, and now kept it twisted back in a French knot, out of
the way. Her face was too pale, making her freckles stand out more
than usual. If she wore a little more lipstick, hopefully no one
would notice how ill she was. Not that she should be concerned. Few
people at the firm paid attention to anyone in the Data Processing
Department. Not unless someone needed a floater.

She tucked her crisp white blouse into the
waistband of her straight navy skirt. Already the waistband seemed
a little tight, or was that just wishful thinking? She smoothed the
lapels on her suit jacket, and smiled.

It was all worth it. She didn’t care if she
spent the rest of her pregnancy vomiting. She was going to have a
baby.

At last.

All her life she’d wanted to get married and
have a family, but as her thirty-sixth birthday came and went, she
finally faced the facts.

No one was interested.

Maybe it was her hair. Maybe she was too
awkward. Maybe she was too quiet. But whatever the reason, she
didn’t have to sit around feeling sorry for herself. This was the
twenty first century, full of opportunity. She found a sperm bank,
filled out the forms, paid her money, and now she was going to have
a baby.

Be a mother.

It was all so wonderful. Hannah felt like
shouting and telling the whole world, but she would wait until her
pregnancy was obvious.

The only sad part was that she couldn’t tell
her mother. She wouldn’t understand. But there was always hope that
some day she might enjoy being a grandmother.

Smiling, Hannah returned to her gray walled
work station. “Cubicle, sweet cubicle” read the cross stitch
sampler above her computer monitor.

“What’s up?” her neighbor Jessica asked. “You
look like you just won the lottery.”

Hannah shrugged. “Just having a good day, I
guess.”

Later that morning, she was busy transcribing
an appellate brief when Ms. Dulane, the Human Resources Director
emailed her. She wanted to talk to her for a few minutes.

Hannah walked quickly down the corridors, her
high heeled pumps quiet on the carpeted floor. She hoped she wasn’t
going to be laid off. There hadn’t been any rumors of problems, and
as far as she knew, Thompson, Baker and Myers was doing well, but
the legal profession was not as stable as it had been twenty years
before. It seemed as if every few months, some large firm in Dallas
disbanded. At her last position, she’d been let go when the firm
lost its largest corporate client. “You’ve done excellent work,”
she was told, “but unfortunately ‘last hired, first fired.’”

This would be the absolutely worst time for
her to go job hunting. With a baby on the way, she needed health
insurance. At least it wasn’t November, she thought, trying to be
positive. Last time she was laid off, it had been the week before
Thanksgiving, and no one thought about hiring until early January.
She’d eaten beans and rice for a month.

“Have a seat,” Ms. Dulane said pleasantly.
She was a small, wiry woman with frosted blonde hair and a
practiced smile. She had worked for Thompson, Baker, and Myers for
more than thirty years and anything she didn’t know about the law
firm wasn’t worth knowing.

Ms. Dulane looked somber. Maybe she was
getting fired, Hannah thought. Her mind raced, reviewing the past
month’s work. Had she offended anyone, or not done her job
properly?

Ms. Dulane said, “When you were hired two
years ago, you said you were interested in becoming a legal
secretary assigned to one of the partners.”

Hannah nodded. “That’s right.”

“Well, there’s an immediate opening. With
Luke Jamison.”

“Oh no.” Hannah sucked in her breath sharply,
hoping the director hadn’t heard her exclamation.

“Then you know him.”

“No, not at all,” she said quickly. “Of
course I’ve seen him in the halls, and I heard about his last big
trial, but no -- I don’t know him.”
Shut up, you’re rambling.
Don’t make things worse.

The director watched her closely. “No doubt
you’ve heard the office gossip.”

That he eats secretaries for lunch?
“Yes, I mean, no, not much. I try not to.”

“Good for you.” Ms. Dulane leaned forward in
her chair. “He’s not as bad as some of the stories paint him. He’s
stern, but he’s fair. Are you interested in applying for the
position?”

No. She couldn’t work for him. She would work
for anyone -- Attila the Hun, Jack the Ripper -- anyone but Luke
Jamison. Striving for outward calm, she said, “I’d have to think
about it.”

“Think fast. He wants to interview three
secretaries this afternoon and have someone start tomorrow.”

Apparently he was as impatient with Human
Resources as he was with his secretaries.

“Just so you know,” Ms. Dulane added in a
quiet voice as if she suspected the walls of being wired for sound,
“The firm pays his secretaries more than the other partners. We
consider it hazard duty.”

A raise would be nice, but Hannah had no
intention of working for Mr. Jamison. Rapidly she considered her
options. If she refused to interview with him, it might come back
to haunt her. Law firms liked their employees to be team players.
She couldn’t afford to be a prima donna. “I’ll interview with him,”
she said, ignoring the twist of fear in her stomach.

I’ll just make sure I don’t get the
job
.

#

Luke Jamison looked at the resume before him.
Hannah Hansen. What a ridiculous name. He hoped this woman was at
least moderately suitable. The other two applicants had been
hopeless. The Human Resources Director said that unless he wanted
to interview outside the firm, with the accompanying delay and
inconvenience, he was stuck with one of these women.

He didn’t know why it was so difficult to
find and keep a secretary these days. His last secretary had lasted
only three weeks. “And if you lose this next one, you’ll have to
work with someone from the temp agency,” Ms. Dulane had warned.

She made it sound as if he deliberately set
out to alienate these women.

He walked out of his office into the
reception area.

Ms. Hansen sat in one of the black leather
chairs, her hands clenched in her lap. She was pale, with wisps of
red hair that curled around her ears. He’d always liked red
hair.

“Ms. Hansen?” he called.

She flinched at the sound of her name -- not
a good sign. He didn’t need another shrinking violet. His last
secretary had been the weepy type.

She stood up. Taller than average, about
five-nine. Nice legs, from what he could see of them below a navy
suit that did nothing for her. Not that he cared what his
secretaries looked like, but he was a man, and on some level, he
still noticed.

She approached. “Mr. Jamison,” she said,
taking his hand in a surprisingly firm handshake. “I understand you
need a new secretary.”

She had a low voice. Good. Chirpy little
high-pitched voices in the morning were irritating. But he was
taken aback by her manner. She had the poise, the assurance of a
woman twice her age. She acted as if she were some grande dame
honoring him with her presence. He brushed the thought away. She
was merely confident. He admired that in a woman. “Yes. Come to my
office.”

“I’ve seen your office,” she said briskly.
“And I’d rather sit out here, if you don’t mind.”

He raised an eyebrow at her tone. Confidence
was one thing, insolence was another. “I do mind.”

“Fine, you’re the boss,” she said calmly.

He opened the door.

“Ah, just as I remembered it,” she muttered,
as she walked inside.

“You’ve been here before?”

She sat in the chair opposite his large oak
desk without waiting to be offered a seat. She crossed her legs.
Yes, he’d been right. Definitely nice legs. He forced himself to
pay attention to what she was saying.

“Yes, once I helped your previous secretary
-- Teresa, was it? -- find a phone number you’d written on a piece
of paper.”

Teresa was three secretaries ago, but she
didn’t need to know that.

She eyed the room with distaste, her forehead
furrowed, and ran a slim finger along the edge of his desk as if
testing for dust.

He glanced around his office, seeing it with
new eyes. It was a large room with floor to ceiling glass windows
that looked out over downtown Dallas. The furniture, although
elegant, was covered with stacks of paper. There were a few piles
on the floor as well.

So it was a little disorganized. So what?
After being married twelve years to a compulsive house-cleaner, he
enjoyed having a more relaxed office environment. And as one of the
firm’s most productive partners, he could do what he liked.

“I’m surprised you don’t lose more things in
this mess,” Ms. Hansen continued in a conversational tone. “Like
exhibits, important documents, dead bodies ...”

Luke choked back a laugh, half amused, half
amazed by her chutzpah. She was unlike any secretary he’d ever
seen. “I know where everything is,” he said, surprised by the note
of defensiveness in his voice.

“Then you must have the memory of an
elephant. No doubt that helps with your trial work.”

This interview was getting out of control. He
picked up her resume, determined to take charge of the
conversation. “Your skills are adequate,” he said coolly, not
wanting to compliment her. “You have a good turn around record in
Data Processing. But I see that you’ve worked for three different
law firms in the last ten years.”

“Yes.” She made no further comment and gave
no explanation.

“May I ask why you’ve moved around so
much?”

She smiled, but it was more a matter of
baring her teeth. The smile did not reach her light blue eyes. “I
merely found better positions and took them.”

He couldn’t ask point blank if she’d been
fired. “No problems?” he asked.

“None to speak of.” She leaned forward. “But
I understand you have trouble keeping secretaries, Mr. Jamison.
What seems to be your problem?”

He bristled. Who was conducting this
interview? “I don’t have a problem. The secretaries have the
problem. No one wants to do what they’re paid for.”

#

Hannah smiled inwardly. Score another point
for her. Luke Jamison was no longer annoyed with her, he was angry.
Like any good trial attorney, he kept his face expressionless, but
his dark brown eyes glared at her like a tiger.

It really was a shame, Hannah thought,
observing him with detachment, that such a handsome man couldn’t be
more pleasant. He was tall, at least six foot three, with broad
shoulders, and thick dark hair. He dressed well, he was
intelligent, he earned a good income. With all that going for him,
he should be happy, but he wasn’t a happy man. Driven, perhaps.
But, she reminded herself, that was not her concern.

BOOK: Baby Comes First
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