Jessica Hart

Oh-So-Sensible Secretary

Release Date: 2010

Finalist National Readers’ Choice Award 2010

Finalist Romantic Times Best Harlequin Romance 2010

Impossible boss prim assistant = a whole lot of sparks! You know when you meet the most gorgeous guy and get butterflies in your stomach? Well, that’s what it felt like the first time I laid eyes on my movie-star-gorgeous boss, Phin Gibson. I’ve got to get a grip! Phin might be delicious, but he’s always late, totally disorganized – my complete opposite! But somehow he’s making me, the oh-so-sensible Summer, want to let down my perfectly pinned-up hair!


★★★★1/2 - Romantic Times

★★★★1/2 - CataRomance

"Jessica Hart's OH-SO-SENSIBLE SECRETARY is an absolute delight from first page to last.  The first person narration gives this romance a sassy energy that makes this romance stand out as special.   Phin may not exactly be the kind of professional boss his brother is, but as a man, he is simply irresistible.  Underneath the glamor of his public image, the man has a heart of gold.   Even his ways are a bit unorthodox, he brings a wonderful combination of fun and honor to his crazy plans.  Who couldn't fall for his ways?  Jessica Hart's handling of the first person narrative, a point of view rarely seen in category romance, is brilliant!  Like Phin, Jessica Hart brings a fresh invigorating perspective to the genre --- just the remedy for the  late winter-almost spring doldrums.   With each romance, Jessica Hart brings a freshness and challenge to the genre.  OH-SO-SENSIBLE SECRETARY is a treasure.  Brava!"
Book Illuminations ★★★★★


I made Phin clear away all the clutter - I think he just dumped it all in the spare room – while I ran around with a vacuum cleaner. It didn’t look too bad by the time I finished, although even I thought it was a bit bare.

‘It could do with some flowers, or a cushion or two,’ I said. ‘Do you think I’ve got time to nip out before they get here?’

‘Cushions?’ echoed Phin, horrified. ‘Over my dead body!’

‘Oh, don’t be such a baby. A couple of cushions wouldn’t kill you.’

‘Cushions are the beginning of the end,’ he said mulishly. ‘Next thing I know, I’d be buying scented candles and ironing my sheets!’

‘Sheets feel much nicer when they’re ironed,’ I pointed out, but he only looked at me in disbelief.

‘I might as well be married. I’ve seen it happen to friends,’ he told me. ‘They meet a fabulous girl, they’re having a great time and then one day you go round and there’s a cushion sitting on the sofa, and you know it’s the beginning of the end. You can count the days before that wedding invitation is dropping onto your mat!’

I rolled my eyes. I was feeling much better by that stage. I always find cleaning very comforting.

‘Oh, very well, it’s not as if we’re supposed to be married,’ I conceded. ‘You’ll just have to look as if you’re keen enough on me to be considering a cushion some time soon.’

‘I think I can manage looking keen,’ said Phin, and something in his voice made me glance at him sharply. Amusement and something else glimmered in the depths of those blue eyes. Something that made my breath hitch and my heart thud uneasily in my throat. Something that sent me skittering right back to square one.

I moistened my lips, and cast around wildly for something to say. ‘Shouldn’t you go and change?’ To my horror, my voice sounded high and tight.

‘What for?’ said Phin easily. ‘They want to see me at home, don’t they?’

‘Well, yes, but you might want to look as if you’ve made a bit of an effort. You haven’t even got any shoes on. You look as if you’ve just rolled out of bed,’ I said, and then winced inwardly, wishing I hadn’t mentioned bed.

‘That’s what we want them to think,’ said Phin. ‘And now you come to mention it, I think you’re the one who needs to do something about your appearance.’

‘What do you mean?’ Diverted, I peered anxiously into the mirror above the mantelpiece. Anne and I had spent hours the evening before, going through the clothes heaped on my bed, and trying to pick just the right look. It had to be sexy enough to be in with a remote chance of being Phin’s girlfriend, but at same time I wanted it fit with Gibson & Grieve’s new family friendly image.

‘And you mustn’t wear black or white next to your face,’ Anne had said bossily. ‘It’s very draining in photographs. You want to look casual but sophisticated, elegant but colourful, sexy but sensible.’

In the end, we had decided on a pair of black wool trousers with a silky shirt I had worn to various Christmas parties the previous December. It was a lovely cherry red and I had painted my nails with Anne’s favourite colour, Berry Bright, to match. I had even clipped my hair up loosely, the way I wore it at the weekend. I thought I looked OK.

‘What’s wrong with how I look?’ I asked.

‘You look much too neat and tidy,’ said Phin, putting his hands on either side of my waist. ‘Come here.’

‘What are you doing?’ I asked nervously as he drew me towards him.

‘I’m going to make you look as you’ve just rolled out of bed, too. As if we rolled out of bed together.’

Lifting one hand, he pulled the clip from my hair so that it slithered forward. ‘You shouldn’t hide it away,’ he said, twining his fingers through it. ‘It’s beautiful stuff. I thought it was just brown at first, but every time I look at it, I see a different colour. Sometimes it looks gold, sometimes chestnut, sometimes honey. I swear I’ve even seen red in there … it makes me think of an autumn wood.’

I was speechless, and not just because of his closeness, which was making me feel hazy. No one had ever said anything like that to me before. I didn’t want to look into his eyes to see if he was joking or not. I was afraid that if I did, I would lose what little grip I still had on my senses.

‘Very poetic,’ I managed.

‘But it’ll look even more beautiful tousled up,’ said Phin and ignoring my protests he mussed up my hair before turning his attention to my shirt. ‘And yes … I think we’ll have to do something about this too. There are just too many buttons done up here, and they’re all done up the right way! That won’t do at all.’

Very slowly, very deliberately, he undid the first two buttons and looked down at me, his eyes dark and blue.

‘No, you still look horribly cool,’ he said, which must have been a lie because my heart was thundering in my chest and I was burning where those blunt, surprisingly deft fingers had grazed my skin. I opened my mouth, but the words jammed in my throat, piling into an inarticulate sound that fell somewhere between a squeak and a gasp. He was barely touching me, but every cell in my body was screaming with awareness and I couldn’t have moved if I had tried.

‘I may have to work a bit harder on this one …’ he went on and bending his head, he blew gently just below my ear. The feel of it shuddered straight down my spine and clutched convulsively at its base, and in spite of myself I shivered.

‘Mmmnn, yes, this may just work,’ said Phin, pleased, and then he was trailing kisses down my neck, warm and soft and tantalising.

I really, really, didn’t want to respond, but I couldn’t help myself. It was awful. It was as if some other woman had taken over my body, tipping her head back and sucking in her breath with another shudder of excitement.

My heart was thudding in my throat, and I could hear the blood rushing giddily in my ears.

‘You see where I’m going with this,’ murmured Phin, who was managing to undo another couple of buttons at the same time. ‘I mean, we did discuss how important it was to make it look as if we found each other irresistible, didn’t we?’

‘I think that’s probably enough buttons though,’ I croaked as he started on the other side of my neck. His hair was tickling my jaw and I could smell his shampoo. The wonderfully clean, male scent of his skin combined with the wicked onslaught of his lips was making my head spin, and I felt giddy and boneless.

Perhaps that was why I didn’t resist as Phin steered me over to the great leather sofa. There was no way my legs were going to hold me up much longer and as we sank down onto the cushions I felt as if I were sinking into a swirl of abandon.

‘OK, no more buttons,’ he whispered, and I could feel his lips curving against my throat. ‘But … I … don’t … think ... you … look … quite … convincing … enough … yet.’

Between each word he pressed a kiss along my jaw until he reached my mouth at last, and then his lips were on mine and he was kissing me with an expertise that literally took my breath away. Since I’m being frank, I’ll admit that it was a revelation. I’d never been kissed so surely, so thoroughly, so completely and utterly deliciously. So irresistibly.

I certainly couldn’t resist it. I wound my arms around him, pulling him closer and kissed him back.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know who he was or what I was doing, but I thought … well, I don’t know what I thought, OK? The truth is, I wasn’t thinking at all. I was just feeling, the slither of the satiny shirt against my skin, the hardness and heat of his hands on me as he pushed the slippery material aside.

Just tasting, his mouth, his skin.

Just hearing the wild rush of my pulse, the uneven way he said my name, my own ragged breathing.

Just touching, fumbling at his T-shirt, tugging it up so that I could run my hands feverishly over his smoothly muscled back, marvelling the way it flexed beneath my fingers. I let them drift up the warmth of his flanks, and felt him shiver in response.

What can I say? I was lost, astonished at my own abandon and yet helpless to pull myself back.

Or perhaps I’m not being entirely honest. I was aware, at one level, of my sensible self frantically waving her arms and ordering me back to safety, but Phin’s body felt so good, so lean and hard as it pressed me into the sofa, and his mouth was so wickedly enticing, that I ignored her and let my fingers drift to the fastening of his jeans instead.

Afterwards, I could hardly believe it, but the truth is that there was a moment when I did know that I’d regret it later, and I still chose the lure of Phin’s hands taking me to places I’d barely suspected before. I succumbed to the excitement rocketing through me, and if Imelda and the photographer hadn’t arrived just then, who knows where we would have ended up?

Except I do know, of course.

What I don’t know is whether that would have been a good thing or a bad thing. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it, though.

As it was, the piercing ring of the doorbell tore through the hazy pleasure and brought me right back to earth with a sickening crash.

I jerked bolt upright. ‘Oh, my God, it’s them!’

Frantically I tried to button up my shirt and shove it back into my trousers at the same time as pushing my hair behind my ears. ‘What were we doing?’

Phin was infuriatingly unperturbed. He was barely breathing unsteadily.

‘Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing my bit for our pretence, and with all due modesty, I think I’ve excelled,’ he said, and grinned as his eyes rested on my face. I dreaded to think what I looked like. ‘Now you really do look the part.’

Text copyright © 2010 by Jessica Hart

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin S.A.

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