Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Act of Generosity by Sharon Marie Bidwell

An Act of Generosity by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Read an excerpt

An Act of Generosity

by Sharon Maria BidwellCover art: Karen Fox
ISBN: 978-1-60521-472-6
Genre(s): Guilty Pleasures (Contemporary)
Theme(s): Gay and Lesbian
Length: Novella


Robert may be gay, but he's a responsible adult, and a proper businessman. He hesitates to hire Lee, the man who's applied for the position of PA at his firm, knowing how hard it will be to deny his attraction to the much young man. And what's worse, his business partner's pressing Robert to rent a room in his flat to the new hire.
But Lee hasn't been entirely honest with his new employers. Lee's trying to unravel the mysteries of his past, but instead he finds himself falling for Robert. Lee knows Robert's got feelings for him, as well, but can he get the proper English gentleman to admit they might share more than lust? And what will happen when Robert finds out they share a past, as well?
An Act of Generosity
Sharon Maria Bidwell
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2010 Sharon Maria Bidwell

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"There's one more for you to see."
"There is?" Rob looked at his business partner's P.A. in surprise. He thought there were only five candidates for the job. He didn't remember a sixth.
"Yes. If you recall, I told you someone came into the office yesterday, answering the ad personally." Anna's abrupt tone was somewhat justified. She sounded not only blunt but understandably tired. Owing to Rob's procrastination to get his own assistant, her workload was almost double what it should be. Despite what he and Phillip paid her in overtime, it wasn't enough to make up for the extra hours she'd put in recently.
She marched over to rifle through the papers she had meticulously tidied on his desk only that morning -- no doubt an attempt to make him appear an acceptable candidate as someone's boss. These papers were already beginning to migrate in all directions of the compass. She pulled a resume from the pile and practically shoved it into his hand.
"Cutting it a bit fine," Rob muttered, without thinking. He tried to focus on the page, but the little black words appeared to dance in front of his eyes. He didn't like resumes anyway, and so he set the pages aside. He interviewed first and read the resumes afterwards. Anna would have weeded out the useless applications and already sent polite letters of refusal.
A look passed over her face, shoving that tired expression out of the way. Something in her gaze positively sparkled. "The young man said he knew he was cutting it fine, but that's why he was popping his resume in by hand. He'd only recently seen the advert, and been in a position to apply. He dropped by in order not to miss the deadline."
It took a moment for Rob's brain to catch up. "He?"
Anna tilted her head to one side. "Sexist?" she asked.
"Of course not!"
Anna turned her head to look pointedly at Phillip, who sat at a desk on the other side of the room. Phillip was quietly listening in on the interviews, so he could give his opinion if, or when, Rob needed it. He'd likely give his opinion in any case as whom they hired was important when both men had so much invested in their success.
"It is equal opportunities these days," Phil chimed in. "There are male secretaries."
"Personal assistants," Anna sniped. In her case, the difference counted. What Anna did was so much more than a secretary. What Rob needed was someone as capable as Anna was. Since Anna would largely be responsible for training the newbie, he wanted her impressions of the candidates too.
"Worth seeing?" he asked, tilting his head to one side questioningly, silently asking whether she was just teasing him.
"He's sitting in reception so you've got no choice, and definitely worth interviewing. I'd waste your time, but not mine."
Rob's lips twitched at the rebuke even as he shook his head. "Fine. As he's here, I have no option, so you can show him in." He had no intention of hiring a guy, though. Anna pursed her lips as if she knew that.
"Give him a fair chance," she said. "I'll send him in soon. Give you a five-minute break." She turned on her heel and went out.
Bless Anna. She'd not only organised all the interviewees, she'd given him breaks between and trundled them in and out with her usual efficiency. She'd even left him a list of questions it probably wouldn't have crossed his mind to ask.
"You know the reason for that expression on her face?" Phillip asked. Rob stared across the room at him, frowning. "The pursed lips," Phil elaborated. "It denotes long-lasting disapproval. You have to give this guy a fair go."
"I do?"
Phillip sighed. "There's nothing wrong with having a male assistant."
"Would you?"
"Yes, if it was that and have someone as efficient as Anna is, or put up with second best. God forbid I ever have to replace her. Which," Phil stressed, glaring across the room at him, "could very well happen if you don't hurry up and get your own assistant. She won't put up with the way things are forever. I'd pick the best person for the job, even if that meant I had a man working for me."
"Yeah, but in your case people wouldn't assume he was working under you. The first hint that I'm gay and he'll probably sue me for sexual harassment." Rob picked up the resume and searched down the page. "Hell, this guy is only twenty-one!"
"And you're such an old man at twenty-nine."
"Thirty," Rob corrected.
"Not yet."
"Soon enough."
"Stop throwing the intervening months away, and stop trying to change the subject. You having a male assistant is no different than me having a female one."
"It feels different."
"It shouldn't."
No, it shouldn't, but it did. Rob stared at the resume lying on his desk without seeing it.
"Give him a fair go," Phillip insisted.

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