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Authors: Julie Cohen

All Work and No Play

BOOK: All Work and No Play
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About the Author

JULIE COHEN
was born in the USA and brought up in the mountains of western Maine. There wasn’t much going on in Maine, so she made stuff up. She spent most of her childhood with her nose in a book. After gaining her first degree in English literature, she moved to England and researched fairies in children’s literature for a postgraduate degree. She started writing her first romance on a blueberry farm in Maine, and finished it on a beach in Greece. Shortly after finalling in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest, she sold her novel
Featured Attraction
to Mills & Boon.

Julie lives in the south of England with her husband, who works in the music industry, and still reads everything in sight. Her other hobbies include walking, travelling, listening to loud music, watching films and eating far too much popcorn. She teaches secondary school English and is teased daily about her American accent. Visit her website at www.julie-cohen.com, and write to her at [email protected]

Dear Reader,

I love geeks.

Hold on, let’s put that another way. I love a man in glasses, who has the strength of intelligence as well as strength in body. I love a man who is passionate about his work, maybe even a bit obsessive. I love a man who is sensitive, competent, a little shy; a man who can keep a secret crush on a childhood friend like a treasure for years.

I love Superman—who wouldn’t?—but even more than that I love Clark Kent.

All of this is a roundabout way to say that I am totally in love with Jonny Cole, also known as Jay, the hero of
All Work and No Play …

I also love mistaken identity stories. I scour the blurbs of romance novels looking for them, and when I find one I buy it immediately. Especially sexy mistaken identity stories, where the hero and heroine make wild, passionate love, and then discover that their partner isn’t who they thought it was … or, in the case with Jonny and Jane, that it was exactly who they thought it was, but in a sort of different way.

I also love the internet and how it lets us connect with people, become closer to them even when we can’t see them in real life. There are so many ways of falling in love … why not start with an e-mail? Or a fantasy described online?

A gorgeous geek, mistaken identities, the internet, cyber sex, a male model, and a little ironing board surfing. Wow, I had fun writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it, too.

I love to hear from readers. Please visit my website, www.julie-cohen.com, and write to me on [email protected]

Julie Cohen

All work
and no
Play

Julie Cohen

www.millsandboon.co.uk

For Kathy Love, who helped me make up this story on a train from New York to Washington DC. I laughed so hard, I don’t think I breathed from Pennsylvania to Delaware.

CHAPTER ONE

I
AM
absolutely fine, I am very good at my job, and you are never going to see me cry again.

It was Jane’s inner monologue, her mantra for the morning, so strong that she had to choose her words carefully to avoid speaking it out loud as she finished up her slide presentation and answered questions on behalf of her creative team.

Particularly because the person who was asking the most questions was Gary Kaplan, the senior account manager, whom she had believed she was going to marry next June, and who had seen her crying five days before.

‘Fortunately for our time schedules,’ she continued, clicking off her slide show and shutting down her laptop, ‘the model we’ve selected for the Franco cologne campaign is available this week, so we’re starting production
straight away. I’ll be seeing him and his agent for lunch after I have my design team briefing.’

‘Excellent.’ Allen Pearce, one of the advertising agency’s partners, smiled as he rose from his chair. ‘I have every confidence that my team will do the firm proud while Michael and I are in New York. Good work, Jane, Gary, and everyone.’

She’d pulled it off. She thanked Allen Pearce, thanked her team, and packed up her laptop to go back to her office. Five minutes would be enough to take a few deep breaths, compose herself, enjoy her success.

‘Jane.’

Jane stopped on her way out of the boardroom. It was Gary who’d called her back, so she made sure her expression was cheerful before she turned around.

‘Yes, Gary?’

‘Are you all right?’

Stephen and Hasan were still gathering their things from the boardroom table, so she pretended that Gary’s question was a casual enquiry.

‘Fine, thanks, Gary. And you?’

She hadn’t thought that her voice betrayed any of her emotions, but she did notice that Stephen and Hasan pulled together their papers and pens more quickly and headed for the door. Hasan caught her eye as he left and
gave her half a smile, which, she thought, sickeningly, was probably sympathetic.

Once the other members of the team were gone, she stepped all the way back into the room and closed the door. The boardroom was, like every room in Pearce Grey Advertising Agency, ultra-modern and minimalist, with white walls and grey streamlined furniture. Sometimes she found the blank space conducive to creativity, but right now she found it cold.

Gary was still sitting in one of the sleek chairs. His creaseless grey suit fitted right into the room. She wondered if Gary was doing his own ironing, or if Kathleen lived up to his exacting standards in that department, too.

‘Gary, I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t ask me personal questions in front of our colleagues.’ She stayed standing.

‘It wasn’t a personal question. I just asked you how you were doing.’

Jane used to admire Gary’s calm demeanour. Now it made her hands curl up into fists. She did it behind her back, though, because one entire wall of the boardroom was glass, looking out into the main office area of Pearce Grey.

‘In this context, it was a personal question,’ she said.

‘I asked the bloke in the newsagent the same thing this morning.’

Yes, but you didn’t leave the bloke in the newsagent for another woman.
‘I’m fine, Gary, thank you. How are you?’

‘I’m concerned that you’re not well. You look tired.’

‘Isn’t it odd, Gary, that when we were together you never noticed when I was tired and not well?’

He had the good sense to look uncomfortable at that question. ‘Well, we weren’t working so closely before your promotion.’

Which also reminded her that he had seniority. How considerate of him.

‘We need you on top form,’ he continued. ‘The Giovanni Franco cologne campaign is vital to the agency—’

‘And Giovanni Franco himself is edgy and difficult, and has sacked their last three agencies, and wants everything done yesterday,’ she finished for him. ‘I know. I’m on top of it.’

But then she thought about Hasan’s half-smile, and how he and Stephen had hustled it out of the boardroom. Maybe she wasn’t hiding her feelings as well as she’d thought.

Gary rested his arms on the desk in front of him. He was handsome enough, with light brown hair and regular
features and a body that saw a gym regularly. Once upon a time he’d been a great catch for her.

‘I’m wondering if it’s time we let people know about our—you know.’ A flicker of guilt passed across Gary’s face.

She crossed her arms. ‘You said it would be up to me when we told the rest of Pearce Grey we’d split up.’

‘Yes, but … I think it might be easier for you if we made it public sooner rather than later. We wouldn’t have to worry about how it appeared to other people.’

Jane glanced through the boardroom window at the busy office outside. It wasn’t as if she and Gary had ever been demonstrative at work. But their engagement was common knowledge, and people did, she supposed, expect them to have a certain familiarity and intimacy in the way they behaved with each other.

‘You mean it would be easier for you,’ she said. ‘You could talk about your new relationship all you liked.’

While she would be regarded with pity as the scorned fiancée. The woman who’d landed a promotion and promptly been dumped on her backside.

‘It’s not time yet,’ she said. ‘Excuse me, I have work to do.’

She left the boardroom and headed for her office, avoiding the glances of the other people who worked for the agency. She really could have used those five minutes
before she had to go to her lunch meeting. Even three minutes would have been enough, a breath of time where she could look in her email inbox, see the message that Jonny had probably sent her this morning from up in the Lake District. A message from Jonny would make her smile for real.

But the design team were already gathering outside her office door. Which meant she’d be lucky to have thirty seconds to herself before she had to leave for her lunch meeting.

Jane put on a bright expression. Her email, and a real smile, would have to wait. ‘Is everyone ready?’ she asked.

‘Jonny. Yo, Jonny.’

Jonny pushed his glasses up his nose and narrowed his eyes, forcing himself to concentrate on the HTML code on the laptop screen in front of him. Thom’s voice wasn’t easy to ignore. It was loud, vibrant, and unabashedly Californian. Jonny typed in a line of code anyway.

‘Jonathan Richard Cole Junior!’ Thom leaned across the first-class railway carriage table and waved his hand in Jonny’s face.

Jonny gave up and looked at his friend. ‘In case you hadn’t noticed, I was ignoring you. I gave you one condition for this trip when you kidnapped me, remember?’

‘I didn’t kidnap you, dude!’ Thom put on his fake-innocent grin. ‘I let you go get your computer and a toothbrush before I dragged you to the Penrith train station. And I only came up to get you in person because I know what you’re like when you’re writing a book.’

Jonny smiled, because it was impossible to stay annoyed with Thom Erikson. The man was incredibly rich, incredibly generous, and he talked as if he had a surfboard permanently attached to his person. And he’d stayed close to Jonny, even when Jonny had left California to go back to England.

In a world full of transitions and disillusion, Jonny had learned to appreciate loyalty, even when the loyalty was also accompanied by unrelenting persistence.

‘You also agreed not to call me by my real name,’ Jonny reminded him. ‘When I’m working with you I’m not Jonny Cole, I’m Jay Richard.’

‘Oh, yeah. I forgot because you had your Clark Kent glasses on. Sorry.’

Clark Kent.
Jonny took off his glasses and rubbed his nose, thinking that comparison wasn’t so far-fetched. He didn’t become a Superman when he took his glasses off, but his life certainly got different.

He’d prefer leaping tall buildings to posing in front of cameras, though.

‘I wish you’d change your mind about the pseudonym,’
Thom continued. ‘Your double life would make great publicity: computer how-to guru moonlights as one of Britain’s most up-and-coming male models. From geek to gorgeous. Dweeb to dude. Nerd to—’

‘Enough.’ Jonny laughed, holding up his hands. ‘I’m not going to use my real job to get myself publicity, because as soon as I make enough money I’m quitting modelling. I told you that when I started.’

‘You are so deluded, my man. You’re a natural and the camera loves you. You could have a very, very good career in modelling. And this new job is a real triumph. The face of Giovanni Franco’s new cologne.’ Thom whistled.

Jonny did have to concede that Thom should know what he was talking about. The man ran one of the most successful modelling agencies on the west coast of the USA, so successful he’d started to branch into Europe.

And Jonny also had to admit that, much as he disliked the idea of being a model, it was a godsend right now.

‘I didn’t have an easy time of it as a teenager,’ he told Thom. ‘I really was a computer geek then. I only started working out so I could fight back against the guys who used to beat me up on a regular basis.’

BOOK: All Work and No Play
4.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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