Sam Preston appears to be living the glamorous life of a journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle…
If only that was the case… in reality, she’s frustratingly single, stuck living in her parents’ house, and oh yeah, in love with her boss, Dave, who barely knows that she exists…
Life seems like it will never change… until the day Sam is put on an assignment with Dave, reporting on the San Francisco Fashion Week. She hopes this might be a turning point in their relationship…
But things never go to plan and practically overnight, Sam becomes an accidental contestant in the Beautiful Curvy pageant and life suddenly becomes very complicated.
How will she manage her new rise to stardom, her job, and her sudden irresistibility to not only Dave, but a new man on the scene?
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At the sound of Tom’s tone of voice, Dave finally realises just how seriously he is taking the situation, and stops feigning indignant indifference. “So are you firing me?”
“No, I’m not,” he admits after a while, while massaging his temples. He’s the editor of one of the most widely read newspapers in the country, so he can never afford to be impulsive. Like all big decisions, it looks like he pondered this one for a while before making his mind up. “That’s not what I said. But I am obliged to do something,” he points out, leaning back in his chair.
Dave doesn’t react, or at least not immediately. He should feel more relaxed after hearing that he still has a job, but there’s a strange look in Tom’s eyes… He’d always been a very straight up guy, one of those people who speaks their mind freely and clearly and who will tell you to go to hell to your face if they have to. So why is he taking so long to get to the point? What exactly is on his mind? Nothing good, that’s for sure. “Come on, then – spit it out!” snaps Dave eventually, unable to stand the tension of waiting any longer. “What do you want me to do? Get down on my knees and beg for forgiveness? Whip myself in public to prove that I repent? Stick twelve dollars in the collection plate down at St Joseph’s?”
“Don’t be stupid. And I have no intention of giving in to Hoffman’s threats either. If Walker can’t handle his wife, that’s his problem. And anyway, none of this makes Hoffman’s situation any more or less serious. He was caught in a car with a girl who isn’t even eighteen years old, so he has absolutely no excuse.” He clicks his tongue in satisfaction. “That was a good one and we are going to keep pushing it.”
“Okay. So what exactly are you thinking?” asks Dave, unable to disguise his anxiety or his irritation.
“So from this moment on, you have to be totally beyond reproach.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean, Dave! No more screwing around! No more nothing, period.”
“I don’t follow.”
“Ok, then I’ll try and make myself crystal clear,” Tom sighs. “From now on I don’t want to see you at parties. No more flings. No more romantic jaunts to Costa Rica for the weekend. No more getting papped on yachts or with Playboy models…”
“What? Oh come on…” Dave groans as it dawns on him what Tom is saying.
“The whole world has to think you’re a saint,” Tom continues, regardless of Dave’s reaction. “And I want to see you sitting on the front row in church every single Sunday, if that’s what it takes!”
“Oh, for fu—”
“No, Dave!” shouts Tom, leaning towards him across his desk and pointing an accusatory finger at him. “Maybe you don’t realise how bad this is. You’ve risked a lot here, believe me – a lot!” He warns him. “You’re a great journalist, and a great deputy editor, and the only reason I am saving your ass is because there’s nobody in this office that’s worth half of your big toe. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose The Chronicle because of you!” he mutters through gritted teeth and a clenched jaw. “Do you know what I did when I got my promotion, Dave? Do you?”
“No, I don’t,” Dave admits laconically.
“I glued the seat of my pants to this damn chair, and so if someone wants to get me out of it, they’re gonna have to shoot me first and cut me off it. Am I being clear? Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes, quite clear,” Dave stammers.
“Great, so take my advice and get these words into your stupid, stubborn head: if I find out you’ve been anywhere near anything that even looks or smells like a woman, or if you’re even caught looking in the window of a lingerie shop, you’ll be out on your ass. I won’t accept any excuses or justifications and there won’t be any exceptions. Do you think you can manage that?”
“Tom…” he hesitates.
“I want an answer, Dave, and I want it right now.”
“For how long?”
“At least until after the elections.”
“But you’re asking me to abstain for almost three months!”
“Yeah, and that means that in three months time you’ll still have a roof over your head and a salary at the end of the month which you will be able to spend on sex toys and all the edible underwear you can eat, with the compliments of the newsroom. So what do you say?”
Dave thinks it over for about a second before realising that being fired in his field means ending up in the obituaries office or, even worse, writing bitter articles about conspiracies and celebrities on some sad personal blog. Dave knows that he has no choice: if he doesn’t agree, he’ll be moving back into his parents’ basement.
Celia Hayes works as a restorer and lives in Naples. Between one restoration and another, she loves to write. Don’t Marry Thomas Clark reached #1 in the Amazon Italian Ebook chart.
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