Today’s excerpt is the last from Rebecca Jamison’s “Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale,” but don’t fret, we’ll share more from our September releases starting next week.
The book has received some good reviews on its just-concluded blog tour, including one from Misty Moncur, in which she writes: “This book really will capture your heart. Well-written and well-thought out, ‘Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale’ is a sweet romance that explores different approaches to new love in the wake of heartbreak and disappointments.”
“Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale” is available in bookstores and from online retailers.
From the author: Despite Elly’s horrible interview, she gets the job working for Jake, her ex-fiancé. But there’s a catch. She’s only a temporary worker. Things get more complicated when Elly notices that Jake’s software code is much too similar to the code her father wrote for his now-defunct business.
I’m too good for this, I thought as the vent above me blew cold air onto my head. The programs seemed familiar, too familiar. As I paged through, I could see it wasn’t that different from the software code at Dad’s company. Would Jake copy that much from us? Would he take what he’d learned from Dad and use it to put us out of business? Was that how he pulled together a successful business less than a year after he stopped working for us? No. Jake wouldn’t do something like that. I was overreacting. I paged through the code, reading the names of programs. Over half of them were the same as the programs at Check-It-Out, but there were other, newer programs too. I couldn’t figure out how everything worked together.
“Hey,” I heard a voice behind me, a deep voice. “I heard you were starting today, but I didn’t believe it. I thought you were some other Elly Goodwin.” It was Ethan Ferrero. He wore a blue button-down shirt and khaki Dockers.
“A job’s a job,” I said.
Stan wandered by. “You should offer her some candy,” he told Ethan.
Ethan’s eyebrows popped up. “Oh yeah. Be back in a second.” He came back with a red candy bowl full of suckers. He didn’t strike me as the type of guy who’d keep a candy dish at his desk.
I didn’t want a sucker, but something about Ethan’s smile made me take a green one. He stepped closer to look at my monitor. There it was again—the sunblock smell. I unwrapped the sucker and was about to pop it in my mouth when I noticed a grasshopper encased in the middle. Ethan watched me out of the corner of his eye, expecting disgust. I opened my mouth. Ethan reached for my hand. “Wait! It has a bug in it.”
What was it about him that made me do the exact opposite of what I wanted to do? I popped the sucker into my mouth. “So?”
He swallowed. “You’re the first person who’s actually eaten it.”
I gagged. “Tastes like mouthwash.”
He pointed to my trashcan. “I won’t be offended.” I kept it in my mouth a few more seconds before I dropped it into the trash. He cocked his head to the side as if trying to figure me out. “I owe you one for that.”
“Point me in the direction of Jake’s office, and we’ll call it good.”
Ethan set his candy dish on my desk. “Jake’s office?”
I tried not to sound angry. “I need to talk to him about this assignment.”
Ethan led me up a back stairwell and through the customer support center into something that looked like a conference room with a large table and six or seven chairs. I folded my arms, wondering if Candi had told him about me tap dancing in conference rooms. “This is not Jake’s office.”
Ethan brushed past me to close the door. “Stan told me about your interview. Everyone knows you’re qualified for the job, even Candi.” He had a hard time maintaining eye contact, but it wasn’t hard for me, considering his eyelashes. It wasn’t right for a guy to have dark, thick lashes like that, nor was it right for me to be attracted to anyone related to Candi Ferrero.
I transferred my attention to the poster hanging on the wall. It pictured a celebrity reading her favorite book. “How are you related to Candi?”
“She’s my sister.” His words almost squelched my attraction—almost.
I folded my arms. “I wanted to ask Jake why he won’t put me on as a regular, full-time employee.” On the other hand, nothing good had ever come from me expressing my emotions to Jake. Nothing good ever came from expressing my emotions to anyone. I was better off being calm and logical—calm and logical.
Ethan pulled a chair out from the table and sat in it. “Jake’s not your problem. Candi’s your problem.”
I sat on the edge of the table with my side toward Ethan. “Jake was like a son to my father. Dad taught him everything he knew.”
Ethan leaned back, resting his feet on another conference chair. “And he turned around and used it against you.”
Was he trying to bait me into saying something I shouldn’t? I’d known people at work who tried to act friendly but were just out to get their co-workers. Ethan didn’t seem like one of those people, but he had to be on Candi’s side. He was her brother. If I told Ethan I was angry at Jake, Candi was sure to find out. “How do I know you’re not a spy?”
“Well, I use my real name, and I don’t have a prosthetic nose.” He leaned forward and pointed to his nose. “Test it out if you want.”
Did I dare? Yes, I did. I touched the end of his nose with my pointer finger. “Very convincing, but I’m not fooled.”
Ethan laughed, revealing his beach-worthy smile. “I think we can trust each other.”
I headed for the door. “You’re Candi’s brother.” I didn’t blame Candi for being the way she was. If our roles were reversed and I were Jake’s wife, I wouldn’t want to employ his ex-girlfriend, especially not one with a temper like mine. I was sure Candi had told Ethan what I’d done to her car. Why else would he try to keep me in line?