There, I did it. I spilled my guts.
Price leaned forward, placed his elbows on his thighs, and stared directly into my eyes. “Is it the move to the cabin, the job, or me that gives you butterflies in your tummy?”
Oh, God. The way his thickly accented voice asked the question caused a pulsation between my legs. Arousal, need, and a hell of a lot of confusion attacked me as he intently waited for my response.
“I don’t have an answer to that.” I began to fidget with my fingers, no longer being able to control the impulse. “You intimidate me. The job scares me. But I know I can handle it.”
“You think you can handle me?” he asked with a slight smirk as he leaned back. “I told you. I’m an asshole.”
I nodded as I swallowed against the lump forming in the back of my throat. “Yes, sir. I can.”
He leaned forward again and narrowed his eyes. “I can pretty much guarantee that this job will be unlike any other job you have had before. I’m not promising you wine and roses. Quite the opposite.”
I suppose a normal person would have run out the door right then and there and never looked back. Maybe I should have. In all actuality, I should have been terrified that I would be alone in a cabin with a man I didn’t know.
But I wasn’t.
“I can do this job, Mr. Anderson. If you hire me, you can one hundred percent focus on your book and nothing else. I will have everything you ask for covered.” I said this not much louder than a whisper and wished I had sounded more confident. “When are you looking for someone to start?” I asked, with more confidence this time.
I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted this job more than anything. Maybe I’d lost my mind, but I didn’t care. I didn’t even know how much my pay would be, but if it meant I got to live in a cabin, and not have to live in the dark dank world of my current existence… I wanted it.
“Right away,” Price answered. “I need to get to the cabin and get to work straightaway. I’ve been interviewing for days, and I’m not getting what I really need to be done, done.”
I looked down at my feet before looking back at Price with a courage I had to force out. “Then hire me now. I can start immediately.”
I held my breath and waited for an answer. Should I not have been so bold? Should I have asked more questions? I certainly had many more questions to ask. I didn’t want to come off as overly eager but… I was. I not only needed a job and a place to live, but I was desperate to experience something new. I wanted a fresh start, and I felt that this job could be exactly what I needed to achieve it.
Price stood up and silently motioned for me to follow him to the front door. The thought that I would be dismissed and sent away like all the others he had interviewed sent a wave of panic through me, but at the same time, I knew I’d done the best that I could fighting for the chance.
“Are you sure you want this job, Tessa?” Mr. Anderson asked as we stood in front of the door. “There’s no turning back once we’re up there. I won’t have time to take you back and do this entire interview process all over again. So if I hire you, you are stuck on that mountain whether you like it or not. At least until I write the words ‘The End.’”
I nodded as I tried to control my breathing. Could this be it? Would he decide right now if I got the job or not? “If you hire me, Mr. Anderson, I will have champagne and the best dinner of your life waiting as you type those words. I assure you that you won’t have to worry about me changing my mind at all.”
He paused and then gave another one of his half smiles. “Then consider yourself hired.”
“So tell me about this person you hired,” my editor said.
I sighed into the phone. “I’d rather not. No one I hire is going to be good enough in your eyes unless I hire Joseph.”
“Joseph is good. He helped you a lot with your last book, and—”
“Joseph is a prick. He spent half of his time taking pictures of me working and posting my sleep-deprived ass all over social media in return for likes or follows or whatever the fuck it is he wanted.”
“He knows this business, Price. He also knows what the readers want and—”
“I already hired someone, Brett,” I interrupted again. “She’s heading up with me to the cabin today, and that’s final.” I pulled out sweaters and flannels from my closet as I spoke and threw them onto the bed. I had asked Tessa to meet me here at noon and I was quickly running out of time.