Today I am so pleased to welcome A.M. Johnson to Joyfully Jay. Amanda has come to talk to us about her latest release, Not So Sincerely, Yours. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The coffee shop was busting at the seams with people when I walked in. No one paid attention to anyone else, more fixated on their smartphones. The line was ridiculous, and to make matters worse, there were only two baristas. By the time I actually had my order in hand, thirty minutes had passed. It was after nine when I arrived back at the office. A woman in a black blouse and gray pencil skirt hovered in one of the office doors, chatting with someone I couldn’t see. The office was awake and buzzing, and as I set the coffee down on my desk, the woman turned and looked at me.
She smiled, but like Anders, gave me a once over. By the crinkle in her nose, she’d found me wanting. “You must be new… I’m Claire.”
“Ethan,” I said and held out my hand.
She took my offered hand in hers, her grip too soft. “Charming. You’re the new secretary?”
“I’m Anders’s assistant,” I corrected, and she grinned.
“Temporary, I assume?”
Ugh. I didn’t know who I disliked more. Her or Anders. Was everyone here going to be a complete douchebag?
“Until Kris comes back, yeah.”
She let go of my hand, her smile as fake as the bleached color of her hair. “Welcome… You’ll fit right in.”
I rolled my eyes when she turned to leave, grabbing Anders’s coffee in my hand and headed down the hallway. There were only four offices, and I couldn’t be sure which one belonged to Anders. I passed by Claire’s office and was grateful when she closed the door. The office she’d been standing in front of earlier was occupied with another woman who was busy on a call. She had kind brown eyes that silently said hello as I walked by. The third office was empty, and I assumed the last one was Anders. The door was cracked open and I knocked once and pushed it open.
“Most people wait for a confirmation before entering,” he said, not looking up from his laptop.
“I figured since it was open…” The rest of my sentence fell away as I took in the room.
The sound of soft guitars hung in the air, spilling from the speakers of his laptop, the music reminded me of the folk stuff I listened to sometimes. His office was bigger than the others, but nothing too ostentatious like I figured it would be. He had shelves and shelves overflowing with books. There were three small paintings hanging on the wall behind his desk, the colors dark and gritty. A few framed pictures dotted a smaller shelf just below the artwork. This space, this office, it was a complete one-eighty from the house I’d visited for Jax’s rehearsal. This room was dusty and comfortable, nothing like the man staring at me now.
“Have a seat,” he said, and I handed him his coffee. Anders took a deep sip, and I swallowed as his Adam’s apple moved slowly in his throat. “It’s lukewarm.”
“It’s forty degrees outside.”
The muscles in his jaw feathered and I internally smiled. I’d gotten under his skin.
He lifted a piece of paper and reached across his desk. “Take this. It’s your log-in info. If you have any problems, the number for tech support is at the bottom of the page.”
I lifted the paper from his hands and scanned over it. “Thanks.”
“I leave for the Manhattan office on Thursday. I’ll need a full report for the acquisition editor by then.”
“Um… I’m sorry… I have no idea what that means.”
He let out a long, aggravated breath. “This is going to be a nightmare.”
“I’m not an idiot, alright… but isn’t it customary to train new employees?”
He lifted his cell from the desk and tapped his thumb on the screen. After a second, the phone rang through the speaker.
“Hey, Anders, new guy making you crazy already?” A woman’s voice floated from the phone.
The smile that graced his lips was real and softened the hard lines of his jaw. His perfect mask slipped, and if I didn’t want to punch him in the face, I’d actually think he was kind of beautiful.
“Kris, if I said you could bring your baby to work would—”
“No way.” She laughed. “What do you need, Anders? Cesar and I are putting together the crib.”
A wistful look wrinkled around his eyes as he smiled. “Can you email Ethan a to-do list that explains the appointment spreadsheet and the acquisition emails? And while you’re at it, give him your passcodes, it’ll be good for him to look at some of your correspondences for examples. I’ll have some of the other agents go over the queries until he knows what to look for.”
“Is there some reason you’re incapable—”
He quickly glanced at me, disconnected from the speaker, and brought the phone to his ear. “I’m busy and you’re… you.”
I coughed to hide my laugh, and his ice blue gaze narrowed. He finished up his call, his civility to his former assistant gave me hope, but when he spoke again, that hope died a hard and fast death.
“Kris will send you everything you need,” he said with a dismissive wave at the door. I slowly stood, staring at him as he ignored me, tapping away on his laptop again.
“Thanks,” I grumbled, and when he didn’t respond I walked to my desk.
I booted up the computer, logged in with the email address and password Anders had given me, and waited for Kris’s instructions. True to her word, she sent what I needed. I went over everything, opening up the programs I needed. Basically, I was in charge of Anders’s calendar, sending the manuscripts he’d signed off on to the acquisitions editor, and eventually I’d get to field literary queries authors sent in looking for representation. That sounded a bit too over my head and was glad I wasn’t expected to do that right out of the gate. I opened the calendar and noticed he had a meeting in the next thirty minutes. I clicked on the author’s name and it brought me to another file. I opened it and found the contract and manuscript Anders planned on “shopping” like Kris had mentioned in her email. Without anything better to do, I started to read the first few paragraphs of the book. It was a nonfiction piece on the Stonewall riots back in the late sixties. I was about ten pages deep when an email notification popped up on my screen.
DATE: Nov 9 10:03 AM
I’m sorry for the delay, my accountant has forwarded the necessary paperwork. I’ve attached the NDA you are required to sign, and the new employee paperwork, including your income tax worksheet, as well as a copy of the dress code. Please note that jeans are prohibited. If you have any questions or concerns, let me know.
Lowe Literary, LLC
NDA? I searched the Internet for clarification, not wanting him to realize I had no idea what the hell that meant. He already thought I was a total dumbass. Not that I cared what he thought about me. Not at all. It was more I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of being right, that indeed I was in a little over my head with this job. I printed the Non-Disclosure Agreement, some of the tax forms, and signed them. After a few failed attempts, I had this shit totally handled, I scanned the documents to my computer.
DATE: Nov 9 10:29 AM
SUBJECT: RE: Professionalism
I have signed and attached the documents you required. In regard to said dress code, I, unlike some, have better things to do with my money than throw it away on showy suits. School, food, gasoline, and housing. You know, life stuff. But I’m sure I can procure a tie and a pair of slacks by eight not seven Wednesday morning.
Thanks for your concern,
The Face of Lowe Literary
For Him, Book 2
About last night… I could blame the bourbon. I could say I let things get out of hand, that I should have never called you, but I’m done lying to myself—to you. I know what you’re going to say. You’re not very good at keeping your opinions to yourself, but this can’t happen. It’s inappropriate, at best. I’m your boss. Not to mention, you’re clearly still hung up on him. I’m not a consolation prize.
You didn’t think it was inappropriate when you had your tongue down my throat, but I digress. As for your accusation, I’m not the only one stuck in the past, but at least I’m not running from it. I can’t believe I’m about to say this… Maybe you’re right. You shouldn’t have called me. Especially if you never intended to own it. Own that you wanted it to happen. Admit that you wanted me.
Not so sincerely,
Check Out more from A.M. Johnson’s here
Amanda lives in Utah with her family where she moonlights as a nurse on the weekends. If she’s not busy with her three munchkins, you’ll find her buried in a book or behind the keyboard where she explores the human experience through the written word. She’s obsessed with all things Austen and Oreos, and loves to connect with readers!
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To celebrate the exciting release of Not So Sincerely, Yours, A.M. is giving away an Exclusive Paperback Bundle featuring a copy of Not So Sincerely, Yours AND Love Always, Wild in BOTH original covers and exclusive special addition covers only available on Amanda’s website!
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