Unlocking Her Boss's Heart

By: Christy McKellen

More than just a job!

Cara Winstone is determined to bounce back from her last—disastrous—PA job, and working for Max Firebrace is exactly how she’s going to do it. Little does Cara know that walking into her brooding boss’s luxurious London town house also has her walking into his past...

Since losing his wife, Max doesn’t think he has any love left to give. But something in the warmth of Cara’s smile jump-starts Max’s heart again, making him wonder if he’s ready for a new happy-ever-after...with Cara by his side.





The main lights in the room were set low and a large glitter ball revolved slowly from the ceiling, scattering the floor and walls with shards of silver light.

Max watched them dance over Cara’s face in fascination, thinking that she looked like some kind of ethereal seraph with her bright eyes and pale, creamy skin against the glowing silver of her dress.

A strange elation twisted through him, triggering a lifting sensation throughout his whole body—as if all the things that had dragged him down in the past eighteen months were losing their weight and slowly drifting upward. The sadness he’d expected to keep on hitting him throughout the day was still notably absent, and instead there was a weird sense of rightness about being here.

With her.





Dear Reader,

I’ve always loved the story of Beauty and the Beast, so I was really interested in using the disfigured hero trope in a modern-day retelling. Only in this story I wanted our hero, Max, to have locked himself away from the outside world because of mental rather than physical scars.

And he’s certainly been through some dark times when we first meet him.

But of course, in true fairy-tale style, the unexpected appearance of a woman—in this case our gutsy (but equally humbled) heroine Cara—forces him to work past his irascible nature and self-imposed solitude and reveal the kind, caring man that’s been hiding underneath for the past eighteen months.

It was wonderful to see these two help each other overcome the trials they’ve been through as the story played out on the page, and regain their pride and sense of self, finally finding the peace they’d been desperately missing, to become whole again.

And it certainly is a roller-coaster ride for these two!

I hope you enjoy their journey, through all its exhilarating ups and painful downs, and find the same satisfaction that I did in their eventual liberation from shame and regret through self-healing and their binding love for each other.

With best wishes,

Christy





CHAPTER ONE

CARA WINSTONE CLIMBED the smooth slate steps to the shiny black front door of the town house in South Kensington and tried hard not to be awed by its imposing elegance.

This place was exactly the sort of house she’d dreamed about living in during her naïve but hopeful youth. In her fantasies, the four-storey Victorian house would be alive with happy, mischievous children, whom she and her handsome husband would firmly but lovingly keep in line and laugh about in the evenings once they’d gone to bed. Each room would have a beautiful display of fresh seasonal flowers and light would pour in through the large picture windows, reflecting off the tasteful but comfortable furnishings.

Back in real life, her topsy-turvy one-bed flat in Islington was a million miles away from this grand goddess of a mansion.

Not that it was going to be her flat for much longer if she didn’t make good on this opportunity today.

The triple espresso she’d had for breakfast lurched around in her stomach as she thought about how close she was to being evicted from the place she’d called home for the past six years by her greedy landlord. If she didn’t find another job soon she was going to have to slink back to Cornwall, to the village that time forgot, and beg to share her parents’ box room with the dogs until she got back on her feet.

She loved her parents dearly, but the thought of them all bumping elbows again in their tiny isolated house made her shudder. Especially after they’d been so excited when she’d called six months ago to tell them about landing her dream job as Executive Assistant to the CEO of one of the largest conglomerates in the country. Thanks to her mother’s prodigious grapevine, word had quickly spread through both the family and her parents’ local community and she’d been inundated with texts and emails of congratulations.

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