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They broke up three years ago after he betrayed her. When circumstances force Julie and Dan to work together again, can she get over the hurt and anger and learn to trust him again?



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Time for Surprises

Light, Sweet, Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Novel

Amazon Kindle ($4.99 or FREE in Kindle Unlimited)

Paperback ($9.99)

When six friends make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers, the No Brides Club is born. But could meeting the right man at the wrong time cause them to break their vows to each other?

Julie Harrison had the perfect job and a stellar reputation as one of the city’s top, new programmers…until suddenly she didn’t. Despite her innocence, her company blamed her for leaking secret project details to a competitor. Worse yet, her fiance took their side.

Dan Foster would once do anything to get closer to his goal of becoming company CEO. Unfortunately, that meant siding with the higher ups instead of his spurned fiancee. Now he’d give anything to rewind time and get Julie back into his arms.

When a surprise acquisition forces them to work side-by-side once more, old feelings of love and longing, but also betrayal resurface, too.

Dan wants her back. Julie isn’t ready to blindly trust the ex who let her down in such a big way. Can he make up for his past mistakes and convince her to take a second chance at their future together?


Chapter One

“You’re never going to believe what I just heard.”

Julie Harrison looked from her computer monitor to the speaker, her friend and co-worker, Maureen. “What?”

“You remember those rumors about a take-over?”

Julie’s stomach tightened. “Don’t tell me—”

“It’s true. And done. I hear the official announcement will be at two this afternoon.”

She drew a deep breath. “Do you know who?”

“I hear it’s Spieler Financials.”

“Oh heck,” Julie muttered quietly. Her head spun, and spots began to bloom at the margins of her vision.

“Hey?” Alarm laced Maureen’s voice. “Are you all right? You got pale.”

Julie reached for the cup of coffee next to her notepad and took a long drink. The deep, rich, warm liquid helped steady her. “I’m okay.”

Maureen gave her a hard stare. “What’s the problem?”

She couldn’t tell her friend the whole truth, but part of it would suffice. “They won’t want me.”

“You’re kidding me? Not want you? You’re the best programmer here by a mile and a half.”

“You mean all three of us? If you include Stan? But except for the current project, the apps are done. Anyone can maintain them.”

Maureen rolled her eyes. “And who knows better than you that in this business, if you don’t keep developing new things, you’re sliding backward? They can’t afford not to keep you. And besides, it’s not like you’re a salaried employee. They can’t fire a contractor, can they?”

“No. They just don’t buy any more software from my company or offer any more contracts.”

“Their loss, then. You just go offer your applications elsewhere. With your brilliance, you’ll probably have people lined up, begging you to work for them. I’m the one who’s more likely to be out of a job. Mediocre programmers who can also do some bookkeeping on the side are a dime a dozen.”

“But you’re a very good one. And beside you know where all the skeletons are hidden.”

Maureen huffed out a quick, sharp laugh. “Which would be a stronger argument if there were any skeletons to worry about. But, yes, I can find another job. Even if I am getting a bit long in the tooth. You can, too. I just don’t want to. I like this one. I like working with you. Take me with you if you go somewhere else.”

“I don’t really want to change either.” The words sounded forlorn, and since Julie didn’t want to explain why she wasn’t sure about her ability to find other work, she deliberately made her expression lighter and brighter. “This is probably all worry for nothing. We don’t know what they plan.”

“True that. We don’t know anything for sure yet. I’d better get back to work. Probably a good idea to look busy in case the new bosses come around.”

Julie nodded in agreement, though there wasn’t any possibility now of concentrating on the interface for the personal transaction-logging app she’d been working on. She couldn’t help wondering about her future. Her stomach churned with nausea as she headed for the ladies’ room to wait it out on the bench there.

Even more than the loss of income she worried about crossing paths with Daniel Foster again. Maybe he no longer worked for Spieler? She could only hope. She should be completely immune to him, but the shiver that ran along her nerves when she thought about seeing him again told her it wasn’t so.

She straightened her spine and stood. Whatever happened, happened. She wouldn’t hide out, indulging her fear. She’d handled some really bad things already. At worst, this was just another speed bump on her career path, and she was in a much better position to negotiate it this time. She’d keep going.

At eleven-thirty an email blast went out to the entire staff, stating there would be a meeting in the break room at two that afternoon. No additional facts or explanation were included.

Her appetite for lunch had disappeared, but she forced herself to down a sandwich and an apple while acting like she was working at her desk. The time seemed to crawl toward two o’clock. Minutes felt like hours. The buzz in the office rasped at several levels higher than normal with people speculating about what was to come. At two minutes to two, she squeezed into the back of the breakroom, the largest space in the office, and took one of the last empty chairs. At the far end of the area, a group of four men and two women moved toward seats lined up behind a podium rolled in for the occasion. She recognized all but one of the group.

Frank Worth, president, and Jay Martin, head of R&D for Cummings & Worth, her current employer, spoke to the president and the chief financial officer of Spieler Financials. Her heart rate sped up though she tried to make herself relax. She’d been warned it was likely to be them. She recognized Charles Quigley, president, Kris Thomas, executive vice president, and Tom Wootton, CFO, of Spieler, but not the fourth person behind them. And then she spotted him. Someone moved and she got a glimpse of Daniel Foster talking to another man. Dan’s tall, lean build and straight, neatly cut reddish-brown hair were unmistakable. To her, at least.

She wanted to crouch down in her seat and hide but held herself proudly upright instead. She hadn’t committed the crime she’d been accused of and refused to act guilty or ashamed.

Frank Worth approached the podium and the others took their seats. “I’m sure the rumor mill has been busy this morning,” he said, once everyone had quieted. “So most of you already know that Cummings & Worth will be merging with Spieler Financials effective immediately. At this time, I am stepping down and looking forward to a well-deserved retirement, but I trust that what we’ve build here will be in safe hands. I appreciate all the help and support I’ve gotten from all the employees and providers here over the years.” He offered a little background about Spieler and said he hoped everyone could be absorbed into the new company, and so on. Julie gave little heed to it. Dan Foster held most of her attention.

From fifty feet away, across most of the length of the break-room, he looked good: well-groomed, well-dressed, relaxed, confident, and ridiculously attractive. His lean, square-jawed face wasn’t really handsome until he smiled. Then the way his blue eyes gleamed and the dimples slashed his cheeks made him outrageously appealing. Right then, he wore a neutral expression as he surveyed the room.

Julie recognized the moment he spotted her. His posture went stiff and his gaze locked on hers. He blinked but he continued to watch her through the rest of the presentation. At the end, he shook himself as though trying to pull himself out of a dream.

She slipped out as it wrapped up and went back to the desk the company had provided for her. This time she didn’t even pretend to work. How long would it take?

Maureen found her there a few minutes later. “What do you think? How many of us will they keep on? At least the layoff packages sound pretty generous.” She paused. “I guess that doesn’t apply to you.”

“No. And I doubt the new owners will want me working with them.”

“I still don’t get that. You’re Miss Super Programmer.”

“Not to them.”

“You sound like you know them.”

“I do. I worked for the company at one time.”

“Oh. Didn’t know that. But it didn’t end well, obviously.”

“No. It didn’t. But it’s not something I can talk about.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know. How about the people? Can you tell us anything about them? Especially the hot-looking guy with the reddish hair?”

“Daniel Foster. He’s a jerk.”

Maureen stepped back. “Okay. Some personal history there, I’m guessing.”

“I was engaged to him for a while. That didn’t end well either.”




Reviews

A wonderful story about realizing that we are not perfect and a second chance may just be possible. - Michelle, Amazon Review

I loved the story and the characters and highly recommend the reading. - Juliana Ignácio, Amazon Review

The book grabs your attention and wants to be read in one sitting. Luckily this book is short enough and quick enough to read so you can read it in one sitting. It is an excellent book and is one that should be read and enjoyed. - P. Blevins, Amazon Reviews