Max Sagan’s mouth is always getting him in trouble. His special talent for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person makes it hard to hold onto either a job or a boyfriend for long.
When Max is fired yet again, his best friend Noah reluctantly gets Max an interview where he works. Max is grateful, but unsure if a party boy like him will fit in at a stuffy law firm. Then he meets Noah’s gorgeous boss, lawyer Owen Hart, and becomes determined to keep this job.
Others say Owen is far too professional to date an employee, but Max has a plan -- keep his fingers crossed, look cute, and hope it works out. Meanwhile he’s working hard to keep his big mouth shut so he might last an unprecedented entire month at his new job -- long enough, he hopes, to catch Owen’s eye.
Max had to take several deep breaths before he could speak, because there was something Noah had neglected to mention in all this.
Owen was gorgeous. Max’s jaw nearly dropped open when Noah took him into the office and a man rose from behind the desk and came around it to shake hands. He was mid-thirties, tall, broad shouldered, with a nice tan, and beautifully cut dark brown hair, glossy as teak. Of course he wore a good suit -- he was a lawyer -- but he filled it out better than most men. His white shirt looked like it had been made from the same material as the gowns of angels.
“Good to meet you, Mr Sagan,” Owen said, holding out his hand for a shake. Max took it. A big strong hand. It made him gulp when it gripped his. “Owen Hart.”
“I know,” Max said. “Ah, I mean, I, yes, Noah told me ... um, hello.”
Owen looked slightly amused. Noah frowned.
“Thanks, Noah,” Owen said, “Could you please ask Mrs Barstow to bring coffee for two. Please, sit down, Mr Sagan.” He gestured at a leather armchair that faced another across a coffee table.
“Will do,” Noah said. He gave Max a final look -- a cross between stern admonition and mute appeal to not mess this up, and left.
“So you and Noah are roommates?” Owen said, sitting down opposite Max.
“Yes,” Max said. “We’re old friends. Since we were kids.”
“He passed me your CV,” Owen said. “You’ve had a number of short term jobs.”
“I ... I know, it looks bad. I haven’t found anywhere I quite fit into yet.”
“And do you think you’ll fit in here?” Owen asked, giving him the penetrating, lie-detecting stare only a lawyer could manage. His eyes were grey-green. Oh God, Max was so doomed. His heart was pounding and his mouth dry and it was nothing to do with job interview nerves.
“Probably not,” he found himself saying. “But I need a job and you need an office junior, and we’re both desperate.” Oh God, shut the hell up. Owen stared at him for a moment and then laughed.
“Noah said you had a tendency to be overly frank. I don’t think I mind that, Mr Sagan. I’m a lawyer. I hear so many lies in a day I nearly suffer internal injuries swallowing them all. A bit of truth is refreshing.”
“Some of my previous employers have said the same,” Max said. “And, um, then sacked me when I took them at their word.”
Owen nodded, serious. “I’ll try not to do the same. But in return you should try to learn a thing or two about discretion. Let’s talk about issues of confidentiality.”
The coffee arrived as they got into that. Mrs Barstow who brought it was in her fifties and the sort who still insisted on being called a secretary, not any kind of new-fangled nonsense about personal assistants. She was also the office manager and would be Max’s boss if he worked here. He gave her his best smile when Owen introduced them. She looked back at him as if she didn’t approve of his hair. Or his suit. Or his face.
“She’s been with the firm since my father qualified,” Owen said as they sat again when Mrs Barstow left. “I think the place would collapse without her. Let’s talk about some of your previous jobs.”
Max still retained enough brainpower in the face of Owen’s deep sexiness to spot Owen was testing him as they spoke about his other jobs. He was watching to see how loose tongued Max might get about previous employers. To see if he’d break a confidence, even if it wasn’t such an important matter as it was here at a law firm.
Discretion, he told himself. I am the soul of it. So he resisted the temptation to launch into any of the anecdotes about previous job disasters he kept Noah and other friends amused with. As the interview wound up, Owen posed him one last question.
“Do you have anything else to say about why we should take you on?”
Max decided, Because if you want, I’ll get on my knees and blow you every single morning when I bring you your coffee would not be the right answer. For one thing he couldn’t be certain Owen played for the right team, either on a full or part time basis. And anyway, he was so hot he surely could not be on the market.
“Ah, because I work hard, I get here on time, I don’t mind staying late.” Why not? If Owen was in the office he’d happily stay all night. “I make a really good cup of coffee and I won’t harass the female staff.”
Owen’s eyebrows shot up. “I see. Those are all excellent reasons.” He stood and Max rose hastily, accepted Owen’s handshake. Owen smiled and Max wanted to sit down again. Or lie down. Or drop to this knees and ... He pulled himself together and listened, as Noah said, listen for a change. “Welcome to the firm, Mr Sagan.”