A Bargain with the Boss - Page 25

As she approached the door, she pasted a smile on her face. “How are you feeling?”


Amber widened her smile at the joke.

“I made an appointment at the community clinic,” said Jade, as she stepped back from the doorway.

“That’s good.” Amber had been insistent that Jade get proper medical care. “When is the appointment?”

“I told them my due date and they got me in tomorrow.”

Amber glanced at Jade’s stomach. “I guess they know there’s no time to waste.”

“Being pregnant is not an illness.”

“But you want a healthy baby.”

“Oof.” Jade’s hand went to her stomach. “This one’s healthy, all right. It’s got a kick like a soccer player.”

“I can drive you to the appointment,” said Amber. She’d be happier if she heard firsthand what the doctor had to say.

“I can take the bus.”

Amber dumped her purse and headed for the living room. “It’s no trouble. I can afford to take a little time off.”

“Are you sure?”


Amber would be taking more than just a little time off. But she didn’t see any need to say so immediately. Hopefully, she’d have a new job lined up before she had to share the news about losing this one.

“Are you hungry?” she asked Jade.

“I made macaroni casserole.”

Amber couldn’t hide her surprise. “You cooked?”

Not that macaroni casserole was exactly gourmet, but Jade had never been handy in the kitchen, nor particularly self-motivated when it came to household chores.

Jade grinned proudly as they walked to the kitchen. “It’s all ready to pop into the oven.”

“That sounds delicious. Thanks.”

Jade turned on the oven while Amber set out plates and cutlery and let her optimism build. She had five solid years of work at Tucker Transportation. She’d built up her administrative skill set, and surely that would be transferable to any number of companies. Maybe she could gloss over her reasons for leaving. She might even be able to use Margaret as a reference.

She hoped Tuck wouldn’t be vindictive and spread word around the company that she was fired. But she really had no idea how he’d handle it. He was pretty angry right now.

There was a sudden knock on the front door.

“Expecting someone?” asked Jade.

“Not me. You?”

“Nobody knows I’m here.”

Amber went for the door, suspecting it was a neighbor, maybe Sally Duncan from next door. She was on the town-house council and loved to complain. Perhaps old Mr. Purvis was barbecuing on his patio again.

Amber had voted to repeal the prohibition on barbecues at the last council meeting. Sure, the smoke was annoying. But who in their right mind would ban hot dogs and hamburgers?

She swung open the door, startled to find Tuck standing on her porch. He was frowning, eyes narrowed. Worry immediately clenched her stomach.

“What do you want?” she asked him.

“To talk.”

“I have nothing else to say.”

“After you left, Jackson pointed out the error of my ways.”

She didn’t want to hope. But she couldn’t help herself. Was Tuck offering her job back?

“I came here to give you another chance,” he said.

She waited.

“You being gone helps neither of us,” he said.

She had to agree with that. But she doubted he cared about helping her.

“Another chance to what?” she prompted.

“What can you tell me about Dixon?”

“I’ve told you everything—”

“Well, hello there.” Jade arrived, breaking in with a breezy tone. “Are you one of Amber’s neighbors?”

Tuck’s brow shot up as he took in the pregnant Jade.

“He’s my boss,” said Amber, instantly realizing it was no longer true. But before she could correct the statement, Jade was talking again.

“Really? Very nice to meet you. I’m Amber’s sister, Jade.” Jade stuck out her hand.

“Jade, this really isn’t a good time.”

“Tuck Tucker,” said Tuck as he shook Jade’s hand.

“Are you hungry?” asked Jade.

“No, he’s not,” Amber quickly responded.

“I need to borrow your sister for a few minutes,” Tuck said to Jade.

“Does she need to go back to work?” asked Jade.

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