Woman Hater: Maxwell
Tycoon rancher Maxwell Reed is used to keeping his emotions under lock and key when it comes to beautiful women. Especially the ones who worked at the Tycoon Club, he saw the dollar signs in their eyes anytime he walked through the door. So, that’s why he ignored the stunning Fancy. He knew she was like the rest until he realized his mistake.
Fancy Shayne fell hard for the tall, handsome Maxwell the second he sat down at her table. But every time she smiled at him, Maxwell acted like she wasn’t even there. She wasn’t about to beg for his attention. He could disappear for all she cared…until ‘The Woman Hater’ turned out to be the only person that could help her.
Will these two stubborn people ever be able to see what they are looking for is right there in front of their eyes?
The old grandfather clock clicked loudly inside the hallway making the wait seem even longer than it was as Fancy Shayne sat outside the closed wooden door. She nervously tapped her foot against the thick, plush carpet as she nibbled at her bottom lip.
What in the hell did she call herself doing?
Has she done lost the last of her common sense?
She had debated for almost an entire week before finally applying for the personal assistant/cook position at the famous CrossStar Ranch.
Sure, the classified ad posted inside the newspaper perfectly fit her job skills and education, but did she really want to work for him? The money she got from working as a waitress at the Tycoon Club was decent enough. However, if she acquired this employment she could quit the club and save up money even faster.
Wiping her sweaty palms down the front of her black and white dress, she took several deep breaths and tried to calm down her racing nerves. It wouldn’t do her any good to show him how anxious he actually made her. She came here to impress him with her qualifications and hopefully land this job, not drool all over the handsome man who was probably minutes away from interviewing her.
Maxwell Reed may not want to admit it, but he had been a part of a hot and cold relationship in her life for years now. Ever since he retired from bull-riding, came back to town, sold his father’s business and started up one of his own, way out here on the outskirts of town.
One minute she was heads over heels in love with the man. However, in the next second she hated the sight of him. For some reason, she rubbed Maxwell the wrong way and she wasn’t quite sure what gave him such a low opinion of her. She was a good person, along with being a very hard worker. Yet the times she built up enough courage to ask him out on a date at the Tycoon Club, he would brush her off and had started completely ignoring her. But she didn’t allow their past encounters to stop her from submitting a resume for this position.
Her best friend, Headley Rose—no, Headley Christian—was so wrong thinking she would get hired because of she was married to his buddy, Troy Christian. Hell, half the time Maxwell wouldn’t even acknowledge her when he walked past her on the sidewalk.
Why would he invite her to live under the same roof as him?
No, this was a mistake.
She had to get out of here before she made a huge ass out of herself. Jumping up from her seat, Fancy was heading towards the front entrance when the office door suddenly swung open in front of her. Her feet froze in the middle of the thick carpet as the wide shoulders of the man she had a Texas-sized crush on filled its doorway.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Ms. Shayne,” Maxwell Reed apologized in his deep southern drawl. “I was finishing up a conference call. Why don’t you come on inside so we can get your interview started?”
Fancy sent up a silent prayer as her feet slowly inched closer towards the gorgeous hunk watching her with an unblinking stare. She could do this because she desperately needed to get hired. Working at the Tycoon Club for the past five years had been a good stepping stone at increasing her bank account. However, she wanted a more stable employment with benefits, and being employed by Maxwell Reed and CrossStar Ranch would be the perfect opportunity for her.
Plus working for Tommy wasn’t as fun as it used to be since Headley married Troy and he ‘suggested’ that she should quit so they could start making babies. Honestly, she believed Troy didn’t like the idea of his pretty wife working at a ‘gentleman’s club.’ It wasn’t the proper thing for her to do. So instead of getting into a fight with him, Headley told her that she compromised and let Troy win that particular battle.
Fancy plastered a smile on her face and shook off the last of her anxiety. “That’s okay, Mr. Reed,” she replied, going into Maxwell’s office as he stepped back for her. “I haven’t been waiting that long.”
Hell, I was actually on my way out the door when you stopped me.
Walking past him, she tried not to stare at how his jeans hugged his thick thighs. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up displaying the silky blond hairs on his arms. For his body to be so powerful and well-muscled, Maxwell always moved with an easy grace. She silently scolded herself for lusting after a man who never looked at her with a hint of romantic interest. Maxwell Reed was out of her league and he always would be. He was the type of man a woman like her fantasized about, but was never lucky enough to get in her life. If she was wishing for him to be her Prince Charming, she might as well bite the poisonous apple now and accept the deep sleep because Maxwell would never wake her up with a kiss.
Fancy heard the door snap closed behind her. Spinning around, she stared at Maxwell wondering was he going to say any more to her, but instead he walked past her and went straight for his desk. He had a way of making a person very uncomfortable with his silence. It was very unnerving the first time he did it to her at the Tycoon Club.
Once, she had asked him a question about his dinner order and instead of answering her, he had studied her a few minutes like she hadn’t spoken to him before he finally answered her question. Yeah, Maxwell Reed had an aloof quality about him that she found very intriguing and sexy, but she was trying her very best not to let him know that she still was attracted to him. He wouldn’t like it at all, which meant she would even have a less of a chance getting him to take her seriously.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” he suggested, waving his hand at the empty chair in front of his desk before he taking a seat behind it.
“Thank you, Mr. Reed.” Fancy sat down on the edge of the chair, swallowing down a moan as the scent of his expense cologne took over her senses.
Instead, she focused her attention on how spotless Maxwell’s office was. She noticed several framed articles about his rodeo days displayed on the wall behind him. Maxwell had been a huge star about nine years ago, but out of the blue he’d retired and no one knew the reasons why.
“So, Ms. Shayne, you want to work for me?” Maxwell stated, leaning back in the leather chair, making her draw her focus away from the wall back to him. “I was very surprised when I received your resume in an email, especially after the argument we had at the club a few months back.”
Fancy tried not to notice how the blue plaid shirt stretched across his broad chest. She loved when a man looked like Maxwell: Tall, strong, and ready to make you love being a woman. She didn’t doubt that he could do it all night long and probably well into the morning.
“I know, but I didn’t think you would hold it against me. All I was doing was standing up for myself, and I’d that right,” she answered, not breaking eye contact with the handsome man in front of her.
“Do you have the qualifications that I’m looking for?” he questioned as his eyes stared directly into hers. “I read over your resume a couple of times, but I didn’t see much experience as a personal assistant on there. I’ve been home for several years now and I have only seen you working at Tommy’s club as a waitress. Do you even know how to be an assistant to someone like me?”
How dare he imply that she wasn’t smart enough to be his personal assistant because of her previous job? Maxwell knew nothing about her, yet he was trying to read her like an open book. She was more than capable of handling his affairs and she would do it better than him.
How hard could it be to answer a few telephone calls, send emails, and do what other assignments Maxwell tossed her way? Tommy trusted her enough to help him out two to three times a week in the office, so she had an idea of what personal assistant duties entailed.
“Mr. Reed, while you were becoming famous and making money on the rodeo circuit, I graduated from college with a degree in computers and business as you probably saw on my resume. In addition, you can call Tommy as one of my references. I’ve helped him out in the office numerous times when he got overwhelmed. I know how to do this even if you don’t think I do,” she flung back, not really caring if her outburst cost her the job.
Maxwell needed to learn how to talk to people better, she thought to herself.
Leaning forward in his chair, he pinned her with his recognizable emerald stare. “If you have a degree like that, is there a reason you don’t have a better career than working for my buddy Tommy?” Maxwell asked like she hadn’t even tossed her first answer at him. “Nothing against him, but you should be working at an office, not at a gentleman’s club.”
How dare he talk to her like that! If the Tycoon Club was so appalling, why had he previously come in three to four times a week with Troy and Cole?
“I’ve applied for several degree-related jobs around town,” Fancy answered, trying to control her temper. “Sometimes I get called for an interview and sometimes I don’t. However, I have to pay bills, so I went to Tommy, and since we were friends he hired me. It was an honest paycheck, so I accepted the job.”
He raised an eyebrow at her outburst. “All right, but I thought I heard you mention to Headley a while back that you had another one. Why do you need this one? I can’t afford to have you here some days and gone others. I need a full-time employee, not a part-time one.”
Damn, did this man remember every conversation that he had ever overheard in his life?
She had quit that job a week after she got it. Her boss thought working late meant something entirely different than she did and she wasn’t having that. If he had touched her ass one more time, she would have broken his uninvited hand.
“I had to quit, so it won’t be a problem. Besides, Tommy will understand if you decide to put our differences aside and hire me, because he knows how much I want to get away from there,” she admitted, hoping Maxwell would hear the honestly in her words.
However, Fancy had a sinking feeling that Maxwell was leaning towards not offering her the position. Why hadn’t she listened to that inner voice her grandmother taught her about as a little girl? It warned her not to come here, but no, she didn’t listen. This was truly a lapse in judgment on her part. She should have never let Headley talk her into this stupidity. Maxwell hated the sight of her. He always had and always would.
She knew her best friend was secretly trying to play matchmaker. Where had Headley gotten the idea Maxwell was in love with her? Hell, he had made it very clear she wasn’t his favorite person. It was a horrible waste of her time and energy to be sitting for this interview.
The ‘great’ Maxwell Reed wasn’t about to change his mind about her.
“Can you cook?” Maxwell shot the next question at her, shocking her out of her inner thoughts.
“What?” she sputtered, caught off guard by the question.
“I asked, do you know how to cook? I need to know because it’s the second part of the credentials to work for me. Ms. Weaver, my cook is retiring at the end of the week. I need someone to take care of that for me,” he informed her. “The meals don’t have to be five stars because I’m a meat and potatoes man; however, I don’t want whatever you give me not to be edible either.”
Fancy couldn’t stop her eyes from wandering over Maxwell’s muscular body again. She couldn’t agree more with his comment. He was all man and that was one of the main reasons she was so drawn to him. She wasn’t ashamed to admit she dreamt about him at night naked in bed with her, but that is all it would ever be for her…a dream.
“Cooking isn’t a problem for me,” she answered with pure confidence. “I learned how to cook from my grandmother. She was an excellent cook and taught me all of her secrets. It won’t be an obstacle if you decide to hire me.”
“Ms. Shayne, you’re making this a hard decision for me.” Maxwell said, sliding back some in his seat. The leather squeaked under his weight and Fancy swore she had never heard a sexier sound in her life.
Fancy tried not to squirm in her seat as Maxwell’s eyes studied her closely. She didn’t have a clue what was going through that gorgeous head of his. It could be good or it could be bad; with him she never knew. The only thing she knew for sure was they weren’t friends, but she prayed it wouldn’t push him into making some rash decision. She needed this way more than he knew.
“I’ve one last question for you,” he stated, making her wonder what in the hell he was about to ask her. This could be the make it or break it question for her.
She took a deep breath, then asked. “What is it?”
“Do you really think you can work for me?” he questioned. “I know we haven’t had the best history with each other. You’ve asked me out at least three times and I have turned you down. Can we get past those incidents with each other? I don’t want you coming on to me every other day. I need to feel comfortable in my own home. I can’t be worried about you trying to find ways to get me to notice you.”
Of course he would bring that up. She wasn’t an idiot. This was definitely a trick question. She wasn’t going to blow it by saying too much. Maxwell was trying to find a way not to have her working at CrossStar Ranch, but she wouldn’t let that happen.
Taking a couple of deep breaths, Fancy rubbed her hands up and down her arms and then looked Maxwell directly in the eyes.
“Mr. Reed, if I’m lucky enough to get offered this position at CrossStar Ranch. I’m going to be your employee and I will give you the respect you rightfully deserve. I’m not here looking for a date with you because that would be very unprofessional. Any bad words said between us in the past will stay there. I know how to separate the two,” Fancy answered. “I no longer have any romantic interest in you. I have moved on a while ago. So I can promise you that I won’t be trying to draw your attention in any way, shape or form.” There, she couldn’t do any more. If Maxwell didn’t hire her, it wasn’t because she didn’t give a damn good interview.
His beautiful eyes narrowed on her face, but he didn’t say a word. Time ticked by as Fancy began to worry that she might have just ruined her chances, but just as she started to mentally kick herself for being too honest, Maxwell’s tall, powerful built frame suddenly stood up and he stuck out his hand.
“Welcome toCrossStar Ranch, Ms. Shayne. I expect you to have your stuff here by the end of the day. I’ll tell you the rest of your duties once you’re moved in.”
“I can’t believe it,” she gasped in shock.
Fancy quickly jumped to her feet and shook Maxwell’s tanned hand. She was trying desperately to ignore the warmth of his palm and her burning attraction to him. Yet from this day on Maxwell Reed was her boss and nothing else. All she had to do was remember those words and everything should work out fine, and her saying a prayer every day for her sanity wouldn’t hurt either.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Reed. I promise I won’t make you regret your decision,” she said, ending their handshake.
“I hope not,” Maxwell answered, looking at her one last time before retaking his seat. “I need some help and I’m deciding to take a chance on you.”
Turning on her heel, Fancy quickly left Maxwell’s office, closing the door behind her. She couldn’t wait until she got home and called Headley. This had to be the best day of her life and she wanted to share it with her girlfriend. All of this seemed like a dream to her and it was one that she wasn’t ready to wake up from.