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LOGAN’S REDEMPTION by Cara Marsi

Logan stood. “Have you worked out a cover for me?”
Nodding, Callahan pushed back from the desk and rounded it to face Logan. “I’ve arranged for you to be temporary assistant to one of our vice presidents. Her regular assistant starts pregnancy leave next week. Stop by her office now. She’s expecting you.”

Vice President? It couldn't be. What were the chances?
"Does this VP know why I'm here?"
Callahan shook his head. "As you instructed, I'm the only one who knows."

“Good.” Logan thrust out his hand. “I look forward to working with you, Mr. Callahan.”
“Call me Dan. My receptionist will give you the suite number where you’re to report.”
“I’ll be in touch.” Logan walked from the room and the receptionist in the outer office handed him a piece of crisp white paper. After thanking the woman, Logan stepped into the hall.
He glanced down at the paper in his hand. His breath came out in a rush. Damn his rotten luck.

“The temp your father hired is here.”
Biting back a groan, Doriana Callahan turned from her computer and faced her assistant.
Lisa closed the office door and leaned her very pregnant body against it. A huge grin split her pretty face.
Doriana arched an eyebrow. “You find it amusing that my father overstepped my authority and hired your replacement?”

Lisa made an unsuccessful attempt to look sympathetic. “I know you’re upset with your dad, but he is CEO. So I guess he can do whatever he wants.” Her gray eyes twinkled. “Your father should do more of the hiring around here.”

“What are you talking about?” Doriana asked.
“You’ll see. Should I send him in?”
“Him?”
“Yup,” Lisa said. “Your dad hired a guy.”
Doriana made a face. “I’ve always had a female assistant. What will I do with a guy?”
Lisa giggled. “Trust me. You’ll figure out what to do with this one.”
“This pregnancy is affecting your brain.” Doriana pushed away from the desk and stood.

“He can’t be any worse than the candidates the agency sent over.” She shrugged into her suit jacket and lifted her heavy hair free of the collar. She needed a haircut, but where would she find the time?

Lisa’s gaze swept her. “You’re the only one around here who wears a business suit. We do have a casual dress policy. And you might want to loosen up a little, considering.”
“Considering what?” Doriana asked.
Lisa gave her a sly smile. “When you see your new assistant, you’ll know what I mean.” She patted her stomach. “This baby’s not going to wait much longer. It’s a good thing your dad found someone.”

“I suppose I should be grateful for that.” Doriana sighed. “Wait about five minutes before sending him in.”
“You need to primp,” Lisa said.
“What?”
Laughing, Lisa opened the door and squeezed out.
Rubbing her aching temples, Doriana sat down and swiveled her chair to face the large window that took up an entire wall. Smog blanketed the Philadelphia skyline, obscuring her view of Billy Penn atop City Hall. She missed old Billy’s comforting presence, especially now.
She needed time to mentally prepare to meet the temp her father hired. She did her own hiring for her department, but her dad had insisted on this temp. Why? Didn’t her father trust her after a decade with his company?

Her gaze drifted to the long table under the window. Family pictures rested on the marble top. Most were of Josh growing up. She smiled, remembering how Franco wanted to name his new nephew Noel because he was born on Christmas Eve.

She couldn’t believe Josh would be sixteen next month. She bit her lip as an ache, sharp as a stonecutter’s chisel, stabbed her. Nearly sixteen and out of control. When had Josh stopped being her sweet, lovable little boy and turned into the arrogant, rebellious almost-man who fought her every chance he got? A hellion who reminded her more of his father every day

Thinking of Josh’s father brought the old, familiar pain. She’d never revealed the identity of her son’s father to anyone. Seventeen, scared and humiliated, she couldn’t admit that her baby’s father had walked away without a word.

She’d moved on with her life and even had a few relationships, but she couldn’t forget the boy who stole her heart and disappeared. She’d never had a chance to tell him she was pregnant. Would it have made a difference? The old doubts and questions tumbled through her mind, making her head throb.

Inhaling deep breaths, she counted to ten, as she’d learned in a stress management seminar. It didn’t help. Nothing helped these days. The demands on her time gave her constant headaches. Her son needed her, but so did Dad and the company, especially with the recent setbacks.

The intercom on the desk shrilled. “Doriana,” Lisa said from the outer office. “Jenson is having one of his hissy fits. He wants you to call him. You have that meeting in a half hour. And Mr. Tanner is waiting. Should I send him in?”

Doriana’s hand froze over the reply button. Tanner? Long hours had her imagination working overtime.
“Doriana?” Lisa said.
Doriana shook herself back to reality. “Tell Jenson I’ll call him. And I didn’t forget about the meeting. Please send in Mr..., the temp.”

Wearing her best professional smile, Doriana stared at her office door. Of course it couldn’t be him. It couldn’t be him. The refrain ran through her head like a mantra.
The door opened and her gaze connected with gold-flecked hazel eyes. Josh’s eyes. No, Logan’s eyes.

“Hello, Dorie.” His voice, deeper than she remembered, held the rough edge that had so excited her as a teenager. He closed the door softly and leaned against it, a black-clad Adonis who, despite the years and the hurt, took her breath. Unmoving, he studied her.

Was he looking for the young girl he’d romanced, then abandoned? That girl died the night her son was born. Their son. Anger and bittersweet sorrow roiled Doriana’s stomach. She brushed hair from her face with a shaky hand.

“You look good,” he said.
So do you. She couldn’t say the words. Pulling her gaze from his, she glanced toward the window. The pictures. Josh. Fear splashed over her like ice water from the Delaware River. One look at the pictures and Logan would know. She wasn’t ready for this.

Resolve stiffened her spine. She would protect her secret and her son until she discovered why Logan was here. “Is this some sort of joke?” she asked, returning her attention to Logan. “What are you doing here?”
“Working for you, last I heard.”
He strode slowly across the carpeted room with the predatory grace of a mountain lion. A hunter with a lithe, muscular body and sun streaks gilding his light brown hair. Had he come to snare her with past memories that were better left dead, to destroy her orderly life? To make her son, and her, dream of things that could never be?

“Not glad to see me, Dorie?”
Heat spread from her neck to her face. Dorie. Logan’s pet name for her when they made love. “Don’t call me that.”
He stood in front of her desk and stared at her with hooded eyes. “All our memories aren’t bad, are they, Dorie?”

His low, seductive voice burned her with enough electricity to power a high rise. She stared at his full lips. Her own lips tingled as she remembered the feel of his mouth on hers, remembered his wildness and her own answering needs.

Standing on legs that had the consistency of wet cement, she curled her hands into fists. She wouldn’t let the past hurt her again. Nothing mattered now except protecting Josh. And protecting her heart. “I don’t know how you talked my father into this, Logan, but it won’t work.”

He pressed his palms on her desk and leaned toward her. She held her ground, inhaling his scent of citrus and outdoors. Faint lines bracketed his mouth and eyes. A smattering of gray wove through his hair. His eyes held a steely glint that warned of dangers she knew too well. The guarded look on his face and the rigid set of his jaw hinted at emotions kept in tight rein. Had he finally learned to harness the recklessness that had driven her to him, that had made her betray her parents’ trust?

“I’m working for you, Doriana,” he said. “I’m here to stay.”
Like you stayed the last time? An iron fist of apprehension and fear squeezed her heart. Did Logan know her secret? Josh had accepted that his father left before he was born. Lately he’d begun asking questions. She promised to tell him about his father when he turned eighteen. What would her troubled son do if he knew his father was in town?

She wouldn’t concern herself with unnecessary fears. In six months, Lisa would be back and Logan would be gone. She had nothing to worry about.
“Sit down,” she said. “We’ll talk.” She sank slowly into her chair and picked up a sheaf of papers, studying them, buying time. She lifted her gaze to find Logan staring at her. Seated in the chair nearest her desk, he stretched his long legs in front of him. The coolness in his eyes slowly gave way to an awareness that made heat coil in her stomach despite her anxiety.

The wild boy she’d known had matured into a gorgeous hunk whose chiseled features were roughened by the power and air of mystery that clung to him. Clad in black pants that hugged his muscular legs, black leather jacket and deep brown sweater, he looked like a man who’d seen too much of the dark side of life. And was comfortable with it. Excitement quivered along her skin