Claudia Anthony, the overachieving owner of a successful hotel chain, is recruited to take part in the reality TV show Secret CEO. Disguised as Jane Ennis, she takes on a job at The Anthony in Aberpentre, a Welsh seaside town that has seen better days. She finds herself working under young, headstrong Rhodri Wynn-Jones, who has no clue of her real identity. Soon, passion flares and although Claudia knows there are lines she can’t cross, she just can’t keep away.
Rhodri is falling in love with Jane – but what will happen if he learns he’s actually having an affair with his boss?
And here’s the beginning of the story, where Claudia receives the pitch that will see her become a reality TV star:
‘You have to admit, Claudia, it’ll be wonderful publicity for you …’
Gina paused, and took a sip from her cappuccino, waiting for my reaction. In the chair beside her, Hugo Murray of Wild Card Productions regarded me intently. According to Gina, Hugo had been anxious to speak to me pretty much since the day I’d taken over running the company.
I glanced out of the window. Three floors below us on St Martin’s Lane, the traffic was its usual Friday snarl-up, and the pavement tables outside the café across the road were occupied by shoppers enjoying the first pleasantly warm afternoon of spring. As I contemplated the familiar scene, I gave myself some thinking time. Why, I wondered again, had I agreed to this meeting? With everything I had on my plate since Dad died, I didn’t have time to get involved with some reality show; even if Gina assured me it would be as good as free advertising for us. When I’d asked her to beef up our PR strategy, I’d expected advertorials in the Saturday travel supplements, maybe being asked to put myself up for a sympathetic profile on the business pages. Not this.
Turning the chair back to face them both, I said, ‘So tell me exactly what it would involve. What you’d expect me to do.’
‘OK, Claudia.’ Hugo smiled, a dimple appearing in his left cheek as he did. ‘Well, as I’m sure you know, the viewing public don’t have a very favourable opinion of the people who run our businesses. The conception is that they’re all smug, uncaring fat cats, creaming off the profits and awarding themselves massive bonuses while their employees struggle by on peanuts.’
‘Well, that’s certainly not the case here …’ The man had been in my office five minutes and already I was on the defensive. I couldn’t see anything good coming out of this.
‘I’m already aware of that. Gina’s briefed me extensively on your commitment to paying the living wage, the various opportunities for career advancement within the Anthony Hotels chain, and the donations you make to charity. You’re clearly a good employer.’ His words should have mollified me more than they did. I was on edge, waiting for the next barb. It wasn’t long in coming.
To find out more, pick up a copy of His Secret Boss from Amazon.