<— I LOVE this trope. The wicked mean boss (even though he’s an angel on the eyes – he’s the devil in disguise). Ooooh lookit me! I’m a poet! I can’t help but be tempted by these, and now even more over the latest release of Do Not Respond (which went LIVE last week), especially after the author sent us these fun tidbits (a look “behind the book”, exclusive excerpt AND a signed book & gift card giveaway!!)
The concept behind the book:
We’ve all had that boss, right? The one that drives us crazy? Well, over cocktails one night, my friends were venting over a particularly difficult week that they were having. You name it, it happened. As the cocktail glasses refilled, the stories became more animated and so too, did my thoughts. What would I do in their situation? How would I vent about it? Over cocktails? The phone? What do you mean, you heard your boss say that about you? Right then, the idea of Cole came to me. An arrogant and bossy CEO, who showed little emotion. Who poured all his energy into making his business a success, even if it meant keeping his sassy assistant in line. I love office romances, but I wanted this to be different. Cole wasn’t just going to be a man in a suit.
When I lived in Melbourne and went for brunch with friends, we’d often laugh about the cyclists who’d ride to the café’ near our house, turning up in all their lycra glory. These cyclists were confident and bold, not caring that their cycling bibs showed absolutely everything. It was like their toned bodies were proud to be on display. Especially, while they stood next to your table to have a chat. Eyes on your plate, at all times.
But Cole needed a counterpart to press his buttons at every turn. He would be sharp, demanding and have a touch of OCD. That, in itself, would make most people struggle to hold back what they thought. If ever there was a time in my life that I felt hard done by, my mother would remind me of her keen philosophy. “Smile and think, f**k you.” And so, with that thought, Letty was born as well as her defiant emails.
Plus, vodka. I had to add the vodka.
Stick to the rules and you won’t have a problem working for this arrogant, sanctimonious cad.
The Rules of DNR: How to Survive Working for Cole Lawson
Do Not Respond emails are meant to be sent to yourself only—never to be re-read or responded to.
Vent about your mean boss and don’t focus on the scruff on his chin. Ignore the butterflies that flutter as he stares back at you and concentrate on his condescending tone.
I wish I’d listened.
I wish I’d never drank my body weight in vodka and sent him a venting email, telling him exactly what I really thought about his Lycra-wrapped package and the way he makes my body hum.
The last thing I needed was to break those DNR rules and send an email to my boss.
Work is about to get a lot more interesting. What have I got myself into?
I place my earbuds and face protector on the bench top and pluck my gloves from my hands. My face is drenched in sweat from being all covered up, so I wipe my forehead with my sleeve before unbuttoning the front of my top. I have my sports bra on that is so faded and worn, I’m surprised it still holds in my boobs. I pull my arms out from the sleeves and tie them around my waist, like some wannabe Spice Girl, complete with two little curly pigtails up top, but I refuse not to eat.
Sure, I have curves, but I’m not afraid of my mum seeing my stomach. It’s not like Keanu was invited for lunch. A girl can wish upon a star all she wants, but it just twinkles back at you.
I open the shed door and take a moment to enjoy the breeze that brushes against my skin. I smile at the flowers and marvel at what a perfect and sunny day it is, especially for Melbourne. As I run my fingers against the bricks of the house, I take in the vibrant colours of Mum’s cottage flowers. I giggle as they tickle my fingertips. The serenity of the movement fills me with joy. The sweet smells of the blooms fill the air, as a spring bounces into my step. What a glorious day.
I turn the corner with a lively gait, eager to eat, skipping whilst humming the same tune from the shed—“If” by Janet Jackson. But then my eyes freeze when I see what’s in front of me, causing me to trip over my own feet, and it all turns to sh!t. The fun police have arrived.
“What the ever-loving f**k are you doing here?” I catch myself before I stumble again, straightening to hiss as Cole stands by the back door, leaning a golf bag against it.
“I’m here for lunch,” he responds, a small smile touching his lips.
“I thought you were at golf,” I shoot back, crossing my arms over my chest like a petulant child. I shouldn’t be shouting, but looking at his smug face, my feet begin to ache again, and I’m reminded about him being such a toss bag yesterday while I was his stupid errand girl.
“Yes, I was at golf. Now, I’m here for lunch.”
“What for?” I demand, not caring that he’s my boss. He’s on my turf, now.
“To do what you’re supposed to do.” His voice lowers to patronise me. “Eat food.”
“What’s wrong with eating back at your place?”
“I don’t have anything.”
“You ran out of power shakes?” I ask snottily, cursing myself internally as I let him reduce me to a sixteen-year-old. If my hair wasn’t tied up, I’d probably try and flick it. Knowing my luck, I’d put my neck out while doing it.
“No, I still have plenty of those.” He lets go of the golf bag and adjusts his cap, shifting it up so his eyes are more visible. He reaches behind his back and stretches, and I feel sucker punched. Not now, lady bits. He is the enemy. His abs are the devil. No submitting to him.
“You’re not here to get me to do extra work, are you?” I narrow my eyes at him and try not to focus on his tanned forearms as he twists his mouth, grimacing as his shoulders move.
“No, Leticia, I’m here because Bern invited me. You look pretty busy as it is.” His eyes travel down my body, as I remain stuck on his last few words. Huh. Seems he has no problem calling Mum by her nickname. Wanker.
“What?” He interrupts my thoughts and steps closer to me. His eyes narrow on my face.
“Huh?” I tilt my head up to him.
“Did you just call me a wanker?” His eyes pierce into mine, and I freeze.
“N-oo,” I stammer, looking anywhere but at him, and I squeal when I remember that I’m practically half-naked in front of my boss. “Oh, f**king hell!”
I tear at the sleeves on my coveralls and turn around, untwisting the sleeves before hoisting the outfit up over my back. Cole roars with laughter, and I don’t have time to marvel at how nice it is to hear that sound after more than a decade as my arm flies into my left sleeve, but my right arm flails, unable to penetrate the other.
“You have got to be kidding me,” I growl as I punch my fist into the stubborn fabric.
Warm hands touch my shoulder as Cole’s voice lowers. “It’s inside out. Just stop moving for a sec.”
I wave my sleeve up and down stupidly, hoping to right it, but he grabs it from my hand and reaches inside the sleeve, his arm thrusting against my side as he untucks it. My body heats alongside his shoulder. His breath tickles my skin. I clench my thighs as a pulse flickers against my sex. Not good. Not good at all. I need to get distance.
I tear my hand into the sleeve and flick my shoulder back to cover my top, while also turning my elbow to readily seal my buttons. The excess material from the coveralls flicks up before my fingers can reach the end and hits Cole square in the face.
“Oh, f**k!” He steps back, grabbing his cheek. My body stiffens as I stare in horror at his red cheek. No blood, thank heavens, but a great big welt.
I look down at my sleeve, my fingers pushing through impatiently, and see the glint of the silver button that caused the maiming.
“I’m s-o so-rry,” I stammer as I step forward, pushing his hand away timidly to survey his cheek. My hand moves in close to cup the bruise, and my lip trembles. “I didn’t mean it, Cole. Honest.”
His eyes darken, and I stand frozen, wondering if I’ve gone too far, when his hand rises to cup mine. “I know,” he whispers as his eyes travel down my body.
My buttons are still undone. I don’t move to close them. I watch as he swallows audibly, taking in my soft curves. I haven’t seen him look at me like this ever.
“Yoo-hoo! You two!” Mum calls from inside. “We’re going to eat all the sandwiches if you don’t hurry up.”
As if doused with a bucket of ice, I leap back and clutch at my chest, my hands moving clumsily to button my coveralls. I feel his eyes on me, but I can’t look at him.
“I’ll get you an ice-pack for your face,” I mutter as I race through the back door, narrowly missing ramming my shoulder in the doorframe, and vault into the kitchen. I grab the bag of peas from the freezer and then the tea towel hanging from the oven, contemplating if I need the peas on my body as much as he does. What the hell was that?
Heavy footsteps trudge along the floor, and Cole appears at the door, looking forlorn. We stand there, staring at each other for a moment, and I can’t work out why he looks so torn. Have I hurt him more than he’s letting on?
I don’t have time to work out what’s going on. I thrust the covered peas at him and head into the dining room, my hot body suffering under the weight of the heavy fabric and Cole’s stare.
“Whoa, Cole!” Dad bellows. “What the bloody hell happened to your face?”
“I tripped,” he lies, holding the peas against his cheek. “It’s just a scratch.”
“Does it hurt?” my mum adds in, once again rubbing in the invisible guilt.
“No, it’s fine. Just a little tender. I’ll take this off in a few minutes.”
“I would’ve thought our Letty attacked you or something,” Dad chuckles, and I squirm in my seat. “You guys used to have a right good go of it when you were young, isn’t that right, Letty Bear?”
I flinch at the nickname. “Dad, seriously? We were kids.”
“Kids who made their mums go grey a lot earlier than necessary.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” I whine.
“You tried to mow him down with the ride-on mower,” Mum adds in unnecessarily.
“He threw my art book into the ocean!” I point at Cole and then immediately withdraw my hand to my lap. “Can we just drop it?”
I reach for a sandwich, ignoring Cole’s eyes on me. I lift it up to find one of life’s punishments—ham and chutney. Ugh. What the hell was Mum thinking? I take a quick bite and struggle to swallow it, telling myself it’s the least I deserve for maiming my boss. Even if my teenage self is high-fiving me. We all sit silently, filling our plates with food.
“She didn’t attack me.” Cole’s voice slices through the quiet moment. “She was still in the shed doing her arty-farty stuff.”
“Playing with those bits of tin and metal is expensive. It’s a good thing she is working for you now, isn’t it, Cole?” Dad quips, but it falls like lead in the room. I bet Cole must think the same thing too.
I chew the last bit of my sandwich as my throat dries up, sending the last piece like a ball of lead down my throat. “Arty-farty is my most hated term for an artist. Just like the time Cole threw a portfolio of mine in the sea as we argued, destroying the project I was working on, just for asking him why he was being so mean to me. I’ve since learnt to stop the painful guessing game of knowing why he was such a BOD.
Like that, Cole’s softness from outside disappears as Dad reminds him about us working together. His condescending nature returns as he falls back into boss mode, stiffening at the table. I’m reminded again that once an arsehole, always an arsehole. No wonder I have a folder filled with emails dedicated to his demise. Looks like I have another to write.
The author is giving away a signed paperback and a $25 gift card to one lucky commenter here!
How to enter for a chance to win this prize? Just leave a comment below by answering one of these FUN questions below:
- What have you done to deal with a difficult boss?
- What does vodka make you do?
- Letty gets given a funny T-shirt from her sister that says, “Vodka made me do it.” If you could design a T-shirt to describe you, what would it say?
and by 10pm EST, this Sunday July 8th 2018, I will randomly select one lucky commenter as the winner.
Also, while not necessary to enter, it would be awesome if you’d share this giveaway on Twitter or Instagram, or Facebook.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with a mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. This prize will be sent to the winner directly by the author.
Giveaway open to US!!
Buy links for “Do Not Respond”
About M.R Field
The place where happily ever after happens … after she makes her characters work for it.
M.R Field is an author from Rural Victoria and has completed a Bachelor’s degree with Honours from Latrobe University, Melbourne. After growing up with the river at her front door, she returned back to her hometown after many years of living in the city. She now lives a tranquil lifestyle with her husband, two young children and effervescent dog, Zephyr .
M R Field has always held a love for writing, filling journals as a child which progressed to more eloquent pieces as an adult. After ten years of creative instruction, she decided to turn these ideas into manuscripts. She adores creating new story lines and is a big fan of a happily ever after, but believes strongly in making her characters work for it.
She has recently decided to join the independent publishing world with her debut novel, Fragments, which released late 2014, alongside its subsequent novel, Splinters that released in 2015. Fractures, her latest novel released on October, 25th 2016. Do Not Respond, a standalone comedy that she’s excited for the mid year release!
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