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Authors: Jane Corrie

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Tasmanian Tangle

BOOK: Tasmanian Tangle
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Tasmanian Tangle - Jane Corrie

 

Tanya had always
loved Kade Player

Tanya Hume had idolized her father's business manager, Kade Player. As a child she'd been rebuffed by his obvious
disinterest. Now, on her return to the farm after her father's death, she hoped things would be different.
But Kade could be kind and sympathetic to others—
toward her he was unfailingly cold and businesslike.
What had she done to earn his displeasure? Why was he
determined to make her life
a misery?

 

 

Printed in U.S.A.

OTHER Harlequin Romances by JANE CORRIE

1956—THE IMPOSSIBLE BOSS 2020—RAINBOW FOR MEGAN 2038—SINCLAIR TERRITORY 2053—GREEN PADDOCKS 2072—THE BAHAMIAN PIRATE 2087—DANGEROUS ALLIANCE 2098—RIMMER'S WAY 2159—RAFFERTY'S LEGACY 2167—PATTERSON'S ISLAND 2194—THE TEXAN RANCHER 2209—PEACOCK'S WALK 2257—THE ISLAND BRIDE 2285—CARIBBEAN COCKTAIL 2313—THE SPANISH UNCLE.

Many of these titles are available at your local bookseller.

For a free catalogue listing all available Harlequin Romances, send your name and address to:

HARLEQUIN READER SERVICE, M.P.O. Box 707, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 1430

Canadian address: Stratford, Ontario, Canada N5A 6W2

Original hardcover edition published in 1979 by Mills & Boon Limited

ISBN 0-373-02335-9

Harlequin edition published June 1980

Copyright © 1979 by Jane Corrie.

Philippine copyright 1979. Australian copyright 1979.

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the permission of the publisher.

All the characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all the incidents are pure invention.

The Harlequin trademark, consisting of the word HARLEQUIN and the
portrayal of a Harlequin, is registered in the United States Patent Office and in the Canada Trade Marks Office.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

TANYA HUME swept down the passage that led to the secretary's office. Her blonde head was held high, making her diminutive five feet four height appear at least two inches taller. Her lovely grey-green eyes had taken on a definite green sparkle as she entered the office, not bothering to knock. This time she had gone too far, she told herself as she walked over the vast airy office towards the desk and stood facing the cool, lovely-looking brunette who sat in isolated splendour at her desk.

Tanya's blazing green eyes met the cold blue ones of Melanie Black, who glanced up at her with a hint of impatience in her look. 'Would you mind telling me why you fired old Mr Davidson?' Tanya demanded without preamble.

Melanie's eyebrows lifted fastidiously as she answered laconically, 'Because he's old, and what's more important, because he can't do his job. Any more questions?' she added with a touch of insolence in her voice.

Tanya's eyes took on an extra glint at this. 'He can't do his job because he's doing Ted Broom's as well,' she answered coldly.

'The staff are expected to double up when someone's sick,' retorted Melanie sharply, adding cynically, 'He should have been replaced long ago. He has trouble managing his own job as it is.'

'Sick!' repeated Tanya scornfully, preferring to ig-

 

nore Melanie's unfair comments on John Davidson's work. 'Ted Broom doesn't pull his weight when he does deign to put in an appearance. I don't know all that much about the business as yet, but even I've noticed that much.'

Melanie's cold blue eyes studied Tanya's golden complexion and her bright flushed cheeks. 'Yes,' she drawled softly. 'You don't know much about the business,' she repeated slowly, making Tanya's flush deepen at this criticism, for that was what it amounted to. It wasn't her fault that Kade Player, the autocratic manager of Orchard Farm, had always found a good reason as to why she shouldn't get too involved with what, after all was said and done, was her business. 'So why don't you leave the decisions to people who do know?' went on Melanie, taking full note of Tanya's discomfort. 'Now if you don't mind, I've some letters to get in the post this evening.'

Tanya refused to be sidetracked and stood her ground; the memory of John Davidson's face as he had savoured the news that he had been dismissed spurred her on. 'Well, you'll just have to reinstate him,' she said firmly. 'If anyone deserves the sack it's Ted Broom,' she added acidly, knowing full well that the young assistant accountant was a particular favourite of Melanie's. His sleek good looks and fawning behaviour towards Melanie had up till now guaranteed his position, but not at the cost of old John's job, Tanya thought grimly, not if she had anything to do with it!

This time it was Melanie who had lost some of her cool, and she glared at Tanya. 'I think you'd better make your comments to Kade, don't you?' she queried sweetly. 'He usually leaves that sort of thing to me, but

 

as you're set on revoking my orders then you'll have to deal with him.'

'Very well,' replied Tanya stoutly, feeling a tiny tug of worry. Kade did not like his staff's decisions overruled, and Melanie had been with him for many years. If the rumours were right, then she was more than a secretary. At this thought Tanya swallowed. The thought hurt more than she cared to admit, for she loved Kade---had done ever since she could remember, but she was only one of a devoted following of females from the typists' department to the mailing office; they all sighed over the tall handsome man who ruled the business with an iron hand.

It was odd, Tanya thought as she left Melanie's office a few minutes later, after the secretary had told her with a glint in her frosty blue eyes that Kade would be in about ten that morning, and if she was still in the same mind then she should come back to see him, odd that she had known Kade long before Melanie had applied for the job of secretary to him, yet Melanie's words would hold far more sway than hers would. He would automatically back Melanie's decision, and Tanya would have a hard time proving that in this case Melanie was wrong—not only wrong, but unfair, and somehow she had to make him see that.

It was not as if she was bent on making trouble, she thought miserably, though she was sure that Kade would see it that way. Without even trying she had somehow alienated herself from his good books. Her presence had always seemed to irritate him and Tanya had never understood why.

One could almost say that it went back to when Tanya was only ten years old, and Kade had first come

 

to Orchard Farms to manage the business for her father. Yet on the face of things this was ridiculous—for how could a ten-year-old child set up such a reaction? Particularly in someone she had taken a liking to. At this thought Tanya grimaced; liking was not quite the right word, crush was more the word. She had followed the handsome manager around the farm in those early days on her pony, taking great care not to get in the way of his work.

She would watch him inspecting the acres of fruit and listen to his authoritative voice issuing orders, and whenever those piercing blue eyes of his would rest on her she would give him a timid smile offering friend; ship, but her tentative approaches were smartly nipped in the bud. Although not very old, Tanya had felt this rebuff keenly, and it had hurt. It still hurt, she thought sadly, for after an absence of ten years when she had returned home after her mother's sudden death, she found that she was treated as a complete stranger. Such was his welcome, as if it was her fault that her mother and father had separated, and her mother had taken Tanya away with her.

It was not as if Tanya had not made spasmodic visits back to the Huon Valley where she was born—she had; her father had insisted upon this condition at the time of separation with his wife. Her mother, though, had never returned, and Tanya's visits were made at the agreed times and only for an allotted period, no more and no less.

Her mother's recent premature death at the early age of forty-one, resulting from a skiing accident on the slopes of the Austrian Alps, had precipitated Tanya's arrival back in Tasmania, only to find that her father

 

had died of a coronary two days before her return.

Still suffering as she was from the effects of her mother's death, one more blow was hardly felt by the numbed Tanya whose grief was for her gay, lovely mother she so dreadfully missed.

That was six months ago, and Tanya had since learned that she had inherited her father's business. This she was told by a brusque Kade after the funeral, and he had said that he would indoctrinate her into the business side of affairs. She could then, he told her with an almost disinterested air, contribute towards the running of the farm.

As with his earlier treatment of her when she was still a child, this cold businesslike attitude towards her had hurt her, and she had tried to tell him that she had no wish to make any changes and that she would be grateful if he would carry on in the same capacity for her as he had done for her father.

His reaction to her timid request had somewhat shaken her, for he had given a grim smile and thanked her for her confidence in his abilities. It had sounded a little sarcastic to Tanya's sensitive ears, and she could have cried at his rather obvious misconstruction of all that she had said.

This had left her with a nasty suspicion that he had no intention of staying on once she was in full command of the aspects of the complicated retail business that she had inherited, but there was nothing that she could do about that, and she had had to steel herself against such an eventuality coming to pass in the not too distant future.

She had long since given up any hope of piercing through the wall of Kade's dislike and mistrust of her.

 

She did know that he had been extremely loyal to her father. She also knew that her father and his father had been school chums many years ago, and that Kade had chosen to work for her father rather than his own, who owned a vast chemical complex near Hobart, and would probably return there when he left the farm. As for the past, the fact remained that her mother and father had decided to part, and whatever had been the rights and wrongs that had led to the parting of the ways, Kade had sided with her father, that much was obvious, but as none of it had been Tanya's fault, she was at a loss to understand the reasoning behind his cool, distant treatment of her.

At five to ten, she left the invoice department where she was at present working, or to be more correct, observing the various methods of invoicing employed by the firm, and made her way back to the office section inhabited by the hierarchy. Melanie's office in the forefront acted as watchdog to protect the senior staff from any needless interruption in the course of their duties, but mainly to preserve her illustrious boss's privacy at all times.

Her curt nod on Tanya's entry and grim, He will see you now,' told Tanya that she had given Kade her own version of Tanya's interference in what was exclusively her domain.

Tanya's legs felt decidedly weak as she crossed the large office and knocked on the door at the end of the room. The imposing notice that read 'Kade Player. Manager' did nothing to ease her tension as she waited for the imperative summons to enter.

BOOK: Tasmanian Tangle
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