Dawn Leroux tensed the moment her boss pushed open the door of his private office and entered hers. She was hard at work, as usual, so no one could question her diligence. Just the same, there was always a niggling feeling of intimidation associated with being in the presence of Timothy Hamilton. "I left a short list of personnel on my desk," Tim said. "I'll want their files updated and waiting for me when I get back. It shouldn't take you too long." "Yes, sir, Mr. Hamilton. Anything else?" "Not that I can think of." "Fine. I'll take care of it right away." Dawn smiled inwardly. She wished she had a nickel for every time she'd told her boss that very thing. Being his administrative assistant wasn't a bad assignment as long as she was quick to respond to his orders--and do things his way. The man was predictable, if nothing else. Whatever he wanted done, he wanted it doneyesterday. "Will you be out of the office long?" she asked, pen in hand, as he breezed past her desk. He pushed back his cuff to check his Rolex. "I have a ten o'clock meeting with Ed Bradshaw in theDispatchoffice downstairs, then lunch with my mother at twelve. If you need me, we'll probably be across the street at Betty's. Mom prefers the Bakeshoppe." "I can understand why. The food is delicious." Dawn was making notes. "Is that all?" "For the moment," Tim said. He tapped the breast pocket of his immaculate gray suit. "If I think of anything else, I'll phone you." He paused. "You'll be here?" "All day," Dawn said pleasantly, knowing exactly what he meant. "I brown-bagged it today." She gestured toward a lower drawer of her desk to reassure him. Knowing Tim Hamilton, he'd chain her to the stupid desk 24-7 if he thought he could get away with it! The man was so focused on business he made a normal workaholic look like a hopeless slacker. "Right." Tim was already striding away and disappearing through the door as he spoke. Dawn heard the outer door close and sighed with relief. She stretched, fingers laced together, hands raised over her head. She loved her job, she really did, but ever since his older brother Jeremy had left town in a huff and Tim had moved up in the Hamilton Media corporate hierarchy, he'd acted as if his every act was of monumental importance. He even drank his morning coffee with deliberateness. The poor man was more of a machine than a human being, although she knew he'd be incensed if he suspected that anyone, especially a member of his staff, felt sorry for him. Sighing, she breathed a quick prayer for her boss's mental health--and her own--then rose and went into his private office to retrieve the list he'd mentioned. She paused at the window overlooking the meandering Cumberland River. Fall had already touched this part of Tennessee. The trees along the water were bright and bold, soon to lose their leaves. Dawn wrapped her arms around herself and gave a little shiver. Her home state of Louisiana might stay hotter in the summer than a bowl of Mama's homemade jambalaya but it made up for it with mild winters. Though she loved Davis Landing and the Nashville area, there were still times when she longed for a cup of rich Cafeacute; du Monde coffee and one of their famous beignets dusted with powdered sugar. Thankfully that terrible hurricane had spared the French Quarter of New Orleans. Her stomach growled. Thinking about food was making her hungry far too early in the day. She swung her long blond hair back with a toss of her head, smoothed her skirt and returned to her desk. At five foot three she didn't have a lot of room to store extra pounds and she didn't want to lose control of her eating habits. There weren't many areas of her life over which she had complete control and she wasn't about to relinquish what little she did have. The heavy, brass doors of the elevator slid open and Tim stepped out on the ground floor. He knew betteHansen, Valerie is the author of 'Hamilton Heir ', published 2006 under ISBN 9780373873982 and ISBN 0373873980.