Authors: Toni Kenyon
Tamsen Parsons is happy with her wacky world.
So she leases fish to big business, her bedroom resembles a gypsy fortune-teller’s caravan and she’s got the roomie from hell.
Still, the sun’s shining and she can smile.
That is until uptight lawyer Matthew Solomon rolls in like a storm.
He’s over the corporate climb, unsure what he wants in life anymore and the sexy and cheerful Tamsen is exactly the short-term tonic he needs.
What Matt doesn’t count on is his interfering mother, Tamsen’s out-of-control best friend and falling in love.
Can a gypsy fish-minder really bring this bad-boy to heel?
Romance from Toni Kenyon - a fresh look at the world
Copyright © 2012 Toni Kenyon
All rights reserved.
ISBN ePub: 978-0-9922518-0-2
Learn about other works by Toni Kenyon at
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Catch is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Romance from Toni Kenyon - a fresh look at the world
- I know Dad would have been proud of us both
"I wouldn’t give a damn if she was the Virgin-bloody-Mary. I told you I wasn't available and yet you put her through."
Matthew Solomon's voice echoed ominously through the marble foyer of Harding & Kilpatrick, Barristers & Solicitors.
"Poor man. Do you think he's having a bad day?" Tamsen Parsons spoke directly to the Golden Comet held captive in the small plastic bag in her hand and about to be introduced to the display aquarium she tended. She was beginning to have second thoughts about leaving one of her babies in this volatile environment.
No wonder she struggled here with the mortality rate here.
Fish were sensitive creatures: if things didn't rapidly improve, she'd have to consider removing the aquarium, regardless of the cost to her and her business.
Tamsen's closest friend, Gina the recipient of his verbal barrage looked ready to burst into tears. "I'm really sorry, Matthew, but I was distracted and I-"
"There's no excuse, Gina, it's been happening too often. You're just going to have to get your mind back on the job - I won't stand for this kind of unprofessional behavior.
Do you understand?"
Mr Wonderful-but-grumpy - who now stalked his way back down the hallway toward the rear of the building - did, Tamsen had to admit, have one tidy backside despite attempts to camouflage it in an Armani suit.
She turned her attention back to the Comet captured in his carrier bag.
"Hey, baby, calm down."
Her voice was gentle and soothing, while the poor frightened fish continued to try and find a way out through the clear plastic.
Tamsen lowered its wriggling form into the aquarium that had pride of place in the firm's reception area.
Gina sidled up, having escaped the confines of the ostentatious reception desk.
"You don't think you could whisper sweet nothings into that bastard's ear so he'd get off my case, do you?"
Her tone was terse.
"Unruffle those fine feathers, sister.
His other half probably just didn't give him one this morning and he's taking it out on all and sundry."
Gina giggled. "Tams, there isn't another half and I think it disturbs him his bits just don't appeal to me."
Tamsen smiled at her friend.
"So he makes Orlando Bloom look like the boy next door and he's got a body to die for.
The man is spiritually bereft. Ghandi, he is not."
Gina laughed again.
"Are you sure you can't spend more time here?
Calling in once a fortnight to check your babies over just isn't enough."
Tamsen turned her attention back to the aquarium. "Sorry, sweetness and light.
The babies only need to see me twice a month for a pep-talk and if the rest of the bods you work with are as charming as your friend back there - " she cast a hand in the direction Matthew had disappeared " - I'd die a thousand deaths if I came more often."
She took another worried look at her charges who were nosing around their new tank-mate in the plastic bag. "Actually, I’m wondering if that might be why I'm losing so many of my babies here."
They were interrupted by the shrill ringing of a phone.
"Ah, filthy commerce calling"
Gina scurried back behind the marble façade that served as a desk.
"Better not let anyone else through or your friend-"
"He's not my friend.
He's my boss."
"Well, your boss will string you up by the beautiful pearls that adorn your throat."
"You attend to your fish, girlfriend, and leave the corporate heavyweights to me."
Tamsen set to untying the plastic bag and scooping a good amount of the water from the aquarium into her newcomer's transparent environment.
"There you go," she whispered. "Trauma reduction's my specialty.
Don't want you dying of shock in the first hour or so, now do we?"
"If I were a fish would I get that kind of TLC?" Matt asked.
Tamsen looked up and found herself gazing straight into a pair of intense brown eyes.
They were so dark she struggled with where the pupil ended and the iris began.
She felt her stomach plummet, her hands became slick with sweat and she could barely think for a head full of cotton wool.
"I...I'm sorry?" she stuttered.
I was wondering if you whispered sweet nothings into all their ears?"
"Well..." Her brain had gone on strike.
The man before her reeked of elegance.
She noted fine features almost to the point of beauty, but in a masculine and testosterone-loaded manner.
She could even find it in her heart to forgive him for his lousy outburst at Gina.
In that moment she probably could forgive him for anything.
"I suppose you're going to tell me that fish don't have ears, hmm?"
He laughed quietly at his own joke.
His laugh like liquid velvet running down her body, a perfect match for his lilting speech.
"Well, technically fish don't have ears, but they do react to sound."
She pointed at one of the Comets, a globular orange-and-black cutie with bulbous eyes that hung like two small orange grapes from the side of its head.
"You see the thin line that runs along the side from the head to the tail?"
Matt studied the fish.
"Looks a bit like a shift in the scales?"
It measures vibration."
"So I couldn't sneak up on them then?"
Tamsen poured another scoop of water into the Comet's bag.
In fact, they get to know the rhythmical footsteps of the person who feeds them."
There was no automatic feeder on this aquarium; it encouraged a member of the staff to feed the fish every day, building a valuable emotional bond between the weaving fish and the staff on site.
It was also a great way to start the day.
"I wondered why they rush up to the glass when I walk out here."
"You feed them?"
She was astounded.
When no one's looking."
He threw her a grin, so disarming she let go of the plastic bag and her new charge escaped into the aquarium.
"Promise you won't tell anyone - it'd ruin my reputation.
Office ogre and all."
Not at all.
You can trust me."
"I thought I could.
I haven't seen you around here before. I'm Matthew Solomon."
He offered his hand. Tamsen's were wet and she searched frantically for something to dry them on.
Nothing appeared like magic, so she hurried to wipe her hand on her jeans before proffering it.
His felt strong and warm and he shook hers with authority and command.
He smiled again, exposing perfect white teeth and a certain twinkle in those dark eyes.
Another chill ran across her body.
"No, I'm new.
I took over the business a month or so ago, so this is only the third - or is it the fourth? - time I've been here."
"Great, so we'll be seeing a lot more of you then.
Hopefully you can keep a few more of our tank friends here - " he waved at the aquarium " - alive, yes?"
Tamsen felt a moment of irritation.
"The army have tanks, we have display aquariums."
Could that be a tinge of red on his cheeks, she wondered?
Unsure of what to say, she continued busying herself with aquarium maintenance and hoped Mr Phantom-fish-lover would go away.
He remained. Watching her work.
Tamsen wasn't usually concerned about being watched.
She visited a number of sites and there would always be someone on the staff lurking, either making snide remarks about the Goldfish Girl or asking her inane questions about fish.
Almost everyone needed to share a childhood story about their favorite fish who died and the irreparable damage they suffered when parents replaced the offending fish with an impostor.
The stories were part of the job she'd grown to love.
She'd actually prefer it if he would tell her some story. But he continued to just stand there.
Tamsen could sense him - or could she smell him?
She didn't want to turn around, or further acknowledge his presence.
She just wanted him to go away.
The escalating tension seemed unbearable. All her nerve endings were strained and her body felt as if it were on alert for him, for any movement.
The small reflection on the far side of the aquarium wasn't enough to confirm whether he still stood behind her.
Torn between acknowledging his presence by turning around and asking him what he wanted, or pretending he wasn't there, Tamsen opted for continuing to feel stalked.
Routine maintenance complete, the sense of uneasiness that had crept up on her like the resident fish sneaking up on their new companion began to ease.
The little Comet seemed happy, and a small area where the weed had been eaten away by the other fish had been replanted.
With nothing left to do, she'd have to turn around and ignore the fact he might have been standing there just watching her, or try and pretend he didn't exist - a ridiculous notion, since they'd struck up a conversation.
As she stepped down from the ladder that allowed her access to the top of the aquarium, she took in her own reflection wondering what he might be thinking.
Did he see a crimson-haired woman, struggling to keep unruly curls pulled back in a business-like fashion, the odd tendril making a dash for escape around her almond shaped eyes?
Or nothing more than a young, inexperienced girl?