Wahida Clark,Amy Morford

Sincerely, The Boss

Lexus Reneehas quotedlast year
inds of menial jobs would be forever in the past. If she could give her own children one piece of advice now, it would be to never say never.

Margo knew it was after nine, but not before ten, because she saw Sal walk in. He strode through the diner like he owned the place, and for all Margo knew, he might have. His dark hair was slicked back neatly; the touches of gray made him look even more distinguished. His suit was impeccable as always. He was the only man that she’d seen in the year she worked here who wore cuff links. She had realized shortly after meeting him though that it wouldn’t have mattered what he wore; he exuded a quiet power, and he knew it. The other customers were quiet when he passed by, and he took his usual seat. He always sat in her section.

Her cheeks flushed this morning when she picked up the coffeepot and headed in his direction. She blamed it on the fact that he flirted with her; sometimes she blamed it on the fact that she couldn’t remember the last time she had sex, but Sal’s attention lately had made her long for a little romance.

“Good morning, Sunshine. How’s my favorite customer today?”

She smiled when she saw him. She couldn’t help it; he was contagious and had that kind of effect on her with that twinkle of mischief in his eyes.

“Wonderful, Cookie, and how’s my favorite waitress faring today?”

His voice was gruff, and if Margo was honest, she imagined him calling her “Cookie” during some intimate moments.

“Great, you want the usual?”

He gave her those smoldering eyes and the look that kept her simmering lately. “If I can’t get anything else . . .”

Their banter went back to the day they met, but the flirtation had become more heated lately, and Margo went in the back and eyed him from the kitchen. She had heard the stories; according to Vinnie, the line cook with a lazy eye, Sal was powerful businessman with ties to the Mafia. From her past dealings with the criminal element, she believed it. He was definitely a man who knew how to get what he wanted.

When she returned with Sal’s usual, a glass of orange juice, two eggs over easy, and a slice of dry wheat toas
Lexus Reneehas quotedlast year
T

he alarm clock blared and Margo groaned as she felt for the off button. She glared at the time, a whole four hours of sleep and it was time to start all over again. After a year of working three jobs, sleep was what she longed for. The dreams, however, were a different story. She rolled out of bed, and her feet hit the floor. There was no point in letting herself wallow in her current situation. She might not be an optimist, but if the last seven years had taught her anything, it was that she was as tough as nails.

Margo wrapped the towel around herself after getting out of the shower. Damn, if there was one thing she missed about her house it was taking a long, hot bath in her whirlpool tub after a long day at the office. Living at the motel sucked, even though she didn’t spend a lot of time here. The plumbing was old, and showers were either scalding hot or ice cold. This morning, she had chosen frigid over third-degree burns and she was covered in goose bumps. She scowled at her reflection. The worry lines had become permanent recently. She checked her face for any other disconcerting developments. At forty-three, Margo knew that she still turned heads, tall and curvy, with long, auburn hair, and intense, green eyes that were still a distraction for men.

She rolled her eyes; she was a distraction for all the wrong kind of men. How long had it been now? No, she didn’t have time for fantasy. Reality occupied all of her time, and there was little chance that Prince Charming was going to walk into the diner this morning and, between coffee and the check, offer to whisk her away.

Margo checked her uniform and her backpack before heading out. She would return sometime around midnight, almost comatose, and she would barely get undressed before falling quickly to sleep again. At first when she started this routine, she had told herself that working long hours would help her stay sane. Lately, she wasn’t so sure.

She didn’t have time to second-guess herself, and that was a blessing. It was three hours into the breakfast shift and the diner was slammed. Margo had waited tables on and off when she was
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