Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers by Tasmina Perry Read Free Book Online

Book: Perfect Strangers by Tasmina Perry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tasmina Perry
Tags: Fiction, General, Contemporary Women
room, her stomach knotted in anger. She couldn’t believe he would turn down a story with such potential just because he wanted to undermine her chances of getting the bureau job. She quickly gathered her cuttings and followed him to his office.
    ‘Can I have a word?’ she said, knocking on the door frame.
    ‘What?’ he asked impatiently.
    Ruth closed the door.
    ‘What’s really wrong with the escort story?’
    Jim shrugged. ‘Nothing. I just think it’s too spurious to waste a week on. Need I remind you that this bureau may not exist in September? We need to generate something pretty good and pretty damn fast to even have a chance of stopping that from happening.’
    ‘Exactly,’ said Ruth. ‘This is the sort of story the mother ship wants. Exclusives, scoops, not rehashed press conferences or interviews that any stringer could bring in.’
    ‘And what scoop are you picturing here, Ruth? A picture of three trophy blondes in their school uniforms?’
    She took a breath. Don’t rise to it, Ruth , she told herself.
    ‘Look, I think these girls were honeytraps. I always felt that about Danson’s girl. Say they all knew each other, say they were recruited by some Mr Big – some go-to man for help setting honeytraps for influential men – that’s dynamite. It’s a global news story, especially as one of the players was a potential governor.’
    ‘Danson? He’s old news, years old. He’s not even in public life any more.’
    ‘He would have been a good governor, Jim,’ she said feeling the words come out of her mouth too quickly. ‘If he was the victim of a sting, that is still going to cause one hell of a fuss.’
    Jim levelled his gaze.
    ‘It’s a no, Ruth. I want you to work on an Angela Ahrendts profile in time for London Fashion Week.’
    ‘Oh come on, Jim!’ said Ruth, throwing her hands up. ‘Let Rebecca do that. She loves fashion. I don’t know a Burberry tote from a Walmart carrier bag.’
    ‘I’m not sending a twenty-seven-year-old to interview the hottest American CEO in London. This is a good story for you.’
    Ruth glared at him. ‘A good story for you, more like.’
    ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
    Ruth knew she should hold her tongue, but she couldn’t stop herself. ‘You know Isaac wants the best person for the job in this role. You are sacrificing the good of the newspaper for your own personal ambition.’
    Jim’s eyes opened wide.
    ‘And how am I doing that, exactly?’
    ‘By sabotaging my story ideas. I am the only one who generates exclusives on this team.’
    His face reddened with anger. He looked as if he was about to scream at her, but then his eyes closed, and when they opened, his expression had softened.
    ‘Do you know what I think, Ruth? I think Shanghai is a good opportunity for you. You’re a field reporter, you thrive on chasing down a big story.’
    ‘Exactly, and that’s why—’
    Jim cut her off.
    ‘London doesn’t need a hotshot reporter, Ruth, it needs an editor. Someone who can liaise with the stringers, co-ordinate the bloggers. Someone with an eye on what Washington needs in the twenty-first century.’
    Someone to go for long lunches with pretty PR girls and your broadsheet cronies , thought Ruth.
    ‘Is this how it’s going to be, Jim?’ she asked. ‘Are you really going to make it a competition?’
    Jim smiled, a lopsided, nasty smile.
    ‘It’s always been a competition, Ruth. And frankly, you don’t have what it takes to win.’

5
    Sophie turned off the engine of her moped and glanced down at the address written in her diary. This can’t be the place, can it? she thought, looking up at the virgin white stucco building across the road. She had been to some very impressive homes in her time, town houses in Chelsea, estates in the country, villas abroad, but none had been quite as grand and as exquisitely elegant as the one before her now. Egerton Row was one of the most exclusive streets in south-west London, tucked away in a

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