Ramona Sanducci is the kind of friend that every uptight heroine needs.
She's bold and brash. She wears high heels and knock-off designer clothes. She colors her hair fire-engine red and when they land a new account, celebrates by adding black tiger highlights. (She paints her fingernails to match.) She's unafraid to elbow her way up to the bar and whistle piercingly to hail a server. She speaks her mind unflinchingly
She's loyal and competent. She sticks with the heroine when times are tough; works weekends when the job demands it. She started working straight out of secretarial school and absorbed a high degree of knowledge on the job. She naturally inquisitive and has down-to-earth reasoning.
She still believes in love. She married young, had a daughter, got divorced, and supports herself and her daughter.
excerpt from Chapter 3:
Ramona disappeared for a few moments and returned with a shiny black floral box adorned with a puffy gold bow.
Angel’s stomach churned.
“They’re for you, Foster. Probably another thank-you from our favorite CEO.”
Ramona opened the box and extracted an armful of giant ruby roses. “Be still my heart! There must be two dozen in here.” Cradling the bouquet like a beauty queen, she shook the filmy green tissue paper. “There’s no card. All right, Foster. Who is he and what happened?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Avoiding her assistants’ eyes, she reached for the remote and clicked for a weather channel. “Nothing happened.”
“Let me get this straight. You spent the weekend with sixty teachers and one very rich administrator.”
“Fifty-eight hours,” Tony interjected.
“Thank you,” Ramona said. “Fifty-eight hours of non-stop, elbow-to-elbow, heads in a huddle, eat-sleep-work-and-breathe togetherness. You negotiated a brilliant settlement, thanks to yours truly and Einstein here. The most beautiful flowers on the planet show up, and all you can say is nothing happened?”
“Nothing happened.” Angel retreated to her desk and dug an antacid bottle out of her purse. “Montague’s very married.”
“What about the teachers, Terhark, Dupont, and Roberts?”
“Married. Full of himself. Not interested in women. I’m completely stumped.” She sat, massaged her temples, and prayed that Ramona would leave it at that.
“How about one of the regular teachers?”
“I printed the document. They voted. I left.”
“And you can’t recall anyone special.” Ramona snapped her gum.
“Oh, honey. Take it from a woman who’s been married and divorced. You should try to remember.”
For two weeks, at exactly eight-thirty in the morning, a courier delivered twenty-four long-stemmed roses. The office resembled a diva’s dressing room on opening night.
Ramona opened two tall bottles of water, drained them into an empty wastebasket, and arranged the newest crème whites. Then she peered intently over Tony’s shoulder as he downloaded the complete roster of RISE teachers and profiled them by gender, eligibility, salary, and other.
“Whoever he is, this guy’s got deep pockets,” Tony said. “You’d think he’d lose interest by now. There are lots of other women out there.”
“And you know that from experience, I’m sure.” Ramona flashed him a scornful look. “Foster’s florist is definitely not interested in a quickie. I think it’s time to lean on her to—”
Angel walked in carrying her briefcase. “Lean on who to do what?”
“Lean on you to come clean,” Ramona said. “You know more than you’re willing to admit. Look at all these flowers. What could be so bad about this guy? He’s got taste, money, and staying power. Great qualities in a man. Why don’t you want to know who he is? Let Einstein go to work. If you don’t want him, let me have him.”