Okay, I know it isn’t acceptable to yell at your employees that way. Or your family members. You’re supposed to treat them with kindness and respect no matter how idiotic they are. But let me tell you, kindness and respect do not build a business.

It’s fine for my mother to be sweet and compassionate. She’s a pre-school teacher so I’m sure it works well on five-year-olds. But sweetness and soppiness do not – do not – hack it in the cut-throat world of designer fashion. I need to be hard as nails and bossy, and walk over bodies if need be!

Especially being a woman. I have to be twice as hard and merciless as any male. That’s why Tease is successful. That’s why Tease will continue to be successful – unless Rosie’s stupidity is about to destroy all my hard work.

Because … because sitting in front of my desk is a man! Right there, with all my sketches laid out in plain sight. So he can see every last one of them. Clearly!

His back is to me so all I can see is very broad shoulders in a well-fitting jacket.

“How could you allow some stranger into my office, Rosie? With my sketches there? He’s probably photographing them right now with some hidden camera!”

Rosie tries to calm me. “It’s all fine, Tee. There’s no danger. He’s a rep from a charity organisation. And besides–”

I glare at her, shake my head. I don’t want to hear her “besides”. I know my sister. She is a sucker for any half-way handsome guy. She turns into Pratley’s Putty, happy to do whatever he asks.

“Just listen, Tee. Let me explain. Then you’ll understan–”

What’s there to understand?

I storm into my office, slam the door shut. Instantly, the man rises to his feet. And – oh good grief! He is just gorgeous! Tall and broad-shouldered, a strong jaw with a shadow of designer stubble. I adore designer stubble! High, proud cheekbones beneath his designer sunshades.

He puts out his hand to shake mine. And – oh lordie – his grip is powerful yet gentle. The grip of man who is confident and sure of himself. And his smell – divine!

“Pleased to meet you, Ms …?” he says.

“Tee Pilane,” I answer. I want to tell him that I am a Miss, single and available – how silly is that?

“I’m Karl Sathekge from the charity, CARING.” He hands me a business card.

Karl! The perfect name for this strong, masculine specimen. No wonder Rosie turned to putty!

I stagger around my desk to my chair, hoping he isn’t noticing how unsteady I am. I need to sit down – fast. My knees seemed to have turned to jelly. What on earth is wrong with me!? I seem to be turning into Pratley’s Putty myself! I need to get a grip.

There on the desk, spread out from one end to the other, are my precious Spring Collection sketches. Including my avant garde sporting outfits. Plus my creative, fantasy-wear harem pants-suit. Plus my piece de resistance – the red-carpet evening gown that will be fashioned from aubergine velvet – if Wame has managed to procure some.

And just how long has this Karl person been sitting here – checking out every last spec and detail of these designs? All thanks to my idiotic sister!


Tell us: Is Tee right? Must a woman be extra tough and merciless to do well in business?