Home > Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)(2)

Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)(2)
Author: Elise Faber

Oh shit. Oh shit. She hadn’t thought this through. She needed—

“I asked his name—”

“Hello?” More panic. More horror. More pretending the call was cutting out because she had to end this conversation now. Hell, she should have never picked up the call in the first place. “Mom? Hello?”


Shit. Shit. Shit. “I can’t hear you,” she said. “If you can hear me, I’ll call you later.” She hung up.

Call her later.


More like never.

As in, she’d never call her family again. As in, she was moving to a deserted island and changing her name and living off the grid in a tent with the most technically advanced thing being one of those compostable toilets.


She hated camping.

Which meant . . . she’d be there at the family dinner.

Because despite all of the setups and the pity and the fact that they’d found their happy, she loved her family. So. Damned. Much. And she also loved that stupid fucking Christmas party, even when she was lonely.

“Ugh.” Kate groaned, feet sliding to a stop on that dirty San Franciscan sidewalk.

She had a choice here.

She also knew she wasn’t going to make the right one.

Because, instead of calling her mother back and telling her that she wasn’t engaged, Kate opened Instagram, tapped on the profile of a man she’d been following for a while now, who’d followed her back and commented on a few of her posts, and . . . sent a message.

Later, she’d want to pretend she’d been drinking.

But in that moment, the only thing she was consumed with was desperation.

And lust. She couldn’t deny lust was also her downfall.

Because surprisingly, shockingly, insanely the man from social media, the one whose abs had made her fall just a little in love with him, who had an actual man bun, but not one of those gross, greasy ones that looked like octopus tentacles—a nice one, sleek and shiny and way better than any bun she could wrestle her own locks into. But anyway, that handsome stranger . . .

He said yes.

And suddenly, Kate had a fiancé.







“What am I doing?” she asked herself two days later. “Oh my God, what am I doing?”

She was going on her first date . . . with her fiancé.


She couldn’t believe that JaimetheVet—his Insta handle—and Jaime, her fake fiancé, and Jaime, the man whose last name she didn’t know, had agreed to the plan. Moreover, she couldn’t believe she was going.

He might be a serial killer.

He might drug her drink, bring her home, and tie her up in his basement.

Except, homes in California didn’t usually have basements, so that was probably unlikely. And pretty though he may be, she couldn’t imagine that Jaime the Vet was lying in wait for potential victims to DM him and ask him to agree to an elaborate ruse as someone’s fiancé.

Which brought her back to . . . why had he agreed to do this in the first place?

Her phone chimed with the alarm she’d set for herself, the one whose label said, “Will You Stay Or Will You Go?” and Kate knew she had to stop thinking herself into knots and start making decisions.

Was she going through with the insanity?

No, she couldn’t.

Except . . . she didn’t want to stand him up. Jaime the Vet seemed really nice.

On his Instagram page.

Which wasn’t real. Which was made up of carefully curated parts of people’s lives designed to look their best.

Her phone chimed.

Another alarm she’d set earlier—this one labeled with “No, Kate You Really Need To Decide!”—had gone off.

“Dammit, woman,” she whispered. “Come on. Enough waffling.”

Sighing, she stared at herself in the mirror. Red hair, but not a pretty red, boring brown eyes, nice lips—even her critical inner voice had to admit her mouth was great, no doubt her best feature. Lush, perfectly formed, and currently outlined in the perfect shade of red lipstick. Having the skin she did, along with the non-pretty shade of red hair, had made finding that perfect shade of red lipstick a monumental task, and one she’d only found recently, thanks to her friend Heidi and an extremely patient makeup attendant at one of the wall-to-wall beauty stores in the mall.

Twenty-two testers until the Holy Grail had been located.


Crude, but perfect.

Some would say that was the perfect description of her.

“Ha,” she muttered, eyes drifting down the sleek black wrap dress she was wearing. A simple design. It flattered the good parts—boobs, ass—and hid the bad parts—the little pooch below her belly button that never seemed to go away no matter how much hard work she put in at the gym.

Could be that she liked tacos and wine too much, but for the life of her—and it would be a sad, meaningless one if she had to live without tacos and wine—she couldn’t give them up.

Crunchy or soft, red or white, boxed or out of the bottle, from Taco Bell or from the legit hole-in-the-wall restaurant around the corner from her apartment.

Her standards were low.

Fill her belly, give her a buzz, and she was golden.

She was also delaying, because she knew what she was going to do. It was why she’d done her makeup, her hair, why she’d gotten dressed and slipped on her favorite heels.

It was Thursday.

Family dinner was tomorrow.

And she wanted to keep that joy in her Mom’s tone. Look, she wasn’t a saint, she wasn’t going to pretend her actions were purely altruistic, but she just wanted to fit in with her family for once.

Not be the odd man out.

Not be the single lady at the couple’s party.

She wanted to just . . . be.

Not to mention that Jaime the Vet was hot—a sexy, brown-haired Viking with a man bun that made her jealous, who took care of puppies and kitties and the occasional bearded dragon, based on his pics.

Puppies and kitties and bearded dragons. Who could resist?

Especially when the last picture of a bearded dragon that she’d seen had been wearing a crocheted purple vest.

“I mean, come on,” she muttered, turning away from the mirror and picking up her purse. Because for all her prevaricating, the truth was that she’d always been planning on going.

She headed down the hall, toward the front door.

“Okay, Kate McLeod,” she said out loud to herself, pausing with her hand on the knob. “This isn’t a big deal. First, suss out he’s not going to take me home and bury me in his nonexistent basement. Then we go to one family dinner together and one Christmas party. After which I fake an implosive fight and we both go on our separate ways.” Purse over her arm, firm nod in agreement already halfway complete. “There. Done.”

Straightening her shoulders, she tugged open the door and stepped out onto the porch.

Jaime the Vet.

She hoped he came with animals.



He did not, in fact, come with animals.

He did not, in fact, come at all.

And as she sat at the table by herself, having long ago consumed the entire breadbasket, her heart sinking, her inner critic grew exponentially in volume because . . . of course he wouldn’t come. She was a strange woman who’d asked via freaking direct message to pretend to be her fiancé for a week.

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