Home > Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)(8)

Bad Engagement (Billionaire's Club #10)(8)
Author: Elise Faber

Not the sad eyes. Dear God, my heart can’t take the sad eyes.

 

 

Noted. *another sad eye emoji* Now, tell me. Please?

 

 

I’m alternating between sighing out loud and giggling in my cube, and my coworkers think I’ve gone crazy.

 

 

He frowned.

Didn’t you eat lunch?

 

 

No time today. Not if I want to be on time. I’ve got a big project that’s due. Note the deliberate use of *sad face emoji* in payback to you.

 

 

Turns out, I’m immune. How old, Red? Then I’ll let you go.

 

 

*eye roll emoji* Thirty-two, but the painful truth is that my birthday is July 22nd.

 

 

Jaime grinned.

So less old man and more old woman?

 

 

Blasphemy! *cursing emoji*

 

 

The tech came in as he was laughing and told him his next patient was there, and he quickly shoved the last bite of his salad into his mouth.

I know. It’s terrible. *sad eye emoji* That’s so you’ll forgive me. But I’d better let you work.

 

 

Unfortunately, yes.

 

 

A beat before another message came through.

I like texting with you, Jaime the Vet.

 

 

He could imagine her looking up shyly as she said that, the same way she’d looked up and said No, I’d rather kiss you the previous night, right before she tugged him down and kissed him within an inch of his sanity.

I like it, too, Red. See you in a few hours.

 

 

A chain of hearts and flowers and strange little yellow faces was his only reply, but it turned out that he quite liked emojis, especially when a gorgeous little redhead with curves for days and pretty whiskey-colored eyes sent them to him.

Sparing another minute before pulling his lab coat back on and heading to the exam room to see one of his temperamental feline patients, he opened the app on his phone and ordered lunch to be delivered to Kate’s office.

He knew her favorite meal. Or at least one that had been featured on her Instagram page more than once—a pear and walnut salad and an apple turnover.

See? His social media spying had paid off. He knew where she worked and what food she liked and her favorite beach and—

Pausing, because that sounded creepy, even in his own head, he forced himself to focus and completed the order for a salad and pastry from Molly’s, a city staple that made even the healthiest of meals taste good.

Not that the pastry was healthy, but he figured Kate deserved a treat, especially when paired with the green stuff, and anyone who was anyone got a pastry when they ordered from Molly’s. Handmade every day by the owner, plumb full of deliciousness, someone would have to be an idiot to not pick one up, especially given how often Kate waxed poetic about them on her page.

Not that he didn’t agree, but the fact that it was another piece of information from her social media was probably semi-creepy. Regardless, he was chalking it up to paying attention to key details about a woman he wanted to win over.

Pastries. Not a bad way to start, he could imagine his sister, Tammy, telling him.

And, considering he’d been well-trained, Jaime knew his instincts on that front were right at least. He might have fucked up with Lori and had his confidence dinged, but he knew after one date with Kate that she was one hundred percent different from his ex.

She teased but in a sweet way. She’d fought him over the bill (though he’d won, Jaime thought with a self-satisfied smirk). She’d leaned into his touch, rather than shying away.

Lori had been beautiful, but with a streak of mean. She’d never offered to pay, had hated if he wanted to hold her hand in public.

Silly, small things. Well, not the mean, but the rest of it hadn’t been obvious at first, or at least not enough to have propelled him into ending things. But then again, Lori had been good at manipulating him, good at giving him just enough affection that he clambered after her, wanting more, starved for more contact, more time with her.

Look, he understood her wanting to have her own life. He was independent, himself.

But he wanted more in a relationship.

He wanted a partner, someone he could share funny news stories or memes or inside jokes with. He craved a connection that didn’t have him second-guessing every motivation and undercurrent.

Which was why it had been almost refreshing to get the message from Kate.

Will you pretend to be my fiancé for a week?

 

 

No subterfuge. No hiding.

Just a request and an in—a way for him to get closer to the fascinating woman he’d been lusting over.

He was mercenary enough to take it, selfish enough to want to tie her to him, smart enough to know that if he had any chance of success that he’d need to utilize a charm offensive the world had never seen before.

One glance, and he’d known that she was special.

One night, and he’d known he was hooked on the drug that was Kate.

So, he had a plan. A plan that involved several errands after he was done with his clients.

Speaking of which, a bark in the room next to him startled Jaime into motion. He shook himself, put away his phone, hurried to clean up his lunch. Because yes, he had a plan to make Kate fall for him, but that plan would only work if he didn’t actually fuck up this fake fiancé role.

And the first step in that was being on time.

 

 

Six

 

 

Kate


It was 5:56 and she was pacing back and forth along the narrow entryway of her house south of San Francisco.

One side had an opening to a small kitchen.

The other opened up into an equally small living room, packed with her too big but cozy microfiber couch. It was soft. It was fluffy. It was a deep, deep shade of violet, and she loved it most of all her belongings.

In fact, she loved it as much as she loved the back yard.

And that had taken blood, sweat, and tears to get to its current state. Though, she supposed, the couch had also taken blood and sweat to get it in through the narrow hall. But no tears. Plenty of cursing, especially from her brother and dad, who’d helped her move in, but no tears.

She’d smiled at the memory.

Her parents were so damned proud that she’d managed to scrimp and save enough to buy a house in the competitive Bay Area housing market, her mom only making one comment about how she could sell when she met her future husband because surely, he would want to be part of the house-buying-decision-making process that Kate had been able to easily ignore.

She loved her mom, but damn, could that woman be a dog to the bone.

Still, she had inherited her green thumb from her mom and grandma, her taste in clothing that had notes of trendy but had given her the skills to build a wardrobe with classic, tasteful pieces that had lasted years.

Like the dress Jaime hadn’t been able to tear his eyes off last night.

That was one of her favorites—sexy, flattered her curves, showed just the right amount of tits and ass to make her appetizing but not cross that line into nip slip.

Tits and ass?

Clearly, she’d been watching too much bad reality TV, because that particular vernacular had never been in her vocabulary until she’d begun watching a behind the scenes reality show of strippers and their personal lives.

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