Page 45 of Buying the Bride

“I think you’ll be surprised at what I’m able to handle,” I say, giving him a sly smile. “I accept.”

“Perfect,” he says, straightening. “I’ll tell May and she’ll handle the details.”

He opens the door and strides out, just like yesterday, leaving me gaping and turned on in his wake. The man certainly has a flare for dramatic and abrupt exits. Damn.

I lean against the wall, my energy evaporating, but I’m smiling. I have a job and the hottest boss in the world.


“Girl,” Fleece says the second I walk into the Blind Scorpion, “I’ve already seen it on YouTube. I wish I could have been there. You looked like a badass.”

I laugh and practically collapse on my chair. Before I even came over here I dropped off the rent check to Joe. So not only am I exhausted, I’m relieved, which just makes me that much more tired. “Which look did you see? You can’t have watched a three-hour show on YouTube.”

She gives me a look that makes me blush. “You know which one. The only look that anyone is going to be talking about. The last one, obviously.”

“Yeah,” I say, blushing. Looking back now, I can’t believe that felt so natural. I’m embarrassed just thinking about it. “I honestly don’t even know how I did it.”

Fleece rolls her eyes. “You know that I’ve known you for ten years and I know instantly when you’re lying, right?”

“Ugh. Fine,” I say. “But give me a drink first.” She passes me another one of her concoctions—I’ve learned not to ask what’s in them anymore. “It was him.”

“What do you mean?”

I sigh. “I mean, it was him. Andrew Xellum. Have you seen him?”

Fleece rolls her eyes. “Of course I’ve seen him. He’s so gorgeous it’s just unfair. But I’m still not sure what he has to do with your performance other than hiring you?”

“I mean, I thought I was going to vomit, but then I saw him watching me and the whole performance suddenly made sense. Like thinking of him as the audience was what I needed to make myself cut loose. It’s hard to explain.” I take a deep sip of my drink. “But the best part is that he wants to give me more work. So I really owe you one for making me go.”

Fully expecting her to be overjoyed, I’m surprised when her face is wary. “Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“I didn’t say anything because you really needed the work, but I’ve heard things about him. I’ve heard that he’s a bit cold and demanding and he can be hard to work for. There are rumors about why his last favorite quit. I don’t know, maybe he did something that was over the line.”

“You could have said something last night if you didn’t think it was a good idea.”

She sighs. “Why would I do that? You’re broke and about to be living in my apartment. You needed the money. I’m just saying to be careful. Things can be too good to be true.”

“I will admit that he’s really intense,” I say, remembering our conversation in the little closet, “but I’m going to give it a shot. I’m not signing a contract with him or anything so it’s not like I can’t walk away if I need to. Plus, so far he hasn’t done anything I wouldn’t expect from a highly driven man who works in fashion.”

Fleece chokes on a laugh and I follow suit. “Well,” she says, “I’m happy you have work. Free drinks all night in celebration.”

“Barbara is going to kill you,” I say, raising my eyebrows.

She nods to someone trying to get her attention down the bar. “Barbara better worship the fucking ground I walk on after all I’ve done for her this week. I think I’ll risk giving my best friend a few celebratory drinks.”

She hurries away, and I turn in my chair and lean back against the wall. During the exhibition I felt like I had nothing but energy. Now I feel like I could crawl into bed and sleep for a week. But at least I’ll be able to do that with money in my bank account. That’s a new feeling.

I’m zoning out, almost ready to bail and go home to sleep, when Fleece makes her way back over to me. “By the way, you know you’re basically going to be a celebrity now, right?”