Home > The Fake Engagement

The Fake Engagement
Author: Sam Crescent

 


Chapter One

 

 

“I hate my boss.” Eliza Drake yelled the words at the same time she slammed through the door of the apartment she shared with her two best friends.

“We’ve already got the tequila out,” Juliet Caves said.

“And she made snacks.” This was Mackenzie, who shoved a bacon-wrapped jalapeno into her mouth. “Damn, that’s so spicy and good.”

Eliza burst out laughing as she rushed toward her bedroom, throwing her jacket and bag onto the bed and moving quickly to join her two favorite people in the whole world on the sofa. Kicking off her heels, she slumped down. Juliet handed her a glass of tequila, which she knocked back, swallowing the dangerous liquid. She shouldn’t drink on a work night, but since she’d been given the job as PA by Preston Boone himself, she was working every night.

“I needed that.”

Mackenzie already held out a jalapeno delight. Eliza took it, biting into the rich, spicy food. The cheese, bacon, and jalapeno danced on her tongue. She closed her eyes, savoring the taste of the food.

“So good! Another, please.”

She was given another. This time, she didn’t play around, putting the whole thing into her mouth and biting down.

There was nothing wrong with enjoying snacks for dinner.

“Asshole boss?” Juliet asked.

“Totally.” She sighed. “Well, he was … I typed up the letter exactly how he asked me to, and clearly, he was being a giant dick because he blamed me for all these typos and how he would never say certain words.” She growled. “I’m never going back to work.”

“I hear you,” Juliet said.

“And me,” Mackenzie said.

“Was it a bad day for you girls as well?” she asked, looking at them in turn.

Mackenzie sighed. “I think my boss’s son is trying to destroy the company. He’s trying to handle this multimillion-dollar investment even though his father has told him not to do it. He doesn’t want his company to be swallowed up in corporate. He likes to do everything old school, but his son doesn’t listen.” She pursed her lips. “I have a feeling we’re going to fall victim to a takeover bid. The sharks are circling.”

Eliza knew how much Mackenzie loved her job. The firm she worked at was just a small place, but they offered some of the best advertising rates and also held the books of some of the most lucrative companies. Their advertising reach was far and wide. She knew this as her own boss had reached out to Doug’s Advertising. A simple name, and yet, they offered such high-quality work with amazing turnaround results.

If they were going for a takeover bid, she had a feeling Boone could be one of those damn sharks.

“My boss is looking to expand his reach into plus size, only he’s being advised to use a very slim model. Who wants that?” Juliet asked.

Eliza looked at Juliet. “Why don’t you offer to model for it?”

Juliet was so amazingly beautiful, with long, luscious brown locks and a figure that had most men drooling. She was plus size and wore it so well. Eliza had watched her; the way she walked and moved—she screamed seductress. Juliet would make an amazing model.

Her friend wrinkled her nose. “No please, that is never happening.”

“I thought you wanted to be a model?” Mackenzie asked. “Back in school, you even said that you wanted to be a role model to girls. To show the world that you didn’t have to be super slim and starve yourself to grace the cover of a magazine.”

“Yeah, then I got real.”

Eliza threw herself at her friend, pulling her in close for a hug. What got real was Juliet’s mom, tearing down her dreams in every single direction. Juliet’s mom believed only thin women were beautiful and always used every piece of ammunition to destroy whatever happiness Juliet found.

Eliza hated the woman, and while they were growing up, she’d often asked Juliet around for sleepovers. At least her own mother had been supportive of her dreams.

“You’re gorgeous, and your body would sell anything.” Mackenzie leaned back, giving Juliet a good looking over.

“Stop doing that. Whatever it is you’re doing,” Juliet said.

Mackenzie winked at her. “Yep, I totally could use you.”

They all burst out laughing.

This was what Eliza had needed. A day with Preston Boone was enough to put even the happiest person in the world in a downer. Of their little group, she was the one who usually saw a light in the darkest of tunnels.

When Juliet failed one of her tests through college and thought her dreams were over, shattered, Eliza wouldn’t allow that. For three weeks straight, she forced Juliet to study her ass off until finally, she was more than ready.

She’d aced that test.

Positivity in life was the key.

Glancing at Mackenzie, she remembered when she first started to work for Doug’s Advertising. She’d been so down. Where Eliza and Juliet had gotten work with some of the biggest companies in the city, if not the world, Mackenzie had struggled. There were very limited openings for her kind of skills as a design artist.

There had been a time Mackenzie thought she would have no choice but to return home, but that didn’t happen. It may not be a big firm, but Doug’s Advertising was one of the best, and Mackenzie worked as one of their designers.

They’d always wanted to move to a big city to follow their corporate dreams. This was part of their plan, to learn everything they needed to know before branching out into their own company, one that was female driven and competitive in the male market.

She handed her glass for another tequila. “I’m going to have to quit.”

“No quitting,” Juliet said. “Remember. That’s our motto. See the bigger picture. We’ll all be happy eventually.”

“Yeah, there’s happiness and then there’s wasting your skills picking up your boss’s laundry. Or better yet, finding an adequate cleaner to handle his apartment. If that’s not good, maybe it’s a quick trip to a jewelry store to buy something to help him deal with his one-night stand?” She shuddered. In the past three years, she’d done all of that for Preston Boone. “I don’t get it. Why do women fall for him? He’s an asshole.”

“He’s hot,” Juliet said. “Come on, guys, we’ve seen pictures of him, and you, Eliza, get to see him up close and personal every single day.”

“Exactly, I know what a toad he is.”

“You know what happens when you kiss a toad?” Juliet asked.

Eliza glared at her friend. “You get toad lips, nothing else. There are no princes waiting in the wings. We all know this.”

“True!” Mackenzie ate another jalapeno.

“I’m sorry. I’m not going to worry about this.” She put her glass down and ran her hands over her face, trying to clear her mind of her worries. It wasn’t exactly happening.

She was so tired, like all the time.

Preston was a full-on, all-the-time boss.

Even in the middle of the night. He’d called her to make notes. The first time he did that, she thought she was going crazy. She’d been working for him for two days, and he called her at three in the morning for her to make a couple of notes about what he wanted to broach at one of the meetings he had booked.

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