I had the biggest teenage crush on my brother"s friend. Now I wear his ring on my finger. Sounds perfect, right"
Literally a dream come true. Except this engagement isn"t real. I used to tag along when my brother watched football, just so I could spend the entire game watching Brock instead. I wrote his name over and over again in my diary. I daydreamed about him in class. And now, I"m finally not just his friend"s little sister. I"m also his personal assistant and his fianc"e"his fake fianc"e, that is. I mean, come on. Brock runs a billion-dollar company. He"s also heart-stoppingly, panty-meltingly gorgeous. Why would someone like him actually want to be with someone as ordinary as me" Besides, my brother has warned me about Brock"repeatedly. He"s a heartbreaker. As much as I want to get between the sheets with him, I refuse to be just another notch on his bedpost.
He needs a date for a wedding. And I need help getting rid of my stalker ex. That"s all. This engagement is merely a practical, win-win solution to our problems. It"s as utilitarian as any one of those business deals Brock makes in his office every day. Except there"s nothing business-like about the wicked glint in his gaze, or the hunger in his voice, or the way his hand lingers on my body whenever we touch . . . If I let Brock get any closer, I"m afraid he"ll break my heart. But I can"t help it; I can"t quench the fire inside me that burns for him. I know the risks. And I still want this fake, accidental engagement to be real"as real as the diamond ring I"m wearing.Books by Author:Nikki Chase Books
I"m pretty sure he"s following me.
Ever get that feeling" Like bugs crawling on your neck, or a tiny needles pricking you from the back" The urge to turn around and face whatever it is"
I"m getting that right now, big time, and it"s stressing me the hell out.
Today of all days, I don"t need to be stressed out.
I glance down at my watch. Already five minutes late, and still two more blocks to walk in my new, nude pumps, which are pinching and scraping against my feet, by the way.
I"ve got an interview at the InFini Headquarters. A big one. My first "real" job.
Hopefully I"ll be able to hold it together in this interview. I"m really nervous, although I"ve been telling myself I just need to be myself, show them that I"m qualified for this job, and not do anything too embarrassing.
But actually, before doing any of those things . . . I need to deal with my creepy, stalking ex.
I quicken my pace and glance over my shoulder. Casually. Like I"m just checking the traffic or something.
Yep, there he is.
He"s trying to play it stealthy, like he"s in some movie or video game, but his attempts at blending in with the crowd are laughable. He sticks out like a sore thumb precisely because he"s trying to do the opposite. I"m talking dark sunglasses, hat pulled down over his eyes, ducking behind trees . . .
God, Peter, give me a break.
Pete"s my ex. Recent ex. And the breakup didn"t go well"or rather, I should say, it didn"t go well for him. I was the one who ended things between us, once I finally came to my senses and realized he was a humorless, controlling asshole, who was bad in bed, and even worse in social situations.
Yeah, I don"t know why it took me so long, either. Eighteen months of my life lost to that man-child. Eighteen months I"m never getting back.
How should I deal with him today"
I could completely ignore him, pretend I didn"t see him. Maybe that would be for the best, because attention is exactly what he wants from me.
But what if he follows me into the job interview and creates a scene" Not even nepotism will make that better, and Pete"s crazy enough to do it.
Or I could try and lose him in the heavy lunchtime crowd . . . but there"s no guarantee I"ll be able to. Besides, that would mean taking a detour and I"m already running late.
No. The best thing to do is confront him, tell him exactly how much of a childish, weirdo asshole he"s being, and hope he walks away . . . or gets hit by a bus. That would be handy.
I slow my pace a little and stop outside a coffee shop. I peer in through the window, like I"m trying to see if someone I"m looking for is in there.
All the while, I"m keeping track of Pete"s ghostly reflection on the glass. He"s still slinking through the crowd, thinking I haven"t noticed him.
In his mind, he"s James Bond. In reality, think Austin Powers.
He comes to a halt at a bus stop about fifteen yards from me, and that"s when I decide to make my move.
I step away from the coffee shop and march toward him, a frown of disapproval firmly fixed on my face.
He panics at first, his eyes flying wide open. Then, he seems to come to the realization that he can"t get away, and so plays at nonchalance, leaning against the bus stop post and pretending to check the timetable.
I stand right in front of him where he can"t pretend not to see me, hands on hips. "Peter, what the hell are you doing""
He makes a show of looking really surprised"a really poor attempt at a show, but I guess he gets points for trying. "Nina" Wow, funny to run into you here. Small world, huh""
He looks me up and down and it makes my skin crawl. What the hell did I ever see in this creep"
"Really"" I ask. "I catch you red-handed, and you"re going to pretend like you were here anyway, taking the bus at lunch time""
He shrugs. "What"s so suspicious about that""
I pinch the bridge of my nose. My head hurts. Taking a few deep breaths to calm myself down, I continue, "Pete, you would never be caught dead taking buses. "The domain of bums and crackheads" is how I remember you describing them."
"Changed my mind." He shrugs again.
"Look, Pete, let"s be honest with each other here, okay" I know you"re following me. You damn well know you"re following me." I follow his darting gaze until I successfully stare him right in the eye. "Can we not play stupid freaking games""
He opens his mouth like he wants to carry on with his pathetic excuses, but I cut him off.