Home > Shopping for a CEO (Shopping for a Billionaire #7)(3)

Shopping for a CEO (Shopping for a Billionaire #7)(3)
Author: Julia Kent

Not as warm as a date’s arm slung around my shoulders, but my sweater hasn’t recently wiped any dog butts, so I’ll take it.

I sit down on a small bench that runs perpendicular to the water and try to find a ride home with the app on my smartphone. I hate these devices. I want my old flip phone, but Greg insists we use these things now to do our mystery shops.

Greg also insists I pretend to date men like Ron.

One down, nineteen dates to go.

In the search for my phone, I find my lipstick. Plum Passion. Who names these things? For the hell of it, I re-apply the color. Not that it will do me any good. After a (fake) date like that, what I need to attract a dog lover is Biscuit Beige. How about Puppy Pink? Burgundy Beagle?

No. Wait.

Frosted Spay.

I lean back against the bench and close my eyes, enjoying a light breeze that lifts the ends of my hair. I’m back to my natural color—boring brown—after years of doing hairstylist mystery shops that involved coloring it. I want to kick off my high heels and throw on some yoga pants, but instead I wiggle to make my Spanx more comfortable and settle for just taking a full breath.

This fake dating stuff is for the birds.

Er, the dogs...

My purse vibrates slightly from a text. I know I should read it, but I’m pretty certain it’s my mother, and right now, I just want to enjoy being unencumbered by anyone else’s expectations for a few moments. Nights like this require a breather, no matter how fleeting.

A man’s laugh floats on the air like a smoke signal, followed by the lilt of a woman’s giggle. I open my eyes and trace the source of the sound.

A man in a suit is at the stairs leading to the dock, where a smattering of boats are tethered. He’s turned away from me, one arm outstretched toward a woman a step or two below him. The cut of his suit in the moonlight screams expensive. He has a cobra back, wide at the top, with the broad shoulders of a swimmer. His jacket is open and I see a hint of his waist, his torso bisected by a thick alligator-skin belt looped into trousers tailored so well across a strong, well-defined ass that I could turn his butt into a work of art if I were a sculptor.

He pulls the woman up and turns. I see him in profile.

It’s Andrew McCormick.

Oh, sweet holy hell.

I haven’t seen him in months. Haven’t kissed him since we were in the emergency room after my best friend, Shannon, swallowed the engagement ring his brother, Declan, gave to her as he proposed.

(A tip: don’t bury a three-carat diamond ring in a piece of tiramisu at a fancy restaurant as a way of proposing to a woman. Any woman. Why ruin the dessert like that?)

I’m the maid of honor for the wedding. Andrew is the best man. We’ve managed to avoid each other so far, but the wedding is three months away. I knew this day was coming.

But I didn’t expect it to be today.

My heart starts skipping beats as I take him in from afar, shielded by the angle of my bench. He has no idea I’m watching him. Thick hair, cut short and with the kind of layered sophistication that only comes from a stylist who charges three figures. Shaded eyes that I know are sharp and smoldering, a blend of brown and honey that makes you melt inside. He’s in a full suit, tie still snug against his neck, the moonlight reflecting off a white shirt. His grin is contagious, making my own smile widen as I tilt my head and let myself get lost in wondering.

The woman with him climbs up the final step and moves away from him. Basic body language is easy to read. They’re not on a date. If they were, she’d move closer.

He’s grinning. So is she. Then I see the sheaf of papers in her hands.

A business meeting.

The relief that floods my body makes me looser than the three beers I just had. My heart continues an off-beat pattern more erratic than Red Sox pitching. I have no right to feel relief. I have no need to feel any of these outrageously inappropriate emotions I’m sporting right here, sitting alone, rejected by Mr. Anal Gland Hands and watching the man who secretly kisses me in closets seal some kind of business deal.

That’s right. Closets.

And yes—kisses. Plural. My relationship—or, more accurately, lack of a relationship—with Andrew McCormick, an executive at Anterdec Industries, the biggest client that my company services, is one filled with mystery, discomfort, complexity, and—


Too many closets.

More than a year ago I stormed into his office and made him, his brothers, and his father see reason. I set up a hotel shop for Shannon that brought everyone together to make Declan and Shannon face each other and clear the air.

Andrew and I ended up making out in his office closet.

Three beers in me and all I can do is reminisce. Get a fourth in me and I’ll spill the entire story.

And then there was that tiny on-call room in the emergency room where we kissed while Shannon’s tiramisu nearly killed her last year.

I eye one of the boats. Boats don’t have closets, do they?

He turns toward me, as if that thought were spoken aloud. The clouds look like cotton candy, streaked across the sky. In the intermittent moonlight he looks like a painting, with shadow and light playing on his skin and cloth as if he were a canvas of delight. A playground.

“I’m sure you’ll love the houseboat, Andrew. It seems like a perfect fit for your new life,” the woman with him says in dulcet tones. Too bad I have hyperacusis and can hear dog whistles.

And secrets from men who kiss me in closets.

“Thank you, Marcy. I’m looking forward to this,” he replies. He sounds so smug. So confident. So panty-throwingly sultry with that damn voice that feels like silk being stroked across my neckline whenever he speaks.

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