I blink and lift my gaze to the older man sitting in front of me, staring at me, patiently waiting for me to answer his question. I study his appearance, grey hair, but not completely white. He has streaks of a darker shade running through the strands—his eyes a startling green, cool and glorious. For an older gentleman, he was handsome. He’s sporting stubble of a greying beard. He is a silver fox in every sense of the word. I shift in my seat and cross my legs, sitting upright, hopeful this will give him the impression that I am confident and accomplished.
“I believe my greatest quality is that I’m headstrong. While some may consider this a flaw, it just means I never give up. However difficult the task at hand may be. Once I put my mind to something, I won’t stop until I achieve it.” I say confidently, looking him directly in the eyes. He nods slowly, holding my gaze for a beat before he leans forward, and his full lips quirk ever so slightly.
“I like that answer. All I have heard all day is that they are confident, ambitious, and trustworthy.” He says and leans back in his chair, dropping his pen on his desk. “I like you, Miss Hart. Are you able to start Monday?” I resist the urge to squeal and press my lips together. I smile politely.
You can freak out when you leave Shay. Keep it together! “Yes, sir.”
“Excellent. Come in on Monday morning at nine o’clock sharp, and Heather will show you around and get you on the system.” He says, rising from his chair and holding out his hand. I stand and take his offered hand, squeezing it gently.
“Thank you so much. I appreciate this opportunity, Mr Hoult.” I tell him, picking up my handbag. He escorts me to the glass door to his office.
“Welcome to the team, Miss Hart.” I smile up at him politely, thank him and leave his office. Once outside, I heave a sigh of relief. I got the job. I will be working for one of the most prestigious architectural firms in the world. Granted, as an executive assistant to the CEO, but still. I will work my arse off, learn everything I can from him, and finish my degree. One day, I can show them I have the talent and skill to be an architect at one of their firms.
After a crappy couple of months, things are finally starting to look up for me. Having to drop out of university, unable to afford the tuition fees and provide for my brother and mother has been challenging. I had to put my career on the back burner and take care of my family. We lost my father to a traffic accident eleven years ago now, just after my sixteenth birthday, and I have been the sole provider for them since. I have an older brother, Sam, but he’s unable to hold down a job for longer than a couple of months due to his ADHD and anger management. He does try, but he’s unable to concentrate for long, which often results in poor performance. My mother hasn’t left the house since my father died. He was the love of her life, and when we lost him, we lost a massive part of my mother too. She’s terrified to leave the house and hasn’t been able to face the world without him.
I have a good feeling. My life is finally about to get a little easier.
I rush up the stairs to the apartment that I share with my two best friends Jo Sinclair and Aimee O’Connor. They’re my lifeline, and I’m so happy I have them in my life. The moment I slide the key into the lock, the door is practically ripped open, and they both stand there, hair in messy buns on top of their heads, both in oversized sweatshirts staring at me expectantly with wide eyes.
“Well?” They say in unison.
“What?” I question, looking between them. I know they’ve been dying to find out how my interview went if the fifteen voicemails and fifty texts I got earlier was any indication.
“Bitch, how did the interview go?” Aimee utters after she swallows her mouthful of lucky charms.
“It went well,” I reply, trying to walk in, but they both block my way. “More…” Jo drawls, narrowing her honey-coloured orbs at me in scrutiny. I huff and shrug my shoulders.
“Well, he seemed interested, but there were so many more suitable applicants there with more experience, so…” I watch as both their faces fall, and I fight the urge to smile.
“Oh, well, it’s their loss because you’re amazing, bish,” Jo says, wrap- ping an arm around my shoulder and guiding me into our apartment. “Something else will come up. I know it.” She adds positively, like the good friend she is. I look around our cosy apartment. Three decent sized bedrooms. An open plan lounge, with a small kitchen to the left, and a decent-sized bathroom with a walk-in shower. Our apartment, conveniently based in the city of London, isn’t flashy by any means, but near enough everywhere was ten-fifteen minutes away by train. I loved it, and I love living with my girls. If I didn’t get this job, I would have had to move back home with my mother and brother, and I didn’t want that. They are the only family I have. My parents brought me up in a strict household. They were very proud people, they valued traditions, respect, and culture above anything else, and they instilled those qualities into Sammy and me growing up.
“Yeah. I guess you won’t have to find another tenant to move into my room after all.” I tell them as I take my jacket off and drop it on the sofa.
“Don’t talk like that. Something will come—wait, did you say won’t have to?” Aimee mumbles, setting her bowl down. I smile, and their eyes go wide like saucers. “You got it. You got—YOU GOT THE JOB?!” I nod, they both scream and launch themselves at me, and we all tumble onto the sofa in a heap of arms and legs.
“I got the job! You’re stuck with me bitches!” I laugh when they both poke my sides tickling me until I’m crying with laughter.
Jo hops up onto her feet, “We’re going out tonight to celebrate. I don’t want to hear excuses. We’re going!” She says, running down the corridor toward her bedroom with her sock-clad feet sliding along the wooden floor. Aimee follows her, and I stay lying on the sofa, staring up at the plain white ceiling. The knot I have had in my stomach for months finally vanished.
“Bish, get your juicy arse off that sofa. We’re going to get smashed!” I hear Jo call out from her bedroom. Laughing, I get up from the sofa and come face to face with Aimee, who steps out of her bedroom. We both look at the bathroom door and back at each other before we make a run to it. I bump Aimee out of my way with my hip before I slide into the bathroom and close the door swiftly. I laugh when I hear her curse on the other side of the door.
“Every fucking time!”
“I do have longer legs than you, Aimes.” I tease while I strip off for the shower.
“Yes, and I hate you for it. Hurry up, and don’t forget to shave your hooch. You never know what the night might bring.” She sniggers, and I roll my eyes and grin as I step in the shower. “It’s about time you dust off those cobwebs and get some action, girl.”
“You know damn well that my hooch is waxed clean, and I’m quite content with my ‘cobwebs’ thank you very much.” I pick up an empty shampoo bottle and throw it against the door when I hear her cackling on the other side. “Get lost. Let me shower in peace.”
Many hours and three bottles of prosecco later, we roll into a bar called ‘Luxe’ in central London. The girls forced me into wearing a red mini dress that hugs my natural curves nicely. My long dark hair curled loosely and left out. Jo and Aimee were also in dresses. Aimee chose a silver sequin dress that showed off her natural d-cup breasts, while Jo was in a strapless white bodycon dress. The atmosphere was something else, music playing at a loud volume, the bass of the song playing was vibrating through my entire body. We head over to the bar and order a round of tequila shots, and then another, followed by four more rounds of pornstar martinis. Jo kept her promise of getting us smashed for sure.
While I’m dancing with Jo, my eyes catch a pair of attractive yet startlingly vivid green eyes watching me. Damn. He is the most beautiful man I have ever seen. His gaze on me is intense while he sips the amber liquid in his glass. He and his friends have girls swarming around them. I see a leggy blonde sitting beside him lean over and whisper something in his ear, his eyes narrow however they were still on me. Tearing my eyes away from his, I turn and continue dancing with Jo.
Aimee comes over to us with three shots of green apple sours. “Drink up, Bish!” We clink our glasses and take the shots. I wince when the liquid burns my insides. Justin Bieber's ‘Despacito’ starts thundering through the speakers. I’m laughing hard at Jo whispering something in my ear when I back up against something warm and firm. Jo’s eyes go wide when she sees whoever it is behind me. I give her a wary look, and she presses her lips together and smiles, backing away.
“Dance with me.” I hear a deep voice purr in my ear. I look back and see the guy that was watching me from the VIP section. My god, he’s even more beautiful up close, and his eyes are so green, clever and curious, glittering like two emeralds, like every hue of the forest. Their brightness reminds me of summertime. I turn and face him, craning my neck to look up at him. He’s tall, well over six-foot, light brown hair, cut short on the sides and longer on the top, styled perfectly. My fingers itch to reach out and touch it to see if it’s as soft as it seems. His features are strong, chiselled, and so very masculine. “Was that a demand or a request?” I reply, narrowing my eyes at him. His soft, full lips curl up into a smirk. He licks his lips slowly, “Whichever one gets you to dance with me.” He drawls confidently. Someone tries to pass by him, so he takes a step closer to me. I lift my eyes and smile at the handsome stranger whose strong arms lock aro
Oh, sweet Jesus.The ache in my head rouses me from my very peaceful slumber: that and the distinct smell of coconut and passionfruit. I shift to roll onto my side and frown when I feel a heaviness on my chest. I force my eyes open and wince from the sheer brightness of the sun beaming on my face. I glance down at the head of silky brown hair and get another waft of the coconut, passionfruit concoction. It’s her. I shift my head to the side and study the face of the girl currently sprawled across my chest. Not bad. I’ve woken up with worse. Her lips soft and pink, long dark lashes, perfectly shaped eyebrows.What the hell happened last night? I can’t remember a damn thing. Who is this girl? I peel her arm away from my chest gently, detangle our legs, and she moans as I roll her off me, and she snuggles into the pillow with a sigh. I let my eyes wander over her naked body, half wrapped in the sheets while she’s sprawled out on her front, her long
“You…you said you didn’t remember anything.” She says, pointing a finger in my face. I look at her finger and back at her again and roll my eyes.“I don’t. But the state of the room when I woke up this morning was a clear indication of a good night,” I take a step closer to her, and she cranes her neck to look up at me. “There was a trail of clothes from the door to the bed, which means we were completely lost in our passion to not give a damn about anyone’s type,” I state matter-of-factly and wink at her. “Not to mention you’re sporting my signature ‘fucked out’ look.”Shayla’s green eyes grow wide, she huffs and takes a big step back putting some space between us. She rakes her fingers through her hair clearly frustrated.“Wow. I’m not even going to dignify that remark with a response.” She stops pacing and looks at me again. “What are we do
I jump awake when I hear my alarm chirping away on the bedside table next to me. I reach over and feel around for my phone; eyes still closed, I managed to find it and snooze the alarm. Ahh silence. Just as I’m about to doze off again, I remember it's my first day at my new job, and I jump out of bed excited. It was seven-forty-five, and I had to be there at nine o’clock. Satisfied I had enough time I drag myself to the bathroom to shower and get ready.I stare at my reflection in the mirror as I brush my teeth. Eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep and a weekend of heavy drinking had me looking like something out of the night of the living dead. After a steaming hot shower and two mugs of strong coffee, I was feeling a little better. I was trying to convince myself the fluttering around in my stomach wasn’t nerves. Why would I be nervous? I can do this job in my sleep. Ugh, butterflies explode in my stomach again at the thought of work.I was applying my
“You?” I shake my head and look over at Heather and back at the six-foot-something man standing in front of me. “No. No, my boss was an older guy, you’re-”Cole nods slowly. “You must have met my Father. Tony Hoult. He was interviewing for me whilst I was out of town on business.”I stare at Cole and curse the fate that keeps screwing with me. “So, you’re my boss?”Cole nods and fiddles with his cufflinks, his brows fused tightly. “It sure looks that way.”“You’ve already met each other-”“Heather, leave us.” He commands, his eyes never leaving mine and Heather scampers out of the office leaving us alone.“This is a joke, right? Because this can’t be happening,” I mutter, pacing back and forth. “It can’t be.”Cole rubs the back of his neck, watching me pace frantically, mumbling incoherently to myse
“Tristan, we’ve had this conversation before. I’ve had it with your philandering ways. If you want me and your grandfather to take you seriously and pass on our shares to you, you need to prove you’re responsible enough to run a multi-million corporation. You’ll be thirty soon, the time for you to settle down has come. I let you have your fun and sow your wild oats so that you’ll get it out of your system before you settle down.” My father scolds me whilst cutting into his fillet mignon steak. “Hollie comes from a respectable family who has been our dearest friends for generations. She’s a beautiful young lady, and she shares the same passion for architecture as you do. What more could you ask for in a life partner?” He adds, lifting his green eyes to look at me.I clench and unclench my fist under the table. I feel my annoyance grow more by the minute. “Well, I would like to be attracted to my future wife for
“You’re married, you idiot!” He shouts, throwing his hands up in the air. “You can’t marry Hollie if you’re already married. Take Shayla to your grandfather, introduce her as your wife, problem solved.”Oh. Why didn’t I think of this? I am married.I frown. “You mean, we stay married?” Josh nods, widening his blue eyes. “She wouldn’t agree, why would she want to stay married?”Josh throws a cushion at me. “Because you’re Tristan Cole Hoult, that’s why. You’re the most sought-after bachelor in the country—after me, of course.” He says in jest, and I throw the cushion back at him.I roll my eyes exasperated. “Fuck you, arsehole.” Josh catches the cushion and rests his elbow on it, grinning. “She doesn’t care about any of that. She’s nothing like the rest; my fame and money didn’t deter her one bit.”
God? What the hell did I do in my past life for you to be punishing me like this?As I stand there looking at Coles father, utterly humiliated—might I add, he’s just staring back at me confused. “Your wife?” He repeats, averting his gaze to his son. “I don’t understand.”I open my mouth to speak but Cole pipes in, “We’re married, what’s not to understand.” I look up at him, and he pulls me closer against him, and I have the sudden urge to punch the kid in his throat.“I should give you both some privacy,” I say and turn to leave the room.“Stay right there, young lady!” He shouts, and I jump startled at his sudden outburst. I nod and hang my head in silence, shrinking back beside Cole. “Tristan, I hired this girl a few days ago to be your assistant. What do you mean you’re married?” He questions, his green eyes, identical to Coles darting between us waiting for an answer. “What? Did it just slip your mind that you’re married to the CEO of the company?” He ask