Home > Boyfriend for Hire (Escorts, Inc. #1)(3)

Boyfriend for Hire (Escorts, Inc. #1)(3)
Kennedy Ryan

“Thanks for this, Nic.”

“My pleasure.”

As I stroll out of the coffee shop, I realize that I’m actually looking forward to the wedding next weekend. Sweet young Elle won’t know what hit her.

Chapter Three

Elle

Yoga. I really need to take up yoga. It’s probably the only thing that will keep me from sucker punching my ex in the dick today. This is the thought that pervades my brain as I inspect my lipstick in the gilded bathroom mirror of the country club.

Sighing, I check my reflection one last time and smooth my hair. I know black is supposed to be slimming, so why does it feel like I’ve stuffed myself inside a sausage casing? Why do I feel like a busted can of biscuits in this getup?

Ugh. Breathe, Elle.

“God blessed you with these amazing curves. Don’t hide them.” Christine turns to face me, the corners of her mouth pulled down. It’s like she can read my mind.

I roll my eyes. “I couldn’t hide them even if I wanted to. My Spanx are earning every dime I spent on them.”

She squeezes my hand. “Stop stressing. You’ll like Nic. And he’ll be speechless with you on his arm, I promise.”

I’ve never been set up on a blind date before, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I’ve been a nervous wreck all day, and the fact that my asshole ex is going to be at this cocktail reception with his new stick-figure girlfriend isn’t helping calm my nerves.

It’s the day before my friend Christine’s wedding, and she happens to be marrying my brother. So as much as I’d like to lock myself in my room all weekend with a pint of peanut butter ice cream and a bottle of vodka, I know I have to be here for them. Adulting really, really sucks sometimes.

Christine gives my shoulder an encouraging pat.

I keep telling myself that if I can get through this cocktail party tonight and the wedding and reception tomorrow, I can move on and pretend this whole weekend never happened.

After she finishes touching up her lipstick, Christine and I leave the bathroom and wander into the main ballroom. I grab a glass of champagne from one of the servers passing around drinks while she says good-bye and heads over to rejoin my brother. Taking a long sip, I enjoy the sensation of the bubbles on my tongue. I’m a lightweight and never have more than two drinks, but this weekend might be the exception.

I round the corner in search of a familiar friendly face, but instead I spot Jeremy, my ex. I quickly jump back and flatten myself against the wall, but not before I catch a glimpse of his new girlfriend hanging on his arm.

I’ve seen her on social media—and by seen, I mean I’ve stalked her—but I’m not pleased to see she’s even more attractive in person. She’s tall and unbelievably skinny, wearing a formfitting red dress. I’m not overweight, but I am curvy, and I could never pull off a skintight dress like his new girlfriend is wearing, even if I starved myself for a week.

Jeremy and I have known each other for a long time, but I was always the nerdy little sister of his best friend. After college, he finally took notice, and we dated for two years. I’d had a crush on him for so long that I realize now that I overlooked a lot of the flaws in our relationship. I thought he was the one, but then he broke up with me out of the blue. One minute he was telling me he loved me, and the next he was saying he needed time alone to “find himself.” Which couldn’t have been true, because three seconds later he was dating someone else. Dick.

I take a large sip of champagne just as he bends down and gives her a kiss on the cheek. It takes every ounce of willpower I have to force myself to swallow. I’m definitely going to need more than two drinks to deal with this.

I glance at my watch. My date should be walking in the door any minute. When Christine told me she had an old friend from college she wanted to set me up with, I was skeptical, to say the least. But the thought of attending this wedding alone with Jeremy here was too much, so I agreed. The last thing I need is to look like some pathetic loser in front of the happy couple—and I’m not referring to my brother and his fiancée.

As I take another glance at the door, someone walks in, and I let out a small gasp. I know immediately that it’s the guy from the photo Christine sent me, but that picture didn’t do him justice.

He scans the room, running a hand through his messy brown hair, and my heart begins to beat in overdrive. A bit of facial hair accentuates his perfect jawline and full lips. He’s wearing a classic black suit that accentuates his broad chest and narrow hips.

I’ve never seen someone as attractive as him outside of fashion magazines, and he looks like he could easily have come from a red-carpet event. I realize I’ve been staring with my mouth open and force myself to close it, hoping no one saw my ogling.

The room is loud, but all of it fades away when he looks in my direction. She must have shown him a picture of me too, because he smiles when he sees me and walks toward me. My heart pounds harder with each step closer he takes.

“Elle?”

When he looks into my eyes, my stomach starts flipping like an Olympic gymnast. His chocolate-brown eyes are so mesmerizing, I have to force myself to look away from them. But as my gaze wanders to his mouth again, I realize that isn’t going to help my pounding heart.

“Nic, right?” I ask after a brief pause.

He nods, smiling to reveal perfectly straight white teeth. His eyes light up with something like mischief or amusement. But either way, he has my full attention.

Nic holds out a hand, and when I place my palm in his, a tingle runs up my arm.

“Thanks for coming,” I say, smiling awkwardly.

“My pleasure.” His voice is deep and sexy, perfect for dirty talk during sex.

Elle, get a hold of yourself.

“Your picture didn’t do you justice. You look amazing.” He sounds sincere, and I can’t help but melt a little.

“You look great too.” I smile, looking him up and down again. If the way his suit fits is any indication of his physique, he’s got the body of a Greek god. “So, you know Christine from Indiana?” I ask, tearing my gaze away from his broad shoulders.

“Yeah, we had a few classes together.” He smiles.

Grinning back, I say, “From what I hear, she didn’t do much studying in college.” Christine has a lot of wild stories from her college years. I was too focused on studying and preparing for law school to do much partying myself, but I always enjoyed hearing about all the crazy things she and her friends did.

“Yeah, we got into some trouble.” He laughs, running his hand through his hair again.

How is he so damn sexy? Just watching him makes me feel like I’ve committed a sin.

Nic’s smile fades, and his expression turns serious. “I never expected that when I reached out to her, she’d end up inviting me to her wedding. Or that she’d set me up with such a beautiful date.”

I gulp. So he’s sexy, nice, and polite? I’m crushing hard on this guy.

“Speaking of getting into trouble, would you like a drink?” I gesture toward the bar.

His lips twitch. “Absolutely.”

As we walk, I notice how tall he is, easily a couple of inches over six feet. His height makes me feel small and dainty, a feeling I could really get used to.

Nic orders himself a whiskey neat from the bartender, and pauses to ask what I’d like. I lift my half-empty glass of champagne to request another.

Just as I’m about to ask Nic more about his college years, Jeremy walks toward us.

“Fuck,” I whisper, turning toward Nic.

“Is something wrong?” he asks as the bartender sets down our drinks.

“My ex is walking this way right now,” I say, wishing I could disappear. I glance at Nic. “We had a rough breakup, in case Christine didn’t mention anything to you.”

Nic nods, furrowing his brow. I hope that seeing me react like this to my ex isn’t scaring him off. It’s not exactly a turn-on to have your date freak out over another guy.

“Sorry—” I say, but Nic cuts me off.

“Just follow my lead,” he says and starts laughing loudly.

Startled, I just stare for a second.

“Laugh,” he whispers to me.

Finally, I get the hint and start to laugh along with him just as Jeremy walks up to the bar. I can see him out of the corner of my eye look over at us.

Nic sets his drink down and lifts his hand to smooth a stray strand of hair away from my face. When he touches me, it’s like the whole world stops. As Nic tucks my hair behind my ear, I forget all about Jeremy and take a deep, shaky breath, feeling like I’ve been sucker punched in the stomach.

As Nic stares deeply into my eyes, my knees start to feel shaky. With him standing so close, I catch a hint of his scent, something earthy and masculine, totally intoxicating. His full lips curve into a smile, and I’m totally lost in the moment when Nic breaks eye contact to glance at where Jeremy was standing. He’s gone, and Nic turns back to me, grinning. I didn’t even noticed he left.

“I think we pulled that off,” Nic says with a grin.

I smile back weakly. He probably has no idea how much he’s affecting me right now, or that I couldn’t care less what Jeremy thought of that moment, only that I want it to happen again.

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