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Published by Gallery Books on June 6th 2017
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Source: Leo PR
All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.
But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?
Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.
Monday-morning meetings are going to be an issue.
Carter is sitting across from me, bent head-to-head with Aimee over a spreadsheet. I’m only now taking the time to notice that his hair has gotten a little shaggy in front, but he’s kept it short on the sides and . . . well, I’m quite enjoying it. Today he’s wearing a light blue shirt, and I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the top two buttons are undone, showing a nice hint of his pecs. Unfortunately, now I can’t really blame him for the Evie Blouse Disaster of Late October, because there is no way I am telling him that I can see chest-below-collarbone for fear that he would remove it from my view. His sleeves are rolled up, exposing his forearms, and he’s doing that fascinating trick where he flips a pen over the back of his hand.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
He made me come with those fingers.
Back and forth.
My chest twists a little as I realize how hard I’m swooning, and how far that will take me. Because who knows what is going on between us? We sure haven’t talked about what happened Friday.
After Jonah found us, we left the mixing room in silence. We walked down the hall and found that our presence was completely useless anyway: Jonah and the crew had the shoot under control, and we wrapped right on time.
After only a brief shared look of bewilderment, Carter went to his car, I went to mine, and we left separately. He didn’t call, I didn’t call, and we haven’t made eye contact again. But, thankfully, we haven’t melted back down into petty sabotage, either.
I’m softening toward him again, which can mean only one thing: my defenses are down. It would probably be wise for me to make a list of all the ways he offends me on a personal and professional level.
- He’s too overtly sexy for the workplace.
- He clearly can’t button his shirts. Deleted b/c hypocritical.
I look up and stare blankly at the fingers flipping the pen back and forth across his hand.
I’ll compile the rest of the list later.
I’m also—and I loathe saying it because I despise the cliché of two girls pitted against each other for the boy—slightly annoyed by Kylie. She’s sitting at the end of the table near Brad’s perch, waiting like all of us for the boss man to appear, but she isn’t even trying to be subtle about staring at Carter. She may or may not be having an affair with Brad, but she definitely wants to bang Carter. I am zero percent on board with this plan, because just before I light his tight pants on fire, I’d like to actually have sex with him.
Maybe that’d get him out of my system.
“How was the Vanity Fair shoot?” Brad asks, strolling into the room, and both Carter and I jump.
“Great!” we exclaim in unison.
Brad narrows his eyes at us, and Carter grins. “It went off without a hitch.”
I nod. “No bumps.”
“Or grinds,” Carter adds, and stifles a grin.
I stare at the table, trying to strangle down my laugh. The giddy thrill of having Carter acknowledge what we did on Friday makes me want to jump on the table and start channeling Missy
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Brad sit up. “Yeah?”
“They got all the shots they needed,” Carter says. “Everyone left happy.”
“On the whole, I was very satisfied,” I add.
Carter coughs, and the room falls into a heavy silence.
Brad’s steely gaze narrows and he glances back and forth between me and Carter, who are very pointedly not looking at each other. “What am I missing?”
“Nothing,” we say in unison again.
“I don’t want to know any more,” Brad says, turning to Ashton.
Everyone is awkwardly shifting in their seats, looking at each other in silent What do you know about this? communication. No one cares about the photo shoot; there’s drama all the time at those things, but it’s rarely between the agents. Now they’re pigs sniffing for truffles. Our colleagues are either dying of curiosity or convinced they know something, but no one is oblivious. Not in this business.
I glance over at Kylie and catch her sullen pout directed at Carter. He seems to catch it at the same time, doing a tiny double take before busying himself with something on his phone.
But I don’t miss the way he peeks up at me, eyes shining.
“Ashton,” Brad says, “have you heard back from Joe Tierney over at Paramount?”
“He moved to DreamWorks last week,” I say absently, tearing my attention from Carter.
Everyone goes silent.
It’s an unspoken rule that any correcting of the boss is done way more subtly than that. Brad is top dog here. Brad is the first to know everything. That’s the rule, did I forget about that?
“No. I don’t think so,” Brad says, pulling his glasses lower so he can peer at me over the rims. “He’s there until March.”
I wince, shaking my head, inwardly telling myself to shut the hell up. The last thing I need to give Brad is another reason to dislike me.
“He left early. Wiggled out of his contract.” I try to lighten this with a little smile, but Brad just stares blankly at me for several silent seconds.
“Getting out of a contract. What an interesting idea.” The room is as silent as a grave. “Thanks for the clarification,” he says, slow-blinking back down to his notes and writing it down.
My good mood vanishes. What have I just done?
Text copyright © 2017 by Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. Published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.