Park Avenue Player

Park Avenue Player

Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland



About the Book




* * *



It started out like any normal day.

Then the fender bender happened.

The guy I collided with drove an expensive car and was drop-dead gorgeous.

Too bad he was also a total jerk. We argued over whose fault it was and any other thing that came out of his condescending mouth.

Eventually, the police came and we went our separate ways. The insurance companies would have to figure things out. I had a job interview to get to anyway—one I was excited about.

Though that excitement changed to disappointment the moment the person interviewing me walked in. The guy from the accident.

Whoops!

Yeah, so I didn’t get the position.

The problem was, I really wanted it. No, I needed it. Anything to get me out of my current career and back into working with kids.

So, even though Hollis LaCroix was as intimidating as he was devastatingly handsome, I went back to see him and begged for a chance.

To my surprise, he gave me a shot taking care of his troubled niece. At least my attraction to him wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I wasn’t about to jeopardize my job or the strong bond Hailey and I formed. But resisting the magnetic pull between us wasn’t that simple. (Then, there was our little underwear game—don’t ask.)

We continued to flirt without crossing the line—until it finally happened.

This is the part of the story where we fall in love and live happily ever after, right?

Well, life has a way of throwing some major curveballs.

Ours was one I didn’t see coming.





Chapter 1




* * *





Elodie




Sometimes, I wished I was ugly. Maybe not giant-wart-on-your-nose, three-of-my-teeth-turned-black-and-those-are-the-only-ones-I-have, scar-running-down-my-cheek, thinning-haired-woman-comb-over ugly—because I do have to look at my own reflection every once in a while—but it would be nice to walk into a room and not get eye-fucked by every shiny-suit-wearing, stockbroker asshole in the bar.

Do I sound bitter? I’m sorry. But downtown stockbroker bars always get to me. Aren’t brokers just used car salesmen in fancier suits? If they’re so great about picking stocks, why aren’t they home counting their thousand dollar bills earned from gold-laden investments, rather than selling advice to others?

I was minimally grateful that tonight’s catch wasn’t a stockbroker.

Speaking of which… My target had just noticed me. It took the leering pig a solid minute to work his way up to my face. At least this cheater looked exactly like the picture we’d been given: tall, fit, inky black hair slicked back, square jaw, imperious nose. Squinty eyes. One look, and I knew I’d walk the other way if this weren’t a job.

My unsuspecting opponent for tonight was an attorney from the Upper West Side—an entertainment lawyer with a penchant for fucking starlets who hadn’t yet learned to look beneath the three-thousand-dollar wool suit and check for a wolf.

Our non-refundable retainer was forty hours for this job. I’d bet money I could be done in a fraction of that time. Hmmm…maybe I will bet. Soren was always up for a little wager. Of course, it was a win-win for him since it motivated me to finish the job quickly, which, in turn, meant I was free to start another one sooner.

Only, I hoped there wouldn’t be any more jobs like this one. I had an interview for a real job tomorrow night—one that didn’t involve getting pawed on a daily basis—and with any luck, this crap would soon be over.

Sensing Larry the lawyer ogling me across the bar again, I fluttered my lashes as I looked up and shot him my best you’re-a-big-rich-tough-guy-and-I’m-just-a-little-old-stupid-girl smile. Just for fun, I added a twirl of my naturally platinum hair as I hoisted my D cups in his direction. His flat-chested brunette wife had mentioned he favored blondes with big boobs.

You’re in luck, Larry. Ring-a-ding-ding. Come and get it, you dog.

By the time I finished texting Soren about a wager, the courthouse conniver was already at my side.

“You look like you could use a drink,” he said.

I bit my lip and cast my eyes down, feigning shyness for a few seconds, then raised my big baby blues to him. “I don’t usually drink with strangers.”

He offered me his hand. “Garrett Lopresti.”

And so it begins. Lie number one, Larry Mercer.

Putting my hand in his, we shook. “Sienna Bancroft.”

He didn’t let go. “Now we’re not strangers, are we, Sienna?”

I smiled, as if flattered by his attention. As if men being attracted to long legs and a great rack wasn’t the bane of my existence. When my phone buzzed, I knew it was Soren. “Excuse me just a moment.”



Soren: Leo just parked. He should be inside any minute.



Elodie: I’m feeling lucky. Or should I say Larry is feeling he might get lucky tonight with Sienna. What do you say to my wager?



Soren responded seconds later.



Soren: Pull this job off in four hours or less, and I’ll double your fee.



Sorry, Larry/Garrett. You won’t even be copping a cheap feel tonight. But what you will be getting…is exactly what you deserve.

I tossed my phone into my purse and tilted my head coyly. “Did you mention a drink?”

Sometimes I felt badly about what I did. There were two sides to every story, and we only got to hear one of them. On occasion, the women who hired us were nasty bitches. Although that still didn’t give any man the right to cheat. Walk away, Prospective Mr. Cheater. There was always that option.

But then sometimes we got a bitchy wife coupled with a husband that took weeks to secure even the slightest hint of infidelity on camera. I might have felt a touch of guilt with those jobs. But tonight was definitely not one of those nights.

Thirty minutes after Garrett suggested we sit in a booth so we could have privacy, his wedding-ring-indented hand was on my knee under the table. Such a slimeball. Yet I still had to play along, knowing Leo wouldn’t be able to catch the hand with his video camera on the other side of the bar.

I wanted his hand off my knee.

I wanted him away from me.

So I played dirty. The camera wouldn’t be able to capture what I said.

He’d been staring at my lips the last few minutes like he was about to devour them. I hated when any of my jobs kissed me on the mouth—or kissed me at all, for that matter. So a little push in the right direction was definitely in order. The bastard opened the door, enabling me to kick him right through.

“So whatta you say we get out of here?” he suggested. “Go back to your place?”

I leaned in and lowered my voice. “Don’t I get to sample the goods before I take them home?”

“Gorgeous, you can have anything you want. What do you have on your mind?”

“Well…” I pushed my arms tight against my sides, causing my breasts to pop up and out of my already low-cut blouse, showcasing a ridiculous amount of cleavage. His eyes followed. “My neck is very sensitive. I like the skin under my ear sucked.”

“I can do that. But what are you going to suck for me in return?”

I swallowed the bile in my throat and forced a smile. “Whatever you want.”

I didn’t even have a chance to brace myself before he was on me. His mouth went straight for my neck. I let him get in a few disgusting kisses and sucks before I glanced over to where I knew Leo was positioned. He gave me a curt nod, and I shoved Larry back and lied through my teeth.

“That feels so good. Let’s just go to my place. I’m dying to give you a good suck, too.”

“Lead the way.”

“Give me two minutes to go to the powder room so I can freshen up.”

He took my hand and cupped it around his hard-on through his pants. “We’ll be right here waiting for you. Hurry.”

“Oh, I will.”

My departure was always well planned in advance. A few days ago, I’d stopped by the bar and found an emergency exit at the end of the hallway that led to the bathroom. Since it was at the back of the building, I’d parked my car on the street behind the bar.

Pushing open the door, I strutted through and took a deep breath of fresh air. I was going to have to go home and shower after having that guy’s lips on me. But for now, I was done. I texted as I walked to my car.



Elodie: Done. There’s a sucker born every minute.



Soren responded quickly.



Soren: Are you referring to me because of our bet or Larry the lawyer?



Elodie: Both. Thanks for the extra cash. See you payday.

***

Bang!

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