Elliot has just made the list of America’s hottest bachelors. A successful business mogul who has made a name for himself in Silicon Valley, Elliot’s life is just about perfect—that is until an incriminating photo of himself appears in a tabloid magazine. If anyone discovers who the other person in the photo is, his career would be ruined.
Penny’s life has been anything but charmed. Struggling to make ends meet, she’s determined to make a better life for herself. Desperate to rescue her little brother from the same troubled life she had growing up, Penny will do whatever it takes to make sure he’s safe. Now that she’s starting an internship at a large corporation, she can only hope this is the start of something better.
And that’s when an asshole named Elliot Faulkner makes her an offer she can’t refuse.
“Elliot,” she said, her voice marked heavily with irritation. She shook her head and crossed her arms. “You want to tell me what the hell you are doing here?”
Shoving my hands in my pockets, I glanced around her tiny apartment. It was clean—spotless. It was simply decorated, but I could tell that she did the best she could to make the place look like a home. Although I hated to admit it, the fact that she lived in such a shitty apartment made me feel hopeful that she would need the money badly enough to take me up on my offer.
“I have a business opportunity for you,” I began.
“Can we… sit down?” I asked, motioning to her couch.
“No,” she said, glaring at me.
“Fine,” I said. “Listen, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve appeared in some of the tabloids recently.”
“I’ve seen,” she responded, looking bored. “Very impressive. Do you have a point?”
“I’m getting there. Here’s the thing—one of the pictures the paparazzi took… looks kind of bad for me.”
Penny stood staring; her face emotionless as she waited for me to finish. The woman made me uncomfortable.
“Alright, so I was out on a date and a picture was taken of me and this woman. This particular woman is someone I shouldn’t be seen with.”
She narrowed her eyes. “And why shouldn’t you be seen with this woman?”
I just knew she wasn’t going to like this part one bit. “Because she’s married.”
“Ew, God,” Penny said, her face twisting with disgust, looking like she was trying not to vomit. “Why am I not surprised.”
Rolling my eyes, I continued. “And she’s not just married. She’s married to Peter Jenson—our companies are in the middle of a major deal. I’m sure you remember me talking about Jenson at work. In the photo, you can’t quite see who I’m with, but people are curious to find out who she is. It’s only a matter of time before they do. If it comes out that I’ve been sleeping with Peter Jenson’s wife, I’m screwed. GreenHealth is screwed. Everything is fucked.”
“And this is my problem because… ?” Penny asked, making me want to throttle her.
“Because I’d like you to pretend to be my girlfriend for a little while.”
Penny made some unintelligible sound in response, her eyes wide with disbelief. “Are you shitting me, Faulkner?”
“Faulkner?” I choked. “Do you honestly think it’s okay to talk to me like that?”
Penny let out a humorless laugh. “I don’t fucking work for you anymore, I can talk to you any way I please.”
“Fair enough,” I said again with a sigh. “Are you interested or not?”
She shook her head, looking repulsed by me. “So, you’re telling me that you want me to pretend to be your girlfriend so that you can continue to get away with screwing some man’s wife?”
I ran my hand over my head. “Basically, yes.”
“You’re sick,” she said, jabbing a finger into my chest hard. “Allow me to make this clear for you: Not. Interested.”
“Why not?” I asked incredulously. Offended, even.
“Why would I want to do you any favors? You’re nothing but a…a…”
“A what, Penny?” I pressed, daring her to insult me one more time.
“A dirty, low-life scoundrel.”
I ran a hand down my face. “So, I’m a scoundrel, huh?”
“Yes. You are.”
This wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped.
“I’ll pay you, of course,” I said quickly, subconsciously glancing around her apartment. “Ten thousand dollars.”
Her mouth hung open for a brief moment before she shut it quickly. Then she said, barely above a whisper, “Ten thousand dollars?”
“Yup. All you have you to do is pretend to be my girlfriend for a little while. That’s it.”
I could tell she was considering this and I started to get my hopes up. How could she not be tempted with that kind of cash? And I was desperate as hell. It would be money well spent if it kept me out of trouble.
“Holy shit,” she said quietly. “That’s a lot of money to pay someone just to get away with having an affair.”
“What do you think?” I asked hopefully.
Finally, she crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head.
“No thank you, Elliot. And I think you should leave. Now.”
The Breakup Plan
by Elle Vaughn
Publication date: December 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Elle Vaughn is an avid book lover – especially romance novels. She’s the author of the Anna and Quinton novella series and is always working on a new story project. When she’s not lost in her character creations she can be found chasing around her toddler, being outside in the Colorado outdoors, gardening and attempting to cook for her family!
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