Pregnant On The Upper East Side?(4)

By: Emilie Rose

“I’m good at what I do. That’s why you’re hiring me. I brought a list of venues and dates that we can get within the next four weeks. Needless to say, it’s a short list since the most desirable locations book up months or years in advance. I can pull up pictures of the spaces online since the café has wireless Internet access.”

Trying to make connections with vendors on a Sunday had been absolute hell. But she’d done it by calling in every favor she was owed. This job was that important.

“I’ve ordered your usual. Trish said to tell you she’d start your latte when you walked in the door and a fresh batch of muffins would be out of the oven in five minutes.”

Her usual? She’d met Alex here with Julia and Max a few times, but she hadn’t realized he’d noticed she always ordered the same thing. Most likely Trish had told him. “Thank you.”

She set her case on the table and extracted her computer. While the laptop booted up, Alex stepped behind her to help her remove her coat. Each touch, no matter how fleeting, hit her with a charge of electricity. Static electricity, no doubt.

Who do you think you’re fooling?

He draped her coat over his on the spare chair. She sat quickly to get away from his heat and shoved a sheet of paper across the table the moment his behind hit the chair.

“Here are the sites, dates available, room capacities and prices. We’ll have to act fast to snap up whichever one you choose because we’re capitalizing on cancellations. Once we select the location we’ll start on the menus.

“The Metropolitan Club is available for one day only, but I think the Trianon Suite at the Carlyle Hotel would be a better option. That time and date don’t conflict with any of the other high-profile events going on in Manhattan.”

“The Trianon it is.”

That had been too easy. “Do you have your guest list?”

He extracted it from his coat pocket. Amanda took it and scanned the names. Adrenaline rushed through her. If she could convince just two or three of these people to hire her, Affairs by Amanda would be in the black for a long time to come. Alex definitely moved with the in crowd.

A shadow fell across the page. She glanced up and stifled a groan. Curtis, her lying, thieving ex, stood by the table. It took every ounce of civility she had to hide her less-than-happy-to-see-him reaction.

“Hi, ’Manda.”

“Hello, Curtis. I can’t talk right now. Could you please excuse us?”

The jerk didn’t move. “I stopped by your apartment.”

“Curtis, I’m working.”

“Your balloon payment is coming due this week. Do you have enough money to cover it?”

Her cheeks burned. She did not need Alex to know she had financial issues. He might change his mind about hiring her.

“I don’t have time for this discussion now. Later, okay?”

Curtis shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels as if he had no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. “I could loan you some cash if you’re strapped.”

The money Curtis wanted to loan was probably her own. She had to get rid of him. “Why don’t I let you talk to my attorney about that cash?”

She knew she was bluffing, but she saw her threat register in his eyes. And then she saw him dismiss it. His lips curled in a smirk. “Now, ’Manda, there’s no need to get nasty. We both know you’re not interested in making a fuss that would draw your parents’ attention to your…difficulties.”

Damn. Double damn. She glanced at Alex, and his dark, speculative gaze held hers for perhaps ten seconds. Then he shoved back his chair and rose.

She’d lost him, his business and her much-needed fee. Her stomach sank. Amanda racked her brain for a way to salvage the situation and came up empty. She grimaced an apology.

But instead of storming out of the coffee shop, Alex offered Curtis his hand in a friendly gesture. Surprised, Amanda searched his face. The hard glint in his eyes and his looming posture were far from amicable. In fact, she’d never seen Alex look so ferocious.

“I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Alexander Harper, Amanda’s finance attorney.”

Curtis’s eyes widened. His mouth opened. The color leached from his face and he winced. Amanda realized Alex must have crushed his hand. As soon as Alex released him Curtis shuffled back a step. He glanced warily from Alex to Amanda and back, then squared his shoulders.

“Curtis Wilks, Amanda’s boyfriend.”

“Ex-boyfriend,” she corrected. “When you cancelled the lease on our apartment without telling me and then moved out while I was out of town, you ceased to be my anything.”

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