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Bad King (Ebook)

Bad King (Ebook)

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King couldn’t stop staring at her mouth. 

He took another swig of whisky, relishing the smooth burn as it traveled down and settled in the pit of his stomach. 

She sat up slightly and smiled at him, a wooden smile that didn’t reach her eyes. He’d seen that particular look plenty of times on his mother’s face when his father was droning on about something or other. 

“You’ve already decided you’re going to say no.”

Surprise flickered in her eyes before she glanced away. Her fingers wrapped around her glass but there was nothing left but ice. 

“Look… King. I don’t want to be rude but I have a feeling whatever you’re going to ask me probably isn’t something I want to do.”

“Oh really? You don’t like parties?  Or eating exquisite cuisine? Or shopping for clothes and shoes that you don’t have to pay for?  The job comes with a clothing allowance.”

She dipped her head. “Go on. Not that I’m interested or anything.”

King pressed his lips together to stifle a grin. “My parents have decided that I need to settle down. I’m the CEO of the family business and as a result, I haven’t had much time to meet anyone.”

“They’re probably just worried about you,” she said. 

He grimaced. “That may be the case. But they’ve also decided that they’ll hand control over to my little brother if I don’t settle down. My little brother who at this very moment is probably out drinking, sleeping with anything on two legs and generally being as much of a spoiled brat as possible.”

Angel didn’t say anything but he could tell she was listening because she’d angled her head closer to him. It was impossible not to notice how long her eyelashes were or how the tips of her long, wavy hair brushed her lower back. She’d changed into street clothes but he could still see her sweet curves even beneath jeans and a leather jacket. 

“So, you need me to pretend to be your girlfriend? Come on. That only works in the movies. You don’t think your parents will find it suspicious that you suddenly have a girlfriend? They’re going to know you’re just pretending to placate them.”

“I know.” 

Her mouth puckered into the most adorable little pout. Damn he was going to enjoy this. His parents would be appropriately scared off by her smart mouth and would leave him, and his position at Kingsley International, alone. Meanwhile, he was going to enjoy having that smart mouth all over him. He’d never been so happy about his parents meddling before. 

“Okay, maybe I’m just tired or perhaps there actually was vodka in the cranberry juice but I don’t get the point of this. Why bother having me pretend to be your girlfriend if your parents are going to know what you’re doing?”

He couldn’t resist anymore so he tapped her softly on the end of the nose. She gasped softly and a faint flush covered her cheekbones. 

“Because, my sweet angel, my parents know me well. They aren’t expecting me to fall in love. They just want me to marry for appearances sake. My parents aren’t in love either. My mother’s family had some corporate holdings that my father’s family was interested in. So they married and now Kingsley International is one of the biggest banking and investing firms in the world.”

“That sounds very cold.”

“They seem happy enough. But apparently not so happy that they keep their nose out of my business. So here’s the deal. I have a meeting next month with some important European investors. I’ve spent years preparing for this deal. There is no way I can let them pull me off now and stick Colin in there.” He winced at just the thought.  

“Who’s Colin?” Her question brought him back to the matter at hand.

“My little brother. I love him but he’d fuck it up and then I’d have to spend another five years cleaning up the mess by the time my father comes to his senses. I have worked so hard for this. Everyone thinks I got my position just by virtue of my last name but my father made me prove myself every step of the way. I’ve been at his knee since I was a child learning the ins and outs of our business. While everyone else was partying, I was studying finance and economics, preparing for when I’d finally be old enough to take over. This job is all I have.”

He stopped talking to find her watching him, stunned. Embarrassed by how much he’d just revealed, he cleared his throat. 

“The point is, I don’t have time for this. So let’s just play the game for a few weeks and keep my parents happy. You’ll get to shop, eat and basically do whatever the hell you want on my dime the entire time. It’s a pretty decent deal.”

She made a face. “Are you really going to pretend you don’t have a long list of girls who’d be more than happy to wine and dine on your tab?”

Uncomfortable, he took another swig of his drink. How could he explain things without sounding like even more of an entitled jerk than what she already thought?

“I’ve had girlfriends, sure. But this is just a short term thing.”

She snorted. “Of course. Wouldn’t want any of them getting the wrong idea. They might actually think you gasp liked them! How inconvenient.”

“Did you just say gasp? As in, actually say the word out loud?”

“Did you just say you can’t ask any of the girls you already know because it would be hard to get rid of them afterward?” She pantomimed putting her fingers down her throat. 

Oh yeah, his father was going to shit a brick when he brought her home.

“I didn’t actually say that but if we’re being blunt, then yes. Giving someone false hope doesn’t seem like the kindest thing to do.”

She shrugged. “Well, I guess that’s true. But it doesn’t mean that I’m participating in this nonsense either. Good luck!” She stood and straightened her jacket.

“I’ll pay you ten grand for the month,” he blurted out. 

Her mouth fell open. “How much?”

Normally an expert negotiator, King couldn’t believe he’d just thrown a number out there with no forethought. She was already going to hose him in clothing and spa charges so he hadn’t been planning to offer any kind of salary. After all, what woman wouldn’t jump at the chance to buy all the clothes, shoes and whatever other shit women bought on someone else’s credit card? 

“You heard me. Are you in or what?” It came out more aggressively than he’d intended but he was still grouchy about being put in a corner. 

The bartender leaned over, interrupting their tense standoff. “You ready to close out, Livvy?”

She pulled her eyes away from his and handed over some cash. “Yeah, I’m done Jeb. Keep the change.”

“You got it.” The bartender glanced over at him so King pulled out his wallet and handed over the first credit card his fingers touched. “Charge her drinks to my tab. Keep the cash for yourself.”

The bartender didn’t look impressed at his largesse but took the card. 

She crossed her arms. “Okay.”

“Okay,” he echoed. “You’ll do it?”

She nodded and pulled out a small business card from the inner pocket of her jacket. “Here’s my card, my cell number is on the back. Let me know when you need me. Don’t worry about the clothes. I’ve got that covered.”

She turned and he reached out before he thought, panicked at the thought of her leaving without him. He wanted to walk her to her car and make sure she was safe, a completely alien feeling, but the bartender still had his card so instead he stood there patting her arm like an idiot. 

“He called you Livvy.” 

Her lips curled up. “You didn’t really think my name was Angel, did you?” She stuck out her hand. “Olivia.”

He shook it. “Olivia. I’ll call you tomorrow, Olivia.”

She winked. “I’ll answer.” 

People moved out of the way as she walked though the crowd, as if they too could sense the power in the swing of her hips. There was something hypnotic about the way she moved. It made him think he could enjoy watching her do anything and not just the dirty things he’d been unable to stop imagining the entire time they were talking. He’d love to watch her dance when she thought no one was watching, or sing in the shower or wiggle that perky little behind while she brushed her teeth in the morning. The door to the pub swung shut behind her and King groaned. 

“You don’t look so good.” The bartender held out his card, watching him with a knowing smile on his face.  

“I’m not. I’m completely fucked.”

Series Information

The Kingsleys

  1. Bad King
  2. Bad Blood
  3. Bad Deal

A new twist on Pretty Woman from the NYT & USA TODAY bestselling author of Blue-Collar Billionaires. When his overbearing father threatens to disinherit him, this titan of industry knows exactly how he wants to play the game! 

My parents just put a gold digger’s target on my back.

They want me married and they’re threatening the company I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into. But I’m a Kingsley. I’m the Kingsley. I have no problem playing hardball because no one knows how to play the game like I do.

If all they want is a wedding, I’ll find the fiancée of their nightmares. Too loud, too blonde and ready for a good time. Let the games begin.…

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  • Billionaire
  • Fake Dating
  • Enemies to Lovers
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