Adler and Holt
Copyright © 2013 Adler and Holt
Edited by Ginger Fraser
Cover Art by Adler and Holt
All rights reserved.
Glass Towers Book 1: Champagne Showers
Glass Towers Book
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following word marks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Jeep, Aston Martin, Juicy Couture, Chanel, Jack Daniels, Lifetime, Cayman Airways, TiVo, Ferrari, Delta Airlines, Cayman Airlines, DVF, Dolce and Gabbana, Barefoot Bubbly, Tom Skerritt, Picket Fences, Gilles Marini, Richard Gere, Frank Sinatra, Bob and Delores Hope, YSL, Hulu, The Jerry Springer Show, The Bachelor, Pandora,
We would like to thank
our friends and family who have supported us and helped to make this book possible. (you know who you are)
To our beloved readers, we greatly appreciate you!
We are eternally grateful to our wonderful husbands and amazing children for your patience and understanding throughout this process. Without your love and support, none of this would be possible.
Thank you to
Angela Lamondi for your contributions.
Goodbye unknown caller. Goodbye Harrison.
All he hears is a beeping and then a voice says, “Call failed.”
After throwing my phone in the ocean, I sit back on the log and have the biggest cry I have had since my dog,
Barney, died when I was nine. After sobbing uncontrollably for at least the better part of an hour, I stagger back to the house. I have a lump in my throat and need a glass of water. I take the glass back to my room. I undress and take a quick, steaming-hot shower. I crawl into bed and sob myself to sleep. I sleep straight through my crazy parents coming home and through Stormy jumping into bed with me. I awake the next morning disoriented. For one brief second, I have forgotten all of the previous day and the end of Harrison and me. When my mind snaps on, the despair sets in and the tears return. I don’t notice that Stormy is in bed with me, until I feel her snout nuzzling my head. I reach up to pet her and find a brief moment of solace. Then the guttural sobs ensue. My mom hears my sobbing from the kitchen. She knocks lightly, cracks open the door, and pops her head into the room. One look at me, and she comes rushing forward, yelling for my dad to get in here.
With my parent
s’ shoulders to cry on and several days of them pampering and waiting on me hand and foot, I feel stable enough to return to Portland and to my condo. I leave early in the morning and arrive before lunchtime. Once inside my condo, I look around nervously to assure myself that nothing has been disturbed. Once I feel comfortable enough, I proceed to sit down to my laptop and catch up on emails. I need to head to the mobile store at some point today to replace my damned phone. It feels weird not having a phone. While at the beach, I used my mom’s phone to contact Simone and let her know my whereabouts. I used Mom’s computer to make sure there weren’t any urgent business matters awaiting my attention. Other than that, I shut myself off from the world. I shut myself off from Harrison.
I open my personal email and notice there are dozens of emails from Harrison.
I just can’t bring myself to open them presently, so I decide to just leave them for the moment. Maybe later, I will look at them--or maybe later I will just delete them all.
I do notice one
message from Simone that intrigues me. The subject says: Brace yourself. So I do. I open the email and scan over it. It is a reaffirmation of what I already confirmed by Harrison, himself, a week ago. Attached to the email, is a copy of the official press release. I don’t read the whole thing, but it states that Harrison is, indeed, engaged to the Wine Witch, and though the date has not yet been set, it is expected to happen by the New Year. The Towers and Devereauxs are thrilled to bring the two families together. I feel a bitterness forming in the back of my throat. Why couldn’t Harrison have been honest with me? It sickens me further to think that I have completely fallen for him. I can’t help but to wonder why he bothered with the charade at the winery. If he was planning this engagement the entire time, why would he flaunt me in front of her and the entire world at the gala? There is so much that doesn’t make sense, but at the end of it, he is due to marry her by the end of the year. Well, he isn’t one for a long engagement, that’s for sure.
I feel the tears threatening
, I take a deep breath, and email Clarke to let her know that I don’t want her to forward anything else. It hurts too much, and it’s insensitive. I also let her know that I will message her later in the day, when I have a new phone number. I log out of my personal email and start to log in to my business email, when, despite my best efforts to stifle my sobs, I start weeping uncontrollably, shuddering at the thought that Harrison has gone from my life. I’m not sure for what I have left to live. I’ve lost the excitement I once felt for my business, I have no one but my parents and Simone, and they are too far away to prop me up. I feel so alone and empty. How could I have allowed myself to let my guard down? I chastise myself. If this long-standing situation between Harrison and Wine Witch’s families had existed all this time, then I never stood a chance. I stop sobbing, wipe my eyes, and blow my nose before I move my attention back to the task of checking my overflowing business inbox. I need to throw myself into something, anything other than Harrison.
I scroll down
the list and a second email catches my eye. It’s from Harrison’s personal assistant, Hilary. The subject: Appointment confirmation. I open it and scan the email then gasp.
They’re still expecting me to execute the decorating for the new space that HQ is moving into in just a few days. No way! I will not do this job! The pit in my stomach is growing to the size of a watermelon! I send Hilary a message, explaining that it would be best if they find a more suitable designer for the job. I hit send, get up from my chair, and walk over to the fridge. I pull out a bottle of wine and don’t even stop to notice whether it’s white or red. I grab a water glass off the counter, pour the contents into the sink, and replace it with a generous helping of wine. I take a large swig of it, wishing it was something stiffer. After a couple more sips, I feel a little calmer. I lay down on my sofa, and before I know it, I have fallen into a deep, but disturbed, sleep. I dream that I am running on the beach and someone is chasing me. Winded, I look back every few seconds, but all I can see is the outline of a figure. The shape has no face or features to clue me in to the identity of my pursuer. Just as a dark hand reaches out to grab me, I wake with a start. I wipe the drool off my chin and sit up. I notice an envelope dancing across my screen. Yeah, yeah, I’ve got mail. I open my computer and find a few recent emails from my new clients in Lake Oswego, it appears that they are thrilled with my suggestions and are ready to move forward. Well, that’s a piece of good news, a much-needed distraction. I look at the next email to find a response from Hilary. I hold my breath and open the email.
From: Hilary Durand
To: Danielle Austen
Sent: Mon, Sept.26, 2011 1:23 PM
Subject: Appointment Confirmation
Thank you for your prompt response. I shared your email with Mr. Towers and he respectfully declines your resignation from this project. He feels that you are the best designer for this job. He also indicated that since our move is scheduled for next week it would be nearly impossible to find a suitable replacement. He is expecting you Wednesday at 10:00 AM at the Rogue Towers Suite to cover final preparations.
On a personal note Danielle, I beg of you that you complete the project. My sanity is at stake.
Talk soon, I hope.
Harrison Tower’s Personal Assistant
Towers Holdings, Inc.
Damn it! What does she mean
sanity is at stake? Why should I care about
sanity anyway? My own sanity is seriously in peril at the moment, and I’m supposed to care about her?!
I sit there
, staring at the computer screen for what seems like an hour. I don’t want to meet Harrison at the damned building so we can discuss his fiancé’s fucking office. They can do it themselves. He’s screwed me over so why should I help him out?
From: Danielle Austen
To: Hilary Durand
Sent: Mon, Sept.26, 2011 2:45 PM
Subject: Appointment Confirmation
I can’t do it under the circumstances and maybe Mr. Towers should have thought of that before his trip to Montreal.
Then I hit send, smiling to myself.
There, I feel a little better.
My mind wanders. Maybe, considering my new clients, I can afford a vacation. I seriously need to get away and leave everything behind me for a week. Maybe, I should go somewhere tropical, where I can hook up with someone tall, dark and mysterious. Maybe, I should hook up with someone who doesn’t even speak English, so I don’t have to communicate with anything more than physical attraction. Who am I kidding? That will never happen to me. It’s not as if I would seriously have a vacation tryst. Now, back to reality, I need a new phone, so I head off to phone store.
“Here is your new phone, Miss Austen, and the new number is printed right here on the paperwork. Is there anything else I can do for you?” The cashier hands me a bag with my new smart phone, along with the contract.
I shake my head and mumble thanks to the clerk.
Out of my own stupidity and anger, my phone now lies on the sandy ocean bottom, with my SIM card, containing all of my contacts. Now comes the shitty part of recreating all of those personal and business contacts that I had collected over the years. I’ll take the suggestion of the flirty young sales clerk, Colin, and download my latest bill in an attempt to re-create my former contact list. I have a collection of business cards and emails that I can also use. No, it won’t be too difficult, just time consuming. However, I have plenty of time on my hands, now that I’m not seeing Harrison.
After I return from the phone store, I lock myself in my condo
, conducting a quick sweep to make sure all is clear. I set the bag, containing my new phone and contract, down on the ottoman in my living room and refill my glass of wine.
After a glass of wine,
I grab my new phone and set to programming numbers into it . I start with a stack of business cards, then I go into my email contacts and add them. I set the phone down on the kitchen counter to refill my wine glass.. Cheers to Harrison Towers, I say to myself. Congratulations on your nuptials! I’m now going to drink myself into oblivion. I hear an unfamiliar buzzing and look incredulously at my phone. Who the hell could be calling my new phone? I haven’t sent out the blast yet to give everyone my new number. I pick up the phone… Fucking Unknown Caller.