Authors: Maggie Kaye
So Right with You
The Girlfriend Series Chloe
by Maggie Kaye
PUBLISHED BY: Maggie Kaye
COPYRIGHT: 2014 Maggie Kaye
COVER BY: Covers by Cali
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems. This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, events, brands, media, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction.
The writing of
So Right with You
was done with the support of family and friends. I want to thank particularly my husband, my children, my critique partner, Alina K. Fields, and the members of the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writers of America who have supported me throughout this journey, most especially Elena Dillon, Tessa Dare, and Louisa Bacio. I would also like to give special thanks to my friends Jennifer Russell and Kim DeJesus who have encouraged me, allowed me to brainstorm with them and helped with editing. I hope you enjoy Chloe’s story.
Garrett Nolan set the papers on the desk. He had just finished reviewing the Whitfield contract, making sure everything was to his satisfaction. He needed to reach Whitfield to assure him the documents would be sent out that day. He and his administrative assistant, Chloe Lambert, had worked late the night before, getting them ready.
He couldn’t ask for a better assistant. Last night he’d finally ordered her to leave and go home to her fiancé. This time of year was their busiest, and she had been working a lot of overtime. She and her fiancé were about to be wed. They deserved the time together.
Reaching for the phone, he pushed the extension and held the receiver to his ear.
“Come on, Chloe. You can’t possibly hold what happened against me. This was just as much your fault as mine. What did you expect?” a male voice snapped.
Garrett recognized the voice of Trevor Wycoff, Chloe’s fiancé. Realizing that this was a private conversation between his assistant and her fiancé, he started to hang up. Chloe’s next words stopped him.
“What I didn’t expect was to come home and find my fiancé knocking socks with one of my best friends.”
Garrett raised the phone back to his ear.
“The term is knocking boots. Why can’t you get things straight?”
Garrett stared at the phone in disbelief.
The guy cheats and he’s worried about what term she uses for it? Give me a break
“Anyway, you’re never home. You’re either at work or off planning the wedding. What did you expect me to do? Just sit around and wait for you?”
Perfect. The guy was blaming her for his not being able to keep it zipped. What a guy
. Garrett had never realized it before, but Wycoff was a jerk.
“Don’t you dare blame me. This is not my fault.”
That’s right, Chloe. Let him have it.
“I may have been working late, but it was for
. This is the busiest time of the year for the company. I had to make sure everything was completed before we left on our honeymoon. I thought you understood that.”
Garrett winced. He had never considered the possibility that the long hours Chloe spent at the office would affect her relationship. That didn’t excuse Wycoff, however.
“As for the wedding plans, I tried to include you. You said you wanted me to take care of them.” Chloe’s voice cracked on the line.
Garrett listened as she drew in a deep breath and sniffled.
Oh, jeez. She’s crying. Come on, Chloe. He’s not worth it.
“Besides, we made promises to each other. Didn’t that mean anything to you?”
“Of course it did. But things changed. You were busy.”
Garrett knew he should hang up, but he couldn’t help himself. He was like a witness to a train wreck, and he couldn’t pull himself away.
“Why didn’t you tell me? Why cheat?” Chloe asked. “I still can’t believe you and Ashley were doing it.”
Garrett heard Trevor release a heavy sigh.
“We didn’t mean to hurt you. Things just happened. We had planned on telling you.”
“Really, Trevor? When? We were planning to get married in three weeks. The invitations have been sent out. We’ve started receiving wedding presents. Just when did you plan on telling me? At the altar? On our honeymoon?”
She ran out of steam. Silence followed.
Finally, Trevor spoke. “Look, Chloe. I’m sorry. Ashley and I plan to stay in the condo. As soon as we’re able, we’ll buy you out.” There was a slight hesitation before Trevor let drop his last remark, as if even he recognized what a jerk he was being. “I need the engagement ring back.”
“That’s just wonderful, Trevor.” Chloe said sarcastically. “I’ll arrange to have the rest of my things moved out as soon as I figure out where I’m going to live.”
She slammed the receiver down, nearly bursting Garrett’s eardrum.
Chloe couldn’t say which hurt more, her fiancé cheating on her or her friend betraying her. She wondered how long it had been going on. What did it matter? Her relationship with both of them was over. Not only had she lost a fiancé and a friend, apparently she was now homeless. She couldn’t stay there, anyway. She could still picture Trevor with his pants down around his ankles while Ashley gaped at her over his shoulder from on top of the dining room table Chloe had just finished paying for. She and Trevor had purchased the table for their first Thanksgiving with Trevor’s parents. She imagined Trevor and Ashley serving Christmas dinner together on it. Her stomach turned at the thought.
She hadn’t bothered to tell Trevor he would have to fish the deep blue sea for the ring. Last night, after she’d stormed out after catching them having sex, she had checked into the Oakside Inn. Upon entering the hotel room, she had yanked the ring off and flushed it down the toilet.
She needed to find a place to stay. Renting an apartment by herself was not an option. Most landlords required a security deposit. Nearly all her savings had gone toward the wedding and the condo. She and Trevor had planned a Christmas Eve wedding. With Christmas three weeks away, she couldn’t even afford a plane ticket home for the holidays to sulk. She didn’t want to ask her parents for money, either. As much as they would want to help, money was tight for them as well.
Chloe dropped her head onto her desk. Some merry Christmas. This was not how she had pictured the holidays this year. In the stories her mother had read to her, there was always some fairy godmother ready to make things right. She could sure use one now.
Garrett set the receiver back on its cradle. What a mess! Poor Chloe. He hadn’t realized his assistant had already arrived this morning. She usually came in a little later. He was only here this early because he was finishing the contract.
He had known Chloe for the past three years. He considered her a friend as well as his employee. The cheating bastard had even decided he was entitled to their condo. Garrett knew she couldn’t afford anything else. He had to find out what she planned to do and offer her assistance if she needed it. The problem was how to do so without admitting to having listened in on her conversation.
First he had to be sure she was all right. He pressed the intercom button. “Chloe, could you come in please?”
“Ah. Sure, Garrett.”
What was he doing here? She had planned to call in sick and had only come in to get her laptop. The laptop was her lifeline to the world and contained all her contacts, including those for the wedding. She needed it to begin canceling the arrangements. She had left it here last night when she had gone home to surprise Trevor. Some surprise.
After she’d gotten to the office, Chloe had decided to call the condo to see if the coast was clear and Trevor was gone. She was still wearing the navy-blue jersey dress she’d had on last night when she’d walked in on the two of them. She needed to pick up her clothes but had no desire to risk running into him. She was too angry and hurt to deal with him.
Her plan would have worked, too, except for three things. First, when she had turned on her cell phone, the power was dead, so she’d used the company line. Second, Trevor was home. Ordinarily, he left for work early since he was working his way up the corporate ladder and was out to impress his boss by being one of the first to arrive. However, with Ashley there, he’d naturally delayed his departure. Third, Garrett had come in early. How had he known she was here? She didn’t know, but it didn’t surprise her. He always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone.
So far nothing was going her way.
She grabbed a tissue and wiped her eyes. It wouldn’t do her any good for Garrett to find her crying. She was paid to be professional even if her personal life was in the shredder. Besides, if she knew him as well as she thought she did, he would want to punch Trevor’s lights out. He tended to treat her like a kid sister and could be overprotective. Of course, she wouldn’t mind punching Trevor herself, but that wouldn’t solve anything.
Pulling out her compact, she checked her appearance. Her eyes were red rimmed and her nose was an indelicate shade of pink. Her waterproof mascara had not lived up to its claim. Black smudges resided under both eyes, giving her the appearance of a warrior ready for battle, or in her case, a woman done wrong. She dabbed at them with the tissue. She eyed her dress warily, lifting it to sniff. It was wrinkled from sleeping in it and smelled slightly musty. Spotting a grease stain on the hem, she rubbed at it. She assumed it had happened when she’d slammed it in the car door in her hurry to leave last night. She felt like a homeless waif. Technically, she was. With any luck, Garrett wouldn’t notice.
If he did, she could always claim a sudden case of allergies or the mumps. She tossed the tissue in the trash, shoved the compact into her purse, and put on her black-rimmed glasses. Taking a deep breath, she approached the interior door connecting their offices.
Tapping on the door, she called, “Garrett.”
Although his tone was calm, she could tell there was an edge of irritability to it. Now what? He was usually pretty even tempered. But when they were under deadline or when a contract wasn’t going the way he wanted, he could have a short fuse. The thought of another crisis made the muscles in her stomach tighten. She didn’t think she could handle anything else.
He glanced up at Chloe and froze. All right, maybe he hadn’t thought this through. He had never been comfortable dealing with emotional women, and there was emotion written all over Chloe’s face. Damn Wycoff. Now what was he supposed to do? In the past, he bought flowers or jewelry if a woman he was seeing got her feelings hurt. That wasn’t going to work this time.
Some women could pull off looking pretty after crying. Chloe wasn’t one of them. Her face was blotchy red, with black smudge marks around her eyes and on her cheeks. Her mascara had run a lot. Her copper-red hair, which she normally wore in a chic bun, appeared to spring from her head in a cascade of unruly curls. Was that the same dress she’d worn yesterday? From the looks of it, that was a strong possibility. He hated to think it, but she freaked him out in a Sissy Spacek
kind of way.
What was the old saying? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Thank God she wasn’t angry with him. Somehow he had to fix this for her.
“I wasn’t expecting you in this early,” he said.
“I wanted to get an early start. What about you?”
“Just finishing the Whitfield contract. Everything okay? You don’t look well.”
“I think I’m coming down with a little something. It is flu season.” She pushed her glasses up.
The gesture brought his attention back to her face. His eyes locked onto hers. The early morning light reflected in her hazel eyes, catching the golden flecks there. He always liked them. They could be very expressive. He could generally tell how she was feeling from looking at them. Like now, she was staring at him expectantly. Damn. He really needed to come up with a reason for calling her in. Stalling, he pretended to scan the contract in front of him.
“Garrett, was there something you needed? If not, I think I’ll leave early. I’m really not feeling well.”
“I was wondering.” He paused, regarding her uncertainly, not sure how to approach her about what he had overheard. “Everything okay with you and Trevor?”
A pained expression crossed her face and her eyes became watery.
She was on the verge of tears.
Great move, genius. What the hell were you thinking
Her breath hitched. “Uh, sure.”
That was close. He should leave well enough alone. After all, it was none of his damn business. But when he looked again, he saw her glistening, unshed tears.
Chloe wasn’t the type to spill her guts without prodding. If she didn’t open up, he couldn’t help her. He was going to have to press. It was for her own good, as well as his. He couldn’t stand seeing her this way. “Are you sure everything is okay? You seem upset.”
Chloe looked into Garrett’s cool gray eyes and was startled by the concern she noted there. He gave her a weak smile. They had always shared an easy banter. Now he was trying to be extra sensitive with her. Something was up.
When she had first started working for Nolan Enterprises, she had noticed him. Who wouldn’t? Garrett was handsome, powerful, and charismatic. At six-three, he towered over most men. He had dark brown hair that always appeared slightly tousled and in need of a haircut, mostly because he was generally too busy to get one. Today was no different. He impatiently shoved it back as he waited for her to respond.
Something about the gesture reminded her of why he was considered one of Houston’s most eligible bachelors. Her cheeks flushed and her skin tingled with the familiar feeling of desire that sizzled through her. Where was this coming from? This was the last thing she needed.
, a popular software magazine, had named him, at thirty-three, one of the most influential men in the field of technology. She had framed the article and presented it to him. She could easily see him fitting into
magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive category. She would never tell him that. Not only was Garrett hot, he also appealed to the cerebral needs. The combination was inspiring for most women.
However, as desirable as he was, his fatal flaw, at least in her eyes, was that he let few people into his private life. Whether it be his employees or the women he dated, not many got truly close to him. Outside his family, she was one of the few people he let in, probably because he didn’t view her as a threat since she had Trevor. She hoped her current situation didn’t change things between them.
Over time, she had watched him date various women, but no one lasted long. With the jewelry he provided as a consolation prize, none of them seemed to mind much. The media was always capturing his latest fling. Lately, he had been seen with Bethany Moran, a Texas socialite. The whole love—well, more like lust—in the spotlight routine didn’t appeal to her. Although she would never consider dating him, she did value his friendship.