Fiancé by Fate
by Jennifer Shirk
Their fake relationship is a twist of fate.
Sabrina Cassidy believes in fate. So when her fiancé breaks off their engagement, she’s convinced they’ll get back together eventually. But fate was not on her side when it brought Jack Brenner into her life—and work. Frustrating, gorgeous, and cocky, Jack has an offer that Sabrina can't refuse. Not if it means getting the life she’s always imagined.
Despite being one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, Jack has a reputation that’s working against him. He has to convince his father—and his company’s board—that he’s ready to settle down if he wants a promotion. But convincing Sabrina to be his fake girlfriend turns out to be the easiest part. What he didn’t count on was their intense attraction and how easily their lie would escalate.
Sabrina’s still hung up on her ex, and Jack will never settle down.
But fate has other ideas…
Jack gazed across the table at her. Sabrina seemed intent on playing with her dessert and hadn’t noticed him watching her. The night was chockfull of surprises. It wasn’t every woman who knew just as much about baseball as he did and even enjoyed discussing it. This was the most mellow he’d seen her. Usually she was all wrapped up in anxiety and spreadsheets, which was why he couldn’t resist egging her on whenever he had the chance. She made it almost too easy. And way too much fun.
There really was nothing sexier to him than a woman all riled up with anger. It was just another form of passion in his book. And Sabrina seemed to have more than an average share. Especially when she looked like she could melt an iceberg with the heat radiating from those baby-blue eyes of hers. The way her cheeks flamed pink and those soft, generous lips of hers pouted and got all—
Uh-oh. Where’d that thinking come from?
Mother of mercy, who knew she had such deadly precision with that mouth of hers? Something had ignited between them from the moment their lips had touched. He knew it was wrong, yet here he was wishing those lips were on his again. What an idiot he was. He couldn’t involve himself with her. Hell, she barely liked him. And she was engaged.
Jack continued to study her. There was something mesmerizing about the way the candlelight reflected in her dark hair—how it flowed just slightly past her shoulders and looked smooth and glossy, like rich, melted chocolate. He was struck with an irresistible urge to reach out and feel it.
And that’s when he decided to call it a night.
“All right, let’s get you home,” he announced.
Sabrina didn’t lift her eyes from her dessert she was making fork tracks through. “What about the check?” she murmured.
“It’s already paid.”
She frowned. “But I told you I wanted to go Dutch.”
Jack sighed. Doesn’t this woman ever turn it off? Four sheets to the wind and she was worried about paying her share. “No, friends go Dutch. Fake girlfriends get their meals paid for by their fake boyfriends. Now let’s get out of here.”
Sabrina finally looked up with huge innocent eyes, the corners of her mouth sagging south. “Didn’t you like your dinner?”
“Of course I liked my dinner.”
“Then why are you so crabby?”
Because I can’t stop thinking about those mouthwatering lips of yours and the way they moved against mine. Happy? Although, if he confessed that little nugget of truth, he doubted she’d be happy at all. “Um, you didn’t offer me any of your cheesecake.”
She let out a beautiful laugh. “You had your own cheesecake.”
The way her smile burst through like sunshine had the direct opposite effect on his mood. “What can I say? I like to eat,” he said tightly. “Come on.”
“Is David still here?” she whispered.
“No, he left about twenty minutes ago.”
Her fork dropped with a clank. “What? Did he look forlornly over here before he left?”
“I don’t know,” he mumbled. But the truth was David had stared at them all evening. Jack didn’t know why he didn’t feel like sharing that information with her. Maybe because he found David’s actions rude. If Jack were dating Sabrina for real, he would have gone over there and made it known to him.
“How could you not know?” she asked. “You’re supposed to be my eyes and hears.”
He rolled his eyes. “You mean eyes and ears.”
“Oh.” She thought about it and nodded. “Yes, that’s better.”
He had to smile. “I thought so.”
She glanced at her watch, and her eyes widened. “I should have called my landlord. I didn’t think I’d be out this late.”
“Your landlord has you on a curfew?”
She shook her head, and it flopped back and forth like a rag doll. “She’s having her apartment painted, and I told her she could stay with me. She’s probably asleep by now anyway.”
“Well, aren’t you Miss Congenial?”
She stared at him with a confused look. “No, it’s Miss Cassidy,” she slurred.
He couldn’t help but chuckle. The woman was adorable—too adorable. “I need a cigarette,” he murmured.
Her little nose wrinkled. “Ugh. You smoke?”
“I used to. Gave it up a few years ago, but still get the urge when I’m stressed. Started smoking in college. Probably the least of my bad habits back then.”
“Why did you start?” Sabrina rested her chin in her hand and gazed at him, all dreamy and sincere—and intoxicated. His eyes drifted to her mouth for the second time. She was doing that sexy-pout thing again.
Jack had to clear his throat. “I don’t know. Probably because it got me through my mom’s death a little.”
She gasped. “You were so young. How did she die?”
Jack frowned. Sabrina obviously didn’t realize he never talked about his mom with anyone. There were certain lines you did not cross with people unless invited. Ever. And she most certainly had not been issued an invitation. But as Jack continued to stare into her soft blue eyes, a small chip of his resolve was taken out.
“She committed suicide,” he finally answered.
“Oh, no,” she whispered in horror. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to tell me that. It was a long time ago. At least it wasn’t messy. She took some pills and never woke up.”
“It was a long time ago, but you still must carry a part of that with you. Something like that you can’t simply turn off.”
Her conviction made him think she spoke from experience. But he didn’t want to share any more of himself with her tonight. He preferred fun and detached—unemotional. He feverishly tried to brush off the way the warmth in her eyes was making him feel. “No, you can’t turn it off, but you can break the nozzle.”
The look on her face told him that line was an instant party killer. But he didn’t want to spend time pouring his heart and soul out to her. It left him too vulnerable. Something he hadn’t been since his mother died.
“Let’s go,” he said shortly and stood up.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.
She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.
Jennifer will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC plus an ebook of first Bliss romance book: Kissing Kendall to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
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