Mr. Fiance

By: Lauren Landish

It’s fake, but it feels so good.

Oliver Steele is supposed to be my knight in shining armor. He’s tall, handsome, and as cocky as he is rich. With his good looks and charm, no one’s going to suspect a thing. No one’s going to believe our engagement is fake.

But he’s taking this thing way too far. The way he wraps his arm around me like I'm his. The way he kisses me and presses his hard body up against mine. I almost believe that it's real. Almost.

He's doing it on purpose now; he loves that this is getting to me.

Two can play his game, I won’t let him win. By the time our week together is done, I’ll leave Oliver on his knees and begging.

But the minute we’re alone in the bedroom, I know I’m in over way my head. When he undresses me with his eyes, I realize I lost before the game even started. It’s only a matter of time before I lose myself in his touch and let him do whatever he wants to me.

I know what I want, but I can’t tell what’s real anymore

Chapter 1


“Can we get some service over here?” yells a woman who’s seated at one of the tables in the packed coffee house. “You girls are moving slow as molasses!”

I slap the lids down on a couple of cups and place them in a cup holder before taking them over to the counter. I pause for a moment to dab the sweat from my brow with my apron, sighing. My feet ache from running back and forth during the early morning rush and I need a damn break.

Jesus, I tell myself as I force a fraudulent smile on my face. This is the worst morning ever. It’s a blistering hot day in July. The A/C’s shoddy, it’s like 100 degrees outside, and it feels like I’m working in the fiery pits of hell. And to make matters worse, it’s a packed house and I’m running behind. I don’t know how much more of this madness I can take.

“We’ll be right with you, ma’am!” I call out, flashing her an easy smile and a playful wink that hides my irritation. I ring up the order for a man standing at the front of the line and then send him on his way with his two iced coffees. He’s immediately replaced by another man, who spits out his order so fast I almost feel dizzy, barely catching it all. “We’re just running a little behind schedule this morning.”

“Bullshit!” the woman snaps, glowering at the line of people in front of me. She’s a well-kept, middle-aged blonde with an immaculate short hairdo, garbed in fur-trimmed designer clothes that go along with her snobby attitude. “There’s three of you back there, yet I’ve been waiting for over ten minutes for my frap.” She shakes her head, practically frothing at the mouth. “It’s ridiculous!”

A lump of anger forms in my throat. I quickly swallow it back, glancing to the sky. Dear God, give me the strength!

I grit my teeth, my eyes cutting off to the side where the equipment is. I see Cassie, one of my employees, taking her sweet ass time blending something. She’s acting like we don’t have customers piling up out the ass. Throwing her long, brown hair back, she takes in a deep yawn as if she’s tired from working so hard. If she weren’t new, I’d chew her out.

I shake my head.

At least she looks nice enough in our new uniform, a blue skirt that shows a lot of leg, with a white V-necked T-shirt with Beangal’s Den printed over the chest. But looking cute and pretty doesn’t mean shit to me if you’re not getting work done.

Sighing, I look around for Sarah, my other employee, but she’s nowhere to be seen.

Figures, I say to myself. One disappears on me, and the other is moving slower than a snail. Why did I want to be the manager of this place again?

“Ma’am,” I say as politely as I can manage, turning my eyes back on her. I signal to the waiting customer that I’ll be with him in a moment. “I understand your frustration with having to wait, but there’s no need for that language. There are kids in here.” I pause and add, “However, I promise that once you try our world-famous Tiger Caramel Frappuccino, you’ll forget all about the wait. It’s just that good.” I flash her another smile and a wink, hoping to defuse the situation.

“Ha! We’ll see! But if your service weren’t so damn bad, we wouldn’t have a problem,” the woman hotly retorts, ignoring my peace-making attempt and looking as if she’s ready for a fight.

I clench my hands, biting back a sharp response that instantly forms on my lips. Usually, I can handle even the most disgruntled customer with my charm, but this one seems immune to it. And she’s testing my patience.

Taking a deep breath, I draw myself up, then speak in calm, even tones. “Ma'am, if you can’t watch your language, I’m going to have to kindly ask that you leave.”

Steeling myself, I wait for her to challenge me. But surprisingly, she just grumbles, muttering something nasty under her breath as she looks away.

I sigh in relief. I was half-expecting to have to call hotel security to deal with this one.

For the next five minutes, I go back to frantically taking and filling orders. I have to stop three times to tell Cassie to pick up the pace. It does little good. If anything, she moves slower, like she’s silently protesting having to work hard.