Wicked Flirt (Happy Endings Book Club, Book 9)

By: Kylie Gilmore
Happy Endings Book Club Series, Book 9



Chapter One

Lexi Judson had reached her limit of lovey-dovey couples. The only reason she’d shown up for the Clover Park Valentine’s Day dance was because her friend Sabrina wanted her there for her big proposal to Logan Campbell. It had turned into a double proposal—Sabrina and Logan had surprised each other with rings, proposing at the same time. Yay for romance and all that crap.

She blew out a breath. She couldn’t bail until she was sure she’d introduced herself to everyone she didn’t know and, if it seemed appropriate, share that she was now a freelance event planner. So far no good leads. She’d been happy as a corporate event planner at Victoria’s Events in New York City, and the news that the small company was closing down for good had been a shock. Victoria’s fiancé had gotten an unexpected job opportunity in Paris, and they were leaving in two weeks. Boom. Victoria’s Events was no more. And did Victoria think about what that would mean for the rest of them being suddenly unemployed? No! She just followed her heart, shut down the office, and screw everyone else.

Lexi had immediately started a massive and desperate job search. No one was hiring. Her severance pay and paltry savings were enough to get her through two months at the most, if she was really frugal. She would not be moving back in with her parents or any of her friends. She couldn’t deal with being an interloper in one of her friends’ love nests.

So here I am, networking at a Valentine’s Day dance, as you do.

She scanned the room, quickly skipping over the slow-dancing couples on the dance floor, her eye catching on Marcus Shepard, one of the honorary brothers glued to the Campbell family. The worst one. He was leaning down, smiling and flirting with a young blonde, who looked enthralled. He was a wicked flirt and, if the rumors were true, the lying sort of player who told women he was monogamous when he wasn’t. She despised cheaters. Men like that always let you down. Like her dad and her older brother and her stupid ex.

She turned away, caught the eager gaze of Sabrina’s drunk uncle, a close talker who kept accidentally spitting in her face, and quickly headed toward the bar. Garner’s Sports Bar & Grill had catered the event, and Josh Campbell was behind the bar as usual.

“Hey, Lexi, what can I get you?” He didn’t add his usual charming smile, probably because he’d had a run-in with her friend Hailey earlier, who was his number one frenemy. The pair were frenemies to the death (or bed, whichever came first) and, equally as juicy, their parents, Joe and Brandy, were currently dating. Joe Campbell was Josh’s dad; Brandy Adams was Hailey’s mom. Maybe soon Joe and Brandy would get serious and send Hailey in a tailspin, which would make her ripe for the Josh picking. Muah-ha-ha.

“Just water, thanks.” She’d had her fill of champagne and spiked punch earlier and knew she’d be driving home soon.

He served it up quick.

“Thanks.” She took a sip of water. “Any chance you might need an event planned for St. Patrick’s Day at Garner’s? I’m a freelance event planner now.”

He shook his head. “We do the same thing every year with the green beer and the Irish menu. To be honest, there’s no room in the budget for an event planner. I’ll keep an ear out for you though.”

She tried to keep the disappointment from her voice. “No problem. Thanks.” It had been a long shot. She hadn’t really expected him or any of her friends to need her services.

Josh gestured to the other side of the room. “Try Marcus. The Burrow is doing really well. He gets all the Wall Street big spenders in there, so if you do an event for him, it might even lead to more work for the Wall Street crowd.”

The hair on the back of her neck stood on end. She knew his bar, The Burrow, since she’d been there a few times for parties. It was cool. Still, did she want to work for Marcus, the legendary player? She turned and spotted him flirting with another beautiful woman, this time a brunette, who kept giggling. He smiled at the woman, held up a finger, and pulled his phone from his pocket. His head turned toward her, and he lifted a finger like just a moment.

Me? She looked behind her to Josh.

Josh shoved his phone in his pocket. “I texted him. He’s coming over.”

She gulped. Okay, this was not a problem. She was immune to players. Except she had a type, big muscular men, and Marcus was a prime specimen—tall and wide with huge muscles, a real hulk of a man. This was exactly why she’d kept her distance, so she wouldn’t be tempted.

She stepped away from the bar to a nearby quiet corner and girded her loins. Be polite. No, be professional. And pretend you don’t care that he’s hit on every single woman here. They’d met before a few times at parties, where he’d hit on all of her friends. Not her, though, never her. Like she cared. She would’ve shot him down in a hot second. Really! Professional in three, two, one…

Marcus went straight to Josh, who told him something and then gestured over to her.

She lifted a hand with a small smile.

Marcus strode toward her, and she steeled herself for impact.

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