*Your Affiliate Disclosure Statement goes here.

Mixed Up with the Millionaire Episode 1

Tinsley﹒

I am a goddess without worshippers. Not like a narcissist, but as in a geek goddess. Bold and funky clothes comprise my shield and armor. My weapon of choice: a computer I wield more capably than most of my male colleagues. And renaissance paintings better depict my body than modern magazines.

A lethal combination for mere mortal men apparently.

Delicate male egos being what they are, I’ve lost count of the crass and flat-out rude comments I’ve received over the years as a contracted IT consultant.

But not for much longer…

With a devilish glee of laughter and a dramatic punch to the enter key, I logged out of the Abacas Consulting portal for the last time. No more criss-crossing the country. No more clients with zero computer skills mansplaining how I should do my job.

Next week, when I joined my partners, Piper and Sydney, full-time at Daring Designs, I’d have a say in who I worked with and where.

And not a moment too soon. Prospect calls into the new office had increased over the last few weeks, and I juggled as much as I could while completing my contract with Abacus. My presence at the office was not only eagerly anticipated but sorely needed with Sydney leaving for her honeymoon in two days.

After packing the Abacus laptop and all its accessories into a FedEx box, I sealed it. I’d drop it off on my way over to Sydney’s house. I collected the bags from my bedroom, the shipping box, and hurried to the garage.

My phone buzzed in my pocket. Probably Sydney calling to ask if I was on my way. Tossing my overnight bag and Goddess of Honor emergency kit into the backseat of my 1992 classic Mini-Cooper with Union Jack hardtop, I swiped without looking.

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” I said, laying out my garment bag to prevent wrinkling.

Silence hit me back before a too familiar voice spoke. “That’s good because you’ve been avoiding me.”

Goosebumps rippled across my forearms despite the warm April air. I scoffed at my body’s response. Traitor. I did not have time for any Everett Carson crap. That tie severed when I logged out of Abacas. He was officially some other consultant’s bain of existence.

I slid behind the wheel, trying to ignore the heat radiating in my chest as it often did when I dealt with Everett. Not as in all hot and bothered. No, this was more like the potent desire to ram a spit up his ass and roast him over a campfire.

But I no longer had to duck his calls or devise new ways to play dodgeball when I physically visited his businesses. “My contract is over. I’m no longer at your beck and call. Go bug your new computer tech. I have to go.”

He responded with a too confident chuckle. “I am speaking to my new consultant.”

“Not funny. I have to go.” I popped in my AirPods and mashed the Bluetooth button hoping the call disconnected.

“You said that already.”

No such luck. “It’s been nice and quiet these last few months. Why did you have to ruin it?”

“You know why.”

This. This was why I went out of my way to avoid him. Starting my car, I backed out of the garage, suppressing the urge to toss my phone under the tires and pretend it was his face. But my life was on it and I couldn’t go an hour without it.

Releasing a heavy sigh, I tried again to end the call before I got lost in the weeds. “It’s been great catching up, but I have a busy weekend that started twenty minutes ago.”

“Then I’ll see you there.” He chuckled again.

“See me where?”

“At the wedding.”

What. The. Frack.

As much as curiosity poked at me, I wouldn’t ask. Otherwise it might sound like I cared. And I don’t. It killed me, but instead I said, “Okay, then, I’ll see you soon.”

Before I could have the satisfaction of hanging up on him, the rat bastard ended the call first.

“Siri, call Sydney.”

“Oh, great,” my ex step sister, BFF, and bride-to-be said breathlessly when she picked up. “Can you stop by the jewelers? I ran out of time. You’re on your way, right?”

“Yes.” I let her excitement abate as I changed lanes to turn at the light. It was her weekend after all. “I know your brain is locked on wedding details and the countdown, but I just had the strangest call.”

“Oh, yeah?” she said, half-distracted as the sound of rifling came through.

“Everett.”

Silence. No rifling. No breathing. “There’s something I might have forgotten to mention. A couple of things actually. Oh, Tins, don’t kill me. I’m claiming a bridezilla moment.”

Her contrition set off all my warning bells. “What?”

“I signed him as a client.”

I caught the light turning yellow and slammed on my brakes, much to the chagrin of the car behind me. The offended driver thanked me with a blaring honk and middle finger salute. I tightened my grip around the steering wheel. “Un-sign him.”

“We can discuss it when you get here.”

The bulldog bobblehead on my dash mocked me as indignation blistered my chest. I was a partner in the company and had a say in our clients. “No, Syd, no. We’re going to hang up. You’re going to call him back and undo this deal. I cannot work with him.”

“Ummm.”

“What,” I said again, not expecting this one to garner more sympathy than the last.

“He bought a new property and wants us to do the redesign. No mention of computer work. Although I expect it will be the standard internet setup. You’ll never have to see him if you don’t want to.”

“How could you?” It was whiny and rhetorical.

Sydney had started her own architecture firm, Daring Designs, a year ago. As the projects increased in number and scope, Piper joined as the interior designer. Now I was coming on board to provide smart home, computer, and security expertise. As a baby company, we couldn’t afford to turn down jobs because I had an uncomfortable relationship with a client.

“Why do you hate him so much?” she asked, picking the thought straight out of my brain.

“I don’t hate him.”

The discomfort wasn’t from any sort of creepy vibe, which was more than I could say for some of my other Abacus clients. There had been days I worked harder at not slapping the arrogant smirk off Everett’s face than ensuring his IT systems hummed like magic.

“He rubs me the wrong way with his superior attitude.”

Sydney laughed. “His rich, handsome, intelligent, and wears competence better than his Tom Ford suit attitude? Is that the one you’re referring to?”

“Yes. No. It’s just better if we don’t interact.”

Ever.

The light changed to green and I turned onto the street for Sydney’s last-minute errand. I shook out my hands trying to convince the rest of me to relax too. “I’m pulling up at the jewelers.”

“Thank you. And I’m sorry, I should have told you about his project before now.”

I put the Mini in neutral and mashed the emergency brake, almost forgetting the most important part. “He said he’d see me at the wedding, Since when do we invite clients to personal events?”

I was being oversensitive and pushing it, but damn it, the man was a crumb in my keyboard.

“Piper asked him to be her plus one. She didn’t want to go alone after she and Finn broke up.”

What. The. Frack.?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

about stella becks author image
hi there,
I'm Stella

I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense why-choose stories.

Let's Connect!

BOOK CHAPTERS