Marry Me for Money by Mia Kayla
Leaving her small town behind, Bethany Casse moves to Chicago in search of a new life. Working at a top financial bank brings her into contact with two men who are as different as night and day. Kent Plack, heir to Plack Industries, has no interest in being with a woman for longer than one night. A spoiled and lazy man-whore, he is completely content with his playboy lifestyle, and Beth is surprised when they form an unlikely friendship.Brian Burcham, a finance banker, is gorgeous and respectful. A man plucked from Beth’s dreams, he is definite husband material. Unfortunately, Beth has a hard rule against dating coworkers, but Brian is determined to change her mind. When a deadbeat mother and money problems follow her to Chicago, Beth is offered a solution that could fix everything. Marrying for money seems simple enough, but when lines become blurred, Beth faces difficult choices, making her realize that the easy way out just made her life even harder than before.
About Mia KaylaMia Kayla is a New Adult and Contemporary Romance writer who lives in Illinois. She is wifey to the husband of the year and mommy to three unbelievable cute little girls who have multiplied her grey hairs. In her free time she loves reading romance novels, jamming to boy bands, catching up on celebrity gossip and designing flowers for weddings. Most of the time, she can be caught on the train with her nose in a book, sporting a cheeky grin because the main characters finally get their happily-ever-after at the end. She loves reading about happy endings but has more fun writing them.
1. The new-car smell filled my nose as I plopped myself down on the black leather seat of his fancy ride. He sat down, all alpha-male like, and placed one hand on the wheel. I noticed his pale yellow polo shirt had a small Burberry logo on his chest, the Burberry pattern peeking out slightly from underneath his collar.
For a brief moment, I felt like an actress in a movie as I sat there in my suit next to a model-looking male in an expensive automobile. In this movie, we were on our first date, heading out for a long drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. I couldn’t help but smile at my own imagination.
“Ready to go?” he asked, flashing a dimple on his cheek.
If this were a date, I would reach for his hand and hold it while he drove off, but obviously, it wasn’t.
“Yeah. Thanks for driving.”
I looked at his dark brown locks above his handsome face. There wasn’t a strand out of place. It really wasn’t fair.
“Let’s grab breakfast in an hour.”
He smiled lightly at me, and I naturally smiled back.
My mind wandered, and I was vaguely curious why he’d really invited me on this trip. Maybe he was interested in me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Although he was obscenely good-looking, lazy and spoiled were definitely not my type.
We were stopped at a red light when he turned and looked directly into my eyes. He was so close that I could smell mint on his lips. I stared, motionless, as I was mesmerized by his long lashes that women everywhere would die for. When he leaned in even closer, I held my breath at his proximity.
“Listen,” he said, lowering his head toward me, “you’re not my type.”
I didn’t know what I looked like at that moment, but I knew how I felt. As heat rose to my ears, I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and hide. It was like that moment when you were walking down the street, staring at a handsome man who had waved at you, and you waved back because you thought he had been checking you out, but really, he’d been waving at the attractive girl behind you. Well, that was how I felt—but worse. I could have walked away from that guy on the street, but this guy was driving me to his father’s company about three hours away. So, not only was I unable to walk away from this situation, I was going to have to sit here and feel mortified for the next few hours.
Oh. My. Word.
I composed myself and mustered all I had inside. “You’re not my type either. You’re just my driver.” It was the truth. I faced forward as humiliation seeped further into my skin. “Go. It’s a green light,” I said as the stoplight changed.
I cleared my throat and sat straighter on my seat. “Mr. Plack, this is not a date. You invited me to visit your facility. I’m here strictly on business—to find out more about your operations and to report your needs back to the bank,” I said, trying to sound professional.
“Miss Casse, my facility?”
He suppressed his laughter, and in return, I turned beet red—again. At that moment, I hated him. I hated his pretty face, his stupid fancy car, and his ability to embarrass me so easily. Most of all, I hated that I had to sit in this car with him for the next three hours.
2. Trance music dragged me closer and closer to the other room. I glanced up at the bouncer who was guarding the roped area separating the rooms. When he sidestepped to let me pass, I wondered if I could get back in again later.
Music filled my ears, and my body started to move to the rhythm. I made my way toward the exterior of the dance circle. Scantily clad bodies moved and swayed against each other. When I felt small hands on my hips, I rotated and noticed a tall, lanky boy dancing to the music behind me. His grip was not overly aggressive, his nearness not as close, so I didn’t resist. I turned around and placed my hands in the air while his hands remained on my hips. I closed my eyes and danced to the trance beat, swaying my hips from side to side.
I didn’t know how long I’d been dancing there when I sensed someone different behind me. I twisted to see a broader male moving to the music. He was more aggressive as I felt his body flush against mine. I advanced closer to the lankier guy in front of me to give the guy behind me a hint, but he just inched forward.
Now sandwiched in the middle of the two men, I tightened up and froze on the dance floor. When I tried to disentangle myself, the lankier guy leaned in for a kiss. I turned my head, and he grazed my cheek. My pulse quickened as I used both hands to shove him away, but he didn’t budge.
The more I tried to disengage myself, the more they pressed me in between them. The guy behind me planted his hands on my behind and slowly down to where my short skirt ended and my bare legs began.
“Hey,” I said, jabbing him with my elbow. My eyes skittered over the area. I thought of screaming, but wondered if anyone would hear me above the deafening music. Probably not.
I used both hands to shove the guy in front of me, but he gripped my upper arms with force.
He smiled, and when I looked into his eyes, they were dilated, and they slightly rolled to the back of his head. Realization that he was high on something set in, and my adrenaline spiked.
Fight or flight rang in my head, and right before I decided I would bite down on his hand and draw blood, I noticed Kent plowing toward us. There was a tightness around his eyes that frightened me.
3. My head was pounding, and the light was shining too brightly in the room. I flipped over, placed the pillow over my eyes, and inhaled the scent of freshly laundered sheets. The smell of the detergent was one I was not familiar with. I opened one eye and took a peek from under the pillow to take in my surroundings.
Immediately, I jumped up to a sitting position, causing my head to spin from the abrupt movement. Glancing under the thick duvet, I saw I was only wearing my underwear and a man’s T-shirt. My heart pounded in my chest as I remembered the last person I had seen was Luke.
In a king-sized bed, fluffy down pillows surrounded me. In front of me was a massive flat screen TV, and at the foot of the bed was a low white couch. One wall was floor-to-ceiling windows while the other was painted a neutral beige. I deciphered that I was in a hotel room.
I could feel the heat building up behind my eyes, tears threatening to spill over. I placed my hands over my face. I was on the verge of crying. I was not this kind of girl. I never drank myself to the point of oblivion where I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before. I cocked my head up as I heard the door open, and when I peered up from my hands, I gave the look of death.
I was surprised to see Kent.
He studied me and scanned the room. Raising one eyebrow, he paced around and stopped in front of me. “Is something wrong? Is someone here?” he asked, his face concerned as he peered over the side of the bed.
I could feel the color draining from my face, and I pulled the covers up to my chin. “No,” I snapped, narrowing my eyes at him. “How did I get here? Why am I only in a T-shirt? What happened last night? Why am I here in this hotel room with you?”
His eyes filled with confusion. “I brought you here. I changed you last night because your clothes were covered in vomit. I have no idea what happened. I found you passed out in my car. This is not a hotel room. This is my condo,” he said in one breath.
He walked toward me, his arms cautious and careful at his sides. “Why are you so mad? Actually, I think a thank-you is in order. Also, I’d like to thank you for leaving vomit that has now hardened on the exterior of my brand-new car.”
“Did we sleep together?” I asked, barely audible. I couldn’t even hear my own voice. I was afraid of his answer, but I needed to know. Panic began to rise within me, and I held my breath.
4. “It’s showtime,” Kent said as he took my hand. He entwined his fingers through mine, pulling me toward the house.
I looked down to our hands and wiggled my fingers. Holding hands with Kent for the first time felt strange, foreign. We’d only linked arms before. Even at the club, he’d grabbed my wrist, not my hand, to lead me through the crowd. The action was so intimate that it felt awkward, and I knew he felt the same because he flexed his fingers and rewrapped them around mine.
He pulled me forward. “Come on, let’s go.”
I froze in front of the door and jerked us both to a stop.
“You can do this. Come on, Beth. Just take my lead.”
Kent punched in a code and walked into the house. “Beth, come on. You have to pretend to like me. Stop looking like you’ve eaten something awful. Giggle like girls do when they are holding hands with the man they love. I’m not sure where my parents are, but you have to look happy. You need to laugh or flirt or something,” he whispered into my ear. “Come on.”
I looked at him and raised my eyebrows “Hee, hee, hee, hee,” I said, emphasizing every word. Maybe my goofiness would calm my nerves.
“Better,” he said, giving me a slight smile. His eyes searched the room for his parents as he shifted from one foot to the other.
“Okay, now, it’s your turn,” I said, turning to face him. “Come on, do it. It’s your turn to laugh like you’re holding hands with the woman you love,” I said, mimicking his words, fluttering my eyelashes. “Come on.” I poked his side with my free hand and laughed.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha.” Both dimples emerged on his cheeks as he turned his head to face me.
“Hee, hee, hee, hee,” I returned. “Now, you have to slap your side like this.” I slapped my hip with the hand he wasn’t holding while I accentuated the exaggerated giggles.
Kent shook his head as his chest rose and fell with genuine laughter. My laughter stopped when Kent’s mother and father stepped into the foyer. His mom’s face lit up as she watched the both of us interact while his father’s face was unreadable.
Kent’s laughter died down, but a small smile still remained as my reaction turned serious. I felt my heartbeat in my ears, and I was barely moving. I realized I’d stepped slightly behind Kent to hide. He jerked our entwined hands to pull me forward, so we were in line.