Conflict of Interest - By Allyson Lindt
Kenzie propositions a sexy stranger in a coffee shop to prove to herself she’s capable of taking a risk. She doesn’t expect him to be sitting across from her the following Monday as her newest client. Even worse, she can’t stop thinking about what might have happened between them on a personal level if it weren’t for their professional relationship. He knows how to push her buttons, and she doesn’t want him to stop.
Scott has built his software company from the ground up to escape things like stuffy old men telling him how to behave, so he loathes his board of directors ordering him to make the public forget he doesn’t have a verbal filter. When his new publicity manager is the almost-fling he never expected to see again, he seizes the opportunity to have fun and still pretend he’s complying with the board’s edict.
Giving in to desire could mean both their jobs, but each “one last time” always leads to another. Now they have to decide what they’re willing to sacrifice to indulge this conflict of interest.
For my eternal dragon.
So many people made this possible—it’s never been a solo journey. First and most important is my muse, my soul mate, and my partner in everything, Ay.
Then there are my amazing and patient critique partners and beta readers. Janeal and Rae—who put up pretty much non-stop with my insanity, bolster my ego, and tell me when I can do it and when I can’t.
Kathryn and Leela Lou, for helping me recognize the ins and outs of this story. I’m glad I found them, and I’m never letting them go.
Dustin, who always asks if I’m still writing.
Breanna, Kate, Laura, Cathy, Mires, Amber, Fadz, Jeff, Jace—and absolutely everyone who’s ever read my work on writing.com. That list alone could go on for pages. Their encouragement drove me through the highs and lows of learning to tell a story.
And my amazing publisher—including everyone there—for giving me the opportunity to realize a dream. For seeing things in my story I worried only I would see, and for helping it become more than I ever could have hoped for. Thank you to all of you and everyone else I’ve encountered on this journey. Things are only getting started.
Kenzie’s sneakers echoed on the pavement, slapping hard with each angry step as she stormed away from her condo. The early morning sun struck her back as it crested the mountains, but it couldn’t chase away her wounded irritation.
There were times when Kenzie envied her sister’s ability to slide into new relationships. Admired the way Riley always found the guys who knew how to have fun. Wished she could let loose like her twin.
Those times never corresponded with Riley showing up on her doorstep at midnight, cheeks smeared with tears and mascara, bags in hand and looking for a place to crash. Even worse, last night Riley had refused to talk about what had driven her from her boyfriend’s apartment.
Kenzie didn’t even know where she was going, just away from home. Away from the vitriol that was Riley’s pissy mood.
An hour ago Kenzie had tried to dig for more information. To help. To nudge Riley into spilling what had gone wrong and maybe offer a little advice in return. Her reward? Insults. An attack on Kenzie’s very person.
Riley’s words echoed in Kenzie’s thoughts, taunting her in rhythm with each frustrated step. Kenzie wasn’t frigid. She’d been the one to leave her last boyfriend for not being able to deliver on the excitement. Just because she was picky about the men she dated didn’t mean she was uptight. Refusing to go out with anyone who thought chartreuse was a flavor of frozen yogurt didn’t make her a horrid person.
And preferring her men clean and publicly presentable didn’t mean she lacked imagination.
Her steps slowed, and she stepped out of the flow of light foot traffic, using a nearby wall for support. Gawd, she really was everything Riley had accused her of. She leaned the back of her head against the brick, staring past the one-and two-story buildings lining the street, absentmindedly watching the pillows of clouds drifting through the sky.
A rich hint of fresh coffee dragged her from her descent into self-pity. Her favorite place was right around the corner. She pushed away from the wall. She could stop in, grab a cup of tea, and focus on all the ways her love life wasn’t pathetic. First way was… Nope, total blank.
Okay, that was a failed exercise.
She pushed into the