The Has-Been and the Hot Mess - Isabel Jordan

Chapter 1

Whoever said sleeping with the boss was a bad idea was wrong. It was when you stopped sleeping with the boss that the trouble really started.

Kendall Quinn flopped down on the couch next to the battered cardboard box that now represented the remains of her career. Four years as a PR manager with the most prestigious talent representation agency in LA and all she had to show for it was an over-watered Philodendron, a half-eaten container of Tums, and a severance check that wouldn’t even cover her half of next month’s rent.

She kicked off her heels and tossed her iPhone on the coffee table, not bothering to check for messages. Kyle had almost certainly made sure no one would try to contact her—none of her clients, none of her coworkers. She was well and truly screwed.

Metaphorically, of course. Because to add insult to injury, Kyle had been a lousy lay. Bastard.

It wasn’t even like she could turn around and sue him for wrongful termination. Even though he’d all but admitted he’d fired her because it would be uncomfortable for his new girlfriend to have to work with her every day, Kendall had failed to bill the required number of hours for the past two months, which was the official party line for why she’d been terminated.

And as far as party lines went, it was super credible. Especially since she recently lost her biggest client to the hateful little bitch—her protégé, no less—who’d also stolen Kyle from her, making it nearly impossible to bill the required monthly hours.

Getting new clients took time, too. Wining, dining, schmoozing, and convincing Hollywood types to trust her with their precious PR, social media, and crises management wasn’t an easy task. It especially wasn’t easy for someone like Kendall, who had very little control over the filter between her brain and her mouth, which was why she’d lost Lynsay Storm, country music’s flavor of the month, as a client in the first place.

But that wasn’t worth thinking about right now. It was done and there was no going back. What she needed now was a plan for how to recover from this fiasco.

First and foremost? She needed a new place to live. Kyle had given her a month to vacate the townhouse they shared. The miserable asshole didn’t even have the decency to offer her the place as a parting gift, which was just spiteful, seeing as he was staying with his new fuck toy.

She also needed to figure out what she was going to do for work. Because apartments in LA didn’t just magically pay for themselves.

She wished she could pull a Jerry McGuire and try to convince some of her old co-workers and clients to follow her. But the non-compete she’d signed when she was hired by Walker and Patrick PR was iron clad. If she tried to steal any of their clients and employees now that she was a free agent—even though that status had been forced on her—she’d pretty much owe a kidney and her firstborn to the firm’s lawyers.

Even if she could find a way to weasel out of her non-compete, it wasn’t like any of her clients would leave Walker and Patrick for her. Sure, her clients liked her, but Kendall was sure they loved the firm’s endless resources and connections even more.

Honestly, until she ran the out the clock on her non-compete (five years, if she remembered correctly), the best she could probably hope for here in LA was occasional consulting work, or finding brand new, awesome, unrepresented talent.

And finding brand new, awesome, unrepresented talent in this place? Her odds of finding a unicorn with the Holy Grail shoved up its ass were better. Practically every waiter and waitress with a dream and a modicum of talent had representation here in La La Land.

Sweet crap on a cracker, what had she gotten herself into? Had she really lost her career over a douchenozzle like Kyle Walker?

It didn’t escape her attention that nearly every mistake she’d ever made in her twenty-nine years of life could be traced back to a good-looking, smooth-talking, dark-haired, bad-boy asshole.

Losing her virginity at sixteen to a guy who’d told the entire school she’d given him crabs when she broke up with him? Yep. That’d happened. Vance McNeil—quarterback of the football team and hotter than he had any right to be, with hair and eyes the color of melted dark chocolate.

Then there was the bartender with the deep, grumbly baritone and midnight eyes she’d dated for