Rushing In (Bailey Brothers #4) - Claire Kingsley Page 0,1

you stop having a conversation with someone else while you’re throwing my life in the garbage?”

“Don’t be so dramatic.”

“I’m not being dramatic. Are you dumping me as a client too?”

“That’s best for everyone involved.”

I couldn’t think clearly. Too many emotions whipped around inside me, like a tornado flinging debris across the landscape of my heart. Cullen Bell wasn’t just my boyfriend of three years and the man I currently lived with. He was my literary agent. My link to the editors at the big publishing houses.

Including the publisher who’d dropped me last year.

And the others who might pick me up.

Not that I’d written anything new in months.

Oh my god.

“So that’s it? You’re done with me?”

He opened his mouth to answer, but his phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out again.

A sick realization spread through me, like dark smoke filling a room. The back of my throat burned and the knot of dread in the pit of my stomach grew.

“Who is she?”

His blue eyes lifted, his expression devoid of any emotion. “Don’t.”

“Are you cheating on me?”

“Skylar, don’t make this worse.”

“Answer the question.”

“I’m trying to make this easier on you. You don’t need to go there.”

“By acting like this is my fault?” I crossed my arms. “Who is she?”

He glanced away.

“If you’re leaving me for another woman, the least you can do is tell me who she is so I—”

“Pepper Sinclair.”

I clicked my mouth shut. Maybe he was right. I should have seen this coming.

Pepper Sinclair was perfect. A New York Times bestselling author of inspirational women’s fiction. She was stunningly beautiful with flawless skin, perfect bone structure, a gorgeous smile, thick hair, and the type of boobs that most women had to pay a lot of money for.

Her social media following numbered in the millions, men and women hanging on her every word, clamoring for glimpses into her perfectly tailored, manicured, pristine life.

Everyone loved her.

Including, apparently, my boyfriend. Who was also her agent.

“Wait, Pepper’s married.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but she’s getting a divorce.”

Maybe not so perfect after all.

Not that it mattered. She was still stealing my boyfriend.

I looked away, my eyes stinging with tears. Cullen had taken her on as a client last year, after they’d met at a writer’s conference in Denver. I’d been there, too, dutifully attending the meetings Cullen had set up with editors, trying to salvage my quickly spiraling career.

And I’d seen them together at the hotel bar.

They hadn’t been touching—nothing overt. But the way he’d looked at her…

Weeks later, after mulling it over for way too long, I’d asked him about it. He’d gotten mad. Accused me of not trusting him.

“How long?” I heard myself ask.

“Does it matter?”

“Yes. How long?”

“Why are you making this harder on yourself?”

“Because I need to know the truth.”

He let out an irritated breath. “Denver.”

My lip trembled. I caught it between my teeth so I wouldn’t cry. I was not letting him see me cry. He’d just tell me I was being overly sensitive anyway.

I took a slow breath through my nose. “You’ve been cheating on me with Pepper Sinclair since last year?”

“You’re making it sound worse than it is. In Denver, we…”

He trailed off, looking away again. But there was no shame or regret in his posture or expression. He just wanted to finish this conversation so he could move on with his day.

“In Denver, you what?”

“Why are you—”

“I’m not making this hard, Cullen. That’s on you. I didn’t make you have an affair with a married woman who’s also your client. You did that.”

“Fine, you want to make me say it? In Denver, we didn’t sleep together, but… other things transpired. Since then I’ve been seeing her when I go to New York. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you getting all depressed. Things were bad enough after your series got dropped. I figured I’d give you some time to at least get writing again. But that’s obviously not going to happen, and I can’t keep waiting around for you to decide you’re over your writer’s block.”

It was hard to get any words out, my voice almost a whisper. “All that time?”

“What do you expect? You’re always distracted, always thinking of some plot or another, but you haven’t written anything in who knows how long. You spend all your time watching serial killer documentaries and looking up poisonous household chemicals or the best ways to hide a body. It’s disturbing.”

“I write suspense novels. It’s research.”

“It’s like living with the creepy goth girl