So Not My Thing - Melanie Jacobson Page 0,3

bites to be delivered by a local café.

While Brenda fussed with the alignment of the napkin display, I made my most crucial decision of the morning: I picked my seat.

The whole office would be in the meeting except for the receptionist, Jay. Miles Crowe was bringing his business manager, so that meant eight people at the table, with him sitting beside Brenda at its head. I needed to be on the same side of the table with one person between Miles and me and one person between me and the screen. Optimum invisibility.

I dropped my laptop bag in the chair and browsed through the folder, but I knew the specs for each property by heart. Brenda had zeroed in on properties for the jazz club here in the business district but closer to the hotels and high-end restaurants. I got it. The business district had a sophisticated vibe and not too many music venues. But they were expensive leases, and while that made sense for Crescent’s bottom line, it wasn’t the way I would have gone.

In fact, if it were anyone but Miles Crowe opening the club, I’d say that he should be looking in the Bywater. But I didn’t want Miles Crowe in my neighborhood. I didn’t even want him in my city.

“Hey, y’all.” One of the other agents, Dave, popped his head in. “We lookin’ good?”

“We’re looking good,” Brenda confirmed. “Let me run through this presentation with you one more time before the client gets here.”

Dave and I obediently took our seats and listened as Brenda did her spiel, other agents checking in with a wave as they arrived. She was an old pro, and the only feedback I could have offered was to pick different properties. So I kept my mouth shut other than to compliment her.

When the pastry delivery from the café came, Brenda turned her attention to fussing over the display. I checked my not-a-Rolex-yet to see that we had ten minutes before Miles Crowe was due to arrive.

Yeah, right. I’d bet my—future—Rolex he would be late. He was a notorious diva which was why a lot of his career had fizzled. He’d made buckets of money for a few years there, but his tantrums had become so legendary that he hadn’t been worth the trouble to hire anymore.

Or so I’d heard through office gossip. I’d made a point not to follow his career.

By ten minutes after 9:00, my future Rolex was safe. No Miles, and one very twitchy Brenda.

By the twenty-minute mark, I was beginning to wonder if I’d stressed myself out over his visit for nothing. By the thirty-minute mark, I relaxed enough to slip into the conference room and serve myself some coffee. Someone needed to enjoy it before it went stale.

You know what? Might as well get some food too. My stomach got weird when I was nervous, so I hadn’t bothered eating this morning, but there was no reason not to now. I’d leave the chicken biscuits for the rest of the office since I could have them whenever I wanted, but I opened the pastry box from the other café to browse. It had about four different Danish plus beignets.

Mmmmm, beignets. I picked up one of the perfect puffed, deep-fried squares of dough. Normally, they were a terrible choice for any kind of formal setting because the coating of powdered sugar had a tendency to get everywhere, just like with funnel cake. But since Miles the Diva wasn’t coming, I didn’t care.

I scooped one up and treated myself.

Mmmm. I closed my eyes to savor it. I knew exactly what went into a beignet. Just flour, oil, butter, and the sugar, really. But somehow, they were magic, and this was a good one.

Surely you know what happened next. Surely.

Yeah.

Suddenly every head in the office turned toward the door, and almost like puppets jerked up by their strings, they all rose and headed toward me in the conference room while Brenda went to greet with a smile the man who had ruined half my life.

Chapter Two

I barely had time to study Miles Crowe before he and his manager were trailing Brenda into the conference room, Miles already extending his hand to each of us for a shake.

He was still hot.

Shoot.

I didn’t have time to set down my dainty dessert plate with the remnants of powdered sugar on it before he was turning to me, but that ended up working to my benefit. When he held out his hand to me for