Wall Street Titan (Wall Street Titan #1) - Anna Zaires



“—and then the vet said Mr. Puffs is not ready for that, and I—”

“That’s it.” Kendall plunks down her glass of ice tea with such force the six-dollar liquid sloshes over the rim. Grabbing the napkin, she mops up the spill and glares at me over her half-eaten plate of buckwheat crepes.

“What?” I blink at my best friend.

“Do you realize you’ve been talking about Mr. Puffs and Cottonball and Queen Elizabeth for the past half hour?” Kendall leans in, hazel eyes narrowed. “It’s cat this, cat that, vet this.”

“Oh.” Flushing, I look at the clock on the wall of the brunch place Kendall dragged me to. Sure enough, it’s been almost thirty minutes since we got here—and I haven’t shut up during that time. Embarrassed, I look back at Kendall. “Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to bore you.”

“No, Emma.” Kendall’s tone is one of exaggerated patience as she leans back, flipping her sleek dark hair over her shoulder. “You didn’t bore me. But you did make me realize something.”


“You, my darling, are officially a cat lady.”

My mouth falls open. “What?”

“Yep. A bona fide cat lady.”

“I am not!”

“No?” She arches one perfectly shaped eyebrow. “Let’s review the facts, then. When was the last time you had your hair professionally styled?”

“Um…” Self-consciously, I tug at the explosion of red curls on my head. “Maybe a year or so ago?” It was, in fact, for Kendall’s twenty-fifth birthday party, which means it’s been at least eighteen months since anything other than a comb touched the frizzy mess.

“Right.” Kendall cuts into her crepe with the daintiness of Queen Elizabeth—my cat, not the British monarch. After chewing her bite, she says, “And your last date was when?”

I have to really think about that one. “Two months ago,” I say triumphantly when the recollection finally comes to me. I cut off a piece of my own crepe and fork it into my mouth, muttering, “That’s not that long ago.”

“No,” Kendall agrees. “But I’m talking about a real date, not pity coffee with your sixty-year-old neighbor.”

“Roger is not sixty. He’s at most forty-nine—”

“And you’re twenty-six. End of story. Now don’t evade the question. When was the last time you had a real date?”

I pick up my glass of water and chug it down as I try to remember. I have to admit, Kendall stumped me on that one. “Maybe a year ago?” I venture, though I’m pretty sure that the date in question—a less-than-memorable occasion, clearly—predated Kendall’s birthday party.

“A year?” Kendall drums her taupe-colored nails on the table. “Really, Emma? A year?”

“What?” Trying to ignore the flush creeping up my neck, I focus on consuming the rest of my twenty-two-dollar crepe. “I’m busy.”

“With your cats,” she says pointedly. “All three of them. Face it: You’re a cat lady.”

I look up from my plate and roll my eyes. “Fine. If you insist, then yes, I’m a cat lady.”

“And you’re okay with that?” She gives me an incredulous look.

“What, should I jump off the Brooklyn Bridge in despair?” I stuff the last bite of my crepe into my mouth. I’m still hungry, but I’m not about to order anything else off the overpriced menu. “Liking cats is not a crime.”

“No, but spending all your free time scooping litter boxes while living in New York City is.” Kendall pushes her own empty plate away. “You’re at a prime age to nab a man, and you don’t date at all.”

I blow out an exasperated breath. “Because I just don’t have the time—and besides, who says I want to nab anyone? I’m perfectly fine on my own.”

“Says she, repeating what every other cat lady tells herself. Honestly, Emma, when was the last time you had sex with anything other than your vibrator?”

Kendall doesn’t bother lowering her voice as she says this, and I feel my face turn red again as a gay couple at the table next to us glance over and snicker.

Fortunately, before I can reply, Kendall’s Prada purse vibrates.

“Oh.” She frowns as she fishes her phone out and reads whatever her screen says. Looking up, she motions at the waiter. “I have to go,” she says apologetically. “My boss just had a breakthrough with the dress design he’s been struggling with, and he needs me to get some models to him, pronto.”

“No worries.” I’m used to Kendall’s unpredictable job in the fashion industry. Plunking down my debit card, I say, “We’ll catch up again soon,” and pull out my phone to look at my checking account balance.

The temperature outside is