Fiancé by Fate
by Jennifer Shirk
Their fake relationship is a twist of fate.
Sabrina Cassidy believes in fate. So when her fiancé breaks off their engagement, she’s convinced they’ll get back together eventually. But fate was not on her side when it brought Jack Brenner into her life—and work. Frustrating, gorgeous, and cocky, Jack has an offer that Sabrina can't refuse. Not if it means getting the life she’s always imagined.
Despite being one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, Jack has a reputation that’s working against him. He has to convince his father—and his company’s board—that he’s ready to settle down if he wants a promotion. But convincing Sabrina to be his fake girlfriend turns out to be the easiest part. What he didn’t count on was their intense attraction and how easily their lie would escalate.
Sabrina’s still hung up on her ex, and Jack will never settle down.
But fate has other ideas…
She stared at him. Oh, she knew Jack was arrogant, but this? This comment completely confirmed the God complex she always suspected he had. “You? You would help me get my fiancé back?”
“Ex-fiancé,” he corrected. “But yes, I would.”
She narrowed her eyes and allowed her voice to dip into a warning tone. “And why would you do that?”
His lips shifted to an easy smile. “I have a deep-rooted desire to see my new partner happy and settled in her life. Is that so wrong?”
She snorted-laughed. “For you? It’s very wrong. You’re up to something.”
He pressed a hand to his chest and rubbed, pretending to be wounded. “I’m truly hurt that you would think that I—”
“Just get to the point, Jack. What do you want in return?”
For the first time since she’d known him, Jack actually looked uncomfortable. He cleared his throat a few times before answering. “Between you and me, I didn’t get that promotion because the board feels my personal life may need a makeover. Of sorts. My father unfortunately agrees.”
“Mm-hmm. Not to take sides, but when your recent breakup starts trending on Twitter, your personal life might need a little reevaluating.”
She had the satisfaction of seeing his eyes narrow. “Yes, well, my dad has even gone so far as to say that I should find a nice sensible girl and settle down.”
“What do you want me to do? Find you a nice, normal girl to make you look respectable?” She thought about Maddie but worried that maybe she was too nice and sensible for him. It could be like putting a goldfish and a piranha together in a fish tank. She couldn’t do that to Maddie. She couldn’t do that to any woman she knew.
“Actually…” His gaze lingered on his clenched fists, then swung up and pinned her to her seat. “I already found the perfect girl.”
Several seconds ticked by.
Realization hit her and she jumped off the bench. “Not on your life.”
Jack grabbed her hand and pulled her back down. “Will you listen before jumping to conclusions? I’m not asking you to settle down with me for real. Just for pretend.”
“You’re insane,” she said, shaking off his hand. “Of all the women in Boston, why me?”
“Well, look at you,” he said, pointing. She followed his finger and looked down but only saw a cream-colored turtleneck over a black wool skirt. “You’re hardworking, sensible, and obviously want to get married,” he continued. “Pretty much the antithesis of every woman I’ve dated.”
“You mean because my IQ is larger than my bra size?”
His lips thinned. “I mean because you have my father’s respect.”
“I do?” She frowned, not because she was unhappy to hear that information but because she was surprised. “Then why did he pass me over for a senior wholesaling position?”
“What? You wanted my job?”
She waved his question away. “Never mind.” She sighed, putting her head in her hands. Yes, she felt she should have gotten Jack’s territory. But it didn’t matter. It wasn’t the time to get into work issues. Right now her priority was David.
“Sabrina, will you shove your animosity toward me away for one brief second and think about this? It would be a win-win for both of us. David thinks you’re adoringly waiting in the wings, giving him as long as it takes to make up his mind.”
She dropped her hands and blinked. “But he would be right.”
“No, you have to change his thinking. He has to believe you’ve moved on. And the best way to do that is by making him think you’re interested in another man. Another man who happens to be number three on New England’s Top Bachelors list would be quite the coup. If David just has cold feet like you say he does, then there’s nothing like good old-fashioned jealousy to warm them up again.”
“That’s original,” she murmured.
He shrugged. “I find the classics work best.”
“What would I have to do exactly?” she asked.
Jack scanned around them, then lowered his voice. “Convince everyone in the office, including my father, that we’re in a serious relationship. Perhaps attend a few high-profile events with me. David has to think we’re dating anyway. Pretty simple when you think about it.”
Sabrina felt her stomach tighten. Nothing seemed simple at all. “How long would I have to…pretend?”
“I’m not sure. At least until the next quarterly board meeting—even if David comes back to you before then. I need to look as if I gave this relationship at least the old college try.”
“I—I don’t know.” She began chewing on her thumbnail in thought, then cast a side glance at Jack.
David would be jealous of a man like Jack. She didn’t doubt it. Jack was ridiculously good-looking. Intelligent—mostly. And rich. He also had the kind of wide shoulders and brawny arms that could wrap around a female wrestler and somehow make her feel as delicate as a flower. Jack certainly seemed the kind of man any woman would love to catch on the rebound from a broken heart. Not her, of course. She had no interest in rich, handsome playboys.
But David didn’t know that.
The whole idea still sounded so wrong, so sordid. She doubted anyone at work would believe she and Jack would even think about dating each other. But maybe luck threw Jack in her path for a reason. Would she be a fool not to take him up on it? Was Jack part of her “journey” to David that Madame Butterfly had mentioned? She couldn’t be sure. She needed more time to think.
“It would mean a lot to me,” Jack added.
She shot him a look. “Oh, gee, now there’s an incentive. Why didn’t you say so in the first place?”
He let out a muffled snort, but she couldn’t tell if it was from laughter or frustration. He reached into his suit jacket and pulled out his wallet. He took his business card and tucked it in her palm. “My cell phone number is on the back in case you change your mind after work. Call me anytime.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls,” she said, batting her eyelashes.
Jack let out a slow, predatory grin that disintegrated her mocking attitude.
“No, not all the girls,” he said in a silky voice. His warm hand closed over hers, and he leaned in so close she could feel his breath on her cheek. “I only say that to my girlfriends.”
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.
She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.
Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.
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