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Scooped
Author: Lili Valente

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

 

In the market for a hot tip? Here’s one: Don’t bang your best friend’s little sister.

Especially when she’s an investigative journalist and your investment company is the target of her latest scoop.

Unfortunately, I have a thing for high-risk bets, and Ellie's suggestion that we mix business with pleasure is too sweet a deal to pass up. Friends with benefits is the kind of low stress romantic situation a busy New Yorker actually has time for.

But it’s not long before I’m falling harder than the post-bubble Nasdaq, hooked on Ellie’s laugh and determination to make the world a better place.

There’s only one problem…

When it comes to risking money, I’ve mastered every trick in the book.

But how the hell do I risk my heart?

Previously published as Falling for the Boss. Same fun, steamy story, new cover and title!

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

Jack

 

They say money can’t buy happiness, and that’s probably true. But if your lot in life is to be a miserable prick, wouldn’t you rather be a rich miserable prick?

Notice I didn’t say a selfish prick.

Quite the contrary, ladies. I’m a generous man. My portfolio is massive, and I have the kind of hard assets guaranteed to deliver mutually pleasurable returns every time.

But mutual pleasure is where our arrangement ends. I learned long ago that unlike my bank account, love is not FDIC insured. So once my generous supply has met your eager demand, I’ll be returning to the welcoming arms of my one sure thing—business, baby.

And it’s booming.

My company is poised to become the go-to investment firm for elite athletes and entrepreneurs around the world. I have a penthouse apartment with a killer view of downtown Manhattan, a private office suite on the fifty-eighth floor, a vacation home in the south of France, and a net worth that just won’t quit.

And you know what? I deserve it.

Think I’m cocky? Sorry to disappoint, but it’s just numbers. Money is math and math is money—clearly defined rules, time-tested formulas, predictable answers—and that’s about as un-cocky as it gets.

No, I wouldn’t call it happiness, exactly…

But I’ve made my peace with it.

Hell, I’ve embraced it.

No complications, no emotions, and best of all—no losses I can’t recoup.

And then she sweeps back into my life, and suddenly I’m not sure of anything anymore.

Except that I don’t want her to go…

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Eleanor

 

 

A woman about to put her tube socks

and spirit glue where her mouth is…

Day 1 Wednesday 8/1

 

“It’s like how colonel is pronounced KER-nal.” Stephen draws out the last two syllables for the benefit of my tiny female mind. “Even though there isn’t an ‘R’ in there.”

I blink, stunned.

This guy can’t possibly be for real. Can he?

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago, I was thrilled at the prospect of spending time in a normal work environment. One where people don’t sit at their desk in wrinkled pajamas with bed head, surrounded by coffee cups they haven’t gotten around to washing even though their kitchen is literally three feet from their workstation.

I have good housekeeping intentions, I really do, but it’s hard to care about a mess when there’s never anyone around to see it. It’s like the tree in the forest. If a mug—or a freelance journalist—goes unwashed in the privacy of her tiny Queens apartment, does she make a smell? I think not.

“You get it?” Stephen continues with a patronizing squeeze of my upper arm.

I nod, my lips pressed together to keep from saying something I shouldn’t.

This is my brother’s investment company—he and his partner Jack built it from the ground up. And Stephen is apparently a valuable member of their brokerage team, no matter how hard it is for me to imagine this douchebag closing a financial deal with anyone, let alone a famous athlete accustomed to a certain amount of deference.

“So Seyfried is like that.” Stephen lifts his hands into the air, fingers spread wide in a ta-da motion. “You pronounce the ‘G’ before the ‘F’ even though it’s not there. Because Seyfried and Siegfried are actually the same name if you look at it from an etymological standpoint.”

I shake my head, dumbfounded. “Wow.”

He grins. “Blew your mind a little, didn’t I, slugger? Bam!” He reaches for my head, but I duck, avoiding further fondling by drawing my cell from my purse.

“You did, Stephen. You really did.” I glance out across the open plan office, praying I’ll see Ryan’s head bobbing above the crowd of people packing up for the day.

I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle. If my brother doesn’t show in the next two minutes, I’ll make a run for it and text him to call me when his plane touches down in Portland.

I’ve suffered through my fair share of mansplaining, but this is the first time I’ve had a guy explain how I’m mispronouncing my own last name.

Yes.

My. Own. Last. Name.

I’ve been Eleanor Seyfried—pronounced SIGH-fred, not SIG-freed—for twenty-eight years. One would assume I know how to pronounce it. Unless one were Stephen, or one of the other Wall Street dude-bros who make Seyfried & Holt a challenging place to work for anyone without a Y chromosome.

I would bet a thousand dollars Stephen has never dared to tell my brother that he’s mispronouncing the name etched in gold outside his door.

“Have you explained this to Ryan?” I blink innocently as I point toward his office.

“Nah.” Stephen’s lips pucker and his brows dip into a V. “Ryan knows. He’s a shark, your brother. Never stops swimming. Always thinking.” He snaps his fingers several times, the sharp snick making my teeth itch. “Synapses always firing.”

I’m about to tell Stephen that I understand Ryan’s nimble brain well, because I also scored high on my GMATs—one hundred points higher than my brother, in fact. But before I can speak, Ryan emerges from the executive lounge.

“Ryan! There you are.” My arm surges into the air, fingers wiggling. “Glad I caught you. I need a word before you leave for the airport.”

“Sure thing, but I’ve only got five, ten minutes, tops.” Ryan’s brown eyes flick from me to Stephen and back again, a distracted smile on his face. “Hey, Rictor, how’s the Ian Fox account going? You seal the deal?”

“Not yet, but I’m close,” Stephen says, his chest puffing up. “Should have him on the hook by the end of the month.”

“All right, but let’s keep in touch on this one. He’s primed to hit a new level with his career now that he’s signed with the Badgers,” Ryan says, throwing the rest over his shoulder as he pops into his office. “I’m meeting with him in Portland. I want to be sure we’re all on the same page about what Seyfried and Holt can offer him that other wealth management companies can’t.”

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