THE STAND OUT by Donna Alam
Release Date: February 6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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Blackmail is such an ugly word . . .
It’s not like I’m asking for a piece of his soul.
Just a little of his time and his experience.
For him to show me the ropes.
Maybe the handcuffs, too.
Because I need a fake boyfriend with all the moves.
In return, I won’t tell.
And I won’t fall in love with the stand in.
The Stand Out features a fake relationship, office enemies with (blackmailed) benefits, and is full of fun, fire, and f—sexytimes!
We’d exchanged numbers at the insistence of Heather. You know, so she could call me with helpful suggestions on how to fulfil the role of “boyfriend”, almost like women were an alien species to me.
There were calls and texts. Suggestions and reminders. Sometimes snark. But there was always fun to be had. Kind of like when she’d called me yesterday . . .
‘So, on Saturday,’ she began, ‘I know we’re supposed to be together, but I’d appreciate it if you could please keep your eyes above my neckline and your hands to yourself.’
‘That’s not going to be a problem. Blackmail doesn’t come with benefits, babe.’
Did I mean it? Nah.
She thinks this is a done deal, that she’s in charge. That I’ll do as I’m told. But she’s wrong. Very wrong. Because there will be touching and there will be inappropriate comments, because you reap what you sow.
Someone ought to have taught her that.
‘Please stop calling me babe.’ She’d aimed for calm, but I could tell her words were delivered through gritted teeth. ‘I know you can behave like the gentleman your mother raised you to be.’
Clearly, she doesn’t know my mother. I’m what you might call a self-made man. I might not yet be at the pinnacle of my career, but what I have, I’ve made through my own sheer bloody-mindedness and with a dogged determination to succeed. I am who I am and I’m where I am despite the hand I was dealt at birth.
‘And under no circumstances is anyone to know about our deal.’
‘The fact that you’re blackmailing me, you mean?’
‘Let’s just stick to our backstory,’ she’d said, hurrying on.
This was my cue to recite our tiny story bible. Our relationship is new, and we’ve kept it under wraps for the sake of privacy, we want to keep it professional at work.
‘Yes, that all sounds great. We’ll go to the ceremony, eat, maybe dance once, and be out of the ballroom by eight sharp.’
‘Totally plausible. We’re in a new relationship, so we’ll leave early to fuck like rabbits.’
‘Do you have to be so crass?’
‘Shut up. You know you love it. And you love me for it. One day, we’ll look back and laugh as we tell our grandkids how it all started when you blackmailed me into being your date for a wedding.’
‘Can you please stop throwing that word around.’
‘Grandparents? Don’t stress. I’m sure you’ll be just as gorgeous when you’re old, and I’ll love you just as much. I probably won’t be able to stop myself from touching your wrinkly p—’
‘Stop! You know that’s not what I mean.’
‘Oh, you mean can I stop accusing you of blackmail? Hmm. Do you have a prettier word for what you’re doing?’
‘Please,’ she scoffed, ‘your affections are like the library. Free for anyone to borrow for a short time. And yes, by affections I mean penis. But that’s okay. I’m not putting in a request.’
‘No, yours is more like a demand.’
‘Look, this will be good for us both. Just turn up, be your usual charming self and everyone will fall over themselves. Then in a few weeks, we can break up and never speak of this again.’
‘Except when we tell our grandkids, right?’
‘Urgh! You’re impossible.’
‘Oh, and what I said about benefits? I don’t put out on the first night.’
‘Ha, I bet that worried you.’ I chuckled darkly. ‘Only joking, because there will be fucking.’
‘We will not be sleeping together.’
‘You keep telling yourself that, babe. You know you’re hot for this.’
Her huff of frustration had echoed down the line right before the call cut out.
I found myself smiling.
Heather: a big fat zero
Who knew being blackmailed would be so much fun?
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Donna writes dirty stories, according to her family. She hopes you find them funny, too.
When not bashing away at a keyboard, she can usually be found hiding from her family and responsibilities with a good book in her hand and a dog that looks like a grey mop by her feet.
She likes her humour and wine dry, her mojitos sweet, and her language salty.
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