Statistically Improbable (Dating by Design Book 2)(3)By: Jennifer Peel
He leaned on his arm to draw closer to me. “It’s a pretty good gig. Free dinner and drinks, and the pièce de résistance, my company.”
“You are full of yourself, aren’t you?”
“There you go sounding like Kenz again. I knew you were the right woman.”
“I didn’t agree to this. And why do you need a pretend girlfriend anyway?”
He sat up, business like. “I need someone to keep away those that are, let’s say . . . less than desirable.”
I leaned back. “And who are those?”
“You know, women that . . .”
My eyes said to think carefully.
He shook his head. “Are you sure you’re not related to Kenz?”
I rolled my eyes. “What happened to Brooke?”
He cleared his throat. “We decided it was better for everyone if we didn’t see each other anymore.”
That’s not what I’d heard. According to Eva, one of the other personal relationship managers, Brooke gave Zander an ultimatum. She wanted a ring and a date. “I’m sorry.” I wasn’t. I may have done a little private dance when I heard about it last month.
He shrugged it off. “C’est la vie. I’ll pick you up at six.” He hopped off my desk and headed for the door.
“I didn’t say yes.”
“You didn’t say no, darlin’. Email me your number and address.”
I was so stunned, I didn’t respond to him. Instead I pulled up his profile and went over it again. It was the same as it had been the last time I looked. He was the ultimate playboy. He didn’t want to settle down, having kids was questionable, he hated country music and pets. I thought of my cat, Jasper, and my Pandora account filled with country music. He only went to church when Kenadie’s mom made him, and he preferred older women that made as much or more money than him. I was five years his junior. Why did I like him?
I thought about all the instances I had seen him with Kenadie. He watched out for her and, in the end, cared enough about her to step aside. And he always made everyone laugh, and it wasn’t over crude things like you might think. He had intelligence and wit. He was capable and he had his own charm. I looked at his profile picture and his grin that said, “I dare you.” What did I have to lose, except my heart?
Before I could email Zander, Kenadie appeared at my door. Love looked good on her. I always thought she was gorgeous, but she carried herself in a whole new way now. Her uptight nature had been dialed back, replaced with a zest for life. No longer was she the first one in and the last one to leave the office every day. But I guess if I had a man like Jason Hadley waiting for me, I would rush home, too.
“What can I do for you, Kenadie?”
She bit her lip and thought for a moment. “Zander informed me that he’s still the butthead that I love.”
She gave me a small smile. “I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I will say, remember this has nothing to do with work, so you can’t hold me liable for anything that you do on your free time. I just want you to be careful.”
“Zander can be . . . intoxicating. He knows women, and with that, he wields a lot of power.”
My eyes widened.
“He’s a good guy. One of the best, even if he doesn’t know it. But I don’t want you to fall victim to his charm. You’re too sweet, and the best employee I have. Don’t tell anyone I said that.”
There I went with the hair tucking thing again. “Thank you. And don’t worry about me. I’m not even sure if I’ll go. Even if I do, I know for him it’s all just for fun.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Perfect. I’m going to head out early. I have water aerobics with my momma and her friends tonight.”
“That sounds like fun.”
“You think so? How would you like it if a group of old biddies pinched your butt all night and tried to explain the birds and the bees while telling you exactly when and how many children you should have?”
I laughed at her. “So, maybe not so fun.”
“I do love them and I get ice cream out of the deal. Not that I can eat a ton. I have to fit into my wedding dress. Have a good weekend, Meg.”