False Start (Mavericks #1)(2)

By: Julianna Marley

“Finally!” Turning around she found her assistant taking large strides towards her, lowering his voice. “Where the hell have you been?”

“I’m sorry, this week finally caught up with me and I fell asleep,” she said, biting on her freshly painted nails, a nervous habit since grade school. “So what’s the emergency?”

Previous affairs had taught her that even the best orchestrated events could carry with them the potential of catastrophes, like the head chef walking out or the bride showing up completely strung out on anxiety medication.

“Seating.” Ross interrupted her terror, quickly bringing her up to speed about a sports agent who was in some hot water with three of the players on the team, resulting in termination of his contract. The player’s assistants were demanding that they be seated at a different table, far away from the questionable agent. Thinking quickly on her feet, or her Jimmy Choo pumps rather, she managed some last minute seating adjustments, ensuring everyone would be satisfied and comfortable. Because her career depended on it.

Placing the last revised seating card on a round table, she looked over at Ross idly playing on his phone.

“How are you so calm?” she asked. She was in a fit of nerves while he just stood there trying to excel to the next level in Angry Birds.

“I’m not worried,” he said, finally looking up from his phone. “We put together a great event and it hasn’t even started yet.”

She wanted to roll her eyes, but maybe he was right. Maybe she was putting too much pressure on herself to make this dinner perfect, instead of just doing what she did best and throw a great party. Or maybe she was in way over her head? Some of the wealthiest people in the city were attending this dinner and the children’s center was counting on a large contribution. Tonight could not be a massive disappointment.

“You really believe that?” she asked, glancing over at movement by the entrance of the ballroom.

“Yes. I do,” he assured her, placing a hand on each of her shoulders. “Rule one in this business, sweetheart,” he narrowed his eyes. “You must be confident in your abilities and just roll with it. You have worked too hard for this.” He said, pushing a piece of hair out of her face. “Heck…we’ve worked too hard for this. So just relax and enjoy tonight.”

Nodding, she stole another glance over his shoulder at the ballroom door. Ross was right.

She hated when he was right.

“You’re right. Everything will be fine,” she recited, pulling for some kind of confidence she wasn’t even sure she had. She had worked around the clock as four whole seasons passed by in order to get her business off the ground and between the sleepless nights, sacrificed weekends, and the neglected holidays, she spent most days questioning if she had made a huge mistake moving to a new city and starting this business. This account fell into her lap and she was certain that it had the ability to catapult her career. That, or completely destroy it.

“By the way,” Ross said, giving her a once over taking in her tailored black pencil dress. “You look fabulous tonight, bitch.”

Chuckling, she waved him off. She had been so anxious when she arrived that she hadn’t even noticed Ross’s newest ensemble. The one that he had dragged her to seven different stores around town before finally finding “the one.” Inspecting his black fitted Ralph Lauren tuxedo in appreciation, her eyes stopped at the sea foam colored bow-tie resting snugly around his trim neck.

“Ross. I told you a thousand times, this is a black tie event, what’s with the bowtie?” she asked, lowering her voice as the first guests flowed into the room, already knowing his response.

“Don’t be jealous just because I look hot,” he bit back dismissively. Ross’s style tended to be eccentric, at best. Always discovering new ways to infuse bright colors into his wardrobe, ensuring that people knew he understood style. She did have to give him a little bit of credit though, outrageous bowtie or not, he did look great.

“Here, a toast,” he said ignoring her, taking two glasses of champagne off of a gold plated tray from a young waiter. “To us!” he smiled, raising the crystal glass slightly. “May tonight put us on the map in the event planning world,” he grinned tapping her glass lightly before taking a sip. “I mean, really,” he squinted against the bite of the tart liquid. “How awful could things really get with a room full of sexy football players, anyway?”

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