Her Backup Boyfriend

By: Ashlee Mallory

One little white lie leads to more than she planned…

Straight-laced lawyer Kate Matthews always plays by the rules. But when her ex gets engaged and a big promotion is on the line at work, she blurts out that she has a new boyfriend. And now that she’s proved she “has a life” outside of work, everything is perfect. Except for one teeny little detail—here is no boyfriend. And now Kate’s liable for her little white lie…

Dominic Sorensen is hot, charming, and very definitely not Kate’s type. But not only does Dominic want to help Kate renovate her home, he’s also willing to play “boyfriend.” All he wants in return is a little pro bono work for his sister. Now instead of Mr. Right, Kate has a delectable Mr. Fix-It-Right—and some unbelievable sexual chemistry. And if falling for Dominic is a breach of contract, Kate is guilty as charged…

To Shawn, Lily, and Harrison, my most devoted fan club.

Chapter One

Sheesh. It was hot as Hades in here.

Despite the brisk early October chill and the fresh white snow that powdered the ridge of the Wasatch Mountains that she could see from the window, Kate Matthews could feel beads of moisture forming on her upper lip. She tugged at the cuff of her wool blazer and tried not to squirm while her boss finished his phone call. Her curiosity at the reason for this impromptu meeting had become overshadowed in the last couple of minutes by her longing to throw off the stupid jacket.

But unless it burst into flames, that wasn’t an option.

She cursed her haste in running out the door this morning without taking her usual perusal in front of the full-length mirror. If she had, she would have noticed the white tag billowing like a flag at her waist and realized her new silk blouse was on inside out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until she’d arrived and was sprinting toward Tim’s office that she’d noticed the slight wardrobe malfunction.

At the time, the best solution had been to take the ten seconds to slide on the spare jacket she kept behind her office door.

She hadn’t expected it to be, like, a hundred and ten in here.

Kate took a quick peek from the corner of her eyes at the other participant in today’s last- minute conference. Nicole Bancroft, the latest addition to Strauss and Fletcher’s litigation division, didn’t seem to be having any problems with the temperature of the room if the smooth, shine-free polish of her clear, porcelain skin was any indication. Her shiny raven-black hair was secured in an elegant chignon Kate couldn’t help but envy. She resisted the impulse to pat her own bristly red hair already escaping from the confines of her hair clip.

No wonder Michael was in love with this paragon of perfection.

At least, according to the rumors that linked the pretty new associate with the firm’s most eligible bachelor—and Kate’s ex-boyfriend. Kate had been trying to convince herself that the rumors didn’t bother her. Sure, they had dated for three years, and she might have been expecting a proposal—not a plea for space—when he’d broken up with her. But that had been fourteen months ago. Give or take eight days. All the same, it still stung to be sitting next to such flawlessness.

Why were they both here, anyhow?

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Tim,” Kate offered the moment he hung up. “I had a meeting this morning.” She decided not to mention the meeting was personal. She doubted Tim would care she had waited over an hour for a contractor to give her a bid for her home renovation, or that he’d failed to show up. Firm business always first.

Tim nodded brusquely. “You’re probably wondering why I called you both here today. I had a call this morning from the CFO of McKenna and Associates. Our client is anxious to present an aggressive defense at the upcoming depositions.”

Kate almost sighed out loud. The McKenna case was her slam dunk into making partner at Strauss, one of Salt Lake City’s most preeminent law firms. Even if the client was more demanding than all of her clients combined. And a jerk. But a jerk who had ties with several of the senior partners.

“Although they think you’ve done a great job of things so far, Kate,” Tim continued, his blue eyes cool and discerning, “they want to make sure we hit the other side hard and have asked for more manpower. I decided Nicole would be an excellent second chair.”