Working Stiff:Casimir (Runaway Billionaires #1)(7)

By: Blair Babylon

He didn’t mean anything by it.

She didn’t want to have her heart broken like all the other women in the office. They had all assured her that Cash would come for her and that she would love every minute of it, until suddenly, he wasn’t there anymore.

Rox fell apart when people left her like that, like they didn’t give a crap about her and just walked into oblivion.

She wasn’t going to go through that again.

And so, since her husband “Grant Neil” had not existed, Rox had invented him.

She had assured Cash and anyone else who would listen, yes, she was married. Her husband was a stuntman for several of the television studios, but he wanted to get into screenwriting and directing. He did a little modeling on the side. And maybe his music would take off for him.

So, yeah, “Grant” was a ridiculous mashup of all the Hollywood wannabe clichés and thus utterly believable. No one had even questioned his existence for three whole years.

Despite the fact that no one had ever seen him.

A friend of hers, an agent, had found a suitable headshot of a hot model/stuntman for Rox to use.

Really hot.

You could see ripply abs under his tight, black tee shirt. She had folded under his real name, Lancaster Knox, and wedged it into a frame for her desk.

Rox liked to stare at pretend-Grant and imagine that he was, indeed, her lawfully wedded husband. Sometimes she drooled.

And for three years, Cash hadn’t turned that sexy glower on her.

Yeah, thank goodness. She certainly didn’t want the hot, ripped British lawyer coming on to her.

She slid the cheap rings onto her left hand, scratched her cats on the head one last time, and opened the front door to leave the apartment.

Three cats.

She was twenty-seven and unmarried, not even dating anyone, and enmeshed in a workaholic office so she couldn’t even meet any guys who might be prospects.

Yep, it was official.

At what point had Rox turned into a crazy cat lady?

She was pivoting on her heel away from her door as it was slamming toward her, when a piece of paper taped under the door’s knocker fluttered in the breeze.

The two words at the top, bold and in all-caps, read: EVICTION NOTICE.

Oh, shit.

A box was bolted over the doorknob.

If that door shut, she couldn’t get back in.

Her cats.

Rox kicked the crap out of the swinging door. It banged back against the wall, and she threw herself through the doorway.

The door bounced and punched her in the arm, but she shoved it and rolled inside before it could slam shut.

The door closed, but she was inside the apartment.

She sat up, panting.

Her three cats looked over at her from their beds, vaguely amused at her antics. Pirate yawned, showing three long fangs.

“Oh, my God,” Rox said. “What am I going to do?”

She couldn’t leave them there. That lock was bolted on. Once that door shut one more time, she wouldn’t be able to get back in. They would be trapped until the super came and—

Rox didn’t know what he would do. Toss them out into the landslide-prone hill behind the building? Throw them in the pool?

Take them to the local animal shelter where they would be considered unadoptable because they were old and ugly, where they would be immediately slated for a lethal injection?

At least they were all healthy now. They might have a week or two before they were put down for overcrowding. Or maybe three days.

Fuck, no. She would not, could not, abandon them like that.

Okay, it was only six-thirty. She needed to plan. Rox needed to calm down and plan.

First of all, she wasn’t behind on her rent at all. She had automatic withdrawal set up for the first of the month, and the rent had been deducted on schedule on the first. She had checked. She always checked.

Rox needed that eviction notice. She needed to know why.

She just had to make sure the door didn’t close while she did it.

From growing up in the South, Rox understood that the solution to any engineering problem lay in shoe glue, bailing wire, or duct tape.

A fat roll of extra-strength, silver tape was wedged in her kitchen junk drawer. She pried it loose and marched to the door.

Like Hell she was going to get locked out of her own apartment.

Rox might be a paralegal, but her daddy was an engineer. Anything that is worth engineering is worth over-engineering.