Hooked Up_ Book 1(6)

By: Arianne Richmonde

Sophie took out her Smartphone from her Chanel purse and said in French—her voice low so that nobody would overhear—“Look, Alexandre, this is the guy we’re meeting in Mumbai—” she scrolled down to a photo of a portly man with a handlebar mustache—“this is the son of a bitch who’s squeezing us for every dime. He’s our enemy. He’s the one we need to watch.”

“But I thought you said he’s the one we’re signing with—”

“He is,” she interrupted. “Keep your enemies close.” She brushed her dark hair away from her face and narrowed her eyes with suspicion—a habit I had myself. I remember thinking how elegant and beautiful she looked; yet in ‘predator mood’ she was also formidable. I was glad to have her on my side.

Half listening to my sister gabble on about the Mumbai deal, I noticed a woman rush through the door—a whirlwind of an entrance. She was flustered, her blonde hair damp from the summer rain, her white T-shirt also damp, clinging to her body, revealing a glimpse of perfectly shaped breasts, through a thin bra. I shouldn’t have noticed these sorts of things, but being your average guy, I did. She was battling with an enormous handbag—what was it with women and those giant purses? What did they carry in those things—bricks?

“Arrête!” Sophie snapped and proceeded for the next couple of minutes to berate me for not paying attention. She was rolling her eyes and puffing out air disapprovingly. Ignoring her, I wondered again why I had gone into business with her because she was really bugging me. She added, “If you want to fuck that girl you’re staring at, you can you know—American women put out on the first date.”

I hated it when my sister talked like that to me—it made me cringe—especially her sweeping generalizations about other countries and civilizations.

“She doesn’t strike me as that type,” I mumbled back in French. The pretty lady was now closer, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had her head cocked sideways and was staring at the coffee menu, chewing her lower lip in concentration. She was beautiful, like a modern version of Grace Kelly—she looked about thirty or so.

My eyes raked down her perfectly formed body. She was dressed in a tight gray skirt, which accentuated her peachy butt. The slit on the pleat revealed a pair of elegant calves, but her chic outfit was marred by sneakers. Somehow, it made her all the more attractive, as if she didn’t give a damn. As my gaze trailed back up to her breasts, I saw that she was wearing an InterWorld button. Good, I thought, we have something in common—I can chat her up.


A MAN’S VOICE interrupted my chocolaty train of thought as I was pondering my choices of what to drink.

“So how did you enjoy the conference?” His accent was foreign, his voice deep and melodic.

I looked up, feeling now dwarfed in my flat sneakers, petite against his tall, solid frame. The first thing I noticed, at eye level, was the definition of his pec muscles underneath his sun-faded, pale blue T-shirt. Tanned, muscular arms. I saw he had a nametag, just like mine, from the InterWorld conference that read: Alexandre Chevalier. My gaze rose higher and I observed a pair of penetrating peridot-green eyes rimmed with dark lashes, friendly yet intense, looking down at me. His hair dark, his face unmistakably European—yes, he even looked French, the profile of his nose strong, the jaw defined. He was so handsome I felt a frisson shoot up my spine. He was smiling at me. My stomach flipped. I was speechless with surprise.

“Your nametag,” he clarified. “Were you at that conference, around the corner?”

“Yes, I was.” I couldn’t say more. I felt like a teenager. My mind was doing acrobatics, trying to figure out why his presence made no sense at all. This man must have borrowed the tag of the real Alexandre Chevalier. Why?

He was at the front of the line, now, talking in French to another woman. She looked familiar. I felt an inexplicable pang of jealousy. Absurd! I didn’t even know him. Get a grip! But then realized . . .

“I’ll pay for whatever this lady’s having too,” he told the woman serving behind the counter, and he pulled out a wad of notes. I noticed a stash of hundred dollar bills that he was trying to surreptitiously stuff back into his jeans’ pocket, without drawing attention to himself.

Also By Arianne Richmonde

Last Updated

Hot Read


Top Books