Alexa Jameson is a woman with a clumsy streak, who is working overtime to get her party planning business off the ground. On her way to a make-or-break meeting, fate deals her a cruel blow:
She has to make nice with Jesse Scott—a guy who rejected her in the most embarrassing way possible—or the whole project goes up in flames.
Jesse seems like a completely different person than the one Alexa fell for, but the more they work together, the more she sees traces of the man she remembers. He goes out of his way to help her, he opens up to her, he lingers when they touch.
Midway through their project, Alexa realizes that he lied when he said he didn’t have feelings for her. The only thing she can’t figure out is…why?
All I Need is You is a stand-alone novella and the second book in the All Series. No cliffhanger!
This isn’t my day.
I have a make-or-break-my-career meeting in a little over half an hour, and a coffee stain the size of Georgia is seeping into my shirt across my left boob. This is my favorite white button-up. Well…was my favorite white button-up.
In retrospect, the coffee stop was a bad idea. But I’d been up late perfecting my portfolio for this meeting, and after barely three hours of sleep I needed a little pick me up. I guess that’s why the universe laughed in my face, then spilled a grande Americano all over me.
If I go home and change I’ll be late to my meeting, so I make a beeline for Target, the only place open this early that will have something passable to wear.
In the dressing room, I peel off my shirt, fold it, and put it in my bag. I’m not sure if espresso comes out, but I’m gonna try. I put on the only decent replacement I could find and book it up to the register, the shirt’s tag in hand.
As I’m paying, my phone rings. I’m greeted with a picture of my best friend Hayley’s smiling face, which is just the thing I need on a morning like this.
Even though I’m a year older, Hayley and I were inseparable in college. We’ve only gotten closer since she moved up here to DC after she graduated a year and a half ago. She knows how huge today is for me.
“Hey,” I say, smiling at the cashier as she hands me my change.
“Where are you?” Hayley asks. “I thought you’d be in a cab by now.”
“I’m at Target. Spilled coffee all over myself this morning.”
“Alexa,” she sighs affectionately. I can’t blame her; it’s not the first time my need for caffeination has soiled my clothing.
“I know, I know. I got a new shirt, it’s all good.” I think I sound pretty convincing, considering my nerves are frazzled and my heart starts beating faster the closer the clock inches toward 9:15. “I’m hoping no one notices it’s discount.”
“Not to burst your bubble but Alice Buchanan, Queen Bee of DC socialites? She’s gonna notice.”
“Let me have my delusions,” I argue, walking out onto the busy sidewalk. “Hang on a sec.” I hail the first cab I see, and luckily it pulls over. The cabbie gives me a smile as I slide across the seat—a ray of sunshine in this crappy day—and asks me where I’m headed.
“31st and M Street Northwest, please.” He nods and maneuvers the car into the flow of traffic.
I lift the phone back to my ear. “Okay, I’m back.”
“I know you were trying to get Marin to take this meeting. No dice?”
“No,” I reply, picking some lint off my skirt. “I knew it was a long shot. She’s more on the management side of this operation and wants to stay in the background if she can help it. Since her grandmother gave us a big chunk of our startup money, I told Marin she could pass one bad job off on me no questions asked. She chose this one.”
Hayley lets out a little chuckle. “You’ve only been in business for five months, that’s a little early to be cashing in. Her grandmother knows Alice Buchanan, doesn’t she? She hired you as a favor?”
“Yeah, Alice hired us as a favor,” I reply, embarrassed that we’re still having to get big jobs on favors instead of merit. The business is still so young, and everyone needs to get a foot in the door, but still. It makes me bristle. “Marin knows Alice, and she still didn’t want to come. That should tell you something about how awful this is gonna be.”
“You’re gonna wow the shit out of her,” Hayley tells me with that breezy best-friend confidence of hers. “Your work is impeccable; she’d have to be blind not to see that. I wouldn’t have hired you to do my wedding if I didn’t think so.”
My chest warms at her unwavering faith in me, even though it’s totally unearned in this case. Hayley didn’t exactly hire me, I offered my services up as a wedding gift. “You’re getting married in the backyard of a tiny lake cottage. All I have to do is string up some fairy lights, and pick up some chairs. The hardest part was finding an amazing caterer that would drive out to the sticks and not set the place on fire.”
“And I wouldn’t trust anyone but you to do all that,” she replies lightheartedly. “You’re planning a…what is it?”
“A birthday party. Sixteenth. It’s for Riley, their only child.”
Hayley groans. “You don’t have a princess situation on your hands, do you?”
“No,” I reply with a relieved laugh. “It’s a big party, but with a strict budget. They didn’t buy that penthouse in Georgetown by blowing money on parties for their only kid.”
“Isn’t there something going on with that family?” she asks. “Like…the dad, his name was in the news recently, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah,” I sigh. “Securities fraud and insider trading. Daddy dearest definitely isn’t the most popular man in town. Apparently Holt Buchanan was managing the previous party planner’s retirement portfolio, and…well, he lost almost all of it. She ditched them and canceled all the reservations, so Alice needed someone last-minute. It’s gonna be a challenge, given we only have a few weeks to pull it together. I get the impression that Alice has a big chunk of the party budget earmarked for security in case anyone’s looking to settle a score.”
Hayley’s fiancé Hunter owns a personal security business, and I was planning on asking him to do me a solid and provide some muscle at a discounted price, but Alice insisted on hiring a firm on her own.
“Yeah, about that…” Hayley’s voice is tentative, and years of friendship and hearing this tone of voice tells me she’s biting her lip. I can picture it perfectly. I also know that I’m not going to like the next thing she says.
“What?” I ask hesitantly.
“That’s kind of why I called. I wanted to wish you luck of course, but I also wanted to tell you something so you wouldn’t be blindsided by it.”
My heart skips a beat. “Okay.”
“She hired Hunter’s company.”
Jeez. I let out a long exhale that instantly calms me. “That’s not a big deal. I was actually—”
“She hired Jesse, specifically. He’ll be at your meeting this morning. I just found out this morning.”
“Oh,” I say, a little stricken.
It’s okay, it’s gonna be fine. I met Jesse about a year ago when there was a situation with Hayley’s drug-addict ex. He owed a shady guy a lot of money, and said shady guy threatened Hayley’s life to get her ex to pay up. Hunter kept Hayley safe and sent Jesse to look after me, just in case. The two of us had a pleasant weekend full of what I thought was lighthearted flirting and long, lustful looks. At the end of it, I told Jesse I thought we had the potential for more.
He didn’t. He let me down easy.
I never heard from him again.
So, of course he’s gonna be working with me on this project.
This really isn’t my day.