Billionaire Bad Boy

By: C.J.Archer


"You're boring," spat the spiky-haired kid on the TV.

Annie McCallum blinked at the screen then glanced at her colleagues sitting around the boardroom table. She expected to see shocked expressions but only saw resignation. It seemed that none of the other agents at McCallum and Horton wanted the kid to elaborate. Maybe he was right.

"Boring?" she prompted. She'd been called many things in her life, but boring wasn't one of them. Okay, so she'd started at McCallum and Horton straight out of college, she'd never lived outside LA and her love life could use a little something—like a man. And she probably lacked the get up and go of other LA agents, especially on Monday mornings before gulping down her second cup of coffee. But she was not boring! She refused to be boring. It wasn't good for her image as one of the top agents of the LA music industry.

Except she wasn't a top agent. Not even close.

"What do you mean boring?" She tried to keep the scathing edge out of her voice—not an easy task. She needed to be careful. She was talking to one of the most popular artists of the moment, and they wanted his business. They needed his business. He may be a snotty-nosed, high school dropout with a bad haircut, but Dug-E-Dug was the hottest artist around. His latest single Don't Call Me Dumb had been number one for four weeks and his concerts were a raging success.

"Yeah, you heard me. You're all as dull as, as..." Dug-E glanced around, his eyes focusing on someone to his right, out of camera shot. " my mother."

Dug-E's mother's head popped into view.

"Hello, Mrs. Douglas," said Bob Horton in his smooth agent-voice. "Nice to see you again."

The silver-haired woman with the wire-framed glasses smiled sheepishly at them and stared into the screen. She leaned forward, eyeing the equipment with suspicion, giving the McCallum and Horton agents an unpleasant view up her nose. It was like something out of a horror movie. The four seated around the boardroom table instinctively leaned back.

"You must forgive my son," Mrs. Douglas said. "But he has a point."

"A point?" Bob said.

"Yes, a very valid point," she said in her schoolteacher voice that made everyone sit up straight. Everyone except her son. "He's a young, up-and-coming artist, Mr. Horton. He needs freedom to express his personality through his music, and his life outside of music. He feels—we both feel—that a younger, more hip agent would understand him better. I do apologize," she added sincerely. "But we feel Douglas's talent should be nurtured not stifled."

No, thought Annie, but his obnoxious personality should. Just ask every five-star hotel manager on the West Coast whose rooms he'd smashed to pieces last month.

"Right, er, of course," Bob said. "That's a real shame, though. We have some great ideas for him."

Annie couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You're not giving up yet are you?" she stage-whispered across the table. "Just like that?"

"He's not interested, Annie, let it go," he whispered back.

Mrs. Douglas leaned forward again, this time turning and placing her ear closer to the screen. Clearly she hadn't mastered the art of video conferencing. The volume control was on the remote.

"What did you say?" she shouted.

Annie glanced at Bob. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and dabbed his brow with his handkerchief. He wanted Dug-E. McCallum and Horton needed him. Ten years ago the firm had represented some of the hottest talent on the charts but those groups hadn't performed in years and the young kids all went to the flashy, glitzy agents who got them entry into the hottest parties in town. McCallum and Horton just wasn't that kind of firm anymore. The party-throwers they knew had all grown up and become respectable citizens of LA with budding wild children of their own. The only vomit they cleaned up in the middle of the night now was a baby's.

Annie hadn't been around in those days. She'd joined the firm seven years earlier as a young assistant straight out of college. In that time she'd worked her way up to becoming one of the firm's most sought after agents. Well, as sort after as any of McCallum and Horton's agents were, which was nowhere near as much as her late father, the agency's co-founder, in his day.

"We understand," Bob said quietly, his jaw squaring as firmly as his double chins would allow.

Annie could tell he was working up to something. His face had that look—a look she hadn't seen since her father's death ten years ago. Ambition. He glanced around at his three agents seated at the table. They stared back at him, waiting expectantly as if he were the Messiah about to announce a prophecy. His gaze settled on Annie. Oh boy.

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