Billionaire Bad BoyBy: C.J.Archer
Slowly, very deliberately, he turned back to the screen.
"I was saying that we have the perfect agent for your son, Mrs. Douglas. She's young, she's...er, hip and wired." He looked pleased with himself. "Yeah, wired. We think she'd be perfect for your son. She knows all the happening places. All the cool gigs."
Annie rolled her eyes. She only knew about cool gigs afterward when she read about them in the paper.
"Well, where is she?" Dug-E snapped. He peered into the screen, just as his mother had done, his pimply face coming into frighteningly detailed focus.
Lenny, sitting next to Annie, cringed and gave his undivided attention to his blank notepad.
Bob indicated Annie. "Right here." He grinned, the unexpected movement shaking his jowls like a turkey's.
"Um, Bob, can we talk—"
"Later," he whispered, still smiling.
She sighed. Great. She was about to be hung out to dry.
"Annie McCallum," Bob announced.
The pimply boy on screen glared at Annie for an eternity, then made a face. "Nup. Boring."
She squirmed in her seat. She had a million retorts to make and if she wasn't within earshot of a prospective client, she wouldn't hesitate to let one out. But she bit her tongue. Literally. The taste of blood snapped her attention back to the screen.
"She's very far from boring, Dug-E," Bob said quickly, his salesman's face still frozen in place. It was the one he turned on when he wanted to charm, to knock the socks off someone important. He rarely used it these days. Maybe it was about time he did. Annie just wished she wasn't the object he was trying to sell, and that Dug-E wasn't the buyer.
The teenager leaned back in his chair with an audible thud, a sneer of disgust distorting his features. He stabbed the pinky finger and forefinger of his left hand at the screen. "She's wearing a suit," he accused.
"Er, that's only because we make her wear one in the office." Bob winked at Annie. "She's really one wild girl. She rides a motorbike to work and parties all night. Oh yeah, and she always comes to work hungover, don't you Annie?"
She blinked at him. The person he'd described sounded disgusting. It may be exactly what Dug-E wanted in an agent, but it was an outright lie.
"Annie?" Bob prompted, his face turning salmon pink when she didn't answer straight away.
"Yeah," she drawled. What the hell—she'd go along with his plan. For now. "I'm real...bad."
The relief on Bob's face was worth the effort, if nothing else. At least that dangerous reddish tinge subsided.
But Dug-E didn't look convinced. "What sort of bike?"
Uh-oh. Think, Annie, think. "A Ducati," she said on a breath, recalling a name from one of the bikes in the motorcycle shop she passed on her way to work.
It must have been the right one. Dug-E looked impressed. He grinned and nodded. "Fine," he crooned. "Real fine. How does she do?"
She? Do? Were they still talking about a bike? "Um, good. Rides like...the wind." Annie felt the men around her cringe. Well, it was the best she could come up with on short notice. "She's a beautiful piece of metal," she added.
"She's more than metal, Lady, she's a sweet piece of ass."
Dug-E's expression sobered and his face became a blank canvas. She could practically hear the cogs slowly grinding in his brain. Then he brightened. He pointed both be-ringed forefingers at the screen. "Okay, I'll give her a chance. But if she doesn't live up to my high standards, I'm going with Jamieson and Jamieson."
Pity his high standards didn't extend to his personal grooming.
Bob made an appointment with Dug-E's mother and the screen flickered off with her waving at the camera and Dug-E looking bored. Then he turned to his agents, eyes sparkling. "Okay, Annie, you're our girl. Go for it."
She blinked at him. "Go for it? Are you insane? Have you lost your mind?"
"What's wrong? You're perfect for this."
"Perfect! You just made me sound like a...a rebel." She threw her hands in the air. "I don't know anything about motorbikes or parties or drinking beer. I haven't been drunk since 2006 and even then it was only because someone spiked my soda. I'm not my father, Bob." Nor was she the daughter Reg McCallum had wanted her to be. He'd wanted a wild child, like himself. A party animal and socialite. He'd got a daughter whose idea of rebelling was to go to the library after school instead of straight home.
Bob shrugged. "Then you'll learn." He nodded at the other agents. They stood and left the room. When the door closed behind them he placed both hands on the table and leaned forward. On anyone else it would be a threatening move, but on a big teddy bear like Bob it was hard not to smile.