Best Fake Day – Excerpt

"Let me work off the money," Izzy said.

She felt Jack's gaze rake over her body, watched the clench of his jaw. "And how are you planning to work it off, Isabel?" he almost growled. "Is that what all of this is about?" he asked as his hand made an indicating sweep over her body. "Dress to impress so you can pay me in kind?"

"Oh God, no," she spluttered. "This is me showing you I'm not the weak, naïve girl I used to be and I won't be pushed around!"

The hard glint in his eyes softened slightly. "You were never weak. Naïve…" He trailed off. "So how exactly were you planning to pay me back?"

"Working here for you for free until I pay you back. I could collect glasses, work the bar, or clean."

"And you have experience in any of those roles?"

"No. But I could learn."

"But what about the house repairs?"

She shrugged. "I could do that during the daytime and work here at night. Then when I'm earning again from my day job I'll pay you back."

"And what exactly is your day job?"

"I'm a photographer. I could even do that here. Take photographs of the patrons and sell them for you."

"You work freelance?”

"I have my own business." She hesitated before elaborating. "As a wedding photographer," she said quickly, hoping he wouldn't snag the teasing opportunity.

Too late. The corner of his mouth quirked until it bloomed until a grin. "A wedding photographer. How appropriate. I knew playing dress-up with your mother's veil and having teddy bears as your guests would have an influence on you one day."

"You mean like wanting to have a traditional wedding where the groom doesn't have to bribe the bride? Yeah, my childhood messed me up real bad," she said with sarcasm.

"You're not working here, Izzy. And this conversation is over."

"No, it's not. I'm giving you a solution to paying off what I owe. I'll work off the amount Ellie paid for our debts and the rest you get from her. So when do I start?"

"You are not working here."

"Why?"

"Do you really want to have some guy groping you as you serve drinks? Or a group of guys? I run a tight ship and look out for my staff, but sometimes it happens."

"I can look after myself. I have been groped before, you know. I can deal with it."

He slid his chair closer, bending his legs so hers surrounded him without touching, but close, very close. He looked up at her under dark lashes. "So if some guy puts a hand on your leg you wouldn’t mind?"

She shook her head.

"And if that hand strayed beneath your dress?" he asked as his hand reached out to graze the sensitive skin of her inner thigh, making her shudder.

She shook her head slowly, earning a dark look. Of course she would mind. But this was Jack.

He stood abruptly, stepping into the v of her thighs. "And if a guy tried to kiss you?"

"I have been kissed before, remember?" she said, inwardly cringing at how breathless she sounded.

"I remember being a boy kissing you as a girl. If I were to kiss you now I wouldn’t be holding back and I wouldn’t be kissing you as a boy—I’d be kissing you as a man."

"Then do it," she demanded.